Norse Mythology – Odin

Happy Tyr’s Day!

I want it to be very clear here that as an atheist I do not believe in the literal god Odin. However, I believe the values and aspirations of the Norse/Germanic people are expressed in the stories they tell about their gods. Mythology, if nothing else, is mostly stories that have moral and ethical lessons to them. Things to meditate on and learn the values presented. In all mythology the values of the people who created the mythology are evident.

Odin has always fascinated me. Sure most people look at Thor and think what a cool God. But Thor is a pure warrior with very little magic. Odin on the other hand not only has magic but the magic that is often reserved for women. He has foresight. It is this foresight that drives him to do what he does. He either is trying to prevent what he sees from happening or trying to delay it. He is both a warrior and a mage.

In simple terms, Odin is a conservative in that he tries to conserve the nine worlds as they are and prevent their end. He likes the current state of things and wants to keep it intact. Ragnarok isn’t the end of existence so much as it is a complete change of existence and that is what he is trying to avoid.

To this end, he wanders the world as a solitary person looking for wisdom, power, and knowledge to forestall Ragnarok. He is so dedicated, that he loses an eye, hangs on a tree upside down for nine days, etc. He makes extraordinary sacrifices to conserve what is. To protect what is his own.

In leadership, Odin is different from most chief gods in that he seems to be more of a chairman of the board than a king. He listens to the other gods, tries to build concensus, and then enforces the decision they all made together. In this last part, he acts more like a king. He makes sure ‘the will of the gods’ as a whole is respected and honored.

He has his flaws. He doesn’t seem to think of the possibility that at times his actions might be bringing about the ends he is trying to avoid. The whole story of Fenrir illustrates this point. He foresees his end in the fangs of Fenrir so he tries to take action to diminish Fenrir’s power. In so doing, he actually creates Fenrir’s motivation to destroy him. It also has an incredible cost that could have been avoided -Tyr’s hand is lost. If he rather befriended Fenrir, the outcome might have been very different.

Of course, for me, the image of the wandering god both warrior and wizard is the theme of this blog so it is fitting I talk about him first.

I remain.

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher.  The Grey Wayfarer.

Skal!!!

“Wayfarer”

Happy Tyr’s Day!

Wayfarer

Alone he walks

The snow crunches

beneath his feet.

He is the Wayfarer

The Walker of Paths

He wanders

But he is not lost.

He seeks

He looks for the wisdom

Of the old, the new

And his fellow travelers

Spear in hand for protection

His friends

Two ravens, Two wolves.

He wanders

He walks

He is the Wayfarer

Author’s commentary:

I fell in love with the imagery of Odin a long time ago. I however didn’t realize that is what the original myth was that I was enjoying because I was reading Lord of the Rings and the character was Gandalf, the Grey. But Tolkien took his inspiration from mythology and in this case Odin.

When I finally did get to Norse mythology as a teen the image of Odin appealed to me. The man leading his people trying to delay his fate and the fate of the Nine Worlds. Trying to delay Ragnorok. Warrior and Wizard all in one. The interesting thing is he doesn’t go out and build an army to fight but takes the role of a humble traveler looking not for strength, but knowledge.

I take for myself the moniker The Grey Wayfarer in honor of this inspiration and in truth this was my inspiration not just for this blog but also for some of my interests. I am a scholar and teacher but I lift weights with a warrior’s mind and discipline. I hike, you don’t get much more Wayfarer than that. I guess I came to see my self-image resonate with this image and this poem is a reflection of that.

I remain.

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher.  The Grey Wayfarer.

Skal!!!

“It Begins” – Heimdall’s Discipline

Happy Sif’s Day!

Discipline:

“Discipline is the willingness to be hard on oneself first and then if needed help with the development with others, so that greater purposes may be achieved.”

Vision Point: To develop and follow a results-focused nutritional plan that results in fat loss, muscle gain or maintenance, and a lower A1c with the result of a body fat percentage of 8% or lower and a normal A1c by December 31, 2021.

