a book leads me back to Odin

“Give thanks to God.” Christ’s cross with a valknut on it. A forgiving face of Odin. A strong sense of space, mountains, enlightenment.

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A visual map: me, a dot at the bottom of the mountain known in Skyrim as the Throat of the World. Rather than a dragon residing at the top, there is Odin, and the castle of High Hrothgar is Valhalla. The mountain has a long path, known as the Seven Thousand Steps*, that I am being encouraged to walk.

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A second vision: a prayer card of the Hanged Man. He is hanging upside down, yet his hair is not falling. He is shirtless and staring downward. I can see the outline of the Tree. The background is olive green. In this image, Odin has not yet obtained the runes.

An invitation to Mystery.

I read a historical fiction book about Catholicism and it brought me back to my pagan faith. Funny, huh?

As a gift from my bookstore owner friends, I was given a copy of Lent by Jo Walton. It’s about a Catholic priest in Renaissance Florence who can see and banish demons. In this world, everyone around him believes in demons too. Anyway, for complicated reasons, the main character reaches a point in his journey where he can’t pray to God. And he spends much of the novel missing God.

The day after I finished reading this intense and wonderful book, I found myself back in touch with Odin while I was riding the bus home. He contacted me, encouraging me towards poetry and the runes (and mixing the two together). He suggested putting up the shrine again and getting prayer beads and maybe getting a  prayer card for my wallet. He also nudged me to create a warrior prayer akin to Rev Angel Kyoto Williams’ Warrior-Spirit Prayer of Awakening, which is one of my favourite prayers ever. (Looking back, I wonder how much of this was not *just* his suggestion but also just my own enthusiasm shoving ideas at him and maybe they manifested into visions???? Hm.)(My best friend thinks Odin is demanding, and yes maybe a little, but also these are all things I 100% want to do, so is it really demanding if we have the same goal?)

I got home and put up his statue again, along with a blue candle and a single tarot card I have of his hanging. I didn’t put up any other Norse deity stuff, to avoid muddling myself.

I had made Odin some prayer beads in 2014 or 2015. These beads were really affected by wrongful interpretations I had of Odin. I didn’t wear them too often, and in the end, I took them apart.

I could make new prayer beads, but as someone who isn’t too skilled in jewelry I bought cheap materials. So they would (and do) break easily. If I wanted to invest more money into the materials, I could make nicer beads, but honestly, that’s just not an artistic skill I am all that interested in cultivating. I’d rather just buy professionally made pagan prayer beads instead. (It’s likely cheaper than investing in new materials anyway.)

I’m actually planning on making a Yggdrasil cross stitch pattern, framing it, and putting it in the space between my two bookshelves. So I am learning to pick and choose what kind of devotional art to put my energies into. 🙂

I should mention that Odin’s contact with me wasn’t entirely unanticipated. I had done bedtime prayers to different Norse deities at least three or four times spontaneously before this happened. Then I had had a dream… I can’t remember all the details, but I just remember looking at CDs and seeing a little note that said something like “don’t you remember? you love reading the Eddas!” so team Norse was still looking out for me. ❤

I don’t really intend to return to daily meditation. It wasn’t healthy for me. I hope to set up a stronger and more intentional artistic practice and sometimes I’ll create Norse things. I’m not sure what I want to do about ritual or group practice or anything. I’d like to set up a dynamic with a few pagan friends to have some set questions for discernment checks or some such thing. I have one person in mind who may be willing to fill a casual elder role in my life, if I ask for low expectations.

Basically what I want is some safety measures set in place to ascertain I am safe and ok while experiencing the woo. So I am mostly going to avoid seeking visions, I think? or maybe I need some stronger safety rules or something. Hmmm. I know some different people who might help me troubleshoot a process for that. Yeah. That’d be an awesome idea.

(also as awesome side-news, the Norse ambient/experimental folk band Heilung is coming to my city next month. A pagan friend and I are gonna go see them together and lose our shit.)

*within the game, this path has carved stone shrines tracking the history and worship of dragons in Skyrim. A devotee or monk is encouraged to contemplate the messages on the shrines as s/he walks the steps up the mountain to the monastery. Within the framework of this vision, I feel excerpts from the Havamal would be on each of these shrines paired with faces of Odin or, possibly, other Norse deities.

Happy Solstice! Happy Yule!

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