|This is a book about a religion, A religion that was hundreds of' years old at the time of Christ and has had an unbroken, khough often times clandestine, existence from then to our own times. Followers of the swirling and often conflicting groups of the Odinists still number in the hundreds of thousand and very likely in the low millions, In Germany alone about 1935, there were estimated to be 2,000,000 people who adhered to the beliefs of the New Heathen as they were then called.
This book is not secretarian to any of the cults, or cluba that make up todays membership. Although it has been written under the general auspices of the Runic Society of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the opinions expressed are those of the author alone except where otherwise stated, Over a number of years, the author has interviewed members and leadera from Germany to Australia, uaually these interviews have been in person but sometimes they have been conducted by correspondence. Groups exist in most countries of northern &rope, North America, and Australia as well as Iceland, The beliefs, stated dogmas, and opinions have been recorded in these pages as accurately as it has been possible to do so, Diversity of opinion has often been sharp and their are a few groups that have not answered
The author does not pretend to have written a complete history of the religion, or even to have made a complete survey of its beliefs and customs, Many volumes would be occupied in producing a work of that nature. The author does believe that he has assembled, sorted, and brought together much scattered information on the subject that has never been previously organized. The objective of the book is for the casual! reader to be able to tell what the basic beliefs of the Odinist system of religion really are. Lack of a better name impelled the writer to call the book "A Handbook of the Religion of Odin". The religion of Odin is the usual name associated with it because of the exploits, fictional and otherwise, of its most famous practitioner, the seafaring, nation founding, Vikings. We tend to forget that the Vikings were not the only ones who had this faith. The Germans, Dutch, Ehglish, Scandinavians, many of the French, and the Normans all were followers of exactly the same faith before their conversion to Christianity. In anitquity, the name of this religion was the ASTRU, or 'men true to the Aesir'. Most of its present day followers call themselves Odinists, although some still use the old term. Needless to say, both usages are correct.