The title of this article is of course a deliberate play on a phrase
from Nazi propaganda, a reminder of a repulsive political system the
remnants of which only exist in the most extreme political margins.
Or does it? When one begins to explore the values of a number of
Heathen groups one can find an unsettling number of overt and covert
racist notions, notions that seem to be something of an open secret
among Heathens, and one which we accommodate at our peril.
That this phenomena is common place knowledge can be seen in the
following quote taken from Arela Ædelwyrd Hunt-Anschűtz’s article
How to Find a Heathen Group You Can Trust
Modern heathen groups are also divided by what has come to be seen
as a "political" rather than a religious issue, usually summed up in
one word: race . Organisations which describe
themselves as folkish believe that people of Northern
European genetic heritage are naturally suited to the
ancient Germanic religion and that people of other "races" should
seek inspiration within the religion of their own ancestors. Most
folkish groups (either explicitly or tacitly) do not accept members
who are clearly "Non-Germanic" -- in practice this can mean turning
away perspective members based on the colour of their skin or the
origin of their surname. Representatives of folkish groups will
state that they are not racist; they believe that people of all
races, cultures, and religions are equally worthy of respect.
However, they also tend to believe that, like Yahweh, Oðin champions
a "chosen people" and that his choice is genetically based. Folkish
heathen groups often defend their stance on the "race issue" by
comparing themselves with other indigenous tribal religions which
Mattias Gardell in his disturbing book Gods of the Blood,
defines these groups slightly differently but the views they
express, are much the same. He splits them into three categories,
which are listed below.
who claim Asatrú/Odinism is an expression of race soul and
exclusively Aryan. This group is usually unapologetic for their
racism, even proud of it. Radical racists tend to be open about
their agenda, although unlike their Nazi predecessors they tend to
be interested in the notion of ‘white’ rather than that of ‘Aryan’.
Usually, it is claimed that these groups are Odinist, although not
all use this nomenclature.
who believe Northern European ethnicity is needed to understand
Heathenism. Both the radical racist heathens and the ethnic Asatrú
see spirituality as biological, with access to, and knowledge of the
gods and goddesses somehow transmitted genetically and existing in
the ‘folk soul’.
those people that argue if you are sincerely interested in
Heathenism you are welcome to join them, and race is no bar to
How did association between some Heathen groups and racism develop?
The genesis of racist Heathenism took place in the dying years of
the eighteenth century, in the Sturm and Drang movement. Sturm and
Drang expressed a shared German identity of folk songs, customs,
literature, and an idealized medieval history. Furthermore, the
notion of a shared past was used to support the belief in a
spiritual union between German speakers and the urge for German
Sturm and Drang in turn influenced the Romantic Movement, which rose
to prevalence in nineteenth century Europe. German Romanticism was
strongly nationalist, emphasising German eminence in music,
philosophy and philology. Like Sturm and Drang, Romanticism also
concerned itself with folk culture, and it was at this time the
Grimm brothers made a name for themselves. Jacob (1785-1863) and
Wilhelm Grimm (1786-1859) collected legends, wrote an influential
dictionary, and studied the development of the German language.
The Grimm's undertook their research in a conscious response to their
homeland, and insisted on the indigenous folk aspects of their
stories (although this was an inaccurate claim).
During the same century the notion of the Aryan developed. The idea
was founded in the work of Fredrich Schlegel. Schlegel was not an
extreme nationalist; he was an academic and diplomat who
hypothesised the existence an unnamed civilisation of gifted
individuals that he believed moved west from India as far as
His brother, August Wilhelm, who named the civilisation ‘Aryan’,
developed Fredrich’s work.
This theory began to take on a more racist aspect in the work of
Christian Lassen, who argued the Aryans represented a young race
that was the most evolved of all racial groups.
Other writers also took this approach, for example, Heinrich von
Treitschke believed whites were the highest form of human evolution
who would eventually rule the planet, and his work was particularly
influential among the student population.
By the 1870’s the use of the word Aryan was widespread in the UK and
France, but less well known in Germany.
Unfortunately, the notion of the Aryan was developed at a time of
anti-Semitism, so that by the first half of the Twentieth Century
the word was divested of its Indian connection.
This attitude was not just found in the work of long forgotten
academic writers, but also in that of minds that still have
influence in this century. For example, C.G. Jung had argued that
there was a deep layer of the unconscious which he called the
‘collective unconscious’ this was the deposit of experience and
knowledge reaching back in time, even to the pre-human state. One
might imagine that this shared experience might be seen as unifying
humankind, but with the arrival of the Nazis Jung studied the Aryan
and Semitic collective unconsciousness as separate phenomena.
