Odinism is the faith attributed to the Vikings and that era of history, and being so it does not have the problem that English Wodenism has since its revival here in England in 1998 (*). In this post I am going to try to outline a problem that Wodenism has faced since it was revived, and maybe try to see a way forward through overcoming this problem. I feel that it is time to do so since this is not a small problem, but is one that can cause all sorts of difficulties for us as Wodenists.
Being based upon the Viking era Odinism revolves around the same Heathen Religion as the Vikings, who maintained their heathenism long after the Anglo-Saxons had been converted to Christianity, or at least the ruling elite and those that were in power were converted. Wodenism has a more difficult task in that there is far less Heathen Lore left to us than left by the Vikings, and also the main figures of history were Christians. There is some element of heathendom left in figures like Hengest and Horsa, AElla, Penda etc. but all of the later rulers and chieftains were Christians, and their era is much more chronicled than the earlier period. Then there is the problem that the old Danelaw is far more ‘Viking’ in names and even perhaps customs since this area was ruled over by the Danes and more heavily populated by the Danes.
It is very hard for Wodenists to see such figures as Alfred the Great as actually being ‘great’, since they had succumbed to the Christian Faith and left their own Gods. This goes for later figures like King Harold who was a Christian King and although he may have been the ‘last English King’ he held to an alien faith. Don’t get me wrong, I am not knocking these English Kings, but what I am saying is that – ‘how does a Heathen Wodenist honour those people who had left their own faith and upheld an alien faith? I hope people see what I am getting at here, because within Odinism the heroic figures are all Heathens – Ragnar Lodbrok, Harald Hardrada, Eric Bloodaxe etc. etc. – none of whom are Christian kings or rulers. Odinism, when I was in it, honoured Hengest and Horsa, but they were Heathen Saxon Chieftains who could stand side by side with the later Viking Heroes.
This I see as the main problem that we have faced as Wodenists, and this is why I have proposed that we break free of the dogma of sticking to the ‘Anglo-Saxon’ period and accept the Vikings and Norsemen as being the same Blood Kin and also those who still honoured the Northern Gods. This would also help to solve the problem of the eastern part of England which is far more Viking in names and in its makeup. We have to accept that the Germanic & Scandinavian peoples were one and the same blood-stock, and that the Viking invasions were made in order to stem the growing power of the Franks under Charlemagne, a power that was spreading the plague of Christianity into Northern Europe and North-West Europe.
Indeed, as we have started to do within the Woden Folk-Religion, there is a need to take ourselves even further back into pre-history, to the times when the great northern continent of Atalland existed, the last part of this (Dogger Bank) being destroyed by a massive tsunami around 7,000 years ago. To do this we will need to study all sorts of different folklore and legends about these islands, from various different sources, and this means throwing aside the taboo of looking at anything that is not ‘English’. I am here going to give one firm example, and that is of a ‘British’ king called Herla King whose tale is quite well known and the contents not important to this argument. The name Herla King is most certainly not ‘British’ and is a Germanic title, and thus comes down to us from a Germanic source here in England. If we were to throw off the shackles of the theory (that is what it is) of the ‘English invasions’ and accept that there were various tribes of Germanic origin here in England, then we have to accept that some of the most ancient folklore of these islands is also Germanic – even if we had to use the term Germano-Celts.
For far too long people have accepted the idea that the English invaded these islands, which were at the time populated by ‘Celtic Tribes’ and thus the folklore and legends of these islands was purely ‘Celtic’. If we look at the legends that developed on the Scottish borders a lot of them stem from Germanic-Nordic legends, and have been revamped with different names, though the actual legends exist as they were originally. Offa Whitesun developed this in an article in one of the early Wodenist magazines. These certainly need more study since they are relevant to the English Folk.
The ‘Celts’ (or at least their aethlingas) worn the golden torc around their neck, and the torc is made up of twisted gold strands, and would obviously represent a ‘noose’ of some sort, thus hinting at a dedication to the God of the Hanged – the Wolf-God – who we call Woden. Indeed, we have the god known as Gwydion coming down to us from Welsh Lore, and his name would be Wydion since the ‘g’ is silent, and he was a magician-god associated with the Ash-Tree, just as Woden is a magician-god associated with the Ash-Tree. We also have the legend of Lleu who shape-shifts into an Eagle and hangs on the top of a tree – again shades of Woden on the Wolf-Tree. If we ignore these myths and legends we may well be ignoring our own ancient past in these islands. It seems clear that the Britons had an alien Druidic Priesthood over them, one that twisted and distorted their myths to their own ends, but that does not invalidate that there was an Ancient Tradition here in England, an Ancient Tradition that is valid for the English!
