Odin Brotherhood

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Odin the Wanderer (1896) by Georg von Rosen An icon presently used by the Odin Brotherhood

The Odin Brotherhood, which practices Odinism or Ásatrú,[1] is a Germanic Neopagan secret society which allegedly "preserves genuine traditions of pre-Christian paganism".[1] The Odin Brotherhood have been referred to in a number of publications on religions or secret societies,[2] and the Odin Brotherhood is listed in the eighth edition of the Encyclopedia of American Religions of Dr. J. Gordon Melton, with members in many nations.[3]

In the words of Dr. Melton, "The brotherhood has distanced itself from the racism that has infected Norse beliefs in the twentieth century and eschews the idea that there are either chosen peoples or master races." [4][5][6]

From the beginning, the Odin Brotherhood has included women in its membership.[3]


The Odin Brotherhood was first described in print in a 1992 book by Mark Mirabello, who claims he encountered it while conducting earning a PhD in History from Glasgow University.[7] Mirabello is now a professor of History at Shawnee State University[8] and the author of several books.[9] He has appeared in on the History (TV channel) (formerly known as the History Channel) and in documentary film.[10][11]

The Odin Brotherhood by Mirabello was first published in 1992[12] and republished in 1994, 1995, 2002 and 2003;[13] it has never gone out of print,[14] and a 6th edition, with supplementary material, was released in 2014.[15] It takes the form of a dialog between the author and members of the group. Mirabello says that members of the group chose him as "a recruiting tool".[1]

Researcher Graham Harvey expressed doubts about the group:

"A book called The Odin Brotherhood has been circulating which claims to be a record of contacts (in Britain and elsewhere) between Dr. Mark Mirabello and a secret society called the Odin Brotherhood. Whilst I have received enigmatic letters claiming to be from members of the group I have been unable to check the veracity of Mirabello's claims. No other group that I have talked to (including one that was named in a "Brotherhood" letter as a contact) has any more knowledge of the group beyond reading the book. Most doubt its existence."[16]

And Thomas Coghlan, a forensic psychologist of the New York Police, writing in Cultic Studies Review, said from Mirabello's account that "at first read it appears specious." [17]

In contrast, researcher Stephen E. Adkins writes that "British Odinists claim that there has been a secret Odinist movement , the Odin Brotherhood, since 1421....Membership of the Odin Brotherhood has always remained small, but undoubtedly, some adherents made it to the American colonies and the United States."[18]

The rites of the group are also described in a short book called Teachings of the Odin Brotherhood of unknown author, the information was allegedly given by a Highland member of the group.[19]

The Way of the Odin Brotherhood by Jack Wolf[edit]

In 2013 The Way of the Odin Brotherhood by Jack Wolf[20] was published. The book details Mr. Wolf's own contact with the Brotherhood and provides additional details on the group's beliefs, legends, and practices.[21] The book is published by Mandrake of Oxford.[22]

Beliefs and Practices[edit]

Unlike most Odiniist/Asatru groups, which claim to be reconstructionist, the Odin Brotherhood claims that it preserves genuine traditions of pre-Christian paganism.[1][18][23] The group claims that it was founded in 1421:[24] a widow was accused of practicing Odinism and burned, and a Catholic priest forced her two sons and daughter to witness the burning, those children were Christians in public, but secretly formed the group to preserve Odinism.[18] Many groups have made claims of being many years old, and it would be really extraordinary if the group had been really founded in 1421.[1]

The Odin Brotherhood embraces Odinism, which is defined as ancient religion that "acknowledges the gods by fostering thought, courage, honor, light, and beauty."[13]

The initiation rite of the Odin Brotherhood involves solitude, a diet of bread and ice, a white shroud, a dagger, and a fire.[25] According to Mirabello, the ritual is based on the "marking with the spear" ceremony described in the Ynglinga Saga by Snorri Sturluson.[26] The marking involves making three small cuts in the flesh, in the name of "holy, necessary violence." [1]

The Odin Brotherhood embraces polytheism. "Hard Polytheists," members believe that the gods are distinct, separate real divine beings not psychological archetypes or personifications of natural forces. Hard polytheists reject the idea that "all gods are one God" The Odin Brotherhood believes that monotheism, "the belief in one totalitarian god, is preposterous and absurd." The Brotherhood insists that "no single, superordinary, ineffable entity controls all realities."[13]

According to Jack Wolf's new book, the Brotherhood believe that the gods, who visit here often, are actually living in the past. According to the Brotherhood, the entire time line of past, present, and future is accessible to the gods. [27]

