As Odinists it is our duty to constantly strive to be the best that we can be. This applies to every aspect of our lives.
Odin himself led by example when he sacrificed himself in order to gain knowledge. He didn’t just sit around saying “I’m the god of gods so I’ve got nothing else to gain”. He knew that there was knowledge available that he could gain in order to improve himself, so he made the ultimate sacrifice to gain it, not only for himself, but also for us, his people.
When Odin himself, who is greater than any of us will ever be, is making sacrifices to improve himself and the lives of his people, then how could we not push ourselves to improve ourselves and help our people. To not do so would be sacrilege.
So how can we improve ourselves?
Well the simple answer is, in every way possible!
Are you training your brain?
Are you training your strength?
Are you training your stamina?
Are you training your emotions?
Are you a living embodiment of the Nine Noble Virtues?
Does your life have true meaning?
Training Your Brain
As Odinists we should always, more than anything, strive to get our brains to fulfil their true potential. Our quest for wisdom should be endless.
But it is important to remember that wisdom is useful knowledge. Not pointless book learning!
It may seem interesting to learn a dead language such as Aramaic, but what difference will it really make to your life? Wouldn’t it be better to spend your time and energy learning about computers, or mechanics, or anything that will improve the lives of you and the people around you?!
It’s also very beneficial to learn behavioural psychology in order to be able to interact with others in a beneficial and constructive way.
And when you are not doing anything important why not do some online puzzles or brain training, play chess, or do anything else intellectually taxing to push your brain to be able to work harder and more efficiently.
Training Your Body
Are you also making an effort to improve yourself physically?
Whether you are an Olympic athlete, or you are clinically obese, you can always do something to improve your strength and stamina.
I personally do weight lifting, and I’m quite strong, but I realised recently that my stamina is possibly the worst that it has ever been. Now a lot of people in that situation might have decided to stick to doing weight training, which they are good at but as an Odinist I felt that it was my duty to work on my weaknesses rather than taking comfort in my strengths. So I sought out two friends who do Thai boxing and wrestling, and started training with them in order to both increase my fitness, and increase my fighting ability in order to be able to better defend myself, my people, and my faith.
All Odinists should try to do the same, IE, identify their physical weaknesses and do something about them.
Don’t worry about what other people are doing, and don’t compare yourself to others. Just continuously strive to better yourself.
If you are a skinny guy who struggles to lift 20 lb weights in the gym, no problem. Struggle to lift those 20 lb weights until they become easier, then struggle to lift 25 lb weights.
And if you are a person who struggles to jog for 5 minutes, no problem. Struggle to jog for 5 minutes until it becomes easier, then struggle to jog for 10 minutes.
And if you are a fat person, or an older person, who struggles to get up from a chair, no problem. Struggle to get up from the chair and sit down again five times in a row, and when that becomes easier, struggle to do it ten times in a row.
Struggle is what causes our body and brain to adapt and grow stronger. To cause our body and our brain to struggle on a daily basis is to cause them to improve on a daily basis!
But it’s no good being intelligent, wise, strong, and healthy if you are emotionally unstable. We have to master our emotions in order to master ourselves.
To be able to remain calm and clinical when making decisions and taking actions is obviously far more beneficial than losing our cool and control, and saying and doing stupid things.
Training Your Emotions
So how do you train your emotions?
The most effective method that I’ve found, which really works wonders, is simple meditation. Just take the time, a couple of times per day, to sit absolutely still and absolutely silent, with your eyes open, and watch your thoughts and your feelings. Don’t try to stop them and don’t try to control them. Just let the thoughts and feelings come and go as they please. Start doing ten minutes, a couple of times per day, and increase that time by five minutes whenever you feel comfortable doing so.
I sometimes do 3 x 40 minute sessions per day. At other times I simply don’t have that much time, so I do as much as I can.
Meditation works by removing the influence of external stimulation to the brain, allowing it to go into internal mode where it works through its own problems, emotional or otherwise if left to do so. It really is that simple!
At the time of writing I have been meditating for 15 years, and I’ve continued to do so for all of this time because it works!
Meditation has changed my life, giving me mental focus and clarity, and emotional stability and well being, so I obviously highly recommend it!
There are other forms of practice that achieve a similar state of mind for those that find sitting still hard, such as riding a motorbike, paddling a kayak, jogging, or any other repetitive activity that doesn’t require conceptual thought.
So once you are constantly striving to improve every aspect of your mind and body, how else can you better yourself?
