Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Odin’s Way in the Modern World by Wayland Skallagrimsson

Odin is a god of many things. I mean that in the sense that he presides over them, or is the cause, or effector of them. Chief amongst them, perhaps, is death. Odin is the psychopomp, the ferryman who conducts souls from the land of the living to the land of the dead. He is the one who hands out death. As such he is the one who apportions victory in battle, as the one who controls death also controls the victory. From this he is also god of battle itself, and we see this function in the war-strategies he gifts certain of his chosen humans with, as well as in the berserkergang, the internal-style martial art his devotees fought with. He is god of poetry, and is the apportioner of inspiration. He is god of wine (and probably many if not all mind-altering substances). He is the god of seidh-craft (a vaguely shamanic sort of practice; however, NOT identifiable with shamanism). He is god of sex, in that where Thor boasts of jotuns slain, Odin boasts of women slept with. (This is sex for its own sake, rather than having to do with relationships.) These last two things also come together in a third way. Seidh practice may have involved various trans-gendered practices, such as cross-dressing or passive homosexuality. (This is not a certain thing. There are arguments both ways about it. But male seidh practitioners were often referred to as seidhberendur, and berendur was a coarse term in Old Norse for female genitalia, and was used to refer to homosexual men, amongst other things.) Thus Odin can also be seen as god of various transgendering practices.

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