A speculation upon the malformation of a deity.
Written by Einar V. Bj. Maack, of Hvergelmir International
Óðinn is a popular god among Heathens and people that adhere to Germanic culture or religion.
Even so much that that there are people that treat Óðinn as some sort of replacement Jehova or cling to him only, ignoring the rest of the Germanic pantheon.
I will not get into differences between Óðinn and Wotan. It’s not my intention to bore so deep in this speculation, but rather to try to provoke critical thought in regards to Óðinn and the various sources that in my opinion disregard what is known of him from the Lore.
One of the greatest misunderstandings people have is to treat Ol’ One Eye as some sort of a Sky-daddy Gandalf type (and yes, Gandálfr is one of Óðinns kennings, but in reality that name is not as friendly as Ian McKellen – but I’ll get to that later). As if Óðinn was a caring, loving god.
For those that think so and will get offended by hearing that he’s not, please find the door (and seriously… that’s not very strong minded of you). Because he’s not.
First off. Óðinn is said to be a seeker of knowledge. So it’s ironic that many of those that cling to his name tend to be ignorant of the lore when it comes to their misaligned faith in him being a grey-clad Santa.
Secondly, he’s a warrior and a god of warriors – and collector of warriors as well.
But he is elitist.
Oh so very elitist.
A lot of people have mistaken Valhalla for a “Heathen heaven”, which is completely ignorance of both the academic theory that Valhalla a kenning for a battlefield grave and the description of Valhöll in lore, as well as the naming of various other locations in the afterlife in lore.
In the Prose Edda it is said that the best of those that are slain in battle get divided between Freyjas Fólkvangr and Óðinns Valhöll.
Only those deemed worthy will enter that hall, where they shall engage in eternal battle to prepare for Ragnarök. They shall fight from sunrise til sundown (or until killed) whence the dead will rise again and the gathered Einherjar feast every night on mead and boar.
But that doesn’t mean that your struggle with accepting reality or fighting allergies will grant you a golden ticket. Fighting illness is good and respectable, but the physically frail have no place in a battlefield.
There are standards.
99,9% of people don’t meet those standards, wouldn’t want to make the sacrifices needed to reach said and should maybe consider a god that’s less of a single-bloody-minded-warrior-bastard* than ol FEAR (Uggr/Yggr), SPEARWIELDER (Geirvaldur, Biflindi, Geirölnir, Geirlöðnir, Geirtýr, Gandálfur**), FATHER OF VIOLENT DEATH (Valfaðir), ATTACKER (At-riði), FLAME-EYED (Báleygr), CURSE WORKER (Bölverkr, Skollvaldr), LORD OF THE DEAD (Draugadróttinn).
Does that sound like a friendly guy to you?
Seriously, a lot of people prefer to die in bed surrounded with those they love after a long fertile, friðsælt**** life of enriching the lives of their Frændgarðr***.
People don’t realize that getting the attention of Óðinn is an act of self-sacrifice in itself as there are but few people that get his attention… one might get the clue from his kennings and heiti mentioned above.
And even as Óðinn is attested in Eddic lore as the highest of the gods, he probably never was a god for but a few, kings and elite warriors. Not simple family men.
A lot of people grotesquely overestimate their physical and mental prowess and haven’t read their lore well enough, witch is a faux pas when dedicated to the seeker of knowledge.
Óðinn is a DEMANDING god, and thus people should seek not to disappoint him. I don’t think that would play out well.
He’s not your cuddly-wuddly-sweety-pie skydaddy that loves you as you are.
He genuinely doesn’t give that much of a shit (about anything but his single minded goals) and people better not waste his time.
Would you wager that you were not a waste of his time?
*What’s the point in polytheism if you’re only going to single out one god?
**Gandálfr is also the name of a dwarf. Gandálfr and the other names there, Geirvaldr etc. all point to his prowess with a spear.
***Frændgarðr – the enclosure of family -and those you consider family. The same concept as the linguistically wrong “innangarðr” which means “within fence”. Unless you’re hearding people like sheep, that doesn’t make sense
**** Friðsælt – Frithful or peaceful, devoid of strife.