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[Wane Wyrds] Odin: My Vanic Opinions

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Odin.jpgOdin by Victor Villalobos

I would like to put a disclaimer here just to assert that this post is in no way intended as an attack on Odin, or those who worship him. I would also say that I have respect for all the Northern Gods, Aesir and Vanir, within my own spiritual hierarchy. As a Vanatru, I do feel it is important to express my feelings about this most well known of Aesir Gods, so that others may have some perspective on just how a heathen might not feel so comfortable dealing with the Aesir pantheon, and choose to focus on any number of Gods and Giants as well.


I was an eclectic Wiccan with Euro tendencies when I found Freyja. I purchased a wonderful deck of Goddess cards which I loved, and one of them happened to be Freyja. It is a very well known image by the artist Lisa Iris. I used this deck exclusively for a few years when I was having an aversion to Tarot. The image was one that seemed to come up often, or perhaps I noticed it more because I was naturally drawn to it. It was a contrast to many of the Goddess images in the deck, the majority of which portrayed the feminine as very soft, delicate, and romantic. This image instead was very intense, strong, and in your face. Much like Freyja, as I found later.


The image stuck with me for years, and through reading the cards I felt the connection growing, I became very curious to know more about her. The more I read of the old stories and lore, the more I wanted to know. The connection was unlike any I had known with a divinity. As part of the final break I had with all Christian idealisms from my past, I made a deal with her. I would study and devote myself to Freyja for a year and a day, and then decide forever exactly where my spiritual path was taking me.


I started a couple groups during this time, and found some very open and interesting Vanatru as friends. For a tradition that for some is still rather secretive, I was welcomed into their dialogues and confidence. Though over time some of us have parted ways, I owe those individuals a debt for encouraging me to learn more, interact more, and never doubt my own interactions with the Vana Gods.


Now to Odin. As someone who started the heathen path as a Vanatru, rather than the more mainstream Asatru, my opinions and knowledge of the Aesir is obviously colored by my path and experience. I have interacted on a spiritual level with the Aesir, and found a difference between the Vanir and Aesir energies. This is my upg. Others may feel comfortable blending both tribes of gods together, I do not. I feel they are best viewed by the terms of friendship between former enemies. Certainly some of those relationships are stronger than others. While I experience Freyja as a more civilized, intellectual energy (personality wise), the figure of Njord remains essentially Vanic to me. Just like us, I feel the Gods are colored by those whom they interact with more often. There is an inevitable exchange of mannerism and traits which come with close proximity and discourse. This is my upg of the Gods as well, others may feel it different. I do not claim either/or is the right or wrong way to view the Gods.


%C3%86sir-Vanir_war_by_Fr%C3%B8lich.jpg The Aesir/Vanir War, Lorenz Frølich [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

For some Vanatru, Odin is a figure which we feel a bit uncomfortable about. I have experienced opinions of indifference and (rarely) even outright hostility towards him. Some opinions were so strong that it led to me breaking off several friendships with individuals who were not able to break free of their own hatred of the Aesir. I personally never felt such extreme emotions towards the Aesir as a Vanatru, but I must be honest and say that when it comes to Odin, I'm....not his biggest fan. (GASP!)


Perhaps it is not Odin himself that bothers me, but rather the idealized patriarchal figure of him painted by the Lore. It is hard for me to read the Eddas and not see a thousand ways in which Odin may have been transformed into a patriarchal, all powerful godhead so very much reminiscent of the new "Christ" which the transcribers of the stories believed in. When I read the old tales of Odin, I can never help but feel that I am peering through a torn veil, much of his real character obscured, the original truth merely hinted at between the folds.


I see so much romanticizing of the Aesir in modern heathenry that it makes me reticent at times to even get involved in the discourse. When I read of the treatment of figures such as Gullveig, Freyja, and even at times Loki, I feel a sense of disgust that is hard for me to shake. It's like trying to piece together a puzzle that makes no sense, yet always is Odin, somewhere, all knowing. At times I feel it is his will which is leading even the most tragic of events.


Odin_rides_to_Hel.jpgOdin rides to Hel, By W.G. Collingwood (1854 - 1932) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Though many portray him as a god of thought, civilization, knowledge, etc. I can never seen to shake the feeling of wildness, madness, secrecy that I feel when Odin comes along. His presence makes me feel uncomfortable and close to danger. When I think of Odin I see the old man standing upon a precipice, the light of the heavens above, and below the yawning void of nothingness. Always beckoning, COME CLOSER. And I simply can't.


I am too close to the earth, the dark warmth of it's embrace, to comfortable with the alfs, and wights, and the Vanir Gods. They are my home. Odin is all that is foreign and unknown, not to mention dangerous. And perhaps that is it, Odin is like the madness of men, the mind itself. The earth is simple and comforting, a steady pulse, it lulls you into silence. Odin is like the murmur of a thousand voices, a barrage of thoughts and madness, the chaos of mentality. Odin is a mystery to me, yet at the same time a necessity. The power of knowing, a blessing and a curse.


In Frith







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