OR Policy and Structure

When was the Odinic Rite formed?

Founded in England in 1973, the organisation was first known as the Committee for the Restoration of the Odinic Rite, or the Odinist Committee for short. In 1979 the organisation was disbanded and its members came together as The Odinic Rite.

What are the aims of the Odinic Rite?

The Odinic Rite is an organization whose aims are to promote all aspects of our ancestral religion today called Odinism, the organic spiritual beliefs and way of life of the indigenous peoples of Northern Europe. The watch-words of the Odinic Rite are “Faith, Folk, Family” and this summarizes their ideals well.Odinism is an entire and whole system – a way of “being”. It is concerned with all aspects of our folk – cultural, historical, ecological, mystical etc. etc. It is concerned with the ethics of social behavior, our relationships with one another and nature, with the whole of life.

Odinism defines our unique identity as a folk and as individuals within that folk organism. Odinists believe they cannot properly respect other folk until they can respect themselves. Odinism is seen not only as a link with the past, but as a strength for the present and a desire for a noble future.

As the Odinic religion is seen as a way of life – our inherited culture – Odinists feel they have a duty to pass it on to their children and to encourage their country men and women to find their own path. As our inspiration, we try to learn from it, and we seek to protect it, defend it, preserve it, advance and extend it, to bring about the New Awakening.

How is the OR structured?

The OR is not a loose alliance of like-minded folk but a structured and disciplined group. This does not suit some people and they will look elsewhere. Those who join the OR understand that our achievements and our stability have been facilitated by the way we are structured. For an organisational chart of the OR click here

What do I get as a member?

There are many benefits that come with membership of the world’s longest running, continually active Odinist movement. Some can be easily named as below but others must be experienced and will vary depending on the individual.

On acceptance of a member’s application they will receive their first copy of ORBriefing, the members’ quarterly e-journal and Rimstock, a directory detailing the OR festivals, events and contact information.

Members may also added to the OR’s online discussion forum, a virtual community bringing together members from around the world. The forum is a place where all kinds of subjects relating to the OR and Odinism are discussed and gatherings, events etc. are planned.

Most of all what you get is the membership and support of the OR community, a family of dedicated people who work for the new awakening of our folk.

We believe that what you get out of OR membership is directly proportionate to what you are prepared to put in. The OR is like a living organism which relies on its members to thrive and grow.

How is the Rite organized locally?

Each individual member of the Rite is important and is regarded as a living cell of the living community of the Odinic Rite. Where possible, groups of members are encouraged to meet together, often at a member’s home or a local site, to conduct Odinist celebrations (known as Blotar). These small local groups are known as Hearths.Social contact is regarded as an important part of Odinism, as Odinism is a way of life, not a part-time hobby. The Hearth provides a circle in which the individual and group can learn from each other, help each other, cement comradeship etc. and in so doing benefit not just themselves but the community of the Odinic Rite as a whole. Hearths initiate and run various projects of benefit to the Odinist movement and have a high degree of autonomy, whilst still respecting the OR.

To form a fully recognized Hearth of the Odinic Rite, the following conditions must be met:

1. The Hearth Guardian must be a professed member of the OR.

2. The Guardian and at least two other members of the Hearth must contribute to the Rite by annual donation. Thus a whole family could form a Hearth – this is encouraged.

3. The Hearth’s proposed name must be submitted to the Court of Gothar for approval. (This ensures that there will be no confusion if a Hearth wanted to use a name already in use, and also that units are not representing the Community under a totally unsuitable name.)

Once these criteria are met, the Hearth is likely to be recognized as an official Hearth of the Odinic Rite and can use the initials OR to indicate this – for example, Odin’s Hearth OR. The Hearth is a self-supporting unit and raises funds for its projects, its upkeep and the obtaining of regalia from within its ranks.

There is nothing to prevent an Apprentice forming an Apprentice Hearth (called a Hearth AOR) with the intention of it becoming an official Hearth OR in time. (The OR supplies a booklet further detailing how to form and run a Hearth of the Odinic Rite – this is sent out to members by request).

Who runs the Odinic Rite?

The Rite is run entirely by unpaid volunteers who devote their time, energy and effort in the service of the Odinist community and the High Gods.The Odinic Rite is governed by the Court of Gothar who are advised and assisted in the day to day running of the OR by various officers with skills in particular areas. All members are encouraged to assist in helping the OR to run smoothly.

How is the Rite financed?

By far the greatest source of finance comes from the annual donation made by the members. This is not a subscription as such, but the minimum donation we can accept to enable applicants to receive the membership journal ORBriefing and Rimstock (an annual publication of Festival dates and contact details). In addition, some members choose to make extra regular donations or to donate as and when they can.

