Pilgrimage to Thor's Cave
On 9 July 2022 about a dozen members of the Newark Odinist Temple went on an expedition to Thor’s Cave in the Staffordshire Peak District. The promonotory in which the Cave is situated is a stupendous natural feature, affording splendid and beautiful views across the Manifold river valley. And the Cave itself is a wonderful place to explore and to imagine the lives of late-Stone Age man who dwelt there for centuries. We took the opportunity of Reclaiming the Cave for the holy Odinist faith and pouring out a libation to Thor, before passing round the mead-horn. Some of us then ventured down the hundreds of steps into the river valley, though, surprisingly, the river bed had dried up, presumably because of the dry weather we have been having. It was a glorious day, and a fantastic outing that everyone, including the children, all enjoyed. Hail Thor the Thunder God!
A Happy Midsummer Gathering
A fantastic Midsummer Gathering of the Odinist Fellowship was held at the Newark Odinist Temple on 19th June 2022. Thirty people attended a rite that was conducted with great enthusiasm. The congregation broke out into spontaneous applause when two small children played their part, one taking a short reading, and the other acting as Gift-Giver and gathering the collection. Two members from Somerset, a married couple, took the Pledge of Faith, something they have been desperate to do for some time. So congratulations to them too! After the business session, at which we discussed recognition of Odinism in the Armed Forces and security measures for the Temple, we retired to a local hostelry for a feast and refreshments. The Gathering gave an opportunity for Odinists to renew friendships and make new acquaintances. There were a considerable number of new members present, which was excellent, and a very high quality of member too. Many have since commented on the amazing sense of comradeship and kinship that was the overriding mood of the day. And, frankly, I can’t wait till the next one! We hope you all passed a wonderful Midsummer this year!
Schoolchildren Say "Thank You"
Following the recent school visits by the 8 and 9-year-olds of Mount Primary School, I was delighted to receive a very generous donation from the School. Thank you so much. It is greatly appreciated.
But even more delightful, was the batch of thank-you postcards written by many of the children, which I really enjoyed reading. How well written they are! And how pleased I was to learn that the children all seemed to have a favourite God or Goddess. This is the best example of the outreach our Newark Odinist Temple is doing.
Here is just one example of the postcards received: “Dear Friend, Thank you for letting us go to the Odinist Temple and to see every God and Goddess. My favouite God was Tyr because he is probably the bravest. Hope to met you again. L.” Or this one: “Thank you for the visit at the Odinist Temple. I really enjoyed learning about Gods / Goddesses. My favourite is Freya, Goddess of Love. I loved it so much. Thank you from J.”
Well, all I can say is that I am well-chuffed!
Hello Fellow Odinists,
Recently, we had four - yes four! - school visits from Mount Primary School, the closest primary school to us, and a C of E school. The visits were divided into half-classes of around 15 children plus about five teachers or teaching assistants, and took place over two days. The children are aged 8 or 9 years old, and they had been learning about the conversion of England to Christianity. With the help of Julie Saxon we provided some pictures of the Gods and Goddesses to colour in, and I also e-mailed photographs of the paintings in the Temple for them to learn a little in advance about some of the Gods.
As you can imagine, the children were thrilled and excited to learn about the stories surrounding the Gods, and had lots of interesting questions to ask. One hot topic of debate was, what was in Frigg’s casket? At the end of each visit the teacher asked the children to stand by the picture of their favourite God or Goddess, and that proved very revealing. I think we have planted some seeds in their little minds and - who knows? - in years to come some of them may well become Odinists. At least, I can be sure that they found nothing stuffy or boring about the presentation on Odinism.
A Thank-You Letter
It is always nice to receive positive feedback. I thought I would share this kind thank-you note from Pete of Yorkshire, who visited our Temple with a friend at a recent Wednesday afternoon Open Day. Here it is:-
“Dear Ralph, Thank you for allowing us to visit the Temple last week. It has a wonderful feel to it and I hope to return when time permits. Many thanks for your time and all the information. We had a fantastic day in Newark and aim to return to camp and walk. I will keep an eye on events and try to come again to coincide with a meeting / ceremony.”
“I do a bit of pyrography and crude woodcraft. Please accept this wooden [Thor’s] hammer as a token of thanks for making us feel most welcome. All the best to you. Hope to see you again soon. Pete.”
Many thanks for that, Pete, and thank you especially for the beautiful Miollnir!
The Newark Temple Now Registered as a Charity
In November 2015 we were able to announce that the Newark Odinist Temple had been registered by the General Register Office as a place of worship under The Places of Worship Registration Act 1855. Not only was this the first temple dedicated to the Old Religion of England to be so registered, but it also obliged the General Register Office, an official government agency, to add ‘Odinism’ to their list of recognised religions.
Now we have some more good news. On 10 October 2016 the Newark Odinist Temple Trust was registered as a religious charity by the Charity Commission of England & Wales, and of course this is the first heathen temple to be recognised as a charity. It is registered under charity number 1169576. The Trust, and its trustees, Ralph Harrison, Ian Holt, Ian Briggs, Donald Holden, David Rigden, Matthew Boyd and Wulf Grimes, will be responsible for the running and upkeep of the Temple. (More recently, Alan Peace and Bob Warren have been added to the number of trustees.)
Both these steps forward not only help us operate more effectively in promoting Odinism, but they have also put Odinism on the map among the world’s religions. Not so long ago, it was common to hear people ask, ‘Odinism? Is that a real religion?’ Of course, we have always known that Odinism is the one true Old Religion of our people. The Anglican Church is a recent invention of the 16th Century; Catholicism was introduced among us only in the 7th Century; but for centuries and centuries before, going back into the mists of pre-history, our folk have worshipped the elder Gods of the Odinist faith.
Now, at last, the Law of this land gives credence to our religious status. And none can gainsay us!