The Old Man.
He came ’round early but flitted in and out for a long time. I am never quite sure when he showed up to stay; perhaps when I met him at the crossroad. I offer him my writings when I go into my writing group and there is much I have to make up to him. But he’s still around, in the periphery. Him and his ravens both.
I am coming to find that my relationship with him is focused strongly around him and Yggdrasil. I suppose you could consider it as Odin is an extension of the World Tree to me, and in my relationship with him, so too do I build a relationship with Yggdrasil. In a way, he is syncretized with the World Tree in my practice and beliefs, as those nine days hanging from its branches birthed something new.
This post was originally posted on my previous blog, The Crossroads Forest, on March 8, 2013.
A few weeks ago I put out a call for topic requests, ideas for blog posts here that folks were interested in or wanted to learn more, both here and on tumbr. The first one I received was from Satsekhem about my work with Odin, so that’s what I’m planning to write about today.
In truth, there isn’t a whole lot about my work with him, but I can write on my history with him. Yes, there’s a difference.
Thinking back to the first time I heard of Odin, I get a little stumped. I’m not as familiar with the Norse pantheon as I am with the Greco-Roman pantheons, but when I try to recall when I first learned of them, it gets hazy. I know I was aware of him before my freshman year of college, as I was wondering what gods to work with on this crooked Pagan path and I thought of him, among others. I do recall learning more about him in my Medieval Studies course that year. Since the professor was a scholar of folklore and mythology, with special emphasis on the Anglo-Saxons and Norse, I guess that’s no surprise.
At first, I didn’t know if I should pursue a relationship with him. I knew him as a Patron of knowledge and poetry, war and drink, and prophecy, to put it simply. It didn’t seem to fit entirely right with me, so I pushed thoughts of working with him away, though he was never very far from my mind.
Over the next few years, I would think of him from time to time, but never pursued much. It wasn’t until I was abandoned by Anubis and began seeing crows and ravens everywhere, in groups of two and three, that I began to wonder if this wasn’t a sign to work with and find other gods.
And I’ll admit: I had a bit of a soft spot for Gaiman’s portrayal of the American-ized version of Odin (Mr. Wednesday in American Gods), though it was the Icelandic Odin we meet in the epilogue that really affected me. I first read that book the summer of 2008, not long after my initial thoughts of working with him. Honestly, I probably should have taken it as a sign.
Time passed but I never got a very strong vibe from Odin. I think we were both cautiously circling each other, wondering if it was right or not. And then I happened across him at a crossroads. Since then, he’s been back to his usual quiet self. Sometimes I wonder if meeting him was a test and I didn’t pass. I don’t think I failed, either, as I can still get a sense of him around, curious-like in the background. Then again, that event could have just been coincidence, a normal man staring down the road. Then again, it might not have.
I worship Odin quietly, as reflective of my relationship with him. Though I haven’t done it in many weeks – illness and frequent migraines and poor weather have forbidden or canceled many of my plans – my divination experiments are meant to be devotions to him, due to his connection with prophecy. Though these techniques aren’t the runes, I get the feeling he appreciates the efforts and my attempts to gather more knowledge on divination all the same.
[The events of this post took place Monday, November 19, 2012.]
I met Odin at a crossroads tonight. It was dark and the air was cool as I walked down the sidewalk to my meeting at the Pagan community center. He was standing in the middle of the walk, staring down the path at me.
He was tall, thin, and had a long white beard. I could not see his eyes for he wore a brimmed hat; a dark coat and khaki pants clad his body and he carried a bag slung over one shoulder. As I approached, I slowed my pace, unsure how to proceed. We were still many yards apart and I was running late. He watched me as I walked, for I could feel his eyes upon me though I could not see them. He stood there, just before the crossroads, right in the middle of my path.
He stood and he stared as I made my way forward. When I got within a dozen feet or so, he turned and made left, up the walkway to a house nearby. He did not speak; nor did I.
I made my way down the sidewalk and passed the front path that he had turned down. He was standing there and as I passed him, he turned and walked slowly toward the front door of the house.