Journal Entry:

Alright. Starting tomorrow it all begins in full force. I have a lot of disicpline to get back to doing and the main enemy will be myself. The most important thing is to be both hard on myself and patient at the same time.

I chose Heimdall for disicpline as to me he embodies someone totally dedicated to a task. A attitude i need ot develop with all my plans at this point. Be dedicated to the task first, then enjoy life second.

The goal here is healthy diet and nutrition and that has long been the most challenging thing for me, but when I have been on, I feel great in a lot of ways. By the end of next year the body fat needs ot be down and the A1c needs to be in the normal range. To do that requires disiplined eatingg habits.

I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!

“Using the Gods” – Sif’s Independence (Self-Reliance)

Happy Thor’s Day!

Self-Reliance:

“Self-Reliance is the spirit of independence, which is achieved when each person is their own master and no one else’s’ .”

Vision Point: Be Debt Free by December 31, 2022.

Journal Entry:

In this reworking of my blog, I needed new subtitles for my entries; Foundational, Business and Self being used before. With the need for twelve of these things – one for each virtue – I decided to use the gods and goddesses of Norse mythology to set my posts off. You have already seen Tyr assocaited with Honor and now Self-Reliance is set off by Sif.

I chose Sif because nothing says self-reliance or independence quite like a person who has their own land and works it for themselves. Times may change, but the notion of owning that which brings independence remains the same.

As I redo these you will see which god or goddess gets assocaited with which virtue. Some you may guess easily, others might be more dififuclt.

Until next time.

I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!

“New Journal Post Format” – Tyr’s Honor

Happy Tyr’s Day!

Honor:

Honor is the feeling of inner value and worth from which one knows that one is noble of being, and the desire to show respect for this quality when it is found in the world”

Vision Point : Maintain my YouTube Channel with at least two videos uploaded a week and reach the goal of 100 subscribers.

Journal:

This is the first journal post in the new format. The first channge being that each of twelve virtues I talk aobut will be connected to a Norse God or Goddess. I still have these organized into foundaitonal, business and self virtuesm, but that won’t be as in your face as before.

The second part is this is much shorter. State the virute, the vision point and then journal thoughts about both and life in general.

Honor has always been a trouble spot for me. I find that much of my struggles with honor stem from the fact in order to keep mine, I have had to far too often give up my own happiness. Finding an honorable path that also makes me happy has been the struggle.

YouTube has provided me a new pulpit of sorts. I like it and so far the at least two uploads has been maintianed and I am about 58 subscribers away from 100.

I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!

“Battle’s End” – Dark Shieldmaiden – Prelude

Happy Odin’s Day!

September 25, 1066

Anya the Bold knew she was dying.  She still clung to her sword while sitting with her back against the tree.  She had lost so much blood through her wound on her left side that she was sure death would come soon.  She had seen this many times before in others but now she knew it was coming to her. A mortal wound that she knew would be her end.

Not that she feared death.  Vahalla awaited and now she had more than enough reason to enter its gates. She had watched her husband die as a warrior.  Vagnar had stood on the bridge with his great axe holding off the Saxons long enough for the rest of them to escape. She knew he would fall but she had not waited around to see it.  She honored his sacrifice while hiding the fact that she herself had been stabbed by a Saxon sword.

She lay dying she thought of his embrace knowing it would soon be renewed in Vahalla. Her thoughts turned to his strong arms around her and the last time they had made love on the morning of the battle when King Godwinson’s army then surprised them.  They had enough time to arm themselves and then battle ensued.  Had not their own king fallen and their ally Earl Tostig, King Gdowinson’s brother fallen as well, things might have been different.  The Saxons had completely surprised them.

She knew her husband had felled many Saxons that day.  How many had fallen would surely be the stuff of legend as the tale was retold.  For now, though she knew he had only proceeded her in death by some hours. She stared at the trees in front of her while her vision darkened…

She awoke but it was not the hall of Vahalla she saw.  The same English trees lay before her and she felt strange. It was now nightfall and she was alive; something she had not expected.  She actually felt renewed and yet also had a feeling like she had downed far too much mead. She could move which when she had fallen asleep she could not do. She had lost too much blood.  How was this possible?

