CZ Talk:Cold Storage/Odinism

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Source

This article is marked, above, as an "external article," and I found a copy here. Particularly the latter I find problematic. Let's get Mark M. to comment before we take action, but if it's simply copied from Amapedia, it's quite possible we should just delete it. --Larry Sanger 18:23, 21 May 2007 (CDT)

Hello. I originally wrote the article for wiki pagan, where I am an administrator. It has been copied elsewhere. --Mark Mirabello 19:09, 21 May 2007 (CDT)

All right, very good then. Thanks --Larry Sanger 22:38, 21 May 2007 (CDT)

Merger

I suggest the content of Asatru be merged with this article as both articles are talking about the same thing just using different names. A redirect could be set form Asatru to here. Derek Harkness 07:05, 29 April 2007 (CDT)

Subpage treatment

This article's end matter makes it ideal for the subpage treatment. See CZ:Subpages. --Larry Sanger 17:57, 7 September 2007 (CDT)

External links

The external links contained in the article text may be used in notes or on an External Links page, but they mustn't take the place of CZ links. Please fix this...TIA. --Larry Sanger 17:27, 23 September 2007 (CDT)

Article

Odinism is a neopagan religion dedicated to the gods of the norse pantheon. Odinists also refer to themselves as Heathens or followers of Asatru. Extremists who are "folkish" call themselves as followers of Wotanism.


History

The religion now called Odinism is the indigenous tradition of the Indo-European peoples. Pre-Christian in origin, it shows Paleolithic characteristics the Shamanistic tendencies of Odin and the “trickster” aspects of [[Loki] as well as Neolithic traits (the nature of its warlike ethical system, which is common among pastoral nomads).

The successful spread of Christianity largely displaced Odinism in Europe in the medieval period. Lithuania, officially converted in 1386, was the last pagan stronghold in Europe, and pagan elements only lingered in underground movements, such as the Odin Brotherhood. Elsewhere, the Indo-European gods continued to be honored, but many in their Vedic form, within Hinduism. (Odin, as Priscilla Kershaw pointed out in The One-Eyed God, was honored as Rudra/Shiva , for example, and Thor was honored as Indra.)

Odinism experienced a revival in nineteenth-century Europe, through the work of individuals such as Guido von List. Von List visited the crypt of St. Stephen’s Cathedral in 1862 (the site was a former pagan shrine), and swore an oath to build a temple to Wotan (the Germanic Odin).

Organized Germanic pagan or occult groups such as the Germanische Glaubens-Gemeinschaft emerged in Germany in the early 20th century. Although several early members of the Nazi Party were part of the Thule Society, a study group for German antiquity, after his rise to power, Adolf Hitler discouraged such pursuits, and Neopagan societies were even exposed to some amount of persecution, with at least one member of List's Armanenschaft killed in a concentration camp.

A second revival began in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Ásatrú was recognized as an official religion by the Icelandic government in 1973, largely due to the efforts of Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson.

At about the same time, Else Christensen began publishing "The Odinist" newsletter in Canada. In the United States, Steve McNallen, a former U.S. Army officer, began publishing a newsletter titled "The Runestone". He also formed an organization called the Asatru Free Assembly, later renamed the , which holds annual "Althing" meetings. These early societies went through a series of reformations and splits in 1987/88, resulting in the Asatru Alliance, an offshoot of the AFA headed by Valgard Murray, publisher of the "Vor Tru" newsletter and the Ring of Troth. In the United States, the most prevalent form of Heathen organization is in small groups called Kindreds, sometimes also known as a Hearths, Garths or Steads.

The Odinic Rite, organized by John Yeowell, was established in England in 1972, and in the 1990s expanded to include chapters in Germany (1995), Australia (1995), and North America (1997). In the 1990's the Odinist Fellowship emerged as a separate group in the United Kingdom, led by Ralph Harrison.

In Canada, the work of E. Max Hyatt, the force behind Wodanesdag, has been significant.

In Italy, the Odinist Community was established in 1994.

In the 1990s and 2000s, a variety of Scandinavian associations and networks have formed. Swedish Asatrosamfund (since 1994), Norwegian Åsatrufellesskapet Bifrost in Norway (1996) and Foreningen Forn Sed (1999), recognized by the Norwegian government as a religious society, allowing them to perform "legally binding civil ceremonies" (i. e. marriages), Danish Forn Siðr (1999) and Swedish Nätverket Gimle (2001), an informal community for individual heathens, primarily living in Sweden with no connection to any formal organisation, and Nätverket Forn Sed (2004), a network consisting of local groups (blotlag) from all over the country. It was recently founded by members from other Forn Sed societies.

Since 1973 the governments of Iceland, Denmark, and Norway have officially recognized Odinism/Asatru.

Beliefs

The Eddic poem Voluspa (Prophecy of the Seeress) reveals the mysteries of Odinist cosmology. According to the poem, between Muspelheim (The Land of Fire) and Niflheim (The Land of Ice) was an empty space called Ginnungigap. The fire and ice moved towards each other; when they collided, the universe came into being.

In order of creation, first were the giants, then the gods, and, finally, humankind.

