Friday, 13 June 2014

Wulf Ingessunu and Woden's Folk: How a 1980s TV series inspired a racist cult

Wulf Ingessunu, founder of Woden's Folk

Woden's Folk and Robin of Sherwood

The thing about Wodenism is that very little of the religion actually survives. So, people attempting to revive the pre-Christian religion of the Anglo-Saxons in the present day have had to be a little... imaginative.

In the case of Woden's Folk, that means borrowing its theology from the 1980s ITV series Robin of Sherwood, written by Catweazel creator Richard Carpenter.

Take a look at this excerpt from an old version of the Woden's Folk website, in which founder Wulf Ingessunu discusses the "Hooded Man prophecy" that is at the heart of his beliefs:

'The Prophecies of Gildas –

“In the days of the Lion, spawned of the Devil’s brood, the Hooded Man shall come to the forest. There he will meet Herne the Hunter, Lord of the Trees, to be his son and do his bidding. The Powers of Light and Darkness shall be strong within him. And the guilty shall tremble.”

From this Ancient Prophecy we can see that the “Powers of Light and Darkness” are strong within the figure of Robin Hood: his is a figure of the balance of opposites as we stated before. At the end we find the statement – “The guilty shall tremble”: this infers that the figure of The Hooded Man incarnates to bring Justice, and in doing so to reap vengeance upon the guilty. The Hooded Man becomes “Herne’s Son” after coming to the forest.

This Prophecy of Gildas was restated in a slightly different form to a Woden Initiate (Wulf Ingessunu – “Wulf – Son of Ing”) on 31 October 1993 in Horam, East Sussex, England. I am now going to show how the new version is the true version for the new Age of Aquarius, and that this revised prophecy heralded the end of the Age of Pisces (Christ-Age) and the beginning of the Age of Aquarius (August 1999).

The Hooded Man Prophecy –

“In the Days of the Lion, spawned of the Evil Brood, The Hooded Man shall come to the forest. There he will meet with Herne the Hunter – Lord of the Trees – to be his Son and do his bidding. The Power of Light and the Power of Darkness were strong within him. And the guilty shall tremble!”               The Hooded Man Prophecy 1993.'

The trouble is that this "ancient prophecy" is not ancient at all. It was created for Robin of Sherwood.

Wulf Ingessunu is obviously aware of this connection, as he mentions the series twice on the same page:

'In the “Robin of Sherwood” series of the 1980s we find the figure of Herne the Hunter as the Mystic Guide to the English Folk-Hero.'

'The name “Tell” is related to words meaning “Fool” as also is The Hooded Man related to The Fool of the Tarot (according to the Robin of Sherwood series).'

The fact that Woden's Folk was inspired by a television show has led it to being - to put it mildly - questioned in some quarters. RationalWiki has an article on the group which spends a good amount of time discussing its debt to Robin of Sherwood; Fundies say the Darnedest Things has taken aim at Woden's Folk several times (here, here and here); the Fortean Times forum had a discussion about it; and one Atheist Forums member hailed the organisation as "a religion weirder than scientology".

The prophecy is not the only element of Robin of Sherwood to be incorporated into the beliefs of Woden's Folk, as RationalWiki describes:

"Ingessunu has also provided an interpretation of the prophecy:

'This prophecy declares that the purpose of Woden's Folk is to create a balance between the Power of Light and the Power of Darkness, this being symbolised by the Seventh Sword of Wayland - Albion.'

Again, this is lifted from Robin of Sherwood. Although the swordsmith Wayland is a genuine legendary figure, the idea of him having made seven swords, with the seventh being named Albion, is an invention of the television series."

Just how can a piece of dialogue created for a 1980s TV series be an "ancient prophecy"? Well, the group's supporters have come up with three answers...

Argument #1: Although it was used in Robin of Sherwood, the text was originally composed by the sixth century writer Gildas.

