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09 November 2012

Working with Woden

hmm, yes, so... I've been busy, the past few days. Catching up on my life.
The new meds are working... Is this what "normal" feels like?


I'll tell you a story, the most important one of the last few days.

It's about Odin.
Actually, it's about how I came to Odin.

I had decided to do some Work.
And by Work, I mean a spell, but I don't like the word "spell" because there are too many connotations which make the word inaccurate for what I'm trying to communicate. This has nothing to do with me demanding anything from the universe, or trying to mold it to my will, or blue fire coming from... wherever. This is about me asking the assistance of the Energies around me. It's more like a prayer, but less passive.

I came to the idea for this work when I was faced with a loved one's problem to which I could see no way of helping directly. I asked my oracle cards - and was inspired to use them in a Working, to ask them to guide this person and help resolve the situation. So I got permission from the person to do this, and then figured out the details of how.

Six animals from my deck immediately jumped out at me as being the  right ones for this task. Then, as I puzzled over how I would conduct the ritual, I realized I wanted to ask one of my deities for help with this, too. I don't usually do a ton of deity work outside of my own internal pathworking, but it felt right. Since the two deities I have worked with most over the past couple years are Sretya and Hela, I thought of them first.

I dismissed the idea of asking Hela pretty quickly. I didn't want her deciding that this person was better off by shedding the source of the problem rather than working through it - that would have caused far more hardship; her help can sometimes be more brutal than what I was hoping to achieve.

Sretya was a logical choice, with her talent for finding the happy side of fate, but... she felt very distant, as I mulled the question around in my mind. So I thought some more. Was it wise to ask a goddess for help when she felt like she didn't want to be involved?

I don't remember where the inspiration came from, exactly, but somehow Odin came to mind.

Now, it's important to know that I've really never worked with Odin. Sure he was called on in some of the rituals I participated in when I was involved with a military open circle that leaned heavily toward Heathenism, but a) that was in 2008, and b) those rituals were holiday celebrations, not "working" rituals. As any pagan who has hung around for a year or two, and especially as one who has made even a cursory study of the runes, I'm familiar with Odin's story. But I'm using "familiar" as the military does: I would recognize it from 50 meters, but don't ask me any nitty-gritty details. So when it occurred to me to work with Odin on this, I was confronted with a couple more questions that had to be answered before I did anything else.

1. Is it rude/inappropriate/somehow-not-good to ask a god for help the very first time you work with them?
My instinct said Yes.

2. I was planning on working with my oracle cards, and I felt they were essential to this Work; would Odin, who gave us runes, be offended by the use of a different system in a ritual requesting his aid?
That worried me.

So I researched, and read blogs (Galina Krasskova's blog, Gangleri's Grove, was particularly helpful, especially since she just began a series focusing on Odin, and she knows her stuff). In the end, it was (divine?) inspiration that provided the answer. I realized, in a "dug" moment, that I should ask Odin via the runes. So I did.

I picked up my rune bag, which has been relatively ignored for too long, and asked, "What will result, if I ask for your [Odin's] help with this Working [which includes my oracle cards and would be our first together]. Then I reached into the bag and blindly pulled out Ehwaz.

Image from this site:
The image was the best part of the site.
I recalled that Ehwaz was something about togetherness... I found and opened my copy of Taking Up the Runes (by Diana L. Paxson; it's my go-to book for runes). Opened it with the intent to flip through until I found Ehwas... no need to flip: it opened to that page.

This is what I read:

"Meaning: Horse... Horses are also associated with Odin... Thorrson explains the meaning of Ehwaz as symbiosis between partners - man/horse, man/woman, for example - or opposites working together harmoniously toward a single goal." (page 196-197) Further reading confirmed my initial impression: this was as strong an affirmative as I could have hoped for.

It all felt right, except, I felt like I needed an offering for Odin. I was out of mead. I eyeballed my bottle of sangria, and dismissed it. I sniffed my already-open, half-full bottle of shiraz, and... it smelled like mead. Well then. That worked. For reasons I couldn't possible explain, because I don't understand it myself, I chose the best apple from the bunch I had bought a day or two prior (I'm planning on making pie) to add to the offering. I put the apple in the bottom of a larger clay cup, and poured the shiraz over it, until the apple was covered. It finished off the bottle. It felt right. The ritual went smoothly, and I felt like I had done all I could to help the person I was trying to help.

I also felt obligated to Odin, in a good way. He stepped in to help me in a time of need - I owe it to him to learn the runes and his stories better, and to include him in my practice. Each evening since that ritual, I've felt the urge to do something for Odin. The first evening, I flipped open Taking Up the Runes, randomly landing on page 134, where Eihwaz begins. Eihwaz, the yew tree, is sacred to Odin and represents the Worldtree Yggdrasil, where Odin hung to learn the runes. I'm not sure why I was surprised at the synchronicity. I began my studies there.

This is from the same website as the first.

Today, I learned that there is indeed a connection between Odin and apples. It wasn't just my own UPG.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous13:52

    No way! I never made the connection between Odin and apples. I'm so silly sometimes.