Looking down at her wound, her breath caught in her throat.

“Odin.”

It was healed like it had never existed.  Her head swam in disbelief.

“It’s alright, You were dying and I saved you.  You might not, however, believe how.”

She looked to see one of her fellow Norseman standing over her.  He had a strong young face, but his eyes betrayed an age much older.  She had seen him before but did not know his name.

“Why?”

“Because the wife of a brave man needs to be around to hear his tale.”

He held out his hand and helped her to her feet. Then she smashed her fist right into his face, knocking him on his backside.

“You rob me of Vahalla and my husbands embrace.  I should kill you.”

The man sat there, rubbing his chin.  He smiled.

“No.  You will join your husband someday, just not yet.  And killing me might prove far more difficult than you might imagine.”

Anya raised her sword and drove it down; but in a motion, which she did not see, the man stood to his feet and caught her wrist.   The strength of his grip caused her hand to flex and the sword to fall from her fingers. He then put the arm behind her back and his other arm went around her holding her still.  His strength was far superior to any man she had ever met.

“I have given you a gift.  A gift that you need to understand and I am willing to teach you, but you must calm down and listen.  I have given you a chance to tell your husband’s tale for generations to come.  But more than that, I have given you a chance to truly live.”

Anya relaxed.

“Why would you do this.”

“Because your husband was not the only one who has loved you.”

He let go of her and she spun and looked at him.

“Anya the Bold.  I have watched you for a long time. From the time you were a child.  You have a strong spirit and an intelligent mind. You are brave and a passionate heart.  I have come to love you, but I would not dishonor your marriage.”

“Who are you?”

“Just call me Erik. Listen, If you want to honor your husband’s sacrifice, live and give him vengeance. What happened today cannot go unpunished.”

Anya looked at Erik grimly and then nodded.  She then held up her sword.  The sword her husband had given her a few years ago.

“I shall avenge my husband, twenty Saxons will fall to this blade, I swear by Odin the All-Father.”

“Good, and I will tell you more about what happened to you. But for now, we must join the others and return home. The Saxons will wait until another day.”

As he turned and she followed a tear formed in her eyes. If only she had known the horrors that awaited her, she might have killed Erik for his ‘gift’.

Writer’s Notes:

Its been a bit since I started something new. My hope is this series is intriguing enough and entertaining enough for me.  It is a story I wanted to read but seeing no one has written it yet, I decided to do it. 

I remain.

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!

 

“51st Birthday” (Plus DNA Stuff) – The Rabyd Skald

Happy Woden’s (Odin) Day!

So I am 51 as of today. I can think of a lot of things to say but I really have no words other than to be very appreciative of life, family, and friends. I enjoy my life as much as possible and I find that having gone around the sun one more time hasn’t made me feel too much different at this point.  Age creeps up on you in a slow relentless bastard way.

See the source image

Historically speaking – March 18,1969 was the day Richard Mixon ordered the secret bombing of Cambodia to start.

See the source image

Barbra Bates commits suicide at age 43 – she was actress and because her day of death is the same as my day of birth, I won’t forget her. She is hauntingly beautiful.

See the source image

The world was a very different place. Led Zepplin has one of their supershows that day.

See the source image

For me, I entered the world at lunchtime and so far I have to say it been an interesting bittersweet ride but getting much better each day.

Genetics Test Results:

Recently I did a DNA test to gain a new understanding of my heritage.  It was a nice early birthday present when the results were reported a couple days ago. The results are in and I will do things in order from largest to smallest.