There is a current called Tradition or the Perennial Tradition which is based upon the idea that within every culture and tradition there is an underlying ‘universality’ – i.e. that within varying traditions there are certain things that follow a pattern. This is important since it gives us far more scope in finding out our lost tradition because we have access to myths and legends that are not of our own tribal group, but do have the underlying truth in them that can be used to reconstruct what has been lost. If we look at Tolkien’s Mythology he recreates an English Mythology from various different sources, going back to Atalland as the sunken continent, and further back to Beleriand which equates with Hyperborea. This reconstruction comes from non-English sources as well as some stuff that we do have passed down to us.
I have outlined the main problem faced by Wodenism and have also suggested some solutions to the problem, this being that we forget being ‘Anglo-Saxons’ from a certain era and start to build from various eras of our long history in these islands, including the Vikings in our work, since from there we get the only source of our mythology that has been left to us, even though some of it may be distorted through Christian eyes. Why reject such figures as Ragnar Lodbrok since he is the one that will lead the Folk at Ragnarok, as prophesied by the ancient seers? Ragnar Lodbrok is also a Dragon-Slayer, and he marries the daughter of Sigurd, Aslog, whose name translates as ‘Asa-Law’ – ‘Law of the AEsir-Gods’. Maybe the time has come to overcome the barriers that have held Wodenism back, these being the restriction to the ‘Anglo-Saxon’ era, and thus take us forward into the future instead of dwelling in the past.
I have always warned of the futility of promoting any form of ‘antiquarianism’ whether this be Viking (Odinism) or Anglo-Saxon (Wodenism) since this means trying to live in the past rather than studying the past to revive what is good and best for us, and then bringing this into the present time. This is yet another thing that holds back the Northern Faith, since it only ridicules what we are doing, making people see us as ‘freaks’; or ‘weirdos’. I see nothing wrong in dressing in some form of ritual garb based upon the traditions of our Folk, and even using Old English or Old Norse as a ritual language but when this is proposed as an everyday thing it only opens us to ridicule. On this subject Old English or Old Norse would certainly be valid as a ritual language as would the use of Germanic Roots or Aryan Roots, and also (more so) the Ancient Runes. I am not saying this for nothing because I know of people who have suggested we dress up as ‘Anglo-Saxons’ and also those who have suggested we speak ‘Anglo-Saxon’ in our everyday life, but who would understand us then? The Knights of the Spiritual Sword are also of little use, since they hide behind a religion in order to keep away from the trouble, which can only work for so long since any oppressive regime (like we live under today) will attack (both mentally & physically) anyone who tries to break free of the yoke. The oppression of herbalists, healers and many other sections of society by the growing power of the Christian church proves this point, for countless thousands died at the hands of these people and countless thousands were tortured and maimed because they did not follow the line of the Established Church.
I have been reading some of the ideas of Swain Wodening on the failure of Theodism/Wodenism to grow as strong as Odinism/Asatru, and here there are many points that he makes that are valid to this argument. I would recommend people to look at the stuff that Swain Wodening has put out on the subject. Certainly Odinism/Asatru has been going far longer and is much better known than Theodism/Wodenism, but I don’t think that that is the core of the problem. Indeed, it may well be that Odinism will remain far stronger than Wodenism, but I really do not think that matters one jot. Wodenism has to fill a gap in the ‘market’. Neither do I feel that this ‘splits’ Odinism since there is really no single organisation that has the full monopoly, though the Odinic Rite is by far the strongest here in England.
One of the arguments put forward is that Wodenism has had to adopt the Norse god-names and hero-names and change them into Old English, and thus they are not really valid. But there are certain god-names that have come down to us in Old English, and even though they may be portrayed as ‘legendary heroes’ rather than gods, I really do not see the difference, since this is how Snorri Sturlasson portrayed the gods anyway – as men. Anyway, what does it really matter if we use Woden, or Wotan or Odin, or Thor, or Thunor, or Eastra or Ostara? Let us look at the various god-names that are so similar, but from so different traditions, that they are surely from the same source. Are not Eastra, Ostara, Ishtar the same? And what about Nanna and Inanna? They will have different myths attached to them because these have been distorted through various tribal groups being intermingled, and even Indo-European tribes mixing with Semitic tribes, but the underlying myth is there. We have Dana, Danu, Dan, Diana, Don, Idunn, Anu, and other similar-sounding names, and which must come from some common source in the ancient past of our Northern Folk.
Herman the Cheruscan (most likely a Wolsunga) should be just as much a Folk-Hero as Hengest and Horsa, as should Widukind of the Saxons who is of the same Saxon nation as the Saxons in England. Sigemund (‘Victory-World’) or Sigurd (‘Victory-Wyrd’) are both Dragon-Slayers, father and son, the former to the English, the latter to the Norsemen. Balder is Herebeald and Hodr is Heathcyn, each former name being a god, and each latter name being a hero – but what difference does that make? One of the best sources for the translation of Norse names into Old English is Spellcraft by Katherine Herbert; the title is a little vague since it is not about spells, but about Old English Legends. It is available from Anglo-Saxon Books in England.
