Gods of the Blood

The Pagan Revival and White Separatism

Gods of the Blood

Book Pages: 456 Illustrations: 26 b&w photos Published: June 2003

Author: Mattias Gardell

American Studies, Religious Studies, Theory and Philosophy > Race and Indigeneity

Racist paganism is a thriving but understudied element of the American religious and cultural landscape. Gods of the Blood is the first in-depth survey of the people, ideologies, and practices that make up this fragmented yet increasingly radical and militant milieu. Over a five-year period during the 1990s Mattias Gardell observed and participated in pagan ceremonies and interviewed pagan activists across the United States. His unprecedented entree into this previously obscure realm is the basis for this firsthand account of the proliferating web of organizations and belief systems combining pre-Christian pagan mythologies with Aryan separatism. Gardell outlines the historical development of the different strands of racist paganism—including Wotanism, Odinism and Darkside Asatrú—and situates them on the spectrum of pagan belief ranging from Wicca and goddess worship to Satanism.

Gods of the Blood details the trends that have converged to fuel militant paganism in the United States: anti-government sentiments inflamed by such events as Ruby Ridge and Waco, the rise of the white power music industry (including whitenoise, dark ambient, and hatecore), the extraordinary reach of modern communications technologies, and feelings of economic and cultural marginalization in the face of globalization and increasing racial and ethnic diversity of the American population. Gardell elucidates how racist pagan beliefs are formed out of various combinations of conspiracy theories, anti-Semitism, warrior ideology, populism, beliefs in racial separatism, Klandom, skinhead culture, and tenets of national socialism. He shows how these convictions are further animated by an array of thought selectively derived from thinkers including Nietzche, historian Oswald Spengler, Carl Jung, and racist mystics. Scrupulously attentive to the complexities of racist paganism as it is lived and practiced, Gods of the Blood is a fascinating, disturbing, and important portrait of the virulent undercurrents of certain kinds of violence in America today.


“[S]tartling and revealing. . . . [Gardell’s] well-researched book offers never-before-seen glimpses of the visions and goals of racist pagans.” — Publishers Weekly

“This is a thoroughly researched investigation. In addition to his direct contacts, it seems Gardell has read everything. The book’s extensive bibliography . . . . is a treasure lode for researchers. Gardell brings a first-rank intellect to bear on his subject.” — Robert S. Griffin, Occidental Quarterly

"[A] fascinating book. . . . [T]he book is very informative and is very well documented." — Todd J. Schroer, Mobilization

"[A] rich and detailed book. . . . Gardell's study is impressive in both its breadth and its detail." — Ann E. Burnette, Rhetoric & Public Affairs

"[A] thorough and fascinating analysis of the rising Pagan factions within American white supremacist subculture. . . . [T]his comprehensive work should be read by Pagan-identified scholars-especially those with a stake in ethnic identity traditions and the problematic romanticism of early European cultures that accompanies them. . . . [A]n important addition to Neopagan studies." — Murph Pizza, Pomegranate

"[A] thorough portrait of the racist pagan movement in the United States." — Daniel Levitas, History

"[A] worthy look into racist Norse paganism. . . ." — Mark Pitcavage, Southern Poverty Law Center Intelligence Report

"[A]n unequalled reference book, for ethnic separatists, tribal socialists, heathens or simply those curious enough to delve deeper than the surface of the subculture of North American Paganism. The exclusive recorded interviews with the vast bulk of the leaders and prognosticators in the Pagan Revival and the rare references notes are enough reason to own a copy for your personal library….The Gods of the Blood have awakened! Their slumber has ceased!" — Rory Dubhdara,, Galactica

"[E]xtraordinary. . . . [A] well-researched, knowledgeable account. . . . [A]n important contribution to the research of the contested area of contemporary religion." — Stefanie Von Schnurbein, History of Religions

"Based on captivating interviews and thorough fieldwork, this book carefully distinguishes-and identifies contentious debates between-various factions of racist pagans. . . . This text is a 'must' for a wide range of readers-from those interested in racism in America, white supremacy, Holocaust studies, and Jewish studies to those interested in New Age spirituality, feminism, and neopaganism. Highly recommended." — P. K. Steinfeld, Choice

"Gardell adopts an ethnographic, anthropological approach to his subject, which makes the diverse--and often bizarre--beliefs of his subjects easily accessible. . . . [He] provide[s] a useful, alternative framework for analyzing neo-Nazis and their political brethren. . . ." — Daniel Levitas, Los Angeles Times Book Review

"Gardell has thoroughly canvassed the pagan white separatist landscape in America-literally in terms of fieldwork and virtually in terms of research-and produced a well-written report and analysis of this phenomenon. . . . [A] fascinating read. . . ." — Amos Yong, Nova Religio

"Gardell provides a wealth of extremely valuable information. . . . [His] book increases our knowledge of the role of religion in white radical racism and provides a necessary corrective in the view of paganism." — Carrie B. Dohe, Journal of Religion

"Gardell's encyclopedic treatment is a welcome addition to the literature on paganism on the right as well as, more broadly, to understandings of organized racism and religion. . . . [I]nteresting and original. . . ." — Kathleen M. Blee, Journal of Contemporary Religion

"Thanks to his painstaking examination of the publications of countless pagan groups and five years of personal interaction with pagan leaders around the globe, Gardell succeeds brilliantly in illuminating this oft-frightening world. His detailed discourse of those involved in the revival of Norse gods and European paganism will certainly stand as the benchmark monograph on this growing movement for the foreseeable future. . . . Gardell's study deserves a place on the bookshelf of all students of racism and alternative religion in modern America." — Scott Beekman, American Studies International

"Gods of the Blood will stand as the definitive work on white racist neopaganism in the United States, a movement virtually invisible until now. Mattias Gardell has gained remarkable access to this secretive religious subculture, mapping its feuds, factions, and rivalries." — Michael Barkun, author of Religion and the Racist Right

Gods of the Blood represents the culmination of the author's tireless fieldwork among America's radical right: race activists of every description, denizens of the occult underground, and adherents of a variety of small oppositional religio-political belief systems throughout the United States. Never before has a scholar had the means, the determination, or the unparalleled access Mattias Gardell has been accorded in the American radical right.” — Jeffrey Kaplan, author of Encyclopedia of White Power: A Sourcebook on the Radical Racist Right


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Price: $30.95

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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Mattias Gardell is Associate Professor in the History of Religions at Stockholm University. He is the author of In the Name of Elijah Muhammad: Louis Farrakhan and The Nation of Islam, published by Duke University Press.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments vii

Introduction: Globalization, Nationalism, and the Pagan Revival 1

1. The Transforming Landscapes of American Racism 33

2. The Smorgasbord of the Revolutionary White-Racist Counterculture 67

3. The Pagan Revival

4. Wolf-Age Pagans: The Odinist Call of Aryan Revolutionary Paganism 165

5. By the Spear of Odin: The Rise of Wotansvolk

6. Ethnic Asatru 258

7. Hail Loki! Hail Satan! Hail Hitler! Darkside Asatru, Satanism, and Occult National Socialism 284

8. Globalization, Aryan Paganism, and Romantic Men with Guns 324

Notes 345

Works Cited 399

Index 431
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-3071-4 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-3059-2
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