Encyclopedia of Modern Worldwide Extremists and Extremist Groups

By Stephen E. Atkins | Go to book overview

O

Odinism

Odinism is the white supremacist wing of the neo-pagan Asatru religious movement. Although both Asatru and Odinism share a belief in the pre-Christian Nordic gods, Odinism has roots back to pre-Nazi Germany. Alexander Rud Mills, an Australian Nazi supporter, decided to launch a movement in the 1930s to return to a purified pre-Christian past. In his book, The Odinist Religion: Overcoming Jewish Christianity, Mills charged that Jews had transformed Christianity from its original purity. Moreover, Europe was the true birthplace of civilization, not the Middle East. In an effort to return to a purified religion, he established the Anglican Church of Odin, but it languished in obscurity. His ideas gathered dust until a husband and wife team, Else and Alex Christensen, rediscovered them and founded the Odinist Fellowship in 1971. They started a journal, the Odinist, to spread the Odinist cause. At first the newly emerging Asatru movement and the Odinist movement shared common beliefs, but the racist orientation of Odinism soon caused them to take divergent paths.

Odinism attracts white supremacists because it has a strong racist theme and a warrior ethic. Soon after the Odinist Fellowship was formed, various extremist groups became interested in its potential. A leading neo-Nazi, George Dietz, realized that a Nazi revival was unlikely in Germany, but the United States was a more amenable market if Nazism was repackaged around Odinism. He created the Odinist Study Group (OSG) to infiltrate the Odinist movement with neo-Nazis. Odinism with its pre-Christian pagan rituals and the aspiration of members to join the Norse god Odin in Valhalla after perishing in battle appealed to the neo-Nazis. Adherence to the nine noble virtues of courage, discipline, fidelity, honor, hospitality, industriousness, perseverance, self-reliance, and truth was another attraction. Odinist groups have been formed under various names, but the most powerful one is the White Order of Thule. It is an offshoot of another group called Black Metal.

Odinism has become a popular religion for those incarcerated in prisons. It attracts members because of Odinism's reliance on personal virtues and its association with Northern Europeans. Many of the adherents of Odinism learn of its existence for the first time in prison. While several states have banned the practice of Odinism in their prison systems because of its association with white supremacy, other states allow it. At least two violent incidents have been linked to individuals with ties to Odinism. One of the suspects in the Jasper murder case had been a member of an Odinist group

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Encyclopedia of Modern Worldwide Extremists and Extremist Groups
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Chronology of Events vii
  • Introduction xxi
  • A 1
  • B 26
  • C 57
  • D 80
  • E 89
  • F 96
  • G 110
  • H 123
  • I 137
  • J 142
  • K 149
  • L 166
  • M 184
  • N 215
  • O 230
  • P 238
  • Q 252
  • R 253
  • S 267
  • T 291
  • U 301
  • V 304
  • W 306
  • Y 326
  • Z 328
  • Selected Bibliography 331
  • Index 339
  • About the Author 375
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