Wodenism, as revived by Woden’s Folk, developed in a far different way than has been developed by other groups who took this up, and no doubt by groups that will arise in the future. The fundamental difference between the Wodenism of WF (i.e. the Woden Folk-Religion) is that WF is the only group that developed the theme of Wid-Ar the Avenger as the ‘Coming God’, the ‘One Who Returns’ as the new god-force of the Age of Ing. This new god-force (archetype) is that of the Crowned & Avenging Son of the Sun who is Woden (Hanged God) resurrected as the Son of the Sun. This important difference sets us apart, for the Wid-Ar Current (’55-Current’) is the basis of the Woden Folk-Religion at its inner level.
I am certainly not saying that Wodenism in its entirety should adopt the ideas put forward by Woden’s Folk, since this is unique to the Woden Folk-Religion and should remain that way, since there is a need for a Warrior Order and a Spiritual Order that will prepare the way for The Hooded Man/The Last Avatar who will arise here in England according to Wodenic Prophecy. I am not certain how many Wodenist groups actually exist here in England now, but there is no doubt some form of growth, even though it will certainly not match that of Odinism which has been around far longer here in England. In regard to this I have stated that I see this in the light that we are all part of the same struggle, and Woden’s Folk has co-operated with Odinists on at least one occasion (when Orange wanted to put up a mobile phone mast near to the White Horse Stone) and we share a common religion even if there are ‘tribal’ differences. Whatever the case Woden’s Folk will not change its stance on the need for a new archetype for the new world-age, and that our form of Wodenism was set up to prepare the way for the Last Avatar and Incarnation of Woden (as Wid-Ar) here in England.
Woden’s Folk has now moved to being the Woden Folk-Religion publishing outlet, and through the Wulfinga Blogs we have begun to disseminate new ideas within Wodenism. WF has not become fully inactive since the other side of our work is that of being a Teaching and Training School – we have already held a Training Moot for select Wodenists. We shall continue to evolve new ideas and to promote these ideas, as well as increasing our teaching and also our training of the individual within the Woden Folk-Religion and also evolve future Wodenist Gatherings which will be there for certain ritual gatherings and magical gatherings. In the past WF held national activities called The Spirit of Revolt in which WF Hearths and Lone-Wolf Activists formed part of a national ritual designed for a specific magical purpose – and we shall still use such activities into the future.
In time, when there are far more Woden Initiates who are fully aware of the inner truth behind the Woden Folk-Religion we may be able to offer one-to-one teaching and training into the Cult of Woden. But the immediate priority is to disseminate our work to as many people as we can, so that the Woden Folk-Religion becomes more understood, The secret lies in ‘reading between the lines’ and understanding the hidden meanings that we give though our work, and as time goes on individuals will understand what we are really saying, and that the symbolism we use is not so ‘cranky’ as our critics would have you believe. Only those who can see through the smokescreen put up by our critics will be able to understand what we are teaching.
The development of the Ar-Kan Rune-Lag is also of vital importance to the Woden Folk-Religion since it will eventually form the core of our work and teaching. Through the runes, and new understandings of the runes, there will arise a whole teaching method suited to future generations to adopt and develop further – because the runes are certainly not static but develop as we develop the Cult of Woden.
Since WF promotes such ideas as The Hooded Man which has been taken from the Robin of Sherwood series in both book form and the TV series, we are open to a good deal of criticism. Both Wikipedia (*) and RationalWiki have made some strong criticism, mainly in the form of mickey-taking, which is something that we have to accept as part of having adopted a stance that is different than the mass of people can accept. In regard to this we try to point out to people that it is the mythical and symbolic meanings that count, and not the actual TV series as a fictional work. That is, neither the author nor the director, nor anyone else for that matter, wrote or directed the series as we interpret it. This suggests that this type of work is done at an unconscious or subconscious level, which is why few people can understand its inner meaning.
(*) It is perhaps significant that the Woden’s Folk entry has now been removed altogether from Wikipedia, the reason for this not being known at the moment. There are also various other sites which make criticism of Woden’s Folk in one way or another, but this can be expected when we oppose this rotten system.
We have used the term ‘religion’ throughout this post (and our others) since it is the most well used term, and it means ‘to bind’ stemming from Greco-Latin. However, there is some logic in dropping this term in favour of the German bund which also means ‘to bind’ and which also comes up in Old English with the same meaning. This term is where we get bundle, bind, band etc. but the term bund covers a much wider set of ideas. This needs some careful thought and reference to those who have more knowledge of German (like Wotan’s Krieger), but the term Woden Bund could perhaps replace the Greco-Latin word ‘religion’ and since Wodenism is more of a life-style and incorporates far more than just a Sunday prayer, perhaps this would suit our work better. Food for thought!