The Nine Points of Odinic Philosophy
As members of the faith of Odin, it is imperative that we study and develop a strong theological philosophy around our beliefs, so that we can demonstrate to anyone that ours is the more valid, the more logical, and the more reasonable path for our people. Because of this, we have created The Nine Points of Odinic Philosophy, which details for us the way we would present our ideals to those wanting to know more. We understand that some may differ on the points, or that philosophical challenges may occur: the idea is that we have a foundation, a starting point for us to explore the deeper ideals and notions within this religion. Once we begin exploring them, we can see just how powerful of a system we have adopted for ourselves. Much more than Vikings and Longships, Odinism/Asatru is an ancestral tradition steeped in higher spiritual wisdom, which became the foundation for much of Western thought. Let us continue the work of the philosophers of old and move our faith into higher regions of theological expression.
Convergence vs. Entropy
Everything in existence is either coming together or pulling apart, reaching a state of order or a state of chaos.Typically, all things are in a constant flux that equals a balance between the two, for we are all both living and dying at the same time. However, we all strive towards life and try to move away from death as beings of convergence. Death is inevitability, but that does not mean that we want to die right now. We have a survival instinct, because we embrace life and the living, even when we pretend that we do not. Because we embrace life, we seek to converge or commune with other living things, especially other people. This is manifested in its highest form with family, community, and tribe.Our lore represents this idea clearly in the constant battle between the Gods as representatives of order, and the Giants as representatives of chaos. The Gods wish to bring things together in harmony and peace, while the Giants, especially Loki and Gullveig, wish to tear things apart. We strive to emulate the Gods and work towards the harmony they exemplify. Like I said, death is inevitable, as is Ragnarok, but that does not mean we lay down and die here and now. We continue to struggle, to converge, to live.
The Spiritual Collective
The universe is a grand design made up of an infinite amount of smaller designs working as cogs within a machine. All life affects all other life, which makes the collective, what we call the Web of Wyrd, the most powerful force in the universe.When you look in the mirror, you see yourself, or the identity that you perceive yourself to be. However, you are so much more than that. You are made up of millions of little particles, atoms, and little creatures that make you who you are. You are then not a singularity, but a collective. What works in the microcosm must work in the macro. The Hermetic philosophers said “As above, so below,” delineating this very idea. So all things in the universe must be a part of this collective, and all are connected through fate, which is nothing more than the will of all. One person makes an action that effects his neighbor, which affects others, and spreads like ripples in a pool throughout the sphere of existence.This also creates a powerful argument for polytheism, which mimics the notion that all forces, as part of the collective, must be multiple, since the very idea of singularity is absurd. There is no One, there are many, and the many are a part of the great spiritual collective. In our traditions the Gods have a symbiotic relationship with one another, such as when Odin (The Wind God), Thor (The Thunder God), and Frey (The Rain God), come together to bring the crop strengthening storm. They work together as a family, and manifest their tribal, communal relationship as a part of the tenets of their faith. They come together as a divine community, and they expect us to do the same here in Midgard.
The Cultural Connection
Divinity as a force is subject to interpretation, but as an element of convergence, cultural expressions of our relationship with the divine are the most profound.Why celebrate an ethnic or cultural religion? Because universal religion is based on the fallacy that all people are the same and that we should never embrace our differences, we should simply assimilate into the synthetic lifestyle that comes with this train of thought. Nothing is stronger than blood, though some wish to inject a new idealism into our society that only breeds isolation and narcissism. With this, the family unit is breaking down, people are more isolated than ever before, and a lack of identity has crippled our youth and their ability to become successful adults. Culture represents a natural bond between people based on their common traditions and ideals that have evolved organically as part of the folk will. When we replace these with gangs, loveless sex, and technology, we become the agents of entropy and side with the Giants against our beloved deities.
The prophecy of Ragnarok tells us that this is what we will do, and because of this brother will kill brother, there will be much whoredom in the world, and from this mankind will fall into ruin. Not because of some ‘wrath of god’ type nonsense, but because we will have ignored the bedrock upon which civilization is built. We accept the fate of the world, but we still fight to prolong it, and see to it that the next generation continues these traditions so that they in turn may pass them on. Our Gods manifest this as well in the lore, and we see the bonds of blood represented in the great Teutonic theomachy between the Aesir and Vanir, which was fought on family lines over family ties. This would then branch out to nation as a part of our ethnic identity.