The use of the romantic tradition allied with the notion of the
‘Aryan’ in a racist context can be seen in the work of Guido (von)
From 1877 to 1887, he published numerous articles, drenched in
Germanic references, about the Austrian countryside, in periodicals
known for their nationalist sentiment. He believed the countryside
was the home of mythological beings. List produced a novel called
Carnuntum, in which he described the battle between the Romans
and the German tribes at Carnuntum in AD 375. List argues that this
battle eventually led to the sack of the Rome and the collapse of
the Roman Empire, but he also saw it as a demonstration of Teutonic
With sentiments such as these, and the widespread acceptance of some
of his notions, it is no surprise List soon made his mark within the
pan-German movements of the late 1890s.
In 1902, he had a cataract operation, and as a result of this he was
blinded for eleven months. During this period he spent time
contemplating the runes.
By 1908 List had enough support to enable the foundation of The List
Society. In return List wrote a series of six books on the Aryan
Germanic world, although it was not researched in an academic
manner, rather he claimed to be able to remember the distant past
using psychic ability.
List believed that the early Teutons had a gnostic two-tier belief
system. The first level he called Wotanism – this was exoteric using
popular myths to engage the lower social orders. The second level
he called Armanism, this was aimed at those in high office known as
the Armanschaft. The Armanschaft governed religion and law whilst
holding total power. Groups such as the Rosicrucians, Freemasons
and Templars had preserved the knowledge of the Armanschaft to the
List asserted the need to return to this type of society and claimed
he and his followers would lead a Teutonic revival that would take
all the Germans in central Europe to a new ‘glorious’ age. However,
this age would be draconian in its realisation. Whilst Ario-Germans
would be freed from wage labour, non-Aryan’s would be subject to
Aryan masters. Furthermore, qualification for public life and
education would be dependent on ‘race purity’ and strict marital
laws would be observed, with each family keeping records to prove
race purity. The system was not only revoltingly racist, it also
facilitated the subjugation of women, since only the male head of a
family had majority.
He spent World War I working on occult race issues, and well known
to vőlkish circles, but his life was drawing to a close; in 1919 he
died, without ever seeing the rise of the Nazi’s who would honour
him so highly.
List was not alone in his idiosyncratic approach to Teutonic
history; a younger man, Jörg Lanz von Liebenfels, also reinvented
history to suit his own agenda. Like List
he was willing to
adjust his biography to suit his end, and also saw himself as a
mystic, he founded the Order of the New Templars (ONT), which
despite a pro-Nazi stance was banned by the NSDAP in 1942.
He believed all the evil in the world actually had a subhuman
nature. Along with this he added existent German racist ideas. He
believed the stereotypical fair Aryan races as divine, in contrast
to the various darker races of Negroes, Mongols, and what he called
Mediterranialites (Slavs and Italians) as their evil chaotic
opposite. As List had done before him, Lanz implied that he was
rediscovering ancient religion.
In 1905 he formulated a full statement of his theology, in
Theo-Zoology or the Lore of the Sodom-Apelings and the Electron of
the Gods. He claimed that humans are spiritual beings derived
from another higher species. He claimed the existence of a race of
gods, which represented an earlier and superior form of terrestrial
life. He believed these super humans/gods were telepathic and
omniscient. Besides these gods/humans there existed an entirely
distinct race of “beastmen” who represented a ‘lesser’ form of man.
The darker ‘lesser’ beings are created separate from the Aryans who
came from space. Present humanity is the result of the god/men
breeding with other races, their closest decedents being the German
However, it was possible to save the Aryan race, and to achieve
these inferior races should be ‘humanly’ eliminated via castration,
deported, enslaved, sacrificed, or used as beasts of burden.
Templar Knights fascinated Lanz, leading him to found the Ordo Novi
Templi (ONT) to support his ideas, and he described it as an Aryan
mutual aid association that aimed to raise race consciousness.
ONT members had to have ‘pure’ blood and, ideally, blond hair and
blue eyes. In 1912 the ONT was renamed the ‘Germanorden’ and by
December it had 316 members. All men and women of flawless German
descent could join the order, as long as they had no handicaps and
were not unpleasant looking. The later group split in 1916.
The Thule Society was founded in 1819 by Rudolf von Sebottendorf, a
German occultist, as the Munich branch of the ariosophically
inspired Germanenorden also known as "The Order of Teutons" (1912).
A primary focus of Thule-Gesellschaft was a claim concerning the
origins of the Aryan race in the mythic northern land of ‘Thule’.
The Thule Society believed miscegenation had led to the Aryans
loosing mystic knowledge, but once the race was ‘purified’ any lost
knowledge would be retrieved.
Eventually a worker’s version on the Thule society was formed by
Karl Harrer, the Deutscher Arbeiterverein, this group was host to
lectures by Hitler, although after a quarrel with Harrer he turn his
back on the group.
