One of the dangers of being my friend is that not only am I prone to playing cell phone lottery, but when I have questions I’m likely to call you just as randomly … and I take notes. In this case, my friends have no one to blame but themselves: Louise Bohmer and Bob Freeman were talking about their spiritual beliefs on a message board, so I had to stick my nose in it and ask Bob some follow up questions. One of the great things about having conversations with people is that you can find a lot of common ground with them. First, go read Bob defining his beliefs and then you’ll be caught up (then suppress your urge to go see Beowulf and 300 again and read my interview):

Would it be right to say that you embrace the principles represented by the pantheon rather than worship the pantheon itself?

One of the more appealing aspects of Odinism is that it is not enabling… Odinists are free to shape their lives to the extent allowed by their skill, courage, and might. There is no predestination, no fatalism, and certainly no limitations imposed by the will of any external deity. An Odinist does not need salvation. All they need is the freedom to face their destiny with courage and honor. An Odinist does not fear the Gods, or consider themselves their slaves. We do not bow or cower before them. On the contrary, we share community and fellowship with the Divine. We break bread with them and join them in drink because we are family… of shared blood. The Gods encourage us to grow and advance to higher levels because we are their offpring… We are the Children of Odin. Odinism/Asatru is often referred to as “the Folkway”. We see ourselves as being connected to all our ancestors. They are a part of us as we in turn will be a part of our descendants, but we are also linked to all our living kin – to our families and to every man and woman rooted in the tribes of Europe. They are, in a very real sense, our “greater family.” The Gods are an intregal part of that family. It is Odin who sits at the head of our table He is our All-Father, and we are his children.

Could you go over the relationship of the Asatru to your beliefs?

Asatru is reconstructionist Norse polytheism. The word itself is Old Norse meaning “Belief in the Gods”. My problem with modern Asatru stems from the fact that our numbers are small. Add to that an even smaller element of the White Power crowd who have filtered into our ranks. This vocal minority sounds even louder when you consider we are a fledgling movement.

I am constantly at odds with this, one part of me wanting to remain more or less solitary, exploring my spirituality outside the politics of the movement… While there’s another part of me that thinks I should be screaming from the rooftops, shouting down those who dishonor the names of our Gods. It’s the one thing that weighs most heavily on my soul.

Part of your religion being defined by a loud minority that embarrasses most of you? Can’t relate to that at all. I understand where you’re coming from: part of my spirituality is quite personal (the spiritual disciplines like prayer and fasting for example), which appeals to my introverted nature. YetIi have to balance that against the calls for community, for learning, worship, and fellowship (which appeals to my extroverted self). Is there a “scripture” that informs your faith or do you hold to the ancient Norse stories? How do your ancestors inform you today?

Probably the most important source would be the Havamal which is an epic poem that comes to us in four parts.

1. The Gestapatrr’s main focus is that of hospitality, offering up maxims on good manners and how to treat guests.

2. The Loddfafnismal deals with morality and the code of ethics one is expected to adhere to.

3. The Runatal instructs us in the history of and use of the Runes, the sacred alphabet brought to us by Odin’s self-sacrifice.

4. The Ljodatal deals with the deeper mysteries and of magick.

The Havamal is but one part of the Eddas which is the collection of stories and myths of our gods and heroes. These include The Ring Cycle, popularized I guess by Wagner…And we mustn’t forget Beowulf. I learn from these works, but more importantly I trust in the guidance of that inner voice, which is the voice of my line of ancestors that stretches back through time, back to the beginning.

Again, the focus of one of Odin’s Children is being true to one’s orlog, which is one’s True Will (hence my Thelemic leanings). We all have a “special purpose” (cue The Jerk) … Our journey is divining that purpose and being true to our wyrd (think non-predestination fate), which we cultivate and examine as a unfathomable mystery, as it ebbs and flows like the tides, forward and back through time.

Confused yet? The concepts make more sense in one’s heart than they do when writ out… lol… It’s the great Northern Mystery Tradition

[to be continued]

If you want to make sure that I see your comment or just want to stop by and say “hi”, feel free to stop by my message board. We always welcome new voices to the conversation.