Odinism is polytheistic in theology. The pantheon is divided into two groups, the Aesir and the Vanir. (Odin and Thor are Aesir; Frey and Freyja are Vanir.)

Gods and Goddesses include:

  • Odin (The most popular of the Gods, both in present time and the past, he values wisdom over all else, to the point of sacrificing his own eye for knowledge. He takes half those slain in battle to his hall to prepare for Ragnarök. Wednesday, or "Woden's Day", is named after him)
  • Thor (Hot-tempered and mighty God of thunder. He is large and red-bearded, carrying a massive hammer named Mjolnir, which he throws at enemies, striking them with lightning. Thursday, or "Thor's Day" is named after him)
  • Tyr (Brave God of war who risked and lost his hand so the Gods could bind the fearsome wolf Fenrir. Once was the most popularly worshiped God until he was overtaken by Odin. Tuesday, or "Tyr's Day" is named after him)
  • Baldr (Also commonly known as Balder, he was Odins son and heir. He was loved by all and perfect in every way for his beautiful appearance, wisdom, and gracious matter. It was said that none could question his judgements. He was killed as a result of the treachery of Loki, but will return at the end of the world)
  • Freya (Goddess of love, fertility, sex, attraction and war. Because of this list of attributes, she's largely considered the most popular of the goddesses of the Norse pantheon. She is also referred to as the queen of the elves and the leader of the Valkyries, and she takes one-half of those slain in battle to her hall, putting her on equal footing to Odin in this regard)
  • Vidar (Another son of Odin, he is the God of Silence and Revenge. It is his destiny to revenge his father by slaying Fenrir, either by stepping on the beast-wolf's lower jaw and tearing him by the mouth with his raw power, or by using his sword against the heart of the wolf)
  • Bragi (Another son of Odin, he is The God of poetry. A large part of his history is largely unavailable in modern times, however, it is known that he was very gifted in speech and storytelling, so much so that an eloquent person would be called a bragr-man or -woman)
  • Heimdall (The guardian and god of light. He is the son of nine different mothers. His keen senses allow him to hear the grass grow and to see to the end of the world. He guards bifrost, the rainbow bridge to Asgard, ready to blow in his horn when danger approaches.)
  • Frigg (Goddess of marriage, motherhood and household management. According to Odin, "Only Frigg knows the future, but discloses it to noone." She is the wife of Odin, mother of Baldr and sister of Njord. Friday, or "Frigg's Day" is named for her.)
  • Sif (The wife of Thor, her golden hair grows in like normal natural hair, but was actually created by Dwarves. As a prank, Loki cut her hair off, which angered Thor; he made Loki promise to replace it, which he managed to do with the help of the Dwarf Dvalin)
  • Njord (God of the fertile lands on the seacoast, as well as seamanship and sailing. He is Odin's brother-in-law.)
  • Freyr (God of Fertility, Peace and Pleasure. He falls in love with a beautiful giantess, and gave his sword, which was so well-constructed that it fought by itself, in order to convince his foot-page, Skírnir, to romance the giantess for him. This decision will have dire consequences at the Battle of Ragnarök, when Freyr will be defeated by Surt)
  • Idun (Goddess of Youth and wife of Bragi. She keeps the gods young by giving them magic apples that extend their lives. Without these apples, the Gods, Aesir and Vanir alike, would age, wither and die as normal humans do.)

Other Important Entities include:

  • Loki (A mischievous entity who likes to play tricks on the gods, he is frost giant by birth. Loki was a source of constant angst for the gods. His habitual trouble making landed him in some rough spots. Conversely, Loki was also a great deal of help to the gods on numerous occasions. It was Loki after all who brought several important artifacts to Asgard (including Mjollnir and Draupnir). As a result of his treacherous acts that lead to the death of Baldr, he was bound to a rock. He will lead the armies of Jotun (giants) against the gods in Ragnarök, the Final Battle.)
  • Fenrir (A monstrous wolf that is the son of Loki and the giantess Angrboda. Fenrir has two sons of his own, Hati and Skoll, who constantly chase the horses that move the sun across the sky, as well as pursuing the Moon. He is bound to a rock by Gleipnir a ribbon made of the sound of a cat's footsteps, a woman's beard, the roots of a mountain, the sinews of a bear, the breath of a fish, and a bird's spittle. The binding of Fenrir cost Tyr his hand. At the battle of Ragnarök, he will break loose and devour Odin, but will be slain by Vidar.)
  • Skaði (A mountain giant who married Njord. The marriage wasn't happy, as both were completely different, so they separated.)

Ethics and Afterlife

In terms of ethics, members are taught to be "brave and generous." Modern Odinists model their life according to the "Nine Charges."

Odinic Rite

  1. Courage
  2. Truth
  3. Honour
  4. Fidelity
  5. Discipline
  6. Hospitality
  7. Self Reliance
  8. Industriousness
  9. Perseverance

Asatru Folk Assembly

  1. Strength is better than weakness
  2. Courage is better than cowardice
  3. Joy is better than guilt
  4. Honour is better than dishonour
  5. Freedom is better than slavery
  6. Kinship is better than alienation
  7. Realism is better than dogmatism
  8. Vigor is better than lifelessness
  9. Ancestry is better than universalism


The Odinist afterlife has several destination, depending on how one has lived (and died). The most esteemed go to Valhalla, brought there by warrior maidens called Valkyries.