Foolishly, Sebotten claimed he had provided the basis for what
developed into the Nazi movement, but the Nazi’s, feeling slighted,
had him interned. After he was freed he left for Turkey where he
worked as a spy, and there is evidence he threw himself into the
Bosphorus in 1945.
After WWI, one time Thule Society society member Rudolf John
Gorsleben decided to create a movement based on the runes,
occultism, and the Eddas. On 29th November 1925 he
founded the Edda Society, which apart from studying the Eddas was
also interested in the production of a racially pure humanity. This
would be associated with the spiritual advancement of the Aryans
until they reached a state where their natural occult powers were
reactivated, enabling them to rule both the human and natural world.
The evidence to support his theories were eccentric and eclectic,
based as they were on the existence of Atlantis, the study of runes,
hidden information of the Aryan peoples was also encoded in the
shape of house beams, coats of arms, and Dűrer’s Melancholia.
After Gorsleben’s death, the society was run by Werner von Bűlow,
who was also interested in the runes but who seems to have mixed
them with other disciplines such as astrology, colour theories and
numerology, and during his leadership the groups declared adherence
to the National Socialist world view.
1925 Lanz von Lebenfels wrote a document which defined his
neologism, ‘Ariosophy’, a belief system which accepted a
quasi-monist ‘pan-psychic’ energy identical to god. This animated
the universe but found perfect expression in the blond, blue eyed
In 1926 the Ariosophical Society was developed by Herbert Reichstein
from the overtly racist Deutsche Arbeitsgemeinschaft fűr
Menschenkenntins und Menschenschicksal.
1514 Albrecht Dürer (German, 1471–1528)
Later, it underwent another name change to become the Neue
Kalandsgesellschaft (NKG), the aim of which was to realise the will
of the Armanen. The intellectual leadership of the group still
remained with Liebenfels.
Reichstein was involved with another racist group of occultists;
the Ariosophische Kultzentrale (AKZ) this group was also
Ariosophical. In 1931 the Ariosophical School was opened, which ran
various courses including runic occultism, cabbalism and yoga.
Reichstein become interested in Nazism, even going so far as to hail
Hitler as ‘an instrument of God’.
However, the most highranking Nazi occultist was Karl Maria Wiligut,
who influenced Heinrich Himmler. According to Wiligut the bible was
orginally written in German, it concentrated on a Irmanist German
god called Krist who was later bowderlised by Christians.Despite
claiming to have been taught runes by his grandfather, he was no
Wotanist; rather, he argued that Wotanism had caused a schism in
Irmanism, until eventually Wotanism emerged victorious.
He also claimed to be in possession of race memory, and to be part
of German royalty.
so impressed Himmler he allowed him to join the SS under the name
Weisthor in 1933, becoming head of a pre-historical research
As well as his ‘research’, his other services to the SS included
designing the totenkopfring worn by SS members. He was also
instrumental in the conception of the Wewelsburg castle as home for
the order of the SS, while the castle commandant, Manfred von
Knobelsdorff, encouraged Weisthor to revive Irminism.
In return for all his services Weisthor was promoted to SS
Brigadefűhrer, and when he fell seriously ill the SS cared for him.
Despite their attentions, Weisthor barely survived WWII dying of a
stroke in 1946.
Unsurprisingly, after WWII Völkish activity slowed, only to return
later in the US, albeit in a slightly different form. A leading
exponent of this school of thought was George Lincoln Rockwell. A
born showman, he managed to make his presence felt despite little
support by widening the potential audience for racism by moving away
from Nazism and instead towards a ‘White Power’ stance.
However, Rockwell also added a religious aspect to his beliefs by
claiming to have received his calling from Adolf Hitler.
James Mason revived the National Socialist Liberation Front (NSLF)
in the 1980s, and like Rockwell he had some bizarre notions,
including wanting the infamous Charles Manson as a figurehead for
his group. Unsurprisingly he got little support for this idea.
Like Rockwell and Mason, James H. Madole also united racism with
spirituality; he saw the US as the new Atlantis and as the home to a
new godlike race.
He mixed in esoteric circles, and associated with Nazi mystic
Savitri Devi. Matt Koehl further developed the idea of spiritual
racism by claiming that whilst Nazi politics was dead, Nazism could
survive as a religion. To achieve this he formed New Order which he
saw as a faith community and spiritual SS.
Like others before him he developed some outlandish ideas to
legitimise his racist ideology. He claimed Hitler was a gift from
heaven analogous to the Christian notions of Christ. He also
compared Hitler’s death to the crucifixion, although Koehl did not
believe Hitler rose physically from the dead.
