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Relating to Odin

October 4, 2013 1 comment

*Another draft brought to life.

I am reflecting on a few posts I’ve read, started by Beth at Wytch of the North, in how I relate to Odin.

Some of the blogs I follow feature Odin prominently from the perspective of Godspouse, a way of being with a God or Goddess that I feel is at once both powerful and incredibly intimate.  I feel privileged to see into the lives of those who call Odin, or any God, Goddess, or spirit Beloved.  However, this is not my path.  Odin is my Father, and as such, our relationship is in many ways very different.

To borrow her terms, the Odin I encounter can vary wildly between the ‘more human’ and ‘less human’, but tends toward ‘more human’ in more of my interactions with Him.  Yet, even in this, there is some of that ‘less human’, as it seems there is an overall push in our relationship to move me towards something.  Perhaps a better way to put it is that there is purpose in everything He does, including being patient and fatherly with me.

One of the greatest strengths of polytheism is that none of us need have the exact same relationship as another.  I do not need to do the things a Godspouse does, nor they what I do, to be part of the same community, sharing respect and experiences.  Learning, and being willing to express my experiences, especially if they are different from others’ has, at times been hard because of a fear of judgment, reasonable fear or no.

So what does being an Odinsson entail?  For me, it is a good chunk of extra work when He calls me to it, a good deal of it spontaneously and without a lot of direct explanation.  Sometimes it is being in the right place at the right time, and He gives me an inward or outward sign to do something.  I have walked around the city close to where I live, and He has reached out and had me strike up a conversation.  After half an hour’s worth of conversation my Work will be down and I can get back to what I was going to do, or go home.  At other times He is silent, letting me work out what needs to be done between subtle clues or vague feelings.  At others, He lets me be, doing what needs to be done.

I find there are times where He is very deeply warm, generous, and kind, helping to mind where I ‘step’ and correcting me with patience.  There are others where He is very distant, callous, and allows me to blunder until I find my way.  It is not unlike times with my own son: there are times to be warm, and gentle, and there are times to be hard-edged and distant.  Yet there are other times where He is some mix of the two, logical, warm, and intimate as a caring Father is to a son, and yet with that steel edge that lets you know where the hard limits are.  These words fail to convey the fullness of our relationship, but I find myself trying nonetheless.  Given how reading others’ accounts of being Godspouse to Odin have helped me see my Father in different lights, maybe talking about things from this perspective can help another.

There are times where He will set me up to fail, not in some cruel sense, but in the sense of placing me in situations where the only or best decision I have is to not act, to finally get it through my thick skull that I cannot be all things to all people, or that yes, failure is expected; giving up is not.  He is not my self-help guru.  Everything I do in this way is in service to Him.  If it helps me along the way, so be it, but I am not the end-goal.  My life itself is a service to Him, from my work as a shaman and a priest, to my work in school towards my Master’s of Social Work.  My life was not always this way, but especially since following Him full-time, and now especially as His godatheow, I recognize how much my life is turned towards the Work, from raising my son to the relationships I hold to the services I give in my communities.  Truth be told I do not always know what reasons He has me do some things, but I am getting better bit by bit to recognize in the moment and my duty to do them.

Sometimes those dry spells between hearing from Him can be hardest for me, especially after long periods of continuous contact.  It is times like these that falling back to the daily prayers and the cleansing work is best, because it gives me a base to start from.  While I do this, sometimes He is simply busy doing other things and leaving me to my own devices.  Yet, I find in this there is purpose.  The silence is often there for me to wrap my head around something, or to leave room so I am forced to cut down on my workload by finishing projects in my life so I have room for more.  For instance, I am somewhat in such a period right now while I finish up the Ancestor Anthology book, and write two essays on top of other work/Work.  Come November I will be doing poetry and writing each day for Him as I did for Loki in July.

