The Gods and Goddesses of Odinism
Copyright © 1996 The Circle of Ostara
Published with the kind permission of the Circle of Ostara.
This article must not be republished or reprinted
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Odin is the High One, the Father of our gods, the creator of our race. In the threefold aspect of Odin-Honir-Loður he breathed the spirit of thought and magic and awareness into us and made us human, the upright animal, with a spark of high divinity that makes us question and create and reach for the stars. Through him we gain strength, not merely the strength of muscle-power but moral strength, conviction. The strength to press forward against great odds. When our people had need for a god of war they cried to Odin, the giver of magical strength that is invulnerable, beserk wrath that can stride unscathed through the thick of battle, unarmoured and unshielded, and overcome a host of enemies.
Not only strength but wisdom Odin gives us. The wisdom of all past ages. If we will come to him he will lead our living spirits to drink with him at the Well of Memory, Mimir’s Well, deep enough to hold the lore of all things past, all things that are now and all things yet to be. By sacrifice he gained the right to drink at this deep well not only for himself but for his people.
Odin is the master of the magical art of poetry, that art which can touch the intuitive part of us by the use of words. The magic of poetry is high magic using words, the expression of the magical mind, and changing them into vehicles to carry the mystical knowledge from within us. The art of poetry is a gift to us from the All Father.
Odin is close to the world of Midgarth. Here his people live and strive and suffer. Here the battles great and small of Ragnarok are fought and he walks the Earth to rally his forces. Many thousands of years ago our people saw Odin as the god who rides the wind and moves across the surface of the surging sea. We can still hear his voice in the storm-wind if we listen for it. Even now it is possible in the forests of England to hear the Wild Hunt ride by.
Odin is the master of runes, the god of magic, the great Shaman. He rides a shamanic horse, Sleipnir, the eight-legged steed that carries him between the worlds. Through suffering and sacrifice he gained the knowledge of the runes, each with its power and meaning:
I know that I hung on the windy tree
For nights, all of nine –
Wounded by spear – and given to Odin
Myself to myself
On that Tree
And no man knows where the roots of it run.
None gave me bread,
None gave me mead,
I peered down, I took up the Runes,
Screaming of need I took them
And fell back hence.
Through suffering and sacrifice he gained this knowledge, not for himself only but for us, his people. He holds the threads of the Web of Wyrd that are our history.
Odin is the mirror image of the character in Snorri’s tales who bears his name. That false Odin is a trickster, a mischief-maker and not to be trusted. Odin himself, our Father in all the worlds, is totally trustworthy, a being of Light and goodness. He asks for our love and loyalty and in return for lives spent in honourable effort he gives the reward of a “welcome home”. In the words of Tasman Forth, that great pioneer of resurgent Odinism, “Odin does not reject at journey’s end.”
The following invocation, when combined with certain techniques of runic meditation, is a means of approach to Odin – a means, really, of preparing and directing our own minds in reaching out to him:
Father of gods and men,
Giver of strength and wisdom,
Who walks upon the Earth,
Who moves upon the sea,
Who rides the sky;
Master of Runes,
Master of Magic,
Who holds all power between your hands,
Who dwells in all the realms of being:
Meet now your children,
You who give to us
As the bright mead of Asgarth
The flowing truths
Of myth, of magic and of poetry,
The divine trust of thought.
Grant us the strength
To keep to the pathways of Light
And the wisdom to recognise them.
Grant us the Need
To work for the resurgence of our race,
To heal the wounded Earth,
To fulfil the great destiny of our people.
Grant us the power
To find our own True Will,
That we may fight for you in this World,
Fight beside you at Ragnarok,
And build the new Golden Age that comes after.