My tea had some words of wisdom for me this afternoon and inspired me to write this post. Sometimes tea is very clever.
If you read my blog specifically for things related to writing or photography, here’s a quick catch-up to put what I’m going to ramble about in context. I’m an eclectic pagan witch, meaning I don’t follow one specific tradition in my spirituality and witchcraft. My path has shades of heathenry, wicca, chaos magic and a whole heap of other influences, although in terms of deities I feel most resonance with the Norse pantheon. Context has now been contexted. Onwards.
I mentioned in a recent post about some weird spiritual stuff that’s been going on. Over the last few years, I’ve felt the influence, support and protection of Hel and Thor. If you want to google either of them, please remember to include +norse -marvel in your search or you’ll end up with endless pages of MCU stuff.
Recently, I’ve felt a nudge/grab/gigantic punch in the brain from Odin. I’m not going to get into all the details of this because a) it would be long and complicated, and b) you’d probably all think I was losing my shit, but suffice to say he has made his presence known to the point where I eventually had to stop being like “No, I can’t be bothered right now” and instead offer a firm “OK, I’m ready and I’m listening”. Looking back, I realise that he has been around for a while but I wasn’t in a place to talk to him. I am now.
There’s been a weird feeling of cheating on the deities I’d worked with most up until now, which I recognise is a strange thing for a polytheist to experience but also quite a logical thing to feel when the dominant religion in the country where you live, and the country where you grew up, are monotheistic. I don’t feel that the other two are no longer there, more that they still have that protective, supportive presence that they’ve always had but the new guy has more of a guiding presence, a much stronger pull.
Understandably, I’ve spent a lot of time in ritual meditation and buried in books and the internet. I’ve read the Havamal (including this beautiful cowboy version!) over and over, revisted parts of the Eddas that feel specially relevant and been open to whatever this extremely interesting deity wants to tell me through whatever channels he wishes to use.
Things that have struck me (and I do mean struck, like a big thwack in the centre of the chest), in no particular order, are…
- Odin is not just a god of war. He’s a god of all sorts of things including ordeal, communication, ecstasy, seeking wisdom, death, and enlightenment attained through self-sacrifice. He is a scholar, a skeptic, a scientist, a writer, a wanderer and a wonderful party host. He’s a smart cookie and he takes no shit.
- He’s a gender-bending magical shaman rock star. Seriously. For example, even though seidr (Norse witchcraft, to define it briefly) was considered a thing for the womenfolk, Odin was all, “Fuck your prescriptive gender roles and judgy ways, I’m gonna do this epic magic and I don’t care what anyone thinks”. I paraphrase, but you get the gist.
- Dude thinks deeply. He worries about the worlds. He fears that his ravens (a gift from Hel, and whose names, Huginn and Muninn, roughly translate as Thought and Memory) might just bugger off one day and never come back. Even the All Father gets a bit worried about losing his powers of understanding and contemplation.
- He is the ultimate warrior poet, a beautiful contradiction and an inspiration for anyone who believes that magic, art, science, emotional intelligence and strength can all co-exist in one complex, divine package.
Following a steaming pile of BULLSHIT in capital letters over the last few years, I’d lost sight of the part of my spirit that strengthened my voice, the part of my spirit that knew I deserved more than to sit down, shut up and shoulder the burden of all the crap going on around me. It had become broken, shrunken, hidden. More recently, it has recovered and grown again, stronger for the spiritual scar tissue it has gathered as it healed.
Over the last eight months, I have left all that shit behind me, put my damn self on the path I wanted to be on, got serious about not wasting my skills or giving up on my dreams, and found my voice again. My body may not work the way other people’s do, I may be dis-abled by a society that is only equipped to be accessible to people whose bodies function in ways that mine can’t, and I may have have cracks in my bones and my mind that will never go away, but I’ve got my fight back, finally, and I will never, ever, let it go again.
I’m a strong believer in the importance of timing and opportunity, that no matter how amazing something might have the potential to be, if it comes along at the wrong time in your life, you won’t be receptive to it. I’m also a strong believer in strength, determination and the power of people who genuinely give a shit, to change things for the better – for themselves, for their immediate community and for the wider world they come into contact with physically and through the tubes of the interwebs.
And when a warrior poet witch god throws a storm at you, you open your arms to it and you fucking roar.