Odin, I find, is nothing if not patient, even if He does not seem it in the moment.  In my view He takes to crafting people not unlike bonsai trees or well-tended oaks: slowly, snipping off bits here and there until the essential tree is fashioned or revealed.  He does this by what means He has handy, what means I give Him readily, and what means He demands of me.  I don’t always like how He prunes me, but then again, what being likes to lose limbs?  I do trust Him, wholly, even if I am scared and uncertain while waiting to see where the shears will snip.

Question 3: Odin and His Heiti

March 3, 2013 6 comments

From Loki’s Bruid:

I’d like to hear your perspective on Odin Himself actually, perhaps on some of His lesser known aspects. Lots of people get the Allfather or the Asa King, but what about some of His lesser known or called on heiti?

Truth be told, with anywhere between 188-200 heiti, (and I have seen the number bumped up to 300 in some sources) there’s no way I know Him through any more than a few of His lesser-known heiti.  Keep in mind that as I write this I am just starting to find heiti that might fit or fit best for my experiences of Him.  It may be that heiti are simply a hindrance for one person and a door to deeper understanding for another, and I leave that between the worshiper and Odin.  For me, the heiti are helpful in that they provide a door or window to understanding Him, to at least put a name or title to this part of Him that I have experienced.

In terms of Odin’s heiti I look at it very much as experiencing different aspects of the same God; Yggr (The Terrible) still is Odin, at the end of the experience, but He is a ‘face’ of Odin that I do not, mercifully, experience very often.  I could see Hóvi (The High) may have come to me while I was writing the November posts to Him in the Hávamál style.  When I experience the Alföðr (Allfather) it is, for me, Odin Who is primarily concerned with humanity and getting us where we, perhaps personally but more collectively, where we need to go.  Then there is Odin as my Father and Leash-holder, the heiti which sticks out to me that is most apt for this being Haptaguð (Fetter God).  These latter two are the aspects of Odin I see the most.

Yet, underneath all of these heiti is Odin, and all of these heiti are also not just descriptors, in my understanding.  Much as I am Sarenth Odinsson I am also the name given to me by my birth parents.  I am also ‘love’ and ‘sweetheart’ and ‘Dad’.  I am in a different role when I meet others as Sarenth, generally speaking, just as Odin-as-Yggr came to me when I was hanging on Yggdrasil a few years ago.  That is an aspect in which He has truly earned that heiti.  He is the Hanged God, and there was a sense of terror of Him in me that I can only describe as holy terror.

I will never truly know all of my best friends’ personalities.  I do not know my friends’ as child or mother, for instance, and there are personality dynamics that will never be ours, ways of seeing one another that will not be ours, at the least, in this lifetime.  Even as a friend I will never fully know them.  Our Gods will never fully reveal Themselves to us in Their totality.  I think to the tale of how Zeus revealed Himself to His lover and she burnt to ash at the power of His Presence.  I do not think we can handle the full-tilt power of the Gods revealed, at the least, not Gods like Odin.  Perhaps local Gods, i.e. of rivers or forests may be different, but in this too I have doubt.  Heiti, from my perspective, give us ways of understanding our Gods in different forms, functions, and relationships that They have to share with us, and that They take on.  With all that said, I’ll write about some of Odin’s heiti I have encountered, and my experiences with Odin in context of those heiti.

Karl: The Old Man

There are times where Odin comes to me and He is angry or grumpy with me about a misstep I have taken or a project I am lagging on.  There are times where I call Him, and I say this with all due respect to Him, jokingly, the Old Man.  Sometimes this is said in a more joking tone, others, a more serious, but there underneath it all is reverence.  I figure if I am getting scolded I am getting off easy.  It turns out that one of heiti translated to Old Man is Karl.  This is, for me, one of His less severe forms, and one He frequently shows to myself and others.  It is the Grandfather or Father Who, while annoyed with you and wanting to bat you about the head and legs, takes patience in stride and guides you along the right way.  Sometimes He gets you where you need to go by grabbing your ear and dragging you there  (or tugging my leash in this case), if you make yourself a nuisance.  I find this most often shows up with those who are just coming to know Him or have a familiar relationship with Him.  This is not to say that the Old Man cannot or will not be severe, but it is not the kind of severity and fear I have found with Yggr, for instance.