The urge to unite Christianity with racism has also produced some
very strange theologies, roughly covered by the term Christian
Identity. Although these groups are Anti-Semitic they take on old
testament names and rituals, the reasoning behind this dichotomy
being that only whites are the descendants of Adam, And that
non-white races reflect a time before Adam. (Hardcore Christian
Identity groups do not believe dark skinned peoples are humans, but,
rather, are two legged animals, whereas the Jewish race appeared
Because only white people are descended from Adam, the gospels are
only for whites, and furthermore, whites are morally superior to all
other groups. A hardcore group known as the Phineas Priesthood are
empowered to punish those who transgress divine law, including the
use of violence, although not all groups accept this.
According to Christian Identity member Gary Yarbrough, God created
white men, therefore they contain a divine spark which sets them
apart form all other humans. As a result of this white blood must
not be ‘contaminated’ by other races, and any children produced by a
mixed race relationship will totally lack the divine spark carried
by their white ancestors.
powerful player in this perverted type of Christianity was
"Reverend" Richard Butler who led Aryan Nations and the Church of
Jesus Christ Christian. During the past few years, however, Butler's
tenure was fraught with upheaval and uncertainty. In the fall of
2000, with membership already on the decline, both he and Aryan
Nations were bankrupted by a lawsuit (stemming from an assault by
the group's guards). Butler was forced to relinquish the Aryan
Nations compound, and the group's future appeared tenuous. Shortly
thereafter, in September 2001, Aryan Nations announced that Butler
had selected Harold Ray Redfeairn as his successor and that it would
open an "office" in the Ulysses, Pennsylvania, home of August Kreis,
its Director of Information. After several months of infighting and
recriminations, though, both Kreis and Redfeairn broke off from
Butler (and each other) and established separate factions.
Although well into his 80s, Butler claimed to be re-organizing, and
in 2003 he even ran for mayor of Hayden, Idaho. At the time of his
death in September 2004, Butler remained a revered figure in the
extremist world, and was a featured speaker at white supremacist
gatherings around the country. Richard Butler was one of the U.S.A’s
most prominent and longstanding proponents of white nationalism and
religious racism. His ideology joined the fundamentals of Christian
Identity with Para militaristic, Nazi-like views and a high regard
for Adolf Hitler. He has reportedly asserted that while Jesus Christ
was the greatest man who ever lived, Hitler was a close second. He
had associates across the spectrum of right-wing extremist groups,
including the Ku Klux Klan, the neo-Nazi National Alliance and
Somewhat ironically in contrast to Christian Identity racists, some
Satanist organisations also follow this political path. Led by
Anton Long and Christos Beest the Order of the Nine Angles (ONA)
first came to prominence in the 1980s although it claims a past
dating back 7,000 years.
ONA has nothing but contempt for groups such as The Church of Satan
and Temple of Set, and is a much more extreme organisation
encouraging terrorism and human sacrifice.
The sacrifice can be either conducted physically or using magick,
those picked out as suitable sacrifices include journalists,
political activists, those who inconvenience the group, Satanists of
opposing groups, and those who weaken the racial stock
ONA’s doctrine is that Satanists must aid the return of Fascism to
facilitate an Aryan Imperium in which Aryans will colonise the
To hasten the demise of Western culture Satanists should engage in
extremist politics, drugs, pornography, and the culling of the
very different approach to the desire to add a spiritual element to
racist ideologies can be found in the work of Ben Klassen, who
founded the Church of The Creator. Klassen was opposed to
Christianity, even the deeply racist Identity variety, but Odinism
also earned his contempt since he saw it as a hangover from the
past. In contrast he posited a tradition devoid of any supernatural
aspect, in which all morality was based on race loyalty and
A wealthy man, Klassen established a World Creativity Centre in
North Carolina where he published a tabloid, books, and ran training
groups for leaders and paramilitaries. In 1993, feeling that his
role was fulfilled, Klassen took his own advice as recommended in
The White Man’s Bible and accordingly killed himself.
Before his death Klassen sold his property to William Pierce, an
unusually well educated racist as well as leader of both the
National Alliance and the Cosmotheist Community Church, and
self-proclaimed American füher.
Cosmotheists believe in the oneness of all material and spiritual
elements of the universe. Pierce argued man is moving towards
godhead, but to reach this state he has to undergo evolution, and
Pierce further claims white humans have ascended higher up the
evolutionary scale than other races.