Some finances also comes from the sale of various books and booklets that the Odinic Rite publishes and from other merchandise such as t-shirts, badges, CDs etc..

The Rite is a completely self-supporting community in that without the financial support of its members it could not exist. Members believe that by supporting the Rite – their community – they also support themselves as individuals within the community.

What is the Rite’s money used for?

All monies raised are used to further our community’s advance by publishing Odinic booklets including ORBriefing and Rimstock, and publishing books such as The Book of Blotar.

Money also goes towards the costs of organising Moots, Camps and other such events.

Does the Odinic Rite take a political viewpoint?

The Odinic Rite is not a political movement – a member’s political outlook, if any, is up to them as free people. This does not mean members cannot comment on matters which affect us all. Indeed individual members would be abrogating their civic duty if they neglected or ignored the ethical matters that are constantly being discussed in the wider community.

But although it is expected of members that they apply Odinist principles in all endeavors, they involve themselves in political activity as private individuals not as representatives of the Odinic Rite.

Under no circumstances are members permitted to use Odinism as a tool for the promotion of their political views.

How are men and women viewed in the OR and Odinism as a whole?

Whilst men and women are each powerful in their own right, balanced cooperation will actually enhance and deepen those inherent forces which create, sustain and evolve life. Thus, by proudly working to restore the true and holy nature of the male/female polarities in proper relationship to each other, so our folk will be restored to their rightful strength.

This is Natural Law and as an expression of such, Odinism- and hence the Odinic Rite- hold this balance of polarity (i.e. both men and women) as equally sacred sustainers of the whole.

For the full response to this question, please go to “Men & Women in Odinism & the OR”

What is the meaning of the OR logo?

The Triskel is a very ancient symbol and there are many differing views about its meaning.

To Odinists the number 3 is a holy number and it can be seen throughout our mythology. It is also the square root of 9, another very important number. It represents completeness and can signify the union of two opposite forces giving rise to a third.

On one level this could be seen as signifying the family – the father and mother whose union gives birth to the child yet, as with so much in Odinism, it can be viewed and understood on many levels.

The specific Triskel symbol used by the OR today, along with the Faith, Folk and Family motto (another 3!) first appeared on the back page of ORBriefing number 112 in October 1991. The design of the black OR triskel on a red background creates 3 blood drops which is wonderfully symbolic of Faith, Folk and Family, things to which we are linked by blood.

OR Membership

What is Apprentice Membership of the Odinic Rite?

Apprentice membership is open to all (subject to approval of application) who feel an interest in and accord with Odinist principles. It is for those who are new to the Rite and gives a chance to learn more, make contacts and decide if they wish to become fully professed OR members.

There is no pressure on anyone to become professed: it is a personal choice. Many of the Rite’s most active members are Apprentices and they are valued as much as any other member.

Apprentices may use the initials AOR after their name if they so choose. This is not a requirement but many choose to show their loyalty to the OR in this way.

How do I join the Odinic Rite?

Please click the “Membership” button on our web site and you will be shown all of the joining options available.

How do I pay for membership?

Membership is payable upon application via an annual Paypal subscription and continued membership is reliant upon a current active subscription.

After the first year of membership this may be changed to a quarterly payment by cancelling your annual subscription and selecting quarterly payments on our Renewals page.

The Paypal subscription method is used as it reduces the admin required of our busy volunteer staff. If the subscription is cancelled or expires without any notification from the member then we will be notified by Paypal and the membership is considered to have been cancelled.

Any member who can not pay their subscription for any reason but does not wish to be considered as having left the OR should contact their regional officer as soon as possible.

What is “Profession”?

The ceremony of profession confirms before the Gods and men a person’s restoration to their true indigenous faith and their dedication to the Rite. They become full members of the Odinic Rite, Odin’s Holy Nation.

It is not a step to be taken frivolously, for it is a very holy ceremony where irrevocable oaths are sworn.

The act of profession is irrevocable by the individual: although we speak of “members” of the Odinic Rite, it is not possible to “resign” as though it were a club. The Odinic Rite is regarded as a folk community, the Nation of Odin. Once professed, the oaths taken always apply.

In order to become professed member, an apprentice must:

1. Have been a member for at least one year (this in an absolute minimum, although it is unlikely that an existing professed member would be willing to sponsor an application after such a short time.)

2. Have shown an active commitment to the advancement of Odinism and the OR

3. Find another already professed member to “sponsor” them.

4. Find an already professed member to conduct the ritual of profession.

5. Complete an application form from the Secretary of the Court of Gothar and have their application approved by the Court of Gothar

6. Make a “torc”* (to be invested during the ritual) which is the symbol of the professed member – their “badge” of honor.

