There are those who believe that the Odinic faith is one that celebrates war and conflict above all else. What they fail to realize is that polytheistic religion, in all cultures, is and always has been a representation of natural forces (mortal and divine) as well as the many aspects of human life.
Agriculture is a part of that life, so there is a God or Goddess that patronizes agriculture. Sex is a part of life, so there are deities that represent sexuality. War is a part of life, so there obviously going to be Gods (and Goddesses) of war.
But war is never and end in and of itself, for it can only be a means to an end— therefore no one who is truly moral and decent in any civilization at any time just wants to see their people in a perpetual state of conflict. Some may want power, others may want to expand their realm and their wealth, some may be defending their homes, while still others may be standing up against tyranny or oppression. There are many reasons why people go to war, but no few celebrate the shedding of blood simply for the sake of doing so. If this happened there wouldn’t even be a goal in mind as soldiers watch their brothers-in-arms die all around them.
I like the Odinic outlook on war because it is realistic and honest, rather than filled with utopian fantasies and outright lies.
Our view is this: peace is only obtained with the blood of those willing to die for it, and there must always be those who will fight when the times have need. We lament the hatred that arises in people’s hearts, and our lore recognizes this as a part of the corruption of man, but this does not make it any less of a reality. We will not claim that ours is a ‘religion of peace’ while we send soldiers to die on the field of battle. For us, this disrespects their service and devalues their contribution to society, which we would argue is the greatest of all.
Our security, our prosperity, and our sovereignty are all built upon the graves of heroes, past and present, who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Violence is going to be a part of the human experience. It pains me to write this, but in order to remain true to fact and reality, it must be stated. We are not going to have this ‘perfect world’ the dreamers want; where no one ever harms another, at least not in our lifetimes. Why is this so? Because people are always going to have disagreements, disagreements lead to confrontations, and confrontations can lead to people getting hurt or killed. I am not being a pessimist, I am simply stating what is.
There is going to be crime, there is going to be murder, and somewhere in the world there will always be oppression. It will take a major event, or some huge leap in our evolution to make this not so. The idea is for us to recognize and pay tribute to those men and women who will protect us from such things with their very lives—be they police officers, soldiers, firemen, etc. If we truly are headed towards a downfall of man that will set the stage for Ragnarok, we need these brave heroes more than ever.
Just as we need heroes, we also need a doctrine of heroism that will inspire more people to take on these roles so that we will have more defenders among us willing to take up arms against the forces of Chaos. Such a doctrine cannot be found in limp-wristed salvation clubs, New Age hippy fads, or nihilistic pacifism. It can only be found in the religions of our ancestors, who prayed to benevolent Sky-Gods for victory so that peace and prosperity could be maintained for their folk. In Odinism this ideal would have its highest manifestation, for our ancestors gave such individuals the most sacred honors in Vahall, where they practice fighting (in preparation for Ragnarok) during the day and enjoy feasting and merriment at night. The concept is that they become a part of an elite, the ‘chosen’ (valr) who are selected by Valkyrjur (‘Choosers of the Chosen’) to go to the realm of the Gods to enjoy their afterlife and to hone their skills for the greatest battle of all.
In the Golden Age there was no Valhall, for there was no need for one. Peace and happiness ruled the worlds and violence was rarely, if ever seen. No one harmed another, no one stole from anyone else, and priceless treasures could be left out in the open without fear of it being taken. This was the image of a perfect existence, which our ancestors envisioned and longed for. A world without fear, without death, without hate. Yes, you could say that this was possibly the naïve fantasy of a primitive people, but it does show where their minds and hearts were at, contradicting many of the false stereotypes aimed at them. Freedom and peace were the most beloved ideals then, just as they are now. The only difference is that back then there was no confusion as to how these were achieved. They are and always have been achieved by the blood of the warrior.