This is a suggestion made by the Anglo-Saxon Foundation member "Hodekin", although to be fair he does express doubt as to whether or not it is accurate:

And he is right to do so, as it is not accurate at all. The scripts for Robin of Sherwood do indeed identify the text as one of the "prophecies of Gildas", and yes, Gildas was a real person. But while Gildas may have written the prophecy in the fictional world of Robin of Sherwood, he did not write it in the real world. Here's what RationalWiki has to say on the matter:

'There was a historical Gildas, who lived in the sixth century AD, but he is unlikely to have written the above lines as they mention Herne the Hunter. The earliest known written reference to this character is in Shakespeare's 1597 comedy The Merry Wives of Windsor, and he appears not to have been mentioned in any other surviving texts until 1792.

There is speculation that Shakespeare's Herne (described as the horned, chain-rattling ghost of a deceased gamekeeper) is based on an earlier legendary character, possibly the Celtic god Cernunnos, but the name "Herne the Hunter" is not known to have been used before Shakespeare's play. Moreover it has been suggested that Shakespeare himself may have invented at least some aspects of the character - such as the horns, which provide comedy value when Falstaff comes to impersonate Herne in the play. Herne the Hunter may simply have been a sixteenth century Casper the Friendly Ghost.

Wulf Ingesunnu has said that the prophecy "appeared in the 'Robin of Sherwood' TV series of the 1980s" but seems reluctant to state where the prophecy appeared before its use in this series. The reason for this is simple: this "ancient" prophecy was, in fact, created for a television show in the eighties.'

Disagree? Well, show me an actual historical document that contains the "prophecies of Gildas", then we'll talk.

Argument #2: While the specific form of the text was written in the 1980s, its meaning is ancient.

This is Wulf Ingessunu's personal answer to the criticism, as quoted at RationalWiki:

'Woden's Folk relies heavily on 'The Hooded Man Prophecy' which is an altered version of the "Prophesies of Gildas' featured in the 1980s 'Robin of Sherwood' series. This is held to be an ancient prophecy since prophecy is TIMELESS and its use in a series devoted to 'The Hooded Man' is proof of its arising in the Folk-Consciousness of the English. It was revealed - in its altered state - to Wulf Ingessunu on October 31st 1993 together with certain symbols which revealed the nature of 'The Hooded Man'. It has to be understood that 'The Hooded Man' is an ARCHETYPE and is thus subject to the Eternal Return - i.e. this is an incarnation of a god-force upon the Earth. The power of such an ARCHETYPE shows itself in many ways prior to the full incarnation of the Myth.

When Woden's Folk uses the term 'ancient prophecy' for this it does so in the above sense, a sense not easily understood by those who do not share a mystical leaning, and those who ridicule everything that does not fit with their own narrow-minded world-view.'

The problem with this argument - aside from the obvious reliance on mystical mumbo-jumbo - is that Wulf himself is unsure of what the prophecy actually means. Here is part of his analysis from the old version of his website quoted from above:

'The “Days of the Lion” will usually be taken to refer to Richard the Lion-Heart, the King usually associated with the Robin Hood era. But prophecy is not something that is bound to one era – it is eternal. The “Days of the Lion” could refer to the Lion of Judah which is the symbol of Judaism. Or, at another level, it can refer to Leo the Lion – a Zodiacal Constellation.'

Another Woden's Folk member, meanwhile, claims that "the days of the lion" refers to Osama bin Laden, as the name Osama is Arabic for "lion".

So, the group has given us three self-contradictory interpretations of the phrase "days of the lion": Judaism, the constellation of Leo, and Osama bin Laden.

As they don't know what the prophecy actually means in this respect, how can they tell us that its meaning is "ancient"?

There is only one claim made by the prophecy that Wulf has been able to clarify with any degree of certainty: that sometime in the near future, Woden will be incarnated as a magical hooded man who will arrive to save England. This scenario, of course, is so patently absurd that it can be dismissed without a second thought.

Wulf would probably reply that I do not share his mystical leaning. To be entirely honest, I'd take that as a compliment.