A professed member uses the initials OR after their name. (note: members of the Court of Gothar use the initials CG after their name).

*Over the years the OR “torc” has evolved into a gorget design. It must be made of a natural material with metal being most common but wood and leather have also been used.

What about geographically isolated members?

The OR has many geographically isolated members. We have a network of area contacts who will strive to put isolated members in contact with others or keep in contact themselves.

We encourage isolated members to do their best to meet with members nearest to them and this has brought about the formation of Hearths whose members, whilst fairly dispersed, have a greater sense of belonging and comradeship. They may only meet a few times a year but those meetings are very special times.

The OR members’ forum is an ideal resource for isolated members allowing them to become involved and to make plans to meet others.

Are there any OR Hearths or members in my area?

People often ask, “are there members/hearths in this city” or that city or wherever it is that the person asking may be. Well the simple answer for anyone who joins will be yes, you! And for a while you may be the only one, but you will not be alone.

The OR is about building to advance Odinism. If there are no members or hearths in your area then will you walk away? Or will you be the first and become the beacon that guides others. Odinists should not wait around for others to build something before deciding to get involved, they should be the builders.

Joining the OR gives you access to a community and to many people who started out where you are now; solitary, looking for answers and the comradeship of fellow Odinists.

Time and again we see in areas where previously there were no members, a motivated and active individual joins us and before long there is a hearth in that area. That is the OR way. Then the next time someone asks “are there members in this area” we can say “yes!”

Can I belong to the OR as well as other Odinist/Asatru organisations?

The OR does not encourage multiple memberships of organisations as we believe that this dilutes any potential energy available for a specific task. Whilst we may allow members of other organisations to join the OR we would expect that their first loyalty be to the OR.

Those who are oathed to another group will not be accepted for OR membership as their first loyalty must be to that group.

Does the OR accept prisoners as members?

Yes, we believe that incarcerated Odinists, most of whom discover Odinism whilst in prison, should be supported in their faith.

We recognise that one day these people will be released into our communities and so it is in all of our interests to aid them in thier quest to live a nobler life through Odinism. The vast majority of Odinist inmates accept that they did wrong and must serve their time. They know that Odinists must take responsibility for their own actions and face the consequences.

We do not extend our support to those convicted of sexual offences or of offences against children.

Other Questions

What are Odinic Names?

Some members, particularly Professed members or those holding official positions within the OR, adopt an Odinic name for use within the Rite.

This is common practice among many religious bodies.

For some it marks more clearly their restoration to the Odinic Faith, while others do not wish to be known by names which are not native to the folk.

Still others wish to retain the names given to them by their parents. It is a matter of personal choice.

Why are the Runes so important?

Study of the runes is encouraged in Odinism. It should be remembered that the runes are far more than a divination system as is so often portrayed. Moreover they are a part of the Odinic system and the Odinic system alone. Attempts to merge or fit them to other systems, e.g.the Qabbalah, is pointless and will not lead to any deep understanding of our Runic system – though it may and often does lead to self-delusion.

On the other hand, those who believe that runes and runology are the be-all-and-end-all of Odinism have too narrow a vision of the runes, a shallow knowledge of their mysteries and a lack of understanding of the meaning of religion.

The runes are the essential mystical ingredient of Odinism but not its sum total.

Does the OR have a prisoner outreach program?

Initially the Odinic Rite set up an outreach program but it soon became clear that “Outreach” did not adequately describe the work we were doing. So the “Prison Affairs Bureau” was created and it now oversees all OR prison activities.

Outreach is still a major part of our activities but also the PAB is involved with campaigns for religious rights and also acts in a consultative capacity to prison and federal authorities.

The PAB also operated a book/DVD drives ensuring that our incarcerated members have access to faith related materials in line with other religions.

Our goal is to provide relevant information and 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.

Please see our PAB site for more information.

What calendar does the OR use?

Odinists often use different month names and may even use a different numbering system for the years. Both emphasize a unique identity. The month names relate to the cycles of the year, for example Lenting, Harvest and Fogmoon, and are a reminder of natural rhythms and of the link to our ancestors who also used such names.

The year numbering system is more arbitrary and less widely used but is called the “Runic Era” (R.E.) and adds 250 years onto conventional Western calendar dates. This tallies with earliest runic artifacts found when the system was adopted (earlier examples have since been found) and was instigated to emphasize that Odinism is a natural organic religion, existing long before the arrival of Christianity. Some think that even this is an unnecessary limitation, as we know our culture and religion goes back much further still.