  1. 69% – England, Wales, and Northwestern Europe – Not surprising as this includes the Netherlands.  By studying the family tree, I can more specifically say I am English, Welsh, and Dutch for the most part.  Dutch would be about a third of this.
  2. 24% – Germanic Europe – In particular I have traced this to Bavaria. This is my father’s biological lineage for the most part on his father’s side.
  3. 4% – Ireland and Scotland – My mother back a bit does have an Irish ancestor.
  4. 3% – Norway – Yep, There is some Viking blood in there.  I haven’t been able to track this down but a lot of people who have English heritage can have this as the Vikings did spread over large parts of Europe. It’s actually unusual for anyone not to have this if you are of Northern European descent. The Viking legacy is that there is a little Viking in all of us.

I now have a list of countries to visit: England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, the Netherlands, Bavaria, and Norway.

Of course, then my religious heritage would be Odin/Woden/Wotan. The All=Father had many names and was worshiped throughout this area.

In a case to get more specifics I still have to keep plugging at the family tree, But now I have a more positive lead toward my actual direction.

I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!

“Short Post on a Busy Day” – The Rabyd Skald

Happy Mani’s Day!

I would write more today but I have a lot to do.   I can say that my birthday post in a couple days will have a lot of new information because my genetics test has come back. As I am currently reflecting on the results I can say one thing for sure, the nature of this blog will not change as it confirms a couple things and whether it was Odin, Woden or Wotan there is a good chance my ancestors worshiped the All-Father.

I will be getting back to the goals bucket list and all that this week, but Mani’s Day is going to be full of travel and testing so I need to have my mind free for a while.

I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!

“Fate and Nine Worlds” (Asatru – Part 24) – The Pagan Pulpit

Happy Sol’s Day!

Announcements:

We don’t pray here – we figure God, the gods, goddesses, or whatever powers that be (if any) either know already, don’t give a fuck, or are busy with more important matters than our petty stuff. We also kind of assume that they expect us to do stuff that we can do for ourselves and that we will do them ourselves and not be lazy. We also believe in being good friends, so we don’t presume on our friendship with the powers that be by asking them all the time for stuff while giving them nothing in return.

We also don’t take an offering here.  We figure the powers that be probably don’t need it.  Let’s be honest, offerings are not given to the divine powers, they are given to an organization to support it.  Just being honest. God, the gods or whatever never sees a dime, farthing or peso of that money; it all goes to the church, mosque or shrine.

Theme Song: “Iceland Viking Battle Song”

Meditation:

Image may contain: one or more people, possible text that says 'Oath I know that at times I'm a bit of a mess. But loving me doesn' 't mean Repairing someone that is broken. Why? Because with invincible determination, I've sworn this oath to myself... No one gets to break me. -Aura de Los Angeles @her.every.color.writingdiary'

 

Text: 

See the source image

If you want more details about Asatru, I can’t recommend this book enough.

Sermon:

Of course, the centerpiece of any religion is ultimately its cosmology.  Where did we come from?  How did we get here?  Who are we in the universe?  What happens after we die/  how will the world end?  These questions are in part what the religion clings to as they seem to be questions with no way to have a definite answer.  Asatru is no exception.

The Nine worlds are probably well known to most followers of Asatru and anyone who has even a passing interest in Norse mythology is the idea of the nine worlds and their interaction with each other tat dominates cosmology.   Midgard is the realm of earth.  Asgard the realm of the gods. And with seven others there is no simplicity here and that makes sense.   All the nine worlds are part of the Yggdrasill the world tree.

There’s a concept of fate to the Asatru way but not in the way you think at first.  One’s day fo death is fated but how and in what ay one dies is up to the person. One cannot know that day so one must live bravely knowing each day could be that day. This makes vk=ikings tend to live on the edge and push life to its fullest knowing one cannot determine the day of one’s death but one can determine how one lives so one might have a good death.  I suppose this is a practical cosmology in this sense. The philosophy being live fully and bravely at all times.

One’s ultimate fate is then determined by how one died. Common death often earned Helheim with its queen Hella, but for the brave who died in battle – Valhalla.  There are of course many other options for all the other deaths.  But these are probably the two most well known.  One could say that how one dies has a great bearing where one will spend the next phase of one’s life until Ragnarok.