Argument #3: Robin of Sherwood was divinely inspired.

Here is what the Anglo-Saxon Foundation member "Eassex cempa" has to say:

Short version: if priests can receive messages from God, then so can television scriptwriters.

Well, I can't prove this claim wrong. If we accept the idea of a divinely-inspired text, then it is theoretically possible that a script for a television series could be the word of a god. The obvious question is this: where do we stop?

If Robin of Sherwood contains a divinely-inspired prophecy, then surely it would be just as reasonable to build up a cult around Xena: Warrior Princess, or Doctor Who, or Only Fools and Horses. Ingessunu seems to think that the "hooded man prophecy" must be divine because he had a dream about it; I had a dream about Batman when I was 12, does that mean I should worship him?

"Wyrd goes where it must", says the Woden's Folk supporter quoted above. In this case, Wyrd seems to have gone out of its way to ensure that Woden's supposed representatives are treated as a massive joke.

Woden's Folk and racism

This is what Woden's Folk have to say on the topic of race relations:

'We oppose the multi-racial society where various different “communities” vie for a slice of the cake in a decaying and dying nation. This evil system has produced a hell-on-earth in which crime, violence, perversion and subversion are rife. This type of society has never worked – and never will! Multi-racialism or “multi-culturalism” is the basis of a one-world state – a World Dictatorship! '

Pretty clean-cut: the organisation wants all non-white people out of the country.

But if that's not enough for you, there's more…

An older version of the Woden's Folk website included a poetry section. Here's a poem praising David Lane as the "son of Woden":

David Lane, for those unfamiliar with him, was one of the most notorious white nationalists in the history of the movement. In 1987 he was sentenced to 150 years in prison for his role in the murder of a Jewish radio host named Alan Berg.

During his life, David Lane often worked with two collaborators: his wife Katja Lane and the writer-illustrator Ron McVan. With this in mind, it is interesting to note that one version of the Woden's Folk website included a dedication to "Katja,Ron for the friendship they have shown".

At this point, it's hard to deny that the group is racist. Out of academic interest, we can push things a little further by asking if Woden's Folk is specifically a neo-Nazi organisation. Well...

Here's what the links page of the Woden's Folk website looks like:

Yup - that's SS insignia, folks. It's worth mentioning that an earlier version of the Woden's Folk website also had a swastika proudly placed on its home page:

Now, the group's supporters will probably be rushing to inform me that the swastika predates Nazism. I'm aware of this, and I don't see anything inherently wrong with a non-Nazi group trying to reclaim the symbol for its earlier meanings (although, if they do, I think it'd be basic sense for them to issue a statement clarifying that they are not pro-Nazi). But since Woden's Folk is using both swastikas and the totenkopf insignia of the SS, then really, there are so many ways to interpret their intentions.

Returning to the links page, we see six sites listed. The last three are run by Wulf Ingessunu while the first three are run by a Woden's Folk member known variously as "Wotans Krieger", "Wulf Veldasson" and "Aryan Lord".

Wotans Krieger, a Hitler worshipper in the most literal sense…

Wotans Krieger is an unabashed neo-Nazi who believes Hitler to have been an incarnation of the god Wotan/Woden/Odin. FSTDT has a selection of some of his more remarkable quotes;  here are just a few of my favourites...

