Folkmother Else Christensen 1913 - 2005
Else Christensen was born in Esbjerg, Denmark in 1913. Although she was baptized Lutheran as a child she never felt a connection to Christianity. She even when as far as petitioning the government to declare her a non-Christian. She married Alex Aage Christensen in 1937. He was a woodcarver by trade. She worked as a handweaver until she injured her back and then moved on to teaching children and adults with dyslexia.
Alex introduced her to Anachro-Syndicalism, which is centered on the idea that power corrupts and any hierarchy that cannot be ethically justified must be dismantled. This caused her to join the Strasserite National Bolshevik faction of the Danish National Socialist Party. To explain this further, basically she agreed with all the ideals of National Socialism except economics and governing. For the most part during the German occupation, they lived very well due to Alex’s woodworking. Since few had his talent, his services were in high demand by the wealthy. With the cash coming in they could buy whatever they wanted on the black market including guns and ammo. However because their allegiance to the Strasserite faction caused them to be under heavy scrutiny which is why they had several visits by the German police. Since citizens owning weapons was outlawed, this included a visit due to a tip that they had pistols. She cooperated with them and handed over the pistols they asked for so they would not search the house and find other weapons, including a belt-fed machine gun. Near the end of the war Else and her husband were called in for questioning due to their political beliefs. She was held for less than 10 hours and Alex was sent to a concentration camp for six months. The Germans had zero tolerance for any communistic ideals including those in the Strasserite faction of the Danish National Socialist Party. National Socialism was all encompassing and had no room for Bolshevik ideas on governing.
After the war, they bought a large sailboat and had intended to sail to Canada but the weather did not permit it. They ended up migrating to Canada in 1951. Living in Toronto, she worked as a waitress and struggled to learn the language. Eventually, she worked as an X-ray technician and assistant to the head of the hospital until she retired.
Else recalled being introduced to the writings of Australian Odinist Alexander Rud Mills. She started writing to Alexander Rud Mills until his passing and continued to correspond with his wife, Evelyn Price, until her passing. Else was heavily influenced by his ideas about reviving the worship of the ancient Norse deities. In 1968, Else and her husband started the Odinist Study Group with meetings in their home. A year later, they would form the Odinist Foundation and moved to Crystal River, Florida. She began touring North America to promote Odinism. Then in 1970, the Odinist Fellowship was born. She started reaching out to three prisons in Florida. She recalled that the study groups were small. She was the first to have Odinism recognized by any prison system. While working in the prison, she never had any misconceptions about her purpose. She recognized that most of the prisoners were rotten apples, but she held onto the fact that a small handful would come out and do great things.
She said of her prison work, “ No packed rooms in the prison; in each institution I have only a few people; occasionally about a dozen, but 5-6 is more common. I certainly do not want the Fellowship to be a club for cons, or ex-cons; the advantage is that when in prison the inmates have time to discuss and digest what they read, a point that often is lost to people on the outside in the hubbub of daily concerns.”
In 1971, the year Alex would pass away, is the same year the first publication of The Odinist was released. This publication took off like wildfire, especially within the prison system. She continued her building of Odinism and published The Odinist up until her death on May 4th, 2005.
On Odinism she said, “ To understand my approach to Odinism, one simply has to realize that only when one knows all aspects of an ideology, can one choose wisely; if you only know half of it, you’re out of balance. “ She also wrote, “ Odinism, to the consternation of many people, Odinists as well as non-Odinists, is not dogmatic. We will have to agree upon and tolerate several main interpretations of Asatru/Odinism. Eventually I believe it will all come together. Although I at present do not deal with rituals and rune lore, I’m certainly aware of both and agree that they are part of our ancient religion. I’m simply not able to deal with them, so I leave them be until somebody appears who can do so in an way I can accept as the closest to ‘the real thing’ when my instincts tell me they are.”
Else Christensen was bestowed with the title Folk Mother due to her devotion to rebirthing Asatru after picking up the torch from Alexander Rud Mills. Most of those who have since come to the Re-awakening probably would have not done so had it not been for her. Her dedication to bringing people back to their ancestral roots, especially those in prison is something that should inspire us all.
One of my favorite quotes from Else is from 1992,
“We’re all more or less caught up in the speed trap of modern society. We have just witnessed the Olympics where a fraction of a second makes the difference between a win or a loss. But in life you’re not in competition with anybody but yourself, you’re not out to win medals; you’re here as a member of your Folk, and your efforts are not counted in seconds in competition with other people, but rather in the quiet and continuous influence you have in the overall future in the life of our Folk.”
The Asatru Folk Assembly holds a Day of Remembrance for the “Folkmother” on the 9th of May.
There is a memorial altar dedicated to her at Baldrshof, the third hof of the AFA.
Hail the Folkmoher!