We all need some kind of code to live by, a measure of what is right or wrong, or we would simply do whatever pleased us most at any given moment. It is far from honorable to simply live guided by the threat of the law, doing whatever we can get away with and refraining from anything that would land us in jail.
The major Abrahamic religions have such codes, but they are unrealistically strict, demanding perfection at the threat of eternal damnation for those who fall short. Yet when we look at the advocates of these strict codes, we see so many contradictions.
As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “What you do speaks so loudly I can't hear what you say. ”
Odin doesn’t demand perfection, as he himself is far from perfect. As the god of outlaws and outcasts, he’s our god and if you’re reading this with interest, he’s probably your god too. The fact that you aren’t moving with the flock and accepting what you’re told probably indicates that you’re a free spirit, you have the heart of an outlaw.
The heart of an outlaw, like the heart of a wolf, can never be tamed.
Some outlaws rebel violently, some don’t; but we’re all uncomfortable when we attempt to conform to the norms of society. But we’re in good company, outlaws often shaped history: William Wallace, Joan of Arc, George Washington, Oskar Shindler, to name a few. To be an outlaw is to refuse to follow authority blindly when we disagree with the tyrannical leaders who demand it. As author Tom Robbins writes: 'When freedom is outlawed, only outlaws will be free.'
This doesn’t mean we disrespect police or armed forces personnel. Outlaws are warriors and one warrior respects another, even if we disagree with the ideals or laws they enforce.
Odin is a god with many faults. When we follow the path of Odin, we can be comfortable with our flaws, which is very different to being forgiven for them. We are who we are and we don’t hang our heads in shame and ask forgiveness from anyone.
Nothing falls on the lap of an outlaw. We weren’t born with a silver spoon in our mouths and we don’t become well connected to jump on a gravy train. The path of Odin is a path of sacrifice. Odin gave an eye to drink from the well of wisdom and like Odin, we are prepared to sacrifice for anything worthwhile. In modern times, this has been rebranded as ‘the law of giving and receiving’; you must give first in order to receive. That is the path of Odin.
Just as Odin values knowledge, so do we. For it is knowledge that exposes corruption and abuse. It is knowledge that ultimately sets us free.
The path of Odin is a path of conflict, of war. That doesn’t mean ‘living by the sword’, it means standing up to those who cross us. Our battles today are very different from those the Vikings fought so many centuries ago, but they are battles nonetheless and the path of Odin dictates that we meet challenges head-on. Our motto is the same as that depicted on the Gadsden flag, “Do Not Tread On Me.”
Fiercely loyal, living life to the fullest
Shunned by mainstream society, we value our relationships. Our tribe: our friends, those who believe in us, our partners, children, our horde. We are fiercely loyal to them, just as Odin is loyal to those who follow his path. We live our life to the fullest as we have no fear of death. It is part of our journey to Valhalla.
It all sounds so easy, but as I pointed out at the beginning, like Odin, we have flaws and we make mistakes. But each day is a new day and a new chance to get back on track. Our paths sometimes wind like a serpent, but they ultimately move in the right direction.
Mike Barker is an outlaw and a writer who follows Odin. He writes fiction based on his experiences a lifetime ago, when at the age of 17, he restored the motorcycle his best friend had been killed on; then rode, fought and rampaged through Australia with outlaw bikie gangs. His newly released mystery/thriller, ‘Insignia’ is the story of an outlaw growing marijuana in the Australian outback who struggles to follow the path of Odin, It features a missing girl, a vicious serial killer with the outlaw in his crosshairs and the ancient Viking insignia, which could be the key to his salvation.
Find out more about Mike and Insignia here: https://freeoutlaws.com/