An ancient belief system revived as a racial creed.

Odinism, as it stands today, is a complex and multifaceted belief system that intertwines ancient Norse paganism with modern white supremacist ideology. Founded in 1973 in England by John Gibbs-Bailey and John Yeowell, the Odinic Rite was initially known as the Committee for the Restoration of the Odinic Rite or Odinist Committee. Yeowell, who had a history with the British Union of Fascists and was a bodyguard to Oswald Mosley, along with Gibbs-Bailey aimed to revive the worship of the Norse god Odin and other pre-Christian European beliefs. By 1980, the organization felt it had garnered enough interest to formally adopt the name The Odinic Rite​​.

The Odinic Rite identifies Odinism as the natural religion of the peoples of Northern Europe, characterizing itself as a “folkish” group. This term indicates a focus on racial preservation and the promotion of white supremacy under the guise of paganism. It advocates for the preservation of racial and national identity, discouraging mixed-race relationships and drawing controversial parallels between invasive species and immigrants. Despite claiming to be a non-political religious organization, the Odinic Rite’s beliefs align closely with extreme right-wing nationalism​​.

The organization encourages its members to live according to the “Nine Noble Virtues” and the “Nine Charges”, which include principles such as courage, truth, honour, fidelity, discipline, hospitality, self-reliance, industriousness, and perseverance. These virtues, however, are deeply embedded within the group’s racially motivated ideology​​.

Odinism’s appropriation by white supremacist groups extends beyond religious practice into a broader cultural and racial agenda. The belief system has been co-opted by hate groups, who misuse Norse symbols and ideologies to further their racist objectives. This has led to a notable presence of Odinist beliefs among white supremacist prison gangs and has been associated with violent acts and extremism​​.

Despite its ancient roots, the modern iteration of Odinism bears little resemblance to the inclusive and diverse practices of pre-Christian Norse paganism. Instead, it has been transformed into a vessel for promoting white supremacist ideologies, exploiting the allure of ancient mythology to legitimize and spread its message. The distinction between Odinism as a form of Norse paganism and its perversion by racist groups is critical, as not all who are interested in Norse mythology support or even understand its association with white supremacy​​.

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