Some Rites of Odinism

  • Blót is the term for the historical Norse sacrifice in honour of the gods. Odinist blóts are often celebrated outdoors. Food and drink may be offered, and most of this will be consumed by the participants.
  • Sumbel (also spelled symbel) is a Norse drinking rite in which an intoxicating drink (usually mead or ale) is passed around an assembled table. At each passing of the drink, participants make a short speech, a toast, and an oath. Oaths made during this rite are considered binding upon the individuals making them.
  • Berserkergangr is a form of religious ecstasy, associated with Odin, a god of war, magic, and poetry.
  • Reading the Runes. Tacitus, in Germania, describes how the ancient Germans cut branches from a fruit-bearing tree, and marked the branches with symbols, called runes. Calling upon the gods, the practitioner casts the branches randomly on a white cloth. New-Age Asatru use the runes as a method of divination. More traditional practitioners, such as the members of the Odin Brotherhood, claim the runes are connected with magic, but only indirectly with prophecy. Members of the Odin Brotherhood use the runes not to tell the future, but to summon a dead person so that he will reveal the future. That is how Odin himself uses the runes in as in Havamal, verse 156.

Distribution of adherents

Today, Odinism is practiced primarily in Scandinavia, Germany, Britain, North America, Australia and New Zealand. Small communities are also found in many other countries, including Austria, Switzerland, France, Italy, Portugal, Poland, and Russia. Active groups are also found in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, and Chile.

Exact numbers are unknown, but there are several thousand followers in the modern world.

References

Chadwick, H. M. The Cult of Othin. Cambridge, 1899.

Coulter, James Hjuka. Germanic Heathenry. 2003. ISBN 1410765857

Gundarsson, Kvedulf. Our Troth. 2006. ISBN 1419635980

Hollander, Lee M. The Poetic Edda. Austin, 1986. ISBN 0292764995

Mirabello, Mark. The Odin Brotherhood. 5th edition. Oxford, England, 2003. ISBN 1869928717

Paxson, Diana L. Essential Asatru. 2006. ISBN 0806527080

Puryear, Mark. The Nature of Asatru. 2006. ISBN 0595389643

Viktor Rydberg's "Teutonic Mythology: Gods and Goddesses of the Northland" e-book

Shetler, Greg. Living Asatru. 2003. ISBN 1591099110

Storyteller, Ragnar. Odin's Return. Payson, Arizona, 1995.

Sturluson, Snorri. Ynglinga Saga.

Sturluson, Snorri. Prose Edda. Mineola, New York, 2006. ISBN 0486451518

Teachings of the Odin Brotherhood Portland, nd. pdf file

This Is Odinism. 1974. ISBN 095046130X

Titchenell, Elsa-Brita. The Masks of Odin: Wisdom of the Ancient Norse

Wodanson, Edred. Asatru-The Hidden Fortress. Parksville, BC, Canada, 2005.

Yeowell, John. Book of Blots. 1991. ISBN 0950461350

External Links

What is Odinism?

Why Do We Call It Odinism?

Odin Brotherhood

Odin Brotherhood in Germany

European Ancestral Religion

An Archive of Essential Texts on traditional Norse Religion

Some Videos on Asatru/Odinism

Interview on Odinism by the Leader of the Odinic Rite

Article on Odinism in Italian

Podcasts on Odinism/Asatru

See Also

Odin Brotherhood

Asatru

Odinist Fellowship

Odinist Deities and Terms

Articles of Interest

The Asatru Folk Assembly on Asatru/Odinism

Factual Flyers from the Troth

Professor Mattias Gardell, professor of religious history at the University of Stockholm, on radical Odinism

List of Some Odinist/Asatru Organizations in the World

Further comment

I moved the article to the talk page because the (embedded) external links still haven't been fixed. I also have a mail from Kim van der Linde which says, intriguingly, that the Asatru people she knows have not heard of an Odin Brotherhood. I think we need more definitive explanation of the nature of the Odin Brotherhood before we "fire up" the article again. --Larry Sanger 22:30, 18 October 2007 (CDT)

I have been studying the Odin Brotherhood since 1982. Feel free to ask people here--at the Odin Brotherhood Discussion Group about the organization. They represent a small number of the members around the world.--Mark Mirabello 15:04, 19 October 2007 (CDT)

I have to confess, I battled Miss van der Linde on wikipedia, and I really have no time to engage her again.

These various articles authored by Dr Mirabello should be categorised under Anthropology and Sociology as much as Religion, maybe more so. For normal academic standards, we expect rather more than a single undocumented non-academic website to verify the existence of any phenomenon or social practice. As a university teacher, Dr Mirabello should be perfectly familiar with verification practices.--Martin Baldwin-Edwards 18:02, 19 October 2007 (CDT)


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