Else Christensen

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Else Christensen (1913–2005), also known as the “Folk Mother”, was a pioneering Danish figure in the emergence of Odinism in the post-World War II era.

Else Ochsner was born in Esbjerg, Denmark, in 1913, and met her husband, Alex, in 1937. She and her husband became syndicalist activists before the war and thus were under heavy scrutiny by Nazi occupation troops. An informant tipped off the German police that Else and her husband possessed numerous firearms and they were arrested and detained under suspicion of being involved in the partisan underground. They were released, but toward the end of the war Alex spent six months in a camp outside of Elsinore for his alleged syndicalist involvement.

After the war, the Christensens emigrated to Canada. In the early 1960s, they heard of a Proto-Odinist named Alexander Rud Mills who had an Odinist group in Australia and had written a small book called The Call of Our Ancient Nordic Religion.[1]

In 1969, Else and her husband founded a group called The Odinist Study Group which later evolved into The Odinist Fellowship.[2] Alex died in 1971, and Else continued her work, relocating to the United States. Else published a newsletter called The Odinist for many years.

Work[edit]

Detail of Else Christensen's grave stone

Christensen was one of the earliest advocates of revitalizing Germanic paganism in the modern age. She was preceded in the 1930s by the Australian Odinist pioneer, Alexander Rud Mills, whose writings she frequently quoted in her journal The Odinist.

Her writings greatly influenced many of her contemporaries in groups like the Asatru Folk Assembly, the Asatru Alliance, the Odinic Rite, Comunità Odinista. Christensen is probably best known for her successful lobbying to get Odinism recognized by the prison system in the United States, as well as her networking and letter writing campaigns. For several years, Else's photocopied and stapled Odinist newsletter was the only thing linking the scattered Odinist community across North America.

Else Christensen had a great importance on the formation of neo-paganism in Spain, in recognition within the Odinist orthodoxy the Spanish Odinist Circle, which became the Comunidad Odinista de España-Asatru, that got official acceptance in 2010, i.e., full recognition and equality with other faiths recognized by the Spanish state, was considered by her followers in Spain as "Mother Folk. " The day of her death is an official day of worship in the Odinist faith in Spain letter by Else Chistensen to Odinist Spanish Circle in 1981

Else was very well regarded for helping many ex-convict Odinists reintegrate as functional members of society, as well as corresponding with hundreds of inmates who adhered to Odinism. Christensen herself, later spent 36 months in a Federal Prison over a narcotics related conviction, allegedly because she had been manipulated into being a drug mule without her knowledge. Christensen was a Canadian citizen, and after serving her prison sentence, she was without transportation, homeless and totally destitute.

The Odinic community held a fund raiser to help her get re-established in British Columbia. She resumed her involvement with The Odinist Fellowship and continued publishing The Odinist as the Midgard Page newsletter. In 2005, at the age of 91, she retired from running her organization. Else died a few days later, on May 5.

Criticisms[edit]

Else Christensen's memorial stone placed at the Odinist Community of Spain — Ásatrú temple in Albacete, Spain.

Critics have claimed that Christensen advocated National Socialism, however, it can be clearly seen from her own writings that she actually advocated the Anarcho-syndicalism of her youth. She idealized a decentralized folkish communalism with a heavy emphasis on race, ecological awareness and advocated a pagan back to the land movement.[1]

Christensen's Odinist Fellowship along with other racially-oriented groups which were active in the early days of Germanic Neopaganism contributed to the rise of what has been called "Aryan revolutionary paganism" in the United States and the subsequent infusion of the racist right with pagan religion.[2]

This is distinctly different from the Folkish beliefs of most Germanic Neo-Pagans who distinctly eschew affiliations with Neo-Nazis and White Supremacists, although sometimes the lines are blurred by terminology and semantics.[3]

In a 1986 exchange with Ben Klassen, who was researching materials for his book A Revolution of Values Through Religion, Christensen wrote:

It is our destiny to be born in a historic period where the present cultural period is dying; it will still take maybe a couple of more centuries before the final collapse. The new has not been born yet, but I hope and believe that we are today doing the groundwork for the foundation upon which the new basis for the religious/philosophical moral concepts will be built. They will have to be racial, discriminatory, self-assertive, proud.

Klassen, then dismissed Christensen and Odinism as incompatible and counter-productive to the white supremacist cause and his anti-Christian agenda, and stated:

A religion that failed to withstand the Jewish-Christian onslaught a thousand years ago cannot reasonably be expected to roll it back now, under conditions a thousand times more adverse.[4]

After her time in prison, Christensen was adamant about not infusing politics or race with Odinism. The policies of the newly revived Odinist Fellowship and the tone of her writings were distinctly apolitical and non-racially oriented.[5]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Gardell, p. 173
  2. ^ Gardell, ch.4
  3. ^ Gardell, p. 273
  4. ^ Klassen, Book 1, Part XII
  5. ^ Gardell, p. 177
  1. ^ "The Odinic Rite - THE CALL OF OUR ANCIENT NORDIC RELIGION". Retrieved 2008-02-20. 
  2. ^ Kaplan, Jeffrey (2000). Encyclopedia of white power: a sourcebook on the radical racist right. Walnut Creek, Calif: AltaMira Press. ISBN 0-7425-0340-2. 

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • Gardell, Matthias, Gods of the Blood: The Pagan Revival and White Separatism, Duke University Press (2003), ISBN 0-8223-3071-7
  • Klassen, Ben, A Revolution of Values Through Religion (1991) ISBN 0-9636094-8-3 Book 1, Chap Part XII
  • An Interview With Else Christensen by Thor Sannhet [William B. Fox]. Please refer to tinyurl.com/ckqoa8 at the AmericaFirstBooks.com Religious Crisis Web Page]. (The former Wikipedia link to this article from Vor Tru issue #49, 1993, reprinted in issue #71, 2005 no longer works).

External links[edit]