30 May 2011

The Meaning of "Irminenschaft"

We have heard a few astute readers ask what the term “Irminenschaft” means translated into English. This term is not as simple to translate as one might expect.

The tradition of Irminenschaft grew out of Armanenschaft. Those familiar with the works of the early Armanen masters know that it is very common for Armanic terms to be based on certain German word-plays allowing multiple-–although not exclusive-–meanings for a word or phrase, often based on the rules of Kala. The term “Irminenschaft” was coined based on a similar word-play.

Looking back to the writings of Guido von List, the man who first exposed the Armanen tradition to the world, we see that he actually used two different terms in relation to his teachings. The first was Wuotanismus (“Odinism” -- not related to the movement inspired by A. R. Mills) which spoke specifically of the exoteric German religion. The second term was Armanenschaft specifically addressing the esoteric side of Wuotanismus. Here it should be mentioned that all religions bear exoteric and esoteric sides – some having a specific term to describe it and some not.

List had reconstructed the German Armanen based on Tacitus' Irminones, Herminones, Hermiones. The suffix -schaft refers to a state of being as in Freundschaft (“friendship”) and Bruderschaft (“brotherhood”).

Jumping ahead in time to the coining of the term Irminenschaft, of course, we have to ask about the term “Irminin” (or to use English plurals, “Irminists”). Irmin is a byname of Wodan. Cognates have been preserved in nations surrounding the Germanys including MLG Ermen, OE Eormen, and ON JormunR which all are known bynames of Wodan.

Thus, “Irminenschaft” is a play on words that connotes both “Odinism” and “Armanenschaft”.


  1. Karl Maria Wiligut used an Irminenschaft tern I have not been able to learn the meaning of ... "Skould"

    Any idea of its meaning?

    1. Wiligut never used the term "Irminenschaft". He referred to his teachings as "Irmin-Kristianity". However, Thorsson's translation of Wiligut's work, in an attempt to be true to the original German, does use that term. Thorsson's use of the term, however, is unrelated to our use which was coined by James Hjuka Coulter.