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An Open Letter to Chaplains

Greetings to you! Thank you for taking the time to visit our website. I know your time is valuable, so I will be clear and to the point. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me. No question is stupid, and I appreciate different theological viewpoints. It’s all part of growing, learning, and accommodating the spiritual needs of prisoners. We are all called to this work -therein lies our commonality.

The Odinic Rite is a spiritual organization that represents a denomination of Odinism (also called Asatru). Odinism is a folk religion based on the pre-Christian heathen (pagan) beliefs of the northern European people. We are polytheistic. Our pantheon includes names from folk tales; some of these names echo in the names of the days of the week, for instance, Tyr (Tuesday), Freya (Friday), and Thor (Thursday). Our relationships with these Gods and Goddesses can be as close as extended family or more abstract, as in the belief that the Gods and Goddesses personify certain archetypes or natural forces. In any case, they are the organic Earth and Sky gods of the ancestors.

Because we are an Earth religion, some may be inclined to draw comparisons to Wicca. Actually, a more accurate comparison would be to the Druids, the Shinto religion of Japan, or to the Native American tribal religions. In Odinism, we celebrate the seasons and cycles of the Earth (like Wicca) but with a tribal mythology and pantheon that links us to our ancestors of northern Europe (which is more akin to other tribal paths like Druidry, Shinto, or Native American). Wicca is a more universal religion that borrows from many pantheons around the world.

Every world religion has its own Golden Rule. Ours are the Nine Noble Virtues: courage, fidelity, industriousness, discipline, self-reliance, honor, hospitality, perseverance, and truth. These are basic old-fashioned character traits. Anyone in prison or out can benefit from striving toward them.

We are not political. We are not a prison gang. We do not promote hatred of others. In fact, we believe that diversity is something to cherish, respect, and encourage.

Our goal is to provide spiritual and emotional tools so men and women who chose Odinism can become responsible for their actions, deal with prison life, and eventually re-enter society with an eye on positive contribution and balanced lives. Ultimately we are practical minded, with an interest in applying Odinism to modern challenges.

For further reading, you may want to visit the book section of our main website. If you would like to talk to me about any of the above, or any other related subject, please contact me at the email below. Thank you again for your time.

Sincerely,

Laurel Owen,

Senior Advisor – Odinic Rite Prison Affairs Bureau