Odinism is the modern expression of the ancient religion widely practiced, before the advent of Christianity, by various people throughout northern Europe. Those people spread out to settle in Germany, England, Ireland, Scotland, Iceland, Greenland, Norway, and basically scatter across the globe. The Gods and Goddesses of Odinism should be familiar to everyone, as days of the week originate from their very names - Sunna (Sunday), Mani (Monday), Týr/Tiw (Tuesday), Wodan/Odin (Wednesday), Thor (Thursday), and Frigga/Freya/Freyja (Friday)! In a nutshell, Odinism is an expression of indigenous, ancestral, nature-centered beliefs, comparable, for example, to American-Indian spirituality.
As a religion, it is thousands of years old, and was originally so integral to our people that the Church absorbed our Holy Days in an attempt to convert the masses to Christianity. "Easter" and "May Day" were our "Fertility Celebrations", and "Christmas" was our "Twelve Nights of Yule", before Jesus was even born. Being that Europe, at that time, didn't have anything resembling a constitution, and freedom of religion was labeled as a "sin" for hundreds of years, practitioners of Odinism suffered a massive, and violent, campaign of religious persecution and repression. Despite that fact, our practices and beliefs continued, right up to the present, even if for a time it was mainly in the guise of folklore.
Contrary to being maligned as "ruthless barbarians", the original adherents of our faith were the progenitors of our finest "civilized" traditions (i.e. Trial by jury, Parliaments, our present system of "modem" Common Law., and the rights of women to vote, just to name a few...). Founded in 930 AD, utilizing Odinist-based practices, Iceland's government, the Althing, is the oldest surviving democratic government in existence today. The present day custom of putting up a "Christmas Tree" comes from our ancestors, who decorated trees to attract ancestral spirits to accept their gifts. When the Roman Catholic Church, for a time, forbid such practices, the folk simply brought the trees indoors, where it could be easily hidden. It is also interesting to note that the focus shifted from our ancestors, to our children - who, in accordance with our worldview, are really the living embodiments of our ancestors reborn.
The modem day practice of Odinism applies ancient principles of conduct to our daily lives; a code of behavior, based on individual responsibility and honor. Although practices vary, we differ from other worldviews in that, we do not bend our knee in supplication to the Gods & Goddesses. Nor do we beg them to do for us; rather, we ask them to empower us to do for ourselves. Self-realization and empowerment are at the heart of Odinism.
Our decentralized religious worldview expresses our love of freedom and, while we do have tenets, we do not have the dogma of many other systems of belief... There is no all-powerful spiritual leader, whose word is law; no `pope' of Odinism to dictate to us what truth is. Indeed, we wholly believe that each of us can re-learn how to listen to the voice of divine wisdom that dwells within us. No guru or priest has the one and only, direct line to the Gods & Goddesses. They live within us!
Our worldview values and cherishes the re-sanctification of the world around us, over materialism. We value and cherish our personal, traditional cultures, over ‘mass culture'. We value a natural social order, over an artificial hierarchy based upon wealth. We value the tribal community, over the nation-state. We value and cherish the stewardship of the earth around us, over the "maximization of resources". We value and cherish a harmony between men and women, over "the war between the sexes". And we value handicrafts and artisanship, over industrial mass production.
Odinism is a religion that recognizes the responsibility of each individual for his or her actions. The Nine Noble Virtues of Odinism, contained in the Poetic Edda, are an important part of the code of conduct for our adherents - Courage, Truth, Honor, Fidelity, Discipline, Hospitality, Industriousness, Self-Reliance & Perseverance. By practicing these virtues, we bring ourselves closer to our Gods & Goddesses. We are all responsible to the Gods & Goddesses as our divine ancestors, each in our own way.
In the elder wisdom, it is known that that which made man & women 'human' was a set of divine gifts, bestowed by the Gods at the birth of humanity (Voluspa 17-18). Through these gifts, we know the Gods directly, for it is that gift that they shared with us. We are, in one way or another, descended from them, body and soul. We cannot "break with the Gods".
Ours is not a contractual relationship - it is one of blood. So long as we exist, they exist. Our worldview maintains that we neither need, nor ask for our Gods & Goddesses' forgiveness. We were not born into sin. We were born to be tested by our fate, to become the best that we can be.
The Holy Nation of Odin, Inc. membership is OPEN to all like minded kinfolk, whether incarcerated or free world. Founded by the Sons of Odin, 1519 Vinland Kindred, the Holy Nation of Odin, Inc. is fundamentally Odinist.
That is to say that we believe in an all pervading divine spirit which manifests itself throughout the cosmos and the laws of nature and is therefore self-evident in within the realm of nature. To us, that divine spirit is the All-Father Odin whom without, all else would fail to be possible. The All-Father Odin is pure spirit and the primordial conscious thought. He too is thereafter, the very will of that first thought. The Gods and Goddesses of the Germanic Tribes are therefore manifestations of the spirit of All-Father Odin.