However, not all white people are equal, so he envisions that the
ideal society should span many continents, be eugenically based, and
led by strong, intelligent white males who fully understand
Although the aforementioned groups mix racism and spirituality, they
are not based in the Heathen tradition. However, there are groups
that mix Heathenism with other theologies. For example the Church
of Satan and Temple of Set both have Odinist aspects, although The
Church of Satan is not a racially motivated belief system. In
contrast, Michael Aquino, who also founded The Order of the
Trapezoid following a solitary working in Wewelsburg, founded the
Temple of Set. Aquino believes that this act enabled him to retrieve
‘positive’ aspect of völkish thought. This attraction to SS
mysticism must lead one to wonder at the political sympathies of the
In 1994 the White Order of Thule (WOT) was founded. Originally this
American branch of the Black Order of Thule was led by Peter
Georgacarakos and Joseph Kerrick, although later
Nathan Pett took over. WOT mixed pan- European paganism,
racist Gnosticism, Ariosphic Satanism and Third Way Politics.
Founding member John Kerrick has suggested that Aryans are the
descendents of an alien civilisation of white gods; therefore they
must once again aspire to reach a god state.
WOT aims to rescue the white racial soul from its present void, the
order claims that the change of name form black to white order
symbolises the Aryan soul’s ability to cross this abyss, and the
need to break free from bi-polar concepts. Thus they argue in a
contradictory fashion, that whilst all previous gods are obsolete
Loki is the shadow self of Odin and catalyst for the cleansing
experience of Ragnanok.
Citing betrayal by a WOT member, the group announced in the Summer
2000 issue of Crossing the Abyss that it was disbanding and would
cease publication of the newsletter.
At the time, WOT members were encouraged to write for another
newsletter, Fenris Wolf, published independently by WOT members in
the Northwest. Fenris Wolf has since ceased publication.
In 2001, Nathan Pett was beaten after an apparent road rage incident
and suffered severe head injuries. It has been reported that he has
left the neo-Nazi movement. To that end, White Order of Thule is
considered to be a defunct organization within the neo-Nazi
community, although former members have been active on the Internet
to some extent. In total, the group is inactive, although there is a
great deal of admiration for the group amongst current neo-Nazis,
leaving the door open for a possible resumption of the group’s
activities in the future.
Unfortunately, as I have already noted, racist Heathen does exist in
both the overt and ethnic forms. One of the earliest Odinist groups
in the U.S.A. was founded by Else Christensen (sometimes called the
volk mother) in 1969 as the Odinist Fellowship. Christensen’s brand
of Odinism was political and race orientated, as socially and
economically she aimed to develop a communal socialist tribal
society with anarchist leanings that would replace the present power
structure, which is subject to imminent collapse.
Such a society would be environmentally friendly and small scale,
devoid of both cities and industry. Despite the image of a peaceable
decentralised völkish community which facilitated self-expression
based on voluntary cooperation, Christensen argued people would only
cooperate with those of their own racial groups.
Furthermore, since the interests of the race came before that of
individuals, interracial marriage would be banned.
Spiritually she argued that Norse paganism was the racial soul of
Aryans, and that the Gods are race specific. In 1971 she published
Odinist newspaper, and as the years passed the paper moved
away from veiled racism to becoming much more overt.
In the early 1980s Christensen started a prison out reach project,
while in 1993 she experienced life from the other side of the bars
when she was sentenced for five years and three months for drug
trafficking offences followed by deportation to Canada.
From the time of her deportation until her death she seems to have
become more cautious in her political comments whilst retaining the
role of figure head.
Shockingly, the Odinist Fellowship advertises in Pagan Dawn,
the journal of The Pagan Federation.
. The advertisement itself is unremarkable, an image of Thor’s
hammer and a headline asking if the reader is interested in
Anglo-Saxon-Norse paganism. However, if one visits the site
www.odinistfellowship.co.uk, one finds this group seems rather
exclusive. Indeed, we learn if someone who is not European requests
to take the Odinist pledge of faith they will not be made overly
welcome; rather they should ‘…embrace his (sic) indigenous form of
The Odinist Fellowship is not alone in this stance, Odinist Rite,
that also advertises in Pagan Dawn, claims ‘The Natural
Religion of Northern Europeans is Odinist’.
The much more overtly racist Odinist Robert J Mathews founded the
Brüders Schweigen (Silent Brotherhood) also known as ‘The Order’ in
the 1980s. Members of this guerrilla group took oaths to ‘deliver’
their people from the Jews and protect the Aryan race.
Aside from being vehement racists they were also a criminal gang
engaging in armoured car robberies, counterfeiting, bombing a
synagogue and killing Walter West and Alan Berg. This resulted in
the group being targeted by the FBI and the death of Matthews
Whilst this made Matthews into a martyr for some, it also focused
the attention of the FBI in Project Megiddo.
