There’s been much talk lately of Muses going AWOL and I’m duty bound to put in my penny’s worth, why not? Where the Shed is concerned should I be worried? Not really. Their absence gives me a little breathing space. I’ve been looking at my activities and decided that a change is due. This state of affairs may be the result of the number of Seers and Soothsayers congregating under my roof. They’ve been here a while, just peering intensely at the comings, goings and me. Rather disquieting, especially the ones from the far north, the land of fire and ice. They peer into your soul, divining fate and fortune from the bones of former lives. The realm of the One-Eyed One is a place not seen since the veils parted all those years ago, it occurred during a meditation if you have to know. Any more I can’t reveal, otherwise I’d have to hurt you a little. Your feelings that is.
We have a strange relationship, what a surprise…It’s the usual story of woman meets mysterious god, there’s an instant attraction and interests in common, god offers woman a proposal she can’t refuse, involving fringe benefits and travel. She accepts and may live to regret doing so. He offered me the runes, how could I refuse? It felt like a betrayal of my Khemetic roots, what would Anubis say? A ménage a trois wasn’t what I had in mind. Yet, the door he opened revealed aspects of myself not acknowledged.
This post had been languishing in draft form for several days, with little possibility of escape, until now. The One-Eyed one wasn’t going to let me work on anything else until it was completed. Damn you Trickster!
Who and what is he really? Will I ever know? Will I ever want to know? It’s difficult peering into my own soul much less one of something like him.
Who is Odin?
If you’re unfamiliar with Odin, he’s a Norse God who sacrificed himself on the World Tree, Yggdrasil, for nine days and nine nights in order to gain knowledge, the gifts of divination and prophecy. The ordeal on the Tree included extreme pain and suffering (as he speared himself on the side) in the pursuit of his goal. This whole experience has strong shamanic overtones… There’s usually a price to pay for seeking knowledge hidden from the living; his was the sacrifice of an eye in order to gain access to the well of wisdom beneath Yggdrasil. Such experiences serve to break down notions of Self and perceptions of reality. They shift the boundaries between different states of consciousness (sometimes referred to as non-ordinary and ordinary reality); so enabling the individual to interact with transpersonal beings in the pursuit of a particular goal (i.e. healing, gaining a guardian spirit animal).
The god is known by many names that reflect different aspects of his personality, one that encapsulates the might and power of nature:
- The name is said to have its roots in the Old Norse word “od”, meaning wind or spirit (Óðinn).
- In Old English he’s referred to as “Grim”, meaning “hooded or masked”.
- Another name is Hrafnáss (“raven-god”), rather apt as he’s attended by two raven familiars called Hugin and Munin (“thought” and “memory”).
- In Old High German his name was Wōtan.
- He’s also known Allvíss (“all-wise”).
Odin’s reputation can be a little sinister, varying from duplicity to cruelty. He’s said to be able to change shape, practice necromancy, divination and prophecy. Battle, death and the gallows are other associations. Two wolves named Geri and Freki accompany the god on his travels and may hint at a wolf cult associated with him. As for his appearance, usual depictions are of a tall, thin, one-eyed man with shoulder length grey hair, usually wearing a long cloak and a wide-brimmed hat. The staff he carries is made of blackthorn. His steed is an eight legged horse called Sleipnir.
As you can see he’s excellent at multi-tasking. Okay, I’m trying to avoid the real issue here, having to fulfil my end of the bargain. Those often favoured by the gods are also subject to their (cruel) whims.
“You’ve seen sense now apprentice”, a voice mutters from the side-lines.
It’s all in the, er, eye, it stares at me with unsettling intensity.
“Unsettling intensity?” he stutters in shock.
“Please don’t pretend shock, you know what you’re doing”, I manage to get out, sighing loudly.
“Jan, Jan, how long have we known each other? Where’s the trust gone to?”, he responds in a pleading tone.
No wonder he was feared and approached with trepidation. Words were his weapon of choice, weaving hypnotic spells. You were tied up tightly without even being aware of his actions. He wasn’t one to be either spurned or ignored. Devious and manipulative so and so…
I eventually mutter, “how may I serve you High One?”
He answers, “accept what has been offered to you. Anubis and I have been waiting twenty years for your answer. Time for you to get moving sweetie,”
This is news to me, the fact that he and Anubis have been plotting together. Pantheons don’t always mingle but in this case they appear more than willing.
“Okay! Yes, yes. The finger will be pulled out and I’ll take it seriously”, my voice breaks in exasperation. He isn’t going to let go. I sob into my hands, well, pretend to.
“I can still see you Padawan, no point in trying to disappear. Can YOU see me though?” he whispers.
I peer at him through a gap in my fingers, one eye looks at the One-Eyed One. My attention flows towards the point of interaction, it swirls around him. The disguise falls away to reveal a strong and battle hardened face, an empty socket where an eye once was. He hasn’t been diminished by its loss at all. Such things he’s seen in the quest for knowledge of truths neither the living nor the dead can ever hope to learn. Odin has peered into the depths of the Void beyond existence, much like Anubis, and returned a different being. Perhaps this is what’s feared by our egos, change and letting go of old patterns. Also the deception of unworthiness, not being able to be up to the task and challenge. There’s safety in the familiar and known, that’s what we tell ourselves.