The Misconception Behind “Odinism”
Odinism. When you hear this word, you probably groan, if you, like me, are a Norse Pagan who has been practicing your religion for some time, and also happen to be appalled by racism. You likely are especially offended by Odin being associated with racism, homophobia, and bigotry if you, like me, feel you have gotten to know Odin by actually reading the lore. I’ll be discussing Odin, Nazism, and how the two are completely incompatible.
First, let’s discuss Odin’s Lineage. Odin is the Son of Borr, as stated in the Voluspa. Borr is also mentioned in Snorri’s Edda, where he is called Son of Búri and father of Odin. We are told in the Prose Edda that Auðumbla licked Búri into existence out of the ice of Ginnungagap, the primordial state in which all things existed before even the creation of the universe. As an aside, as we know very little of Auðumbla aside from what can be read in Snorri’s Younger or Prose Edda, I like to believe the old cow still exists into Ginnungagap, sauntering along and licking things into existence. It really puts the universe and multiverse theory into perspective. Anyway, we’ve established Odin’s paternal lineage as the strongest Aesir bloodline, the first of the Aesir being Búri, birthed by the holy cow which licks things into existence. So what about Odin’s mother? She was a Jotun woman named Bestla. For those unversed in norse mythology, a Jotun is a frost Giant.
This article is meant primarily for norse pagans, Asatrur and others, and also to educate the Neo-Nazis misrepresenting Odin, so some familiarity with pagan religion is assumed. At least cursory familiarity of Norse Lore is also assumed, although I will continue to expand on some details of this lore to show the incompatibility with Nazi, Neo-Nazi, and racist thought and philosophy.
This is why I first discussed Odin’s Lineage. Odin is essentially the great grandson of a magic extra-dimensional cow. Odin is related to both Ymir, the first Jotun, on his mother’s side, with his mother also being one of these frost giants, and he is the grandson of Búri, first of the Aesir. How do you think a god like this, a “mixed race” god like this, feels about the Nazi’s views on race? If you are a racist and claim Odin as your patron, you are an idiot for claiming a “mixed race” god as your patron. Why would Odin smile upon racism? I have the answer: he does not.
And now we’ll discuss how Odin likely feels about Homophobia, based on the Lore. I’ll start with the fact that Odin himself has been called “ergi”. You can research for yourself the meaning of this word, but there is a modern equivalent in any slur directed at the LGBT+ community. Odin went to Freya for initiation in the arts of Seiðr. You can again research for yourself the gender roles associated with magic and the arts of Seiðr and Galdr, but I will provide a very simple description of both arts for the purposes of this article. Galdr was a form of sacred singing, central to rune magic and perhaps the very core of rune magic, and Galdr and the Runes were generally associated with masculinity. We know from the Havamal that Odin is the first rune master, as it tells of his sacrifice of himself to himself in order to gain them. But Odin is also a student of the first master of Seiðr, Freya. Seiðr is generally considered feminine, and the Völvar were the masters, the WOMEN masters of Norse magick. This is very telling on both Odin’s and the Norse’s views on sexuality and masculinity and femininity. The original Norse pagans may not have had as strict a view on these concepts as many today would associate with “Vikings”, and only extensive study of the old Norse language, art, culture, and surviving lore will confirm this theory, but many norse pagans today are drawn to this path as they find our lore and our gods much more friendly to the LGBT+ community than many other religions, something you will learn for yourself if you read the Eddas.
*Author’s note: my current mentor Ivy Mulligan is an excellent source for more information on norse magic, particularly the Art of Seiðr.
Finally, and in conclusion, I will discuss Odin’s views on general bigotry, in his own words. The Havamal is believed by pagans to be the words of Odin, and H.127 states:
“hvars þú böl kannt,
kveð þat bölvi að,
og gefat þínum fjándum frið”
“When you see misdeeds, speak out against them, and give your enemies no peace”
“Ek Vitki” also known as Connor Moriarty can be reached as ek-vitki.tumblr.com/ on tumblr and @ek.vitki on instagram