By Jack Wolf
Over the past few years, especially since the publication of my book, The Way of the Odin Brotherhood (Mandrake of Oxford, 2013) I have had a significant number of queries regarding my involvement with said secret society. I thought I would address the basis of these inquiries here.
I am inherently curious. Very curious, about a great many things. The intense need-to-know, to understand that blossomed in me as a young boy never faded from me as I grew older. I refused to have it beaten out of me by the indoctrination of the state or by my mundane parents who could never possibly understand. I refused to comply with the idea that grown ups should abandon their desire to learn and grow and know more. As a wise man once told me: “People who stop learning or desiring to learn are already half-dead.”
Possibly there have been times in my life where my curiosity has gotten me into to hot water, but I find that it has reaped far more rewards for this old coyote than it has caused problems. So in tried and true fashion, when I heard rumors of this secret order of Pagans that had been around for something like a half millennium, I knew I had to check it out.
I’d guess it was around 2004 or so that I began looking into the Odin Brotherhood in earnest. Before that I had just been peripherally curious and working on other things. So let’s say for the sake of argument that it was around 2004 that I stated uncovering the trail of this enigmatic group. I had help. Indeed it was my late friend, the Heathen Gothi and all around sage, E. Max Hyatt who originally got me thinking about the Brotherhood. He had purchased a copy of Professor Mark Mirabello’s most intriguing book; The Odin Brotherhood and was deeply affected by it. Now, Max was an old timer who had been many years in the world and was not easily swayed by internet gossip or rumor. He was one of those guys that looked for hard information and even more importantly he followed a very well seasoned set of instincts both as a holy man and as a scholar with regard to anything that came to him.
So one evening Max started talking about this amazing book he had read and that I should get a copy and have a read for myself. I took his advice and got a copy. Just like my friend I was intrigued.
It took awhile ( a good number of years actually) but eventually I made some contacts with this mysterious group. First I started asking around on Pagan and Heathen forums and later on social media. Naturally there were the usual false leads and nut-cases that came out of the woodwork but that was to be expected. A friend of mine once said that he figured over 80% of everything people say on the internet is bullshit. I am not sure if I agree entirely with his skeptical point of view but I can see that he has a point. When dealing with the internet it is wide to have ones’ BS filter set on high.
Eventually I had a few contacts that seemed legit. By this time I had also made contact with Professor Mirabello and I must say that he was very accommodating. He told me that he only knew what he himself had been told by his own relatively brief contacts with the Brotherhood. He suggested that I keep putting my questions out there in the manner that I had been doing and that eventually I would probably hear from the Brotherhood itself. Dr. Mirabello also let me know that he had really not had anything in the way of contact with these mysterious fellows since his book had been published. As he was not affiliated with them but apparently of some use to them when he did his interview and later published his work, once this was done they simply disappeared from his experience. This seemed fine and good to the Professor though, who had simply moved along onto other more academic areas of interest.
I followed these connections I had made and though it took awhile I think I eventually got noticed. Communications were few and far between at first and almost always cryptic in nature. The cryptic part seems to be hardwired into the Odin Brotherhood, or at least the individuals I had managed to make contact with. The idea of being direct seems foreign to them. It is as though part of their power comes from making people think and figuring out the details for themselves.
Once a reasonable level of contact had been established it was basically a kind of Q and A session that took place over time. I guess they were getting to know me and kind of scope me out to see if I had any ulterior motives. I did have ulterior motives actually: I thought I might like to write another book concerning them. Possibly something that added on to what was already known from Dr. MIrabello’s book. I wasn’t shy about this either and I told them that. About a year later I made contact with the mysterious fellow known to me only as Crow, and the rest…well I covered that adventure in the book.
So basically I was in a position to write this book that added more to the fascinating story that Mark Mirabello had started (and who wholeheartedly encouraged me to do so by the way). The Odin Brotherhood accommodated me by providing additional materials and indeed more than one mysterious package which arrived unbidden on both my and my girlfriend’s doorsteps over time. It seems I was of some use to them and so in a symbiotic sort of way we both got what we wanted: They told me that they desired more exposure and I desired to write a book. Everyone was happy with the end result (grin).
So, having entertained you (at least I hope I did) with that somewhat lengthy explanation, I will end by saying that no, I am not a member of the Odin Brotherhood. I have had contact with them and it would appear, some of their members, but I have never undertaken their ritual or their initiation ceremony. I was happy enough getting to write a book about them.
The Odin Brotherhood and I have a great many things in common however. I agree with a great deal of their views and sentiments about things – especially the state of the world today and the need for Pagan people to preserve our culture and lore for future generations.
Indeed I may have considered joining the Odin Brotherhood at one time, but as some of you might know from my works I am already ‘taken’ so to speak. I don’t take oaths or dedication lightly you see, and only have room on my head for so many hats. Since the mid 1980’s I have been a member of a Pagan tradition that was once just as secretive as the Odin Brotherhood is today. However things have changed within that tradition and I have been permitted to write about my own adventures within the Thornish tradition as well as its more elderly relation, the Black Talon Society. The tradition to which I belong is based largely in the areas of Pagan tribalism and primordial animism. While to be sure there is a fair bit of common ground between my own traditional culture and the Odin Brotherhood they are certainly not on the same page in every area. We are not Odinists for one thing, and while we respect the ancient Eddas, our inspirations come from other sources.
My own people consider themselves to be staunch allies of the Odin Brotherhood however. We believe them to be honorable and well met in their efforts to preserve the lore and educate those who are worthy of such.
I hope this post has provided something in the way of answers for those who might be curious and who may have desired to know a bit more about where ‘ol Jack Wolf fits into the larger puzzle of the Pagan community as it were.