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Publisher's Summary

A controversial examination of the influence and presence of the Norse god Odin in contemporary history and culture. It:

  • Documents Odin’s role in the rise of Nazi Germany, the 1960s counterculture revolution, nationalist and ecological political movements, and the occult revival 
  • Examines the spiritual influence of Odin in relation to Jesus Christ 
  • Profiles key individuals instrumental in the rise of the modern pagan renaissance 

Exploring the influence of the Norse god Odin in the modern world, Richard Rudgley reveals Odin’s central role in the pagan revival and how this has fueled a wide range of cultural movements and phenomena, including Nazi Germany, the 1960s counterculture revolution, the Lord of the Rings, the ecology movement, and the occult underground. 

Rudgley argues that it is Odin and not Jesus Christ who is the single most important spiritual influence in modern Western civilization. He analyzes the Odin archetype - first revealed by Carl Jung’s famous essay on Wotan - in the context of pagan religious history and explains the ancient idea of the Web - a cosmic field of energies that encompasses time, space, and the hidden potentials of humanity - the pagan equivalent to the Tao of Eastern tradition. The author examines the importance of the concept of wyrd, which corresponds to “fate” or “destiny”, exploring techniques to read destiny such as the runes as well as the existence of yoga in prehistoric and pagan Europe, which later produced the Norse Utiseta, an ancient system of meditation. 

Rudgley documents how the Odin archetype came into play in Nazi Germany with the rise of Hitler and the pagan counterculture of the 1960s. He examines how the concept of subterranean and mythic realms, such as the Hollow Earth, Thule, and Agartha, and mysterious energies like Vril were manifested in both occult and profane ways and investigates key occult figures like Madame Blavatsky, Guido von List, and Karl Wiligut. He provides pagan analyses of Tolkien and the Lord of the Rings and documents the impact the Odin archetype has had on nationalist and fascist groups in America and Europe. 

Examining pagan groups in Europe and America that use the Norse template, Rudgley reveals true paganism as holistic and intimately connected with the forces at work in the life of the planet. Showing how this “green” paganism can be beneficial for dealing with the adverse consequences of globalization and the ongoing ecological crisis, he explains how, when repressed, the Odin archetype is responsible for regressive tendencies and even mass-psychosis - a reflection of the unprecedented chaos of Ragnarok - but if embraced, the Odin archetype makes it possible for like-minded traditions to work together in the service of life.

©2006, 2018 Richard Rudgley. All Rights Reserved. (P)2019 Inner Traditions Audio. All Rights Reserved.

Critic Reviews

“In this fascinating work, Richard Rudgley provides a gripping and enlightening guidebook to the ‘lost continent of the European imagination’ as well as a necessary warning about the dangers of letting the ‘Odinic experiment’ get out of hand.” (Gary Lachman, author of Lost Knowledge of the Imagination

“Richard Rudgley understands the god Odin, who goes wherever knowledge is to be found no matter the danger involved. Thus, we find Rudgley delving into many areas of infamy in The Return of Odin because that is where the search leads. To do this is brave, and I salute any author who dares it.” (Ian Read, former editor of Rûna magazine and rune master with the Rune-Gild) 

The Return of Odin takes off from Carl Jung’s prophecy of the reemergence of Odin and his repossessing the spirits and souls of the Germanic people. Well-written and broad in its overview, I am sure some parts will cause controversy with those following the resurrected Germanic spiritual path. It makes for thought-provoking and stimulating thinking.” (Robert N. Taylor, author of Remnants of a Season)

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  • S. Michalski
  • 10-11-2020

Ignorance Grasping at Inane Thoughts

Got 2/3 of the way through the book, then deleted it from my library. Some interesting historical data is shared, but equating Odinic energy and archetypes with fascists and serial killers shows a complete lack of knowledge and understanding of this major spiritual/religious being. Don't waste your time or money.

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  • trever
  • 17-12-2020

not what I was looking for

would you like to hear hours long rants about how evil and bad Odinn is and his followers? or how Odinn is the cause of all racism? neither do I. don't buy this book.

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  • Araworn
  • 04-10-2020

All in all a good book

all in all this was a good book very informative I learned a few new things being of German descent myself I did however take some issue with the area that had to do with Nazi Germany and as the book says chosen ones the way it was worded as though the chosen ones are no part to blame and what happened with them seeing as that they have been kicked out of over a hundred countries it stands to reason that not all the countries can be anti-semitic but there must be some pattern of behavior the chosen ones act out that causes the host Nations to want to rid themselves of the chosen people then the book addresses so-called white supremacist Timothy McVeigh Etc I'm not quite sure why it was necessary to drag these types of topics and people into this it wasn't at all what I was expecting when I purchase the book having said that when you listen to as the author himself State the reasons for some of these people that are brought up do the things they do and think the things they think in the very conclusion itself touches on the very things that are happening it just seemed to go a little off topic to me but it was a good book none the less

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  • Odin folkvar
  • 17-12-2019

very informing, modernization of norse

while the book at times does seem a little boring due to a dull sense of narration, the narrator does speak clearly and intelligently, the book itself covers everything from the beginning of norse mythology into the traditions and beliefs of vikings, on to nazis and how they used paganism and norse beliefs in their rise and time in power, on to neo nazis and how the norse myths have influenced them and how they see it in their eyes, there is also theoretical suggestions on famous serial killers and how it may have an effect on their beings or decisions made, also covering well known books such as lord of the rings and journey to the center of the earth and how norse origins influenced these stories and others. overall a very informative book.

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  • Rob Burrows
  • 04-06-2019

Obsessed with Nazis

while the book raises some good points, and gives a few sources for the content my problem with it was everything in the book links back to Nazis and while it then goes on to say modern paganism and Nazis and racists have nothing in common.
it then continues to go on about nazis and serial killers and kore nazis and how it all links to odinism and then how this is a stretch.
it's interesting in respect of it being a take I've never come across but would have found it more interesting to be more online with the title and less a obsession of nazis.

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