Well how about your mindset and morality?
Training Your Mindset And Morality
For this, as Odinists, we have the Havamal and the Nine Noble Virtues.
For those that don’t know, the Nine Noble Virtues are a code of conduct followed by Odinists, that are based on the teachings of the Havamal (the words of the high one – Odin)
The Nine Noble Virtues are
The Nine Noble Virtues
8: Self Reliance
“Courage is not the absence of fear. It is the ability to act in the presence of fear” Unknown
The dictionary describes courage as: “The ability to do something that frightens one; bravery.” and, “Strength in the face of pain or grief.”
A courageous person isn’t someone who is not scared. It is someone who is brave enough to do what they have to do, or what they believe is right, even though they may be scared. If you are not scared of something, then you don’t have to be courageous to face it do you?
An Odinist should always try to be courageous, whatever the circumstances. We should be mentally strong enough to speak or act when it is right to do so. We should also be strong enough to not speak or act when it is correct to do so, even when others expect us, or try to pressure us, to do so.
An Odinist should strive to manifest the courage to always defend his religion, family, and country, even to the death.
“Truth is the new hate speech. During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” George Orwell
The dictionary describes truth as: “The quality or state of being true.” and “That which is true or in accordance with fact or reality.”
Truth may seem like an obvious quality that doesn’t need explaining, but we all know that to constantly tell the truth may not be beneficial at all times.
Maybe an enemy is deceitful to us to gain the upper hand. Should we then answer their deceit with honesty?
The Havamal says:
A man should be loyal through life to friends,
And return gift for gift,
Laugh when they laugh,
But with lies repay
A false foe who lies.
I personally live my life in an honourable way, where I can look into my heart and be content with what I find, so as I don’t feel like I do anything wrong, I very very rarely feel the need to lie.
Even on an occasion where I am asked something that I don’t want to answer for whatever reason, I’m content to say that I simply don’t want to answer that question. That is still being honest and telling the truth.
But it is possible that an occasion may arise where I feel it is the right thing to do to purposely deceive an enemy, and if I believe that lying is the correct thing to do, then I will do it.
But for the most part, honesty is one of the most important and valuable qualities that a human being can possess.
“Rather fail with honour than succeed by fraud” Sophocles
The dictionary describes honour as: “The quality of knowing and doing what is morally right.”
For a true Odinist, honour is life.
To conduct yourself in such a way that your family and gods can be proud of you is an imperative part of being both an Odinist, and a good human being.
To be able to look into yourself and be content that you are doing the best that you can do, and being the best that you can be, is the only way that a person can be truly content in life.
And to avoid lying, cheating, and stealing, and to always honour your word and your deals, even if it costs you to do so, is what I believe defines honour.
You will gain more in the long term by honouring your word, and having an impeccable reputation, even if it costs you in the short term, than you will by not keeping your word in order to profit. And you’ll be able to be content with yourself, which is invaluable.
The dictionary describes fidelity as: “Faithfulness to a person, cause, or belief, demonstrated by continuing loyalty and support.”
And all of those aspects of fidelity are important to Odinists.
Faithfulness to individual people is a must. In a relationship, fidelity should always be practiced. I know that it can sometimes be hard, especially for testosterone driven men, to resist sexual temptation, but it is up to you to be strong and choose to resist.
If you are in a relationship or marriage with someone then that person is your partner in life. You can share your thoughts and feelings, your home, your money and possessions, and your children with that person. So if you cannot be loyal to that person whom you trust and share so much with, then how can you possibly be loyal to anyone?
And of course, if you are an Odinist, then a marriage is an oath sworn to the gods, so to betray your partner is also to betray the gods.
Faithfulness to your family, friends, and to fellow Odinists is just as important.
Faithfulness to any just cause is also extremely important. If you are going to join and represent a cause, then stick to it and do it properly. Don’t be a two faced person, and there are many like this, who claims to support one cause to one person, and an opposite cause to another. Unless of cause that deceit is to your enemies and it furthers your cause, which is then of course, being faithful to your cause.
Faithfulness to your beliefs can be faithfulness to any belief, but for an Odinist it is as simple as being faithful to the gods and the Nine Noble Virtues.
“Discipline is doing what needs to be done, even if you don’t want to do it” Unknown
The dictionary describes discipline as: “A system of rules of conduct.” and “The controlled behaviour resulting from such training.”
It is important for an Odinist to remain disciplined in every aspect of life.
