Saturday, 16 July 2011

Odinism and the Swastika Controversy

Odinism and the Swastika Controversy
by Heimgest, DCG-OR (taken from the Swastika Rising Ritual) – The Odinic Rite

Before I detail the ritual I will make comment on Odinic symbolism and imagery because Odinism is probably unique in the fact that various Holy symbols and images of our religion are considered by some to be negative. These symbols suffer from confusion as to meaning, denigration, and misconception as to true meaning, probably more than any other religion's symbols. None more so than the Fylfot or Swastika.

Perhaps no symbol in the world is so denigrated and misunderstood as is this Holy Symbol. To illustrate this, just look at your own reaction to the title of this article, or more precisely, your emotional and mental reaction to that one word SWASTIKA. What mental images came to your mind? What emotional response? What chain of thoughts arose? Look at these dispassionately and be totally honest. Just do this for a few minutes before continuing to read this article. So what were the results? It is very likely that some of you did experience some responses which could be considered negative or emotional. A few may even have felt an almost involuntary drawing back, or a hard to express feeling that somehow a 'taboo' had been brought to light. This is perhaps not much of a surprise, because I can think of no other symbol so misunderstood, or which triggers such an emotional reaction.

Yet you are Odinists, it is one of Odinism's most holy and potent symbols - you know (or should do) the meaning of this image. So, if shown an illustration of the Swastika and asked it's meaning, you should be able to explain it.

However, what of the general public? What would they be likely to say? It is tolerably certain that many of them would link it to a political party which came to power in the first half of the last century in Germany . Others may call it a 'hate' symbol or such. In any case large numbers of people attribute incorrect meanings to it, and this is no surprise because it is so widely misunderstood.

The emotion it raises, the reaction, is powerful. Publishers know this well, so that those who design paper-back covers will see if there is any way they can include this image in their illustration. This is a deliberate marketing/promotional technique, because they know that most 'pulp' entertainment, most paper-back books, are selected by the buyer on 'appearance'. An eye-catching cover results in better sales, and after all the 'pulp fiction' industry is all about 'shifting units'. These people do not randomly design covers, instead they have carefully studied what sells and what gathers dust. In the 1980s such a study found that by including a swastika in their cover illustration sales could rise by 10% - a very large margin. Very few of these cover designs depicted the real meaning; instead it was cynically used as a marketing ploy.

Its power to shock, thrill or scare was the concern - its power to catch the eye and set off an emotional response. Its true meanings are unknown by most people, and the idea that it is a symbol of 'dark power', of 'hate', of 'destruction' etc. is relentlessly pushed.

Now, we can rightly say that this Holy Sign is probably more than any other misunderstood at best, and 'demonised' at worst. It is also trivialised, used merely as a device to shock or outrage. Because of this, it is quite understandable that we, yes, even Odinists, will use this symbol sparingly. A very few may say that we should shrink from using it at all - at least until it is 'better understood'. But how will that better understanding come about if even we consign it to a 'taboo' status?

I am not, of course saying that we should use it just for the sake of using it, or use it to deliberately to gain a reaction, that would be no better than the marketing industry. But we should not be so cowed as to be afraid to use it when appropriate.

It is also perhaps worth considering how Hindus, Tibetan Buddhists, Shintoists etc. use and view this symbol. The Swastika is freely used by these religions, why not us?

It isn't just the Swastika that is denigrated, various others, including the Odal Rune, Algiz Rune, Ehwaz Rune, Sun-Wheel Cross, and so on are likewise deemed 'taboo' by some. Much of this is a deliberate policy followed by a small number of individuals who have certain agendas to follow. Though they are a small number they have great influence. Nor are they stupid - they know that the 'masses' need only to be fed a line and they will gobble it up and allow emotion to flow. But we should ask why it is that out of all the many religions and religious symbols, it is ours that are so ill-used and ill-understood.

The Christian Cross is not shunned, not so denigrated - yet for centuries it has been used as a device by organisations bent on slaughter. It is still used by 'hate groups' of bigots. What of the Jewish Star? This has been, and still is used by 'hate groups'. It is freely (proudly in fact) used by groups who deny human rights, and kill others on the basis of race and religion. What of the Crescent Moon of Islam? I never have heard any adherents to any of these religions say - "We can't use our symbols". Why should we have fewer rights?

I have said enough for now on this subject, so I will end by saying - where appropriate, we should be free and feel free to use the sacred symbols of our religion. We should never misuse them, but not consign them to the 'can't use' cupboard. We should not idly flaunt them or trivialise them - this too reduces and denigrates, but where appropriate, we must use them.

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