Our faith, more than anything, is a tribute to life; with all its joys and sorrows, its complexities and necessities, the Odinist faces life head on, with courage in his heart and a smile on his face. Nietzche thus called this religion “The Great ‘Yes’ to Life,” and those men and women who choose it embrace this philosophy wholeheartedly.
Our Gods and Goddesses represent the many aspects of living within our realm of existence, from childbearing to working, from warfare to peace and compassion, from love to justice. Their lesson to us is to live our lives as fully as we can, while retaining a code of honor that is honest and direct. We do not have to toil over passages in books to guide us in every action we take, because the virtues we follow are already carved in stone upon our hearts.
They are a part of our very DNA, and have passed this down to us from the earliest times. We know that it is wrong to kill people, to rob them, to cheat on our spouses, to be cruel, to slander others, to be greedy, to violate our oaths, to be cowardly, and to disrespect the divine. We know that it is right to be honest, to have honor, to use wisdom, to be generous, pious, and kind; to be courageous and loyal, and to be independent and free.
No one has to tell us how to exemplify these virtues, because we already know; we are born with the knowledge, just as a bird is born with the knowledge to build a nest, and we disregard it to our peril. Anything beyond this usually comes in the form of unnatural, bizarre taboos that make no sense and have nothing to do with benefitting society or keeping a karmic or urlagic balance.Since we keep our morality simple and to the point, we are free to live our lives however we wish as long as we do not violate the laws that we do have.
This freedom is the pinnacle of Odinic ideology, which has served as the foundation for Western values that place liberty on a pedestal above all other ideals. We do not rely on dogma to maintain our beliefs, which we view to be oppressive and dictatorial. Instead we utilize tradition as the primary vessel for keeping our sacred path intact.
Dogma is built upon the false notion that one person has to be right and everyone else therefore must be wrong, so this person must make everyone follow the beliefs they uphold, which is impossible in its application.
Tradition is a far mightier tool in this regard, for it forms a link between the past and the future, where my grandchildren will practice the same rites and prayers that I have. The family, the clan, or the tribe, then becomes the foundation of the faith, rather than any sort of separate clergy without any true connection to these ties of blood. This is why our ancestors fought so savagely against the church, and why so many of their customs had to be co-opted into Christian doctrine in order for the new faith to proliferate.
The lore of our religion strongly emphasizes the concept of fatalism; that everything that is lies subject to the powers of destiny or Wyrd. At the same time, we know that the direction fate can only move in is forward, which is why we must work towards improving ourselves and those around us. We are all part of the great Spiritual Collective, and as such have our role to play in its coalescence. Each person is a member of a family, each family is a member of a clan or community, each clan is a part of a folk or nation, and each folk makes up the whole of humanity.
By working on our own evolution, our own spiritual advancement, then branching it out to others, we affect the entire Web of Wyrd, and thus play our part in the universal order. This connection to every living thing in the cosmos should not overwhelm us, but rather inspire us to become a part of its great mechanism by improving the world in our own small way for the short amount of time we are on this planet.
The Odinist does not expend a great deal of energy worrying about death, for we know that when we live well we will be judged accordingly after we die. Odin tells us to be “joyous and generous until [our] hour of death” (LXXX.20), which is not something we can do if we focus on our dying. We strive for virtue, success, and happiness as the three prime motivations of our existence. When others will be meek, we will be champions; when others will seek servitude, we will reach for excellence; and when others long to die, we will relish the life we have. Our purpose in this lifetime is to be the best we can so we will be honored by our descendants after we have passed on. For the here and now we know that by following the Path of Power, we will thrive in this world with true strength on all four levels of being— the mental, the physical, the emotional, and the spiritual.