Tuesday 13 June 2017

Wodenism - A religion recognised by UK Law.

This short post has been done in order to put onto paper the fact that Wodenism has full recognition in UK Law. This came about back in the spring of 2006 with the Royal Mail plc versus Donald Holden case which came before a Manchester Industrial Tribunal (March 9th - 10th 2006). The summing up of the case, where Royal Mail were ordered to pay a substantial compensation to Donald Holden - an Odinist - who was wrongfully sacked from his job of some thirty-three years. This is the text of the summing up -

“The first issue for the Tribunal is whether Odinism satisfies the definition of a religion or belief in regulation 2(1). Mr Davies contends that it does. Mr Peacock [barrister representing the Royal Mail] neither admits nor disputes it.” 

“The Tribunal finds that Odinism is a religion or belief within regulation 2(1). The Tribunal has considered the literature about Odinism in the Bundle of Documents (which appears to be principally a hard copy of material from the website of the Odinist Fellowship) and also the evidence given by Mr Harrison, the Director of the Odinist Fellowship. The Tribunal finds Odinism to be a belief system based on the pre-Christian heathen religion of the British Isles. It is polytheistic and honours the Odinic pantheon of deities with particular regard being paid to the deity of Odin or Woden. It has a concept of the secular and the spiritual worlds and the relationship between them. It has a broad code of ethics based on what are called the Nine Noble Virtues. It has rituals and ceremonies including the Cup of Remembrance, Naming, Pledge of Faith, Wedding and Laying to Rest. It does not have any sacred texts as such but it pays special heed to works known as the Prose Edda and the Poetic Edda which it regards as sources of information about the heathen religion. The Tribunal is not required to make any value judgment or assessment of Odinism as a belief system but to decide whether it satisfies the relatively exiguous definition in regulation 2(1) and the Tribunal is satisfied that it does.” 

The key words here are 'Odin or Woden' which clearly states that both Odinism and Wodenism (and by extension other heathen-pagan religions) is a 'religion or belief' within regulation 2 (1) - i.e. a religion recognised under British Law.
The Woden Folk-Community is made up of individuals and groups working on their own initiative, bound only by the use of certain rituals and ceremonies which are used to further the development of Wodenism -

Wheel of the Year Rites
Child Naming Rite
Seven-Year Initiation Rite
Fourteen-Year Initiation Rite
Profession Rite
Handfasting Rite
Bael Blot

Wodenism also recognises the Nine Noble Virtues as a Code of Ethics; we have expanded this somewhat for our own use. The Prose Edda and the Poetic Edda are important sources of information to us, but there is a growing list of sources that are used to further our Folkish Religion. Although Anglo-Saxon sources are far less than the Scandinavian and Icelandic sources there are many areas of interest that are used by Wodenists.
It is important to make a note of this tribunal ruling since it can be used in various ways to ensure that followers of Wodenism can follow their religious faith without being victimised or stopped from using their religious symbols. This, of course, applies here in the UK since this is UK Law.