In Australian (and British and US) law Odinism is described as “the continuation of … the organic spiritual beliefs and religion of the indigenous peoples of northern Europe as embodied in the Edda and as they have found expression in the wisdom and in the historical experience of these peoples”.
The word Odinism was first* used in 1848 by the writer O. Brownson, who wrote of “A revival of Odinism, or the old Scandinavian heathenism”.
Brownson was probably wrong to limit the geographical origin of Odinism to Scandinavia. Odinism is the ancestral religion of all the Germanic peoples prior to their forced, and only partially successful, conversion to Christianity. Odinism is the indigenous spirituality of many or most of the people living in what are now Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Russia, Austria, northern Italy and Spain. All of these regions (and others) were inhabited by Germanic tribes and groups, such as the Goths, Anglo-Saxons, Lombards, Franks, Visigoths, Rus, Vikings, and so on. In more recent times emigrants from these countries have also provided a large part of the population of many “New World” countries. Odinism is therefore also the spiritual heritage of most people in Canada, the United States, Australia and New Zealand. In many other countries the ancestors of a sizeable segment of the population were also Odinists. This applies to many South American states, to South Africa and Zimbabwe, and to much of Eastern Europe.
All people around the world whose ancestors were Odinists are known collectively as “the Nation of Odin”.
The focus of this site is Odinism in Australia. But it would be misleading to limit our Australian Odinist perspective to the period after 1788, when people from the Nation of Odin first settled here, since our full heritage is far, far longer than that.
Else Christensen, known to Odinists as “The Folkmother”, defined Odinism as “the many expressions of Aryan religious philosophy”. (This was in her 1980 pamphlet, An Introduction to Odinism). The modern world’s first prominent Odinist, Alexander Rud Mills, declared that “The Odinist religion is rooted in the simple outlook of the ancient Nordic peoples”, among whom he included the ancient Greeks, Romans, Persians and Vedic Indians, alongside the peoples of northern Europe and the British Isles. (This was in his 1957 booklet, The Call of our Ancient Nordic Religion).
In short, Odinism is the ancestral spiritual tradition of our people, however they might be defined and wherever they may currently live.
* “First used” in anything like the modern sense. Thomas Carlyle had used the same word in 1840 in reference to the followers of what he took to be an early Scandinavian leader named Odin.
This WWI memorial in Melbourne remembers our ancestral ANZAC heroes.