To advance is to struggle, which means that we must strive to work hard to achieve enlightenment and spiritual growth. As with anything, we must practice in order to improve, and always continue on our chosen path of development.We do not believe that life should be spent in complacency. We should never sit idle, never accept mediocrity. Our faith does not support the idea that we are worthless, or that we are only here to submit ourselves as slaves to the divine. We will be ambitious, we will be successful, and we will climb any mountain or defeat any foe that stands in our way. We understand that all things worth having must be fought for, that we embrace the struggle of existence wholeheartedly.In our stories we see this most especially in the ordeals Odin faces to gain wisdom, such as when he hung upon the World Tree or when he gave his eye for draughts from Mimir’s well. He is constantly seeking to improve his knowledge and understanding of the worlds. His exploits remind us to always be students as well as teachers, and to always walk the Path of Power. This means that we will better ourselves within the four states of being: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. This must be done with action and continued practice, as Odin traverses the worlds in the same pursuit.
Being outside of time and space is unrealistic and illogical. Not only that, it negates the very most important duty of any God or Goddess: intervention on behalf of their followers. If the Gods are real they must be natural, and if they are natural, there must be many, for nature is propagation and is therefore only expressed in terms of multiples.We look around at the universe we live in and can only see an infinite realm of possibilities, and yet those who have very little understanding of it wish to always step away from its boundaries in order to justify their beliefs. Odinists/Asatruar do not need to do this because our religion is as natural as can be, and our Gods have natures that exemplify this very ideal. They are not ‘perfect,’ nor are they omnipotent, they are simply representatives of the divine order that we exist within and can see with our very own eyes every day. We do not need burning bushes or parting seas to validate the power of our divinities, for we see this every time the sun rises or the thunder roars, whenever a child is born or we fall in love. That is the miracle of nature–mystical, magical, awe-inspiring. Immanent Divinity vs. Transcendental Divinity is the single greatest argument ever brought against monotheism, which was used by ancient pagan philosophers when they came into contact with those of the one-god belief, and will continue to be our best stance against them.The Gods themselves, while elevated far beyond mere nature-symbols, are a part of the natural order as much as they are overseers of it. Odin is father of the wind, Thor the thunder, Frey the rains. Frigga watches over marriages while Freya binds men and women with the ties of love. This connection to the natural world shows us the relationship the Gods and Goddesses have with the universe and how we can regard our faith in a scientific sense. Meteorology, sociology, physics, etc. can explain symbols within our lore, and in turn the ancient ways offer a spirituality to these disciplines which is left wanting in the major religions. If we see the Gods as real, as actual beings that play a role in the natural order, then we can take the next step in trying to understand them better through the symbols of our hierology.
Each step of our inner-circle, from self to family, family to clan, clan to tribe, tribe to nation, nation to world and beyond acts as a springboard towards the appreciation of life, diversity, and society.As Odinists/Asatruar we reject the notion of a brotherhood of man, and see devotion to life as a hierarchal system as natural as the food chain. No matter what anyone may say, our families are the most important connection we have to our existence and are therefore the highest expression of convergence for us. We come together, not as a universal fellowship, but as families, as clans or kindreds, and as folk. This acts as a springboard towards the next step of the hierarchy, meaning that through our appreciation for who we are, where we come from, and our blood relations we can truly learn how to appreciate others and where they come from. We need a strong family foundation in order to be able to develop healthy relationships when we get older, which is supported by a vast amount of psychological and sociological research, and the same idea continues down the line to our communities, our people, etc.The Gods exemplify this ideal in that they are a part of a family, and as such understand and know how important this is. We cannot learn true family values from a lone deity completely disconnected to us all. The Aesir are a family, as are the Vanir, with Moms and Dads, Sons and Daughters, Aunts and Uncles, etc. Because of this, they have a hierarchy as well. The Aesir/Vanir war is the best example of this, for the conflict caused a split along family lines, and even married couples separated in favor of blood relatives. This is obviously an example of our folkish and tribal faith that calls us to stand by our own.
Everything in existence is in motion, and all things in motion have a destination, which is destiny or fate. This fate is directed by the collective of all life, and moves in accordance to its will, of which we are a participant.We think not of fate as words in a book, or a direct outlying of everything we ever do without choice or freedom. It is, rather, the notion that all things live by a certain formula for existence, and that as such they are following a direction that will ultimately lead to an endpoint. Not that this is as actual end, for all things live in cycles, as we shall see. These are the laws of physics, of thermodynamics, of the very nature of the cosmos. No matter where we are in life, we are headed in a certain direction, one that may or may not be readily apparent to us. We think we might be able to control it, but because we have so little control over the environment around us, we cannot say that our destiny is entirely in our hands.You may say that you are going to lead the path of your life, then walk outside and get struck by lightning. You certainly did not control or plan for that event, and yet nevertheless it happened.The Norns are our representatives of fate in our lore, and we see their symbolism as those who do not control destiny, but simply weigh it out. Fate is the greatest power of the universe, for it represents the results of the collective will of all living things, including the Gods. This relates to the principle of the Spiritual Collective, which we examined above. Apply this fatalistic notion to the use of divinatory devices such as the runes. Each rune has a meaning, an idea behind it that is noted within those using them. When they are casted they are set onto a course of motion that requires a destination, namely, or traditionally, a white cloth used for such purposes. When the runes land they are drawn and read according to the choices made, which also relates to the motion/destination of the chooser. This creates a fate for both the runes and the rune caster, all of which are determined by the formula of the movement and conclusion established by formulaic fatalism.