We should remain disciplined in following and manifesting all of the Nine Noble Virtues at all times.
We should also remain disciplined in everything we do. If we make sure that we spend our time in worthwhile pursuits, then we should remain disciplined in those pursuits and not do them half-heartedly or lack concentration when doing them.
“Hospitality is when someone feels at home in your presence” Unknown
The dictionary describes hospitality as: “The friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.”
The virtue of hospitality is something that was very important to all ancient European cultures. It is to make visitors and travellers feel welcome, and to offer them basic civility, such as a drink.
The Havamal has many verses describing hospitality.
Fire is needed by the newcomer
Whose knees are frozen numb;
Meat and clean linen a man needs
Who has fared across the fells,
Water, too, that he may wash before eating,
Hand clothes and a hearty welcome,
Courteous words, then courteous silence
That he may tell his tale.
Of course, in today’s modern society visitors are unlikely to have walked through snow for days before arriving at your house, so they probably won’t need clothes to change into or a fire to warm themselves, but the basic principles stand.
If you have someone in your home make them feel welcome. Offer them a drink, and food if they are hungry, and give them your attention.
“I was obliged to be industrious. Whoever is equally industrious will succeed equally well” Johann Sebastian Bach
The dictionary describes Industriousness as: “Diligent and hard-working.”
That is pretty much spot on. An Odinist should be diligent and hardworking, not sloppy and lazy. Hard work produces results and laziness gets you nowhere in life.
Work hard to earn a living, to protect and support your family, and to do the work of our gods on Earth. Get things done. Don’t just spend your time thinking about or discussing doing them.
“Self-reliance conquers any difficulty” Unknown
The dictionary describes self-reliance as: “Reliance on one’s own powers and resources rather than those of others.”
From an Odinist point of view, the gods don’t usually do things for us. Instead, they give us the knowledge and guidance to do what is necessary for ourselves.
This also applies to relying on other people. Of course there will be many times when you cannot do something without the cooperation of others.
For example, you won’t be able to get from England to America until the aeroplane arrives to fly you there. You cannot get up and fly there yourself. But you can make sure to book the tickets yourself, and check the flight schedule yourself, and get yourself to the airport.
There are so many people who cannot do anything without others either doing it for them, or holding their hand while they do it. Learn to be able to function independently, then accept help if it’s beneficial, and use or learn from experts when the opportunity arises, but try to never be dependent on anyone or anything.
“To persevere is the patient endurance of hardship: persisting in a state of enterprise in spite of difficulties and discouragement” Unknown
The dictionary describes perseverance as: “Persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.”
Essentially, cultivate a “never give up” spirit.
Sometimes in life things will be difficult, but if they are the right things to do, then persevere and do them anyway.
And sometimes in life things will become more difficult than you thought they would be, but as long as there is a reasonable chance of success, then never give up.
This is especially important when it comes to conducting yourself as an Odinist. Our gods show us that not even they are perfect, and we all make mistakes, but no matter how bad you mess up, dust yourself down, come back to the Nine Noble Virtues, and go forward from that moment onward doing the best that you can do, and being the best that you can be.
Giving Meaning To Your Life
Finally, not only as Odinists, but as human beings, our lives have to have meaning.
Without living for something greater than ourselves we would be simply existing, going through the motions until we die. If that is all that you are going to do, then what is the point of being alive anyway?!
As Odinists we are very fortunate in this respect as we don’t have to look for greater meaning in our lives as it is already prescribed to us.
As Odinists we are obliged to honour, and make sacrifices to and for, our gods, family, and people.
I personally sacrifice something physical to Odin at least once per day, as I believe that the energy and intention from my sacrifices literally give power to Odin, but your sacrifice can also be in the form of your time and effort to honour the gods and spread their word.
I also strive to do what I can for my family, and in these perilous times, when the odds are stacked against us, I never stop thinking about what I can do for my people.
That constant struggle, to be the best that I can be, and to do the best that I can do for my faith, family, and folk, is what gives my life meaning.
Can you honestly say that you are doing the same?
Being An Odinist
Being an Odinist is something that we must live and breathe, not something that we only do on the holidays, or discuss on social media.
If we can be the best that we can be, and do the best that we can do, then not only can we make a difference in this life, but our words and deeds can continue to help and inspire others long after our deaths.
As the Havamal teaches us
Cattle die and kindred die
We too must die
But the one thing that never dies
Is the glory of one who makes a difference.
Ask yourself honestly now. What are you doing to try to make a difference?
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