"Dr Jung was effectively the first one to recognise that Wotan had awoken and resided not only in Hitler but the German people as a whole. This reawakening started not with Hitler. The groundwork had begun in the 19th century and the most obvious example of Wotan moving in the German Collective Unconscious was reflected in the music of Wilhelm Richard Wagner and in particular in his Der Ring des Nibelungen cycle of music dramas. Savitri Devi and Miguel Serrano took this conclusion one step further and referred to Hitler as being an avatar."
"By educating our own children we avoid instilling into their minds the multicultural, multiracial, `equality` nonsense that is preached at them in schools and we also avoid the vile homosexual filth that they are exposed to as part of their `education`. [...]
 We can give them a real sense of who they are, the uniqueness of their Aryan identity and instil in them love for their own race and an abhorrence for miscegenation, drug taking, homosexuality and general degeneracy." 
"To me there is something unnatural, something ungermanic, something alien about male flip-flop and sandal wearers." 
"However the `solution` is coming and it will be a final solution, not one instigated by us but by Mutter Erde Herself. The nuclear holocausts that will be unleashed by the zionists will cause a chain reaction throughout nature and will wipe out most of humanity. This we know has happened before many times in the unrecorded history of the earth. As someone far wiser than me once noted Ragnarok spelled in reverse is Korangar-the spear[Gar-Proto-Germanic] of the Koran. In otherwords Ragnarok will be initiated as the result of Islamic fundamentalism."

Another Woden's Folk member, known as "Steed", operated a blog called Eye of Woden which has now closed. Parts of it can be read on, including this utterly bizarre passage:

"As I mentioned at the beginning of this article 'the Nazis' (as their detractors called them) have become synonymous with the concept of Vril. The relationship between 'the Vril Society' and National Socialism is written of widely, from varying perspectives. Some claim that the Vril Society was behind Hitler's rise to power, whilst others accuse the Vril Society of collaboration with the Illuminati and other secret societies which are now recognised as being harmful to the sovereignty and health of man and nation. I know too little of the Vril Society to comment reliably, but its true nature is nevertheless irrelevant to my next point.

Adolf Hitler, whether you deem him a great man or a genocidal maniac, was clearly in possession of copious Vril. This blog does not exist to promote a belief in Hitler's greatness, but I do nevertheless understand the truth surrounding the man and his war."

Make of that what you will. See FSTDT for more of Steed's writings, across both his own blog and the Anglo-Saxon Foundation.

Moving on, Woden's Folk and its sister organisation English Resistance (also run by Wulf Ingessunu) have posted a few videos online. This one is set to the song "White Rider" by the neo-Nazi skinhead band Skrewdriver ("Some fools will oppose you, true men will stay loyal/But the victory shall be ours for the blood and the soil/You feel love for your people, disdain for the fools/The enemy's led by the Zionist tools").

Another video features the song "White Dragon" by former Skrewdriver guitarist Martin Cross ("Overwhelm the invader that has infected our shore/Strike with a vengeance and lay down the law"). Cross was also a member of the neo-Nazi organisation Combat 18, and in 1998 he was sentenced to life in prison for his part in the member of fellow C18 member Chris Castle. He was previously convicted for helping to publish magazines detailing how to make bombs.

Next, we have this post about Woden's Folk at a neo-Nazi blog. Wulf Ingessunu himself posts in the comments section:

If you don't feel like reading the whole thing (and yes, he certainly waffles on when he feels like it), here are some highlights from this rather bizarre screed:

I am not particularly familiar with Miguel Serrano, whose works on "Esoteric Hitlerism" are discussed favourably by Ingessunu. So, I went to the neo-Nazi wiki Metapedia for a short explanation of his views:

"Miguel Serrano (born September 10, 1917; died February 28, 2009) is a retired Chilean diplomat, explorer, and an author of poetry, books on spiritual questing and Esoteric Hitlerism. Serrano's extraordinarily forceful and anti-modernist neo-Gnostic philosophy elucidates the otherworldly origin of the Hyperborean-descended Aryans, image-bearers of the godhead, and a global conspiracy against them by an evil inferior godlet, the Demiurge Yahweh-Jehovah, worshipped by the Jews, lord of planet Earth, spawner of the primitive hominid stocks and all base materiality. 
He foremostly synthesizes the Hindu-Vedic and Nordic-Germanic religious traditions -- both of which he regards as of ancient Aryan-Hyperborean provenance -- in addition to particularly esoteric and racialist interpretations of Buddhism, Christianity (or "Kristianism"), Luciferianism (=not Satanism), and Gnosticism. Serrano is especially indebted to the Jungian theory of collective racial archetypes and follows Savitri Devi in recognizing Adolf Hitler as an avatar (divine incarnation) who battled against the demonic materialistic hosts of the Kali Yuga."

