by Heimgest DCG
First published in ORB No. 107, April 1991
Odinism is not a rigidly dogmatic religion. Many approaches to our faith exist, and function side by side, but there must be recognisable parameters within which it operates or our identity is obscured or lost.
Odinism is a living faith; it evolves; yet it maintains the timeless spiritual essence of our people. It is a way of life, a celebration of life, too vast to be encapsulated in words alone, yet simple enough to feel inwardly, and that intuitive wisdom should find outer expression in our actions. Odinism is the love of a family, the giving and receiving of hospitality. It is loyalty. It is the striving to live decent, honourable lives. It is a million things – and IT IS OURS! It cements our identity and gives us freedom.
Today many mistake freedom for lack of responsibility. Some will say “I want to be free – no rules – no restraints – no discipline!” This idea is an absurdity, garbage spouted by the foolish, the perverse, and the pretentious. It is a lie of the exploiter. We are not separate from nature, from creation – nothing is – and nature has immutable laws. Some people may not like this, but it is a fact of existence, and Odinism accepts it.
Nature is full of diversity, and our faith reflects and respects this. Our own folk have always been individualistic, and Odinism reflects this also. There is room in our faith for differing views and perceptions. This is good and healthy, but still there is the apparent paradox that to be truly free, and remain free, one must also have responsibility, because each individual is part of the whole. As individuals we are part of the folk. To aid the folk aids the individual and our personal future is part of our people’s future. As Odinists we serve our folk and ourselves – when our people are free, the individual will also be free. If an individual separates himself from his race he loses his heritage because he loses the heritage of his people. He becomes ‘outcast’, cut off from past and future, and with no identity in the present. To defend your people’s identity is to defend your own.
An outward expression of this truth is the Odinic Rite’s structure. The Rite does not snuff out individuality but offers channels for its expression for the good of all. Firstly we have individual Apprentices, who if they feel sufficiently committed, may be professed into Odin’s Holy Nation. This is a solemn and binding oath before Gods and men. A few may take this lightly in this Age of fast foods, fast entertainment, and fast values. In a material sense such folk may or may not prosper, but spiritually they damage themselves, and distance themselves from the Folk Soul, the Gods, and their own true worth. Most of those men and women who take the Oath of Profession remain true; they wear the ‘Torc’ as a token of honour.
An individual, Apprentice or Professed, can become a member of a Hearth, which allows each person another way of growing within a supportive unit. Each member also supports the Hearth. Every Hearth, as a unit, will develop its own identity within the greater body of the Odinic Rite. Some will stress the development of esoteric aspects, some cultural, some practical, or some may have come together around a common interest. Our faith has many facets. Hearths may come together for joint activities such as festivals, camps and moots.
Our structure provides a solid framework to build on. It should be a circle of loyalty, and it ensures our unique identity.