The brotherhood has no buildings (temples or churches) but attempts to honor the gods everywhere, as long as outsiders are excluded; all words are "whispered," and all "abominations" are avoided. The central rite of the brotherhood is called the "Glimpse-Of-Extraordinary-Beauty," during which the celebrants believe they are "enveloped and penetrated by the thoughts of a god." [3]

The brotherhood believes in life after death and that there are three "Other-Worlds," one of which is called Valhalla or the White-Kingdom. Not a paradise, Valhalla is a place of honor for heroes.[13] The existence of the Christian hell is denied.[3]

Further reading[edit]

Reviews of Mirabello's The Odin Brotherhood:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Michael Streeter. Behind Closed Doors: The Power and Influence of Secret Societies. New Holland Publishers Uk Ltd. 2008. pgs 143-5, 258. ISBN 1-84537-937-3
  2. ^ See, for example, Michael Streeter. Behind Closed Doors: The Power and Influence of Secret Societies. New Holland Publishers Uk Ltd. 2008. pgs 143-5, 258. ISBN 1-84537-937-3
  3. ^ a b c d See J. Gordon Melton.Encyclopedia of American Religions, 8th edition, Gale Cengage (2009), ISBN 0-7876-9696-X, pp. 861f
  4. ^ See J. Gordon Melton. Encyclopedia of American Religions, 8th edition, Gale Cengage (2009), ISBN 0-7876-9696-X, pp. 861f
  5. ^ Professor Michael discusses the Odin Brotherhood in the context of "hate" groups, but this is an error.George Michael. Theology of Hate: A History of the World Church of the Creator. University Press of Florida. 2009. Pg51 ff. ISBN 0-8130-3350-0 P
  6. ^ On the Brotherhood's position on race, see Mark Mirabello. The Odin Brotherhood. 5th edition, Oxford: Mandrake of Oxford, 2003, p.38 ISBN 1-869928-71-7
  7. ^ Mirabello's Ph.D. Dissertation
  8. ^ Faculty at Shawnee State University.
  9. ^ WorldCat Identities
  10. ^ Mirabello at IMDB
  11. ^ See Also Author Web Site
  12. ^ The Odin Brotherhood: A Non-fiction Account of Contact with an Ancient Brotherhood : with a New Epilogue a Statement on the Odin Brotherhood. Holmes Publishing Group. 1992
  13. ^ a b c d Mark Mirabello. The Odin Brotherhood. 5th edition, Oxford: Mandrake of Oxford, 2003, p.27 ISBN 1-869928-71-7
  14. ^ Bowker Books in Print
  15. ^ http://mandrake.uk.net/the-odin-brotherhood/
  16. ^ Charlotte Hardman and Graham Harvey. Paganism Today: Wiccans, Druids, the Goddess and Ancient Earth Traditions for the Twenty-First Century. Thorsons. 1995. p. 43. ISBN 0-7225-3233-4
  17. ^ Thomas Coghlan, New York City Police Department (2007), "The Spread of Ásatrú in Vinland", Cultic Studies Review (International Cultic Studies Association) 6 (3)
  18. ^ a b c Stephen E. Adkins. Encyclopedia of Right-Wing Extremism in Modern American History. ABC-CLIO, 2011, p. 172. ISBN 1-59884-350-8
  19. ^ Anonymous. "Teachings of the Odin Brotherhood." pgs XXVII-XXIX.
  20. ^ See Author Web Site for The Way of the Odin Brotherhood
  21. ^ Jack Wolf . The Way of the Odin Brotherhood. Mandrake of Oxford. 2013. ISBN 978-1-906958-53-4
  22. ^ Jack Wolf. The Way of the Odin Brotherhood
  23. ^ Jeffrey Kaplan. Radical Religion in America: Millenarian Movements from the Far Right to the Children of Noah. Syracuse University Press. 1997. ISBN 0-8156-0396-7 footnote 26 in page 196
  24. ^ A novella by Ragnar Storyteller, called Odin's Return, tells the story of the Odin Brotherhood's establishment. The novella may be found at the Internet Archive
  25. ^ Anonymous. "Teachings of the Odin Brotherhood." pgs XXVII-XXIX.
  26. ^ "Radio interview to Mark Mirabello", Odin Lives (radio program), May 22, 2004 
  27. ^ Jack Wolf . The Way of the Odin Brotherhood. Mandrake of Oxford. 2013. ISBN 978-1-906958-53-4

External links[edit]