The fact that Wulf Ingessunu can treat the writings of this nutcase in such a respectable manner speaks volumes about the leanings of his group.

At this point, if Woden's Folk are not a neo-Nazi group, then they are doing a simply remarkable impersonation of one. But it goes on...

Look around YouTube and you will find excerpts from a speech given by Wulf Ingessunu at a New Right meeting (New Right is an organisation that appears to consist primarily of neo-Nazis and Islamists finding common ground in their hatred of Jews). Here's one of Wulf's more intriguing recorded comments:

"I would suggest that people start preparing themselves and their children for the catastrophic times that are coming to this planet, caused by the people that these people have been saying we should fight. I am well aware who's behind it, well aware who's behind all these things the same as everybody else is. But this infection will create problems that they can't control: they may centralise the whole of this thing in Jerusalem, and there it will be destroyed."

So, Ingessunu believes in a sinister global conspiracy centred in Jerusalem. It is pretty clear that he is invoking the age-old idea of the worldwide Jewish conspiracy.

It gets better:

"And that is why Lord of the Rings was put out at the beginning of the new millennium, because here in England a power is going to arise within the next few years that will challenge the might of this New World Order. In prophecy, in Norse prophecy, we have a prophecy where a mighty one would come, matchless in strength." 
[Audience member sniggers] 
"Okay, anybody can laugh at it. But I - if you let me finish, if you let me finish, right - because a power will arise here in this country. It doesn't seem as if it would now, because the people are asleep, but they can be awakened. This has happened before, this power has awoken before in Europe in the last century. 
The same power backed by the runes - the Northern European runes - will arise here in England. As I said, a mighty one was born, matchless in strength, nursed in blood to suckle the ground. If you look in Norse mythology we find that this is Heimdall, who brings the laws of caste and laws of race to his people."

What is Wulf talking about when he claims that the "power" he predicts - represented by a "mighty one" who enforces the "laws of race" - had previously arisen in Europe in the twentieth century? He appears to have a specific event or personage from European history in mind, but what or whom?

I do not know for sure. But at this point it is worth going back to the neo-Nazi blogger Wotans Krieger. Here is a post he made at the white nationalist forum Vanguard News Network forum under the name "Aryan Lord":

So, he equates Hitler with Heimdall, as well as Wotan. He claims that his views are not necessarily shared by the rest of Woden's Folk, but yet they dovetail perfectly with Wulf Ingessunu's comments above if we interpret the "mighty one" as Adolf Hitler and the power that "has awoken before in Europe in the last century" as Nazism.

I'm not the only one to have made this observation, as evidenced by this YouTube comment on one of Wulf's speeches. The poster criticises Wulf's speech-giving methods, but approves of his overall views:

If the twentieth-century "Mighty One" hailed by Wulf isn't Hitler, then who is it?

Wulf Ingessunu's book, produced in collaboration with Troy Southgate.

Woden's Folk and privacy

According to these posts from the Anglo-Saxon Foundation and Vanguard News Network, Woden's Folk don't like people talking about their beliefs in public:



It's not hard to see the reason for this. The beliefs of Woden's Folk do not stand up to any kind of close inspection - the more they are discussed, the more absurd they appear.

As a result, Wulf Ingessunu has resorted to trying to keep the exact philosophy of his group private. He just cannot bear people poking fun at him.

I spoke to some practising heathens in researching for this post, and they were not at all impressed by Wulf Ingessunu and his "ancient prophecy of the hooded man". And why would they be? As I have demonstrated, the alleged prophecy is no more than a statement so vague as to be meaningless, written for a television series and later adopted by a bigot who sees himself as a holy man and visionary.

With the absurdity of Ingessunu's views exposed for all to see, it is safe to say that anyone who still supports Woden's Folk is a gullible oaf, desperate to find some kind of mystical justification for their common-or-garden bigotry.

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