Yggr: The Terrible

The only time I have really encountered Odin in this form that I can remember is when I was hanging on Yggdrasil to take in the Runes as few years ago.  It was under His guidance that I do this, and that I fast for nine days, drinking only what would keep my body going and alive without sleeping into issues with my diabetes.  When I hung, especially long hours with the rope wrapped around my leg, there He was.  He stank to high hell, He was half-Dead, it seemed to me at the time. His voice was as cold as His body, both as the grave.  To get an idea of the fear I felt I feel I have to resort to poetic or expressive language because there is no real communicating the sheer fear He imbued in me, even as I was facing my own potential physical Death.  He is The Terrible, the Terrible sacrifice that must be made for power, for the Worlds to go on, that sacrifice of Self-to-Himself that is recounted in the Hávamál.  He is Dead and Living, has seen and experienced the Ginnungagap, and come back through, and yet, He is always there, Hanging eternally.  It makes me shiver just remembering.

Hóvi: The High

When I am writing poetry about Him, especially Hávamál-style verse, this is the heiti of Odin I tend to experience.  Sometimes it is the mere brush of His hand or cloak, sometimes it is Him standing over top of me like a master scribe to an apprentice doing dictation.  I do not tend to get as much sensory information, for lack of better terms/more descriptive language, than I have with Yggr or Karl.  It is more a feeling of Him standing behind me, or His hands or breath pouring into the crown of my head as I write, down onto the keyboard or onto the page.

Haptaguð: The Fetter God

This is a part of Odin that will probably never leave me.  Odin holds my leash, as I am His godatheow, and sometimes that hold is slack, and sometimes it is quite tight.  As with Hóvi, I do not experience this heiti of Odin’s so much with all of my senses, but as more of a Presence, and a tugging around my neck, particularly around my apple or at times along my crown.  There are times when I feel the Presence of this heiti stronger than others, such as when I may be wandering into danger and there is a sudden ‘jerk’ along my neck.  There are other times where His Presence in this heiti manifests as a word or a command, sharp and attention grabbing and I find myself following it before I ask “What?” or “Why?”  When this latter experience happens it is unmistakably Him, and I find myself compelled to obey.

Father

This, for me, is probably the hardest to write about because it is the most personal.  This is Odin at His most personable with me.  There are many ways where He shows me affection, some overt and some not.  Words of encouragement have come from Him when I have been at my lowest, from a much-needed “You can do this, son; this would not be in front of you if it were impossible” to just a feeling of His Presence that is nothing short of comforting and loving.  While Odin is, very often, a stern, rough, demanding God, just as Freya has Her aspects of Warrior, there are aspects of Odin that are less commented on or written about.  His sternness does not just ‘go away’ in His Father aspect with me, but it is not as severe as, say Haptaguð tugs my leash.  It is not the kind of holy terror I experience with Him as Yggr, or the master/pupil relationship of Him as Hóvi.  Just as Yggr contains this part of Him, so too does Odin-as-Father contain Yggr, and it is there, if I look hard enough or if He cares to show me it for one reason or another.  Regardless, I feel a love there of father for son.  There are times I wonder if this is even a taste of the depth of His fierce, powerful love for His Godly Children.

I find Him His most patient with me personally in this aspect of our relationship.  That is not to say the leash slackens or the demands do not grow; not at all.  There are times where words fail in the joy that I feel at the knowing I am one of His, not despite the challenges He puts before me, but because He feels I can handle them.  Or that particular lesson needs to knock me on my ass enough times for me to get that it is not for me.  Odin can be, and may well be in our personal relationship calculating, everything being pushed towards one goal or another.

