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The Labels of Germanic Paganism

Page history last edited by Geirrod the Ruthless 10 years, 1 month ago

It is important to clarify the different sects of Germanic Paganism in order to not provoke confusion. Non-Odinists often stereotype Odinists as white supremacist’s. While some White supremacists may be Odinists, not all Odinists are white supremacists. This is likened to saying “All Christians are the Ku Klux Klan.”

While those who want to follow aspects of the Viking Religion go under several names, groups under these umbrella terms can vary differently. To classify those who seek to revive Viking beliefs and heritage under a specific label simply results in problems of semantics. In my paper, I call the entire group “Odinist,” just to make things easier when addressing the belief system of this contemporary group. However, many who celebrate the blot, for example, may be offended that I called them Odinist and not Asatru, or Heathen, or what have you.

 

With each label, many stereotypes exist. Asatru, for example, is often seen as more universalist and open. Asatru is seen as a group that will accept any one who wants to learn more about Viking Heritage and is not race specific. They are considered a liberal sect of Germanic Paganism. However, this is not the case. The Asatru Folk Assembly, perhaps one of the most well-known Asatru groups, calls itself folk and sees their religion as reviving their ancient heritage. They are very much against accepting non-whites into their religion (because they believe non-whites have their own indigenous religion to follow).

 

Odinists, on the other hand, are often stereotyped as racist or white supremacist, but there are followers within Odinism that are ardently against including those attitudes in their faith. One Odinist that I interviewed, who goes by the pseudonym of Ravenwolf, said that “On the concept of Folkish Practice, I wish to stress this is not racism. It is racial awareness, but noone asserts that another race should be discriminated against or another faith be erradicated.” A webmaster of an Odinist web page told me that "In the eyes of gods, there are no chosen peoples and no master races."

 

Besides the spectrum of non-racist and racist Odinist/Asatru/etc., there is also the Universalist Odinist/Asatru/etc. Self-proclaimed Odinists will create a division between folkish and universalist, saying if one believes that all races can follow the Viking gods and goddesses, than they are universalist. This, however, is done in a slightly mocking fashion. Universalist is a word used to say that someone is not a real Odinist.

 

What I found is that the distinction between Universalist and folkish is not necessarily contingent upon views on race, but rather on the approach to the Norse tradition. Where a more traditional types will focus on recreating their ancestors religion, universalists will take from it what they like. Universalists have a more buffet approach to their religion, so they may use Odinic Runes to tell the future while participating in a Native American tribal dance.

 

Because of this problem in semantics, it is difficult for me to speak on any subject without it being inaccurate. If I say “Asatru believe in [belief[,” there will be Asatru that disagree with that statement and some that agree. So, in my paper, I use the term “Odinist” to make things easier for me and clearer for the reader. I am not necessarily referring to the group “Odinist,” but rather to those who seek to revive the Viking tradition.


To clarify between the differences in the various groups, I have created these two spectrums. The top one shows the different views on race within Odinism, as well as the stereotypical view of each group (Note: this is not accurate, just simply how a majority of people view each group). The bottom one shows the different views on adhering to Viking tradition. 

 

 

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