Odinists (sic) dangerous is the fact that many believe in the
necessity of becoming martyrs for their cause. For example, Bob
Mathews, the leader of The Order, died in a fiery confrontation with
law enforcement. Also, William King relished the fact that he would
receive the death penalty for his act of dragging James Byrd, Jr. to
his death. Odinism has little to do with Christian Identity but
there is one key similarity: Odinism provides dualism -- as does
Christian Identity -- with regard to the universe being made up of
worlds of light (white people) and worlds of dark (non-white
people). The most fundamental difference between the two ideologies
is that Odinists do not believe in Jesus Christ. However, there are
enough similarities between the myths and legends of Odinism and the
beliefs of Christian Identity to make a smooth transition from
Christian Identity to Odinism for those racist individuals whose
penchant for violence is not being satisfied.
decade after The Order was founded, David and Katja Lane and Ron
McVan founded Wotansvolk. David Lane is not a ‘pure’ Odinist for he
incorporates other traditions in his belief system, including
Ariosophy, Theosophy, Gnosticism, and numerical analysis of The
Bible. David Lane believes a hero will emerge who will combine
aspects of Thor, Mars and King David, this hero was born on 2nd
November 1938, which happened to coincide very nicely with Lane’s
date of birth.
Katja Lane converted to Odinism in the late 1980s, marrying Lane in
1994. Although she has hyped her role as that of a mother, she was
instrumental in setting up Wotansvolk Web page.
In 1997 McVan published Creed of Iron: Wotanvolk Wisdom,
followed in 2000 by Temple of Wotan: Holy Book of the Aryan
Tribes. It is worth noting that Lane’s main interest was the
warrior aspect of Odinism, with McVan taking on the ceremonial and
Wotansvolk aim to connect Aryans to their past, arguing that
Wotanism is the natural religion for Aryans. Furthermore, they
believe Wotanism will make Aryans aware of their ‘true’ nature
comprised of determination and heroic qualities. Equally, Aryan
humans and their gods are not radically different; it is only the
difference in power that separates them. Wotansvolk hold blots, as
do many Heathens, but theirs are remarkably in that they are
distinctly racist in tone, focusing on the supposed connection
between the gods and Aryans, and asking for intervention against
their non-Aryan enemies.
All of this would be revolting enough, but certain groups have
developed these ideas still further, leading to the ideoilogisation
of dangerous criminals such as Richard Scutari. Scutari was
originally a member of The Order but converted to Wotansvolk after
reading Voices of Our Ancestors, a booklet written by
Heinrich Himmler under the pen name Wulf Sörensen. As a member of
the order he engaged in a number of their criminal activities. In
April 1985 Scutari was named in a federal racketeering indictment
stemming from the Brink's heist. He appeared for several months on
the F.B.I.'s Ten Most Wanted list, eluding authorities until March
Scutari pleaded guilty to charges of racketeering and conspiracy
relating to the armoured truck robbery. He received a 60-year
sentence. In April 1987, he was indicted along with 13 others on
charges of seditious conspiracy. Scutari and other members of The
Order were accused of robbing the Brink's truck to fund a planned
overthrow of the government. Other counts included assassination of
ethnic groups, destruction of utilities, establishment of guerrilla
training camps and assassination of federal officials.
Despite his criminal activities, white supremacist leaders have
In his Aryan Update, published August 13, 2000, Tom Metzger
of White Aryan Resistance referred to Scutari and Lane as "heroes in
the racist struggle" who "invok[e] the gods of Odinism to rouse
revolutionary action and vengeance around the world." Metzger
claimed the two men were "more influential than ever because of
their embrace of and energetic dissemination of a racist
Max Hyatt describes himself as a godar and is a member of Wodan’s
Kindred, but his racism is more insidious in that he claims only
white’s can be Asatrú, but for the movement to reach its optimum
potential he believes this needs to be played down. This need to
disguise his view is hardly surprising for he asserts that he has
‘no problem with Nazism’.
Furthermore he has claimed his prison outreach projects supplies
Odin’s army, should the need arise he believes this army would be
willing and able to kill its adversaries
more subtle, but still exclusionist approach can be seen in Ethnic
Asatrú. Stephen McNallen founded the Viking Brother, later the
Asatrú Free Assembly (AFA) in1969-70. During the 1980s McNallen
coined the neologism ‘metagenetics’ metagenetics argued that ones
spirituality was hereditary, carried in the DNA itself. As a result
of this connection between race and religion if the Northern
Europeans died out so would Asatrú.
Although the AFA folded in 1987 it was re-established in the mid
1990s as the Asatrú Folk Assembly, emphasising its separateness from
universal or non-racist Asatrú. In 1997 McNallen was one of the
signatories to the document that founded the International Asatrú/Odinist
Alliance (IAOA) a ‘free association of sovereign tribes of Odin’s
Despite his exclusionist notions McNallen claims he is not
racist, he argues that it is only from the basis of understand ones
racial background you can respect that of others
Valgard Murray shares McNallen’s connection with the defunct Asatrú
Free Assembly. Murray was one of the founders of the Arizona
Kindred in 1970s; in 1976 it was the first to be certificated by the
Odinist Fellowship (eventually Murray was accepted as vice president
of the OF).
