Odin is a god of many, many things: wisdom, inspiration, exploration, shamanism, prophecy, kingship, rune magic, language and expression, expanding and altering consciousness, creativity, death, blood magic, self-sacrifice, and yes, even warfare, savagery and bloodshed at times. But do you know one thing He does not stand for? Racial hate crimes. Seriously people, I defy you to find anything–anything at all–in the northern lore that supports this kind of atrocity. As my friend Heather Freysdottir posted today, hate is not a Heathen value–not in any way, shape or form, and I for one am thoroughly sick and tired of having my God’s name used as an excuse for racist violence.
You know why I don’t primarily identify as Heathen? Know why I am not able to call myself an “Odinist witch” or “Odinic witch” (the way some of my friends will refer to themselves as “Lokean witches”)? This. This is why. Because, thanks to assholes like this (and others like him in the past 100 years or so of history), my God’s name is now identified with racially motivated violence. And from these maniacs, the poisonous notion that Odinism=white supremacy and racial hatred seeps into the community, until you can’t hold an “Asatru meet-up” without having one or two white-supremacist-leaning individuals show up. (Yes, this truly was my experience when I was still trying to organize meet-ups back east.)
You want to bring up Viking slash and burn raids, blood-eagling, and mass-hangings at the Temple of Uppsala? Yes, those things happened, and many of them even happened in Odin’s name. He is not always a nice god, is not easy on His followers, and blah blah blah; all that stuff is true, but in this context it’s also irrelevant. Because guess what? We’re not back in the year 1,000, and we have to live peaceably in this century, in this society, now, among a much more diverse population than existed around the turn of the last millennium. It’s a different world, and although our Gods have adapted beautifully, many of us don’t seem capable of doing the same. This is why you won’t see a lot of glorification of Odin’s more violent side on my blog: most people absolutely lack the skill of discernment (another Odinic value) and are not able to tell what is appropriate from what is not. I am not about to give such individuals further grist for their mill.
I do not know whether this vile individual actually considered himself an Odinist, or whether that’s simply more propaganda slapped onto this from those factions that are always eager to tar and feather us by any means that comes to hand, but what I do know is that Odin does not support or approve of this, and neither do any true Heathens I know of. Heathenry is about worshipping the old gods of northern Europe, not pretending we’re berserkers in the year 900, or Nazis in the 1940s. Figure out the difference, or shut the fuck up about my Gods. And if you are a hate criminal, I have it on good authority that there’s a special place in Helheim waiting just for you.
Want to donate to help the families of the victims of the Kansas City shootings? If you’re able, please do! And regardless, please go and sign this petition. And help us spread the message that hate is not a Heathen value.