The Wanderer

Odin the Wanderer

From childhood, I’ve had a fascination with Norse mythology, especially with the story of Odin, considered to be the father of the gods.

He is known as the god of war and death, yet he is also the god of poetry and wisdom. He is associated with battles, victory, magic, prophecy, and hunting.  He is The Wanderer, but has also been called The Furious and is associated with madness, trickery, cunning, deception, and supernatural possession.

Odin possesses a magical spear which never misses its mark, an eight-legged horse, a magical ring, and two ravens — Thought and Memory — which fly throughout the world and report back to their master each night.

A severed head foretells future events for Odin, and he commands a pair of wolves. He is missing one eye — although it’s unclear which one — having sacrificed it for The Wisdom of the Ages.

As the god of poetry, Odin gives Mead of Inspiration to worthy poets. Made by dwarves from the blood of a murdered man, this mead has the power to turn whosoever drinks of it into a skald or scholar, one who is able to answer any question.

The concept of sacrifice is a large part of Odin’s character. In addition to sacrificing an eye in return for wisdom, he offered himself up to death in exchange for knowledge. His story tells of how he hung from the world tree for nine days and nights, wounded and without food or drink. On the ninth day, he saw runes on the ground, understood that all knowledge could be found within them, came down from the tree, and claimed the runes as his own.

~ ~ ~ ~

This week, I will be wandering with Odin, exploring new pathways and gaining new insights about myself and my place in the world. I think of Odin much like a beloved grandfather, ready to tell fascinating tales, offer advice, and impart the wisdom and knowledge he has gained in his long lifetime.

In the past, Odin has always encouraged me to look at life from different perspectives. Right isn’t always right; and sometimes, what appears to be wrong may not be so. Keep an open mind, Odin advises. Don’t be too quick to jump to conclusions.

In fact, don’t be too quick to act on anything. Take time to think, to ponder, to meditate, to dream. Don’t rush heedlessly through life. Instead, let’s wander slowly along life’s paths, taking note of the beauty we see, and learning from all we meet along the way.

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