However Murray left the Fellowship due to theological disputes and
joined with the Asatrú Free Assembly, and when this dissolved Murray
help found the Asatrú Alliance, an association of kindreds which
helped promote völkish Asatrú. Murray tried to encourage overseas
membership of the AA with the aid of Karen and Robert Taylor who
encouraged the Odinic Rite (UK) to sign a document leading to the
formation of the International Asatrú/Odinist Alliance (IAOA).
Another Heathen who had had association with the AA is Robert N.
Taylor. He is a poet, artist, musician and writer, as well as
claming to be a godi.
He has also been quite content in the past to use violence to
achieve his aims, having been a member of street gangs and the
Minutemen. In 1976 Robert and Karen Taylor established the Northway,
this spilt into Wiccan and Asatrú factions. With the Asatrú group
developing into the Wulfing Kindred, this group eventually joined
the Asatrú Alliance only to leave in 1999 (although no longer a
member of the AA the Wulfing Kindred do cooperate with its
projects). Unlike other groups the Wulfing only take ‘talented’
persons such as Michael Moynihan of the group Blood Axis and other
writers, artists and musicians.
Whereas Taylor favours artists in his clique, Edred Thorsson
(Stephen Flowers, one of the founders of the Ring of Troth in 1987)
can be seen as one of the most scholarly Heathens. He is a highly
educated man and gifted linguist, and one might see him as
potentially the ideal ambassador for Heathenism. But Thorsson is
also a controversial figure due in part to his membership of the
Satanic Temple of Set, and his use of sadomasochistic sex magic.
Furthermore, he has accepted the notion of metagenetics and
developed it into a more complex form which also takes into account
language and culture, thus he argues that it is possible for someone
who does not have a European background to be an Asatrúer.
Nevertheless, he still maintains the argument that race is such a
vital factor in Asatrú he would look into a case very deeply before
accepting a person of a non-Germanic background into his group.
Less educated than Thorson, but still very vocal, is the author,
musician and artist Freya Aswynn. She is also ethnic Asatrú as can
be seen in this posting to the internet group
, published on 10th March
2004. In which she discussed the ability of different races to
For example someone who is half Nordic half African could be taught
Seith or any Norse trance technique, however for example, someone
half Chinese and half Slavic or Iberian Celt would have more
difficulty. They may very well be an excellent trance medium,
however what would come through wouldn't necessarily be Norse! For
people to be able to 'connect' so to speak, there has to be
'signature'. Now, I have had both Black and White woman in the High
Seat in New York, and it's very very likely that the black female
had some white ancestry, so it's NOT a matter of racial purity per
Moreoever (sic) blacks have their own excellent system of trance and
they have in fact be very helpful in sharing their know how about
possession, another hot potato open to the same abuse as Seith.
Even more telling is the following statement when describing who can
work with the runes.
“Anyone with a genuine psychic gift can learn to divine up to a
certain point, but to penetrate the deeper levels of rune knowledge,
one has to be born into the Northern 'group-soul.' The ability to
work with the runes is passed on through the psychic equivalent of
genetic memory, the group-soul called in our tradition, hamingja.”
Aswynn’s arguments are even more bizarre in that she admits to
adding astrology and Hermetic lore to the Nordic tradition, which
makes one question why she lays such importance on descent from
Fortunately, and as one might hope, not all heathen groups share
this philosophy. The Kith of Yggdrasil have a policy which clearly
states that discrimination in respect of race is ‘..entirely alien
to the moral and theological precepts of the Kith of Yggdrasil’.Other non-racist groups include Raven Kindred, founded in
1991 by Janna Pereira, Lewis Stead and Bill Dwinells, which
claims..…the Gods call those who they will to join our Folk
[irrespective of] race, ethnicity, national origin, sex or sexual
Other individuals have also stood valiantly against racism; Prudence
Priest claimed she was told to leave the Asatrú Folk Assembly by
McNallen when she questioned its racial policies.