I suppose for an atheist such as myself, the lesson is one of living life fully as one can not know when one is going to die so making a memorable end would be worth something to those that love me.   This s one area of Asatru where I think the cosmology is interesting but the real world is little like the world of Yggdrasill.

Parting Thought:

Image may contain: text

 

I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!

“Germanic Magic” (Asatru – Part 23) – The Pagan Pulpit

Happy Sol’s Day!

Announcements:

We don’t pray here – we figure God, the gods, goddesses, or whatever powers that be (if any) either know already, don’t give a fuck, or are busy with more important matters than our petty stuff. We also kind of assume that they expect us to do stuff that we can do for ourselves and that we will do them ourselves and not be lazy. We also believe in being good friends, so we don’t presume on our friendship with the powers that be by asking them all the time for stuff while giving them nothing in return.

We also don’t take an offering here.  We figure the powers that be probably don’t need it.  Let’s be honest, offerings are not given to the divine powers, they are given to an organization to support it.  Just being honest. God, the gods or whatever never sees a dime, farthing or peso of that money; it all goes to the church, mosque or shrine.

Theme Song: “Rún – SKÁLD

Meditation:

Image may contain: fire and text

Text: 

See the source image

If you want more details about Asatru, I can’t recommend this book enough.

Sermon:

Magic is a word that conjures up a lot of imagery and there seems to be a definite difference in the understanding of those who practice it in the real world and those who write it in the fantasy literature genre.  In the real world magic is a more earthy and practical day to day stuff. Germanic/Norse magic is probably not as central to the practice of Asatru as it is in Wicca, but it still plays a vital role. In considering Germanic magic there some elements to consider – the magical workers themselves and the terms used most commonly, Runes, Seidh, and Deity Possession.

In Asatru, the magical workers are pretty much a part-time lot.  I suppose if you had the means to pursue magical practice full-time most might consider it but most are part-time in the practice like poets and songwriters. The term for a woman who practices magic is Völva and the term for a man who does the same is Thul.

There are specialized terms for the various practitioners of various types of magic beyond this. This includes terms for those who practice dark magic. Gand is the general term for magic and Galdr is the word for a spell and covers most of the verbal and ceremonial magic.  There are lots of types of magic but in Germanic magic – most, however, deals with the spirits of the dead and the spirits in general. Music is assumed to have a magical quality to it. That’s why skalds are not just bards but magical practitioners as well.

Runes are sometimes invoked in divination but seem to be in Asatru more of the standard offensive and defensive magic. They are old to the point of being ancient and there are currently 24 major ones although other runes are present.  No one really knows what they mean anymore. It probably the fact of Chrisitan persecution that may have destroyed many of the works of magic that the Germanic pagans had that could be helpful but no longer exist. Each rune has its own power and each rune often ahs its own patron deity associated with it.  Although the runes as a whole are associated with Odin the most as he is the one who is said to have brought them to knowledge from his nine-day ordeal on the World Tree – Yggdrasil.

The second division of magic outside the runes is Seidh. Divination or prophetic vision is mostly associated with women.  These days it concerns things involving trances and things similar to shamanism. This could include illusion and shape-shifting as well. Most notably though it is given the term – second sight. The reading of omens as well.  There is so much here that I am barely scratching the surface.

One rare thing to talk about is the idea of a deity manifesting its personality in a ceremony through a worshiper.  It is not mentioned much in the lore or practiced much in Asatru by my source’s own admission.  But it does rarely seem to happen. I’ve seen such things in my Pentecostal faith where people are said to be speaking in tongues or prophecy but this is a little different in that this is said to be Odin speaking through a follower. I must emphasize this is very rare today and debated among the followers of Asatru.

While as an atheist I pretty much dismiss these things, I find it a fascinating thing that religious cultures can have so much in common and yet feel they are so divided. The idea that psychologically both as individuals and groups we can believe things like magic is an interesting phenomenon and one that crops up often in any religion.  Asatru’s is much more complex, subtle, and sublime than most.

Parting Thought:

I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!