Besides the moral and tributary symbolism, our myths can be interpreted as, for the most part, a continuation of the play of elements that began with the primordial ordering of the universe.Our first glimpse of this is in our ‘creation story’ (for want of a better word), where the elements of fire and ice came together in Ginnungagap to develop the first world. Here Ginnungagap represents the power if Spirit, which scientifically is the energy or inertia that causes movement. Ginnungagap then became Mimisbrunn, the Fountain of Mimir; whereas Hvergelmir became the fountain of ice and water and Urdabrunn, Urd’s fountain became that of the fire or warmth. Then Odin (Spirit), Hoenir (Water, his name is cognate with ‘Male Bird,’ and his pseudonyms Aurkonung ‘Marsh King,’ and Langifotr ‘Long- Leg’ denote the stork or heron, a water bird), and Lodur (Fire, ‘The Fire Producer’) continue the ordering with making the earth, the ocean, and the sky from Ymir (who thus also becomes an elemental being), and then used embers from Sokkdalir to create the fiery stars. The symbols are seen throughout the lore, finally culminating with the destruction of Ragnarok, which begins with the spiritual downfall of humanity, then comes the icy Fimbulwinter, and finally the worlds will burn in Surt’s flames. The worlds will be destroyed by the very elements that brought them into being. The elements we see in the lore of water, earth, fire, air, and spirit are identical to the liquids, solids, energies, gases, and consciousness we would recognize in scientific study.Our ancestors were obviously witnessing actual phenomena when they wrote the story of Ginnungagap, which coincides exactly with the rising of islands off the coast of Iceland due to volcanic activity. Consider the fittingly named Surtsey ‘Surt’s Isle,’ which rose out of the sea in 1963. One can actually witness these islands develop, grow grass, see wildlife make its way towards it, and so on. When they do not fall victim to erosion, you can see the creation of land and habitats right in front of your eyes. This must have had a profound effect on our ancestors, and was introduced as a major catalyst for much of the mythological symbols.
Because nothingness is an impossibility there can be no beginning and no end, though there are beginnings and endings as the cycle runs its course. Our universe has always been and always will be, and stretches into infinity.If one believes in the idea that time is linear, there arises serious questions as to the nature of time and how it can be understood. The inevitable conclusion one must make is fallacious at its outset, and that is that there must be some ‘Creator’ who set everything into motion, for there can be no effect without a cause. This is a major motivation behind intellectual monotheism. The idea that we could be created from nothing by a deity or an explosion defies the laws of physics and reality, and therefore we must believe that our cosmos is infinite and eternal, which some scientists call ‘Eternal Recurrence Theory.’ Everything in existence goes through this cycle of life/death/rebirth, which we can see throughout the natural world. From forests that continually replenish themselves to the continuation of species to the cycles of deep space and the turning of the stars. Nothing in our universe follows a line: everything travels in a circle.Our Gods and Goddesses go through such cycles in our lore, which is really what our entire epic is all about. There is the innocence of the primordial era and the Golden Age, then corruptive forces are introduced which grow stronger, initiating the challenge to the Powers of order to maintain balance and harmony. This ends in the coming of Ragnarok and the subsequent renewal, where a new primal age begins and brings about the next cycle. From the ashes of the previous Ragnarok does the new order arise, as it shall always be.There we have it, a comprehensible guide to a philosophical foundation for our faith, which will allow Odinists/Asatruar to delineate our beliefs in a clear and concise way that will defeat any monotheist argument. One can take any of these points and develop an entire line of study and investigation that will only further validate the ideals that we hold true to. The modern world is only now catching up to ideas that our ancestors postulated and believed in millennia ago. By adhering to these principles, we show the world that we stand on the higher ground when it comes to intellectual reasoning. We show them that we step away from the spiritual void of atheism and the fear-driven zealotry of the mono religions to present religious ideals that are reasonable and logical.