She was also forced out of office of steerswoman from the Ring of
Troth in 1992, due to disagreements with Thorsson and Gundarsson,
but went on to found the American Vinland Association, which is
Åsatrufellesskapet Bifrost, (The Asatrú Fellowship Bifrost), is a
religious fellowship for modern Asatrú founded on Norse custom, the
pre-Christian religious traditions. Since 1996 we have been an
officially recognised religion by Norwegian authorities. Bifrost is
an umbrella-organisation to blotslag (blotgroups, congregations) and
single members. Bifrost keeps aloof from all kinds of discrimination
based on gender, origin and sexual orientation, and the group
We want to take back and use the Old Norse symbols and other
expressions of Norse custom, so that these shall no longer be
associated to the abuse by Nazis and neo-nazis. Our goal is to
gather those who want to worship the Old Norse gods and keep the old
traditions alive. We want to create a living forum for everybody
interested in Asatrú and to increase the understanding of art,
culture and traditions with roots in the pre-Christian time. We want
to take care of the heathen cultural heritage and keep it alive and
updated through practice based in the study of sources and
innovation in the heathen understanding of history, myths and the
How then does one refute the notion of race as being a bar to the
practise of heathenism? Firstly, one must look to the behaviour of
the gods themselves as recorded in Sturleson’s Younger Eddas.
Early on in their history it is clear the gods were not a homogenous
group, rather they are split into the Aesir and Vanir, later
exchanging hostages. Thus we see the Vanir god, Njord, becoming a
valued member of a different race of gods, the Aesir, but the Vanir
gave him [Njord] as hostage to the Æsir, receiving from them in his
stead Hoenir. By this means was peace re-established between the
Æsir and Vanir.
Furthermore, the gods engage in marriage and relationships with
other races. For example, Njord married the giantess Skadi, and Frey
married the giantess Gerda.
It can therefore be strongly argued that the gods themselves do not
engage in racism, which must lead one to question how it gained a
foothold in our faith.
Equally, it seems unlikely racism was a major part in the culture
from which our belief system has developed. Archaeology supports
this suggestion of exogamic practices:
The Ridinas Viking settlement area was fringed by at least three
cemeteries. It cannot be excluded that there are more cemeteries
awaiting discovery, since the graves, which have been discovered,
are well below the surface and not visible on the surface. Many
graves remained untouched by ploughing, since they were up to a
meter below the surface. The oldest cemetery is situated at the
northern end of the area and was almost entirely covered by later
layers of settlement at the harbour.We have both inhumations and
cremations here, and the cemetery covers the period from the 7th
century onwards, remaining in use into the 10th century.
In all, some 30 graves have been excavated. Most of the persons
buried are women. Most of the graves were well furnished, especially
those of the women. They have the typically Gotlandic type of
jewellery. The grave goods suggest that most of the persons buried
here were natives of Gotland, but new investigation of the DNA of
the male population gives a clear indication of the extensive
contacts eastwards. About 40 % of the male population seems to have
an origin in Eastern Europe, meaning the Baltic States and nowadays
One man is in this connection of special interest. He was buried
with a broken picture stone. The stone was arranged in the grave in
such a way that its upper part was placed behind the dead man’s head
and the lower part at his feet. The stone is a typical 9th century
product with a ship under sail in its lower part and a man on a
horse greeted in Valhalla by a woman carrying a drinking horn in its
top part. It is unclear why a person who was obviously a foreigner
was buried with such a typically Gotlandic picture stone.
The scholar Kveldúlrf Gundarsson has also pointed out that whilst
the Norse valued blood ties they also accepted the practises of
adoption and blood brotherhood.
Therefore, in light of the theological and historical evidence, this
deliberate exclusion of people from our community is unfounded and
unwholesome. It not only rejects people on spurious race grounds,
but it must surely deter others from wishing to be associated with
heathenism. Whilst these attitudes are allowed to go unchecked,
Heathens do not need to worry about some fictional non-European
fifth column sabotaging our faith. We are doing so for ourselves.
Aswynn, Freya. Northern Mysteries and Magick. Runes, Gods and
Feminine Powers. Minnesota: Llewllyn, 2002.
Ellis, John M. One Fairy Story Too Many. The Brothers Grimm and
Their Tales. London: University of Chicago Press, 1983.
Gardell, Mattias. Gods of the Blood. London: Duke University
Goodrick-Clarke. Nicholas. The Occult Roots of Nazism – Secret
Aryan Cults and Their Influence of Nazi Ideology. London: I. B.
Poliakov, Leon. The Aryan Myth – A History and Nationalist
Ideas in Europe. London: Chatto. Heinemann, 1974.
The Elder Eddas of Saemund Sigfusson. Translated from the Original
Old Norse Text into English by I.A. Blackwell. The Project Gutenberg
EBook of The Elder Eddas of Saemund Sigfusson; and the Younger Eddas
of Snorre Sturleson, by Saemund Sigfusson and Snorre Sturleson.
For the purpose of this article racism is defined as
asserting that members of a race share distinct physical and
mental features which make them superior in someway to other
racial groups. Thus a European it would be argued is
‘better’ at forming an understanding of heathenism than a
non-European all other factors being equal. Of course
racism is not solely a Heathen issue it can be found in the
Celtic tradition, and in Christian groups such as Christian