There are times that His Presence as Father is just that: a Presence, one letting me know I am in His thoughts or that He is near.  Sometimes it is a vision of Him, sitting or standing with me, at times with a hat.  At times He wears His long white hair down, and at others it is braided in a tight style.  His mode of dress when He arrives sometimes seems to do with the whole message He is conveying, whether it is excitement, warmth, disappointment, anger.  Others times when He comes to me in one guise or another, it is there as a kind of convenience so I get the message and pay attention to it.

 

These words only touch what I experience.  I can no more give an accurate understanding of Yggr than I can of Hóvi.  The experience is, in the end, that of each and every one of us who experiences Odin, in His many heiti, or simply as He, Odin, presents Himself to us.  What I have written here may serve you, or someone you know no better than a signpost, or worse, a roadblock.  My hope is that the writing I’ve done here will help deepen others’ relationships with Him, provide signposts, show where there may be similarities in experience, or at the least provide comfort in that each and every day, every interaction, I am getting to know my God.

Sigyn Project: Day 15

February 16, 2013 Leave a comment

May I always be thankful, Gentle Lady

That I can hold my son

Tell him “I love you”

and hold him close

 

May I always be thankful, Holy Goddess

That I can watch my son

Tell him “I love you”

and watch him grow

 

May I always be thankful, Gracious One

That I can help my son

Tell him “I love you”

and be his proud father

 

May I always be thankful, Blessed Sigyn

That I can teach my son

Tell him “I love you”

and always be with him

Prayers to the Gods and Spirits of Storm, Wind, and Sky

October 28, 2012 2 comments

Prayer 1

May the Gods of Storm and Sky

Dance lightly in the world

From coast to coast

Continent to continent

 

May Their steps be light

Sparing life where They may

Bringing life where They step

 

Prayer 2

Lightning, sleet, snow

Rain, hail, and winds

Gales, gusts, and forces

Be gentle to Your people

Be gentle to their homes

Be gentle to their loved ones

 

Prayer 3

Hail, Gods of Storm and Sky

Keep us in Your hearts

As You dance in the Skies and Upon ocean and land

About home and field and city

 

Prayer 4

Hail to You, Blessed Ones

Of Storm and Sky, Weather and Wind

May we remember

That many of us call You Father, Brother, Sister, Mother

Your statues grace our altars

Your Names grace our lips

Your Blood is in our veins

Your Breath is in our lungs

Your Holiness, in Its power and awe, abides in us

Even in fear may we hail You

Even as the rain falls and the snow piles may we hail You

Even as hardships come may we hail You

Knowing that You bring blessing with bane

That You bring comfort with sorrow

That through Death’s door come’s Life’s return

Loki Project Day 23

July 23, 2012 Leave a comment

I am weary in my bones, Flame-hair

My mind buzzes with worry

My soul is troubled

 

Did You once worry as I do

for my son?

Did You ask Yourself

If You did right by Your Blessed Children?

 

You loved Them

As others called Your children

Monster!

Vile!

Dangerous!

As some still do

Your love endures

May my son know love

As enduring as Yours

In the face of all who will hate him

For his looks

For his words

For his actions

For his path

For who he loves

 

May I learn patience from You

When my son is distant

And I have a mind to be distant

 

May I learn patience from You

When my son rages

And I have a mind to rage in kind

 

May I learn patience from You

When my son seeks the hard truths

And I have a mind to sugar coat

 

May I learn patience from You

When my son is consumed in pain

And I have a mind to succumb to grief

 

May I learn patience from You

When my son is beyond my reach

And I have a mind to worry without end

 

Hail Loki Laufeyson, Mother and Father

Lover of Svalðilfari

Husband of Sigyn and Angrboda

Mother of Sleipnir

Father of Hel

Father of Jörmungandr

Father of Fenris

Father of Narvi

Father of Vali

Mother of Many

Father of Many

May I be a father worthy of the word

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