(Re-)connecting with Odin
Just like I’ve recently reconnected with the Norse Goddess of the Dead, Hel, I also recently reconnected with Odin. Today’s post (it’s Wednesday, Odin’s Day, after all) is all about connecting with Odin. We’re also looking at some of the signs he might use to communicate.
I want to start by sharing a story to help illustrate how Odin can use technology to send signs. He is the god who rules the Element of Air, so it should come as no surprise that he can and will use modern-day tech and gadgets. Yesterday’s signs from Hel were all in nature but today’s sign arrived in the form of a video link from a dear friend.
This friend doesn’t know that I will work with Odin as my tutelary deity from the start of the New Year (1 November). Nor will it have occurred to her that Wednesday is Odin’s day. She’s also probably not aware of what signs are connected with Odin as she’s not really into the Norse Myths. But the video she sent me is titled ‘Wolf Totem.’ And it’s full of Odin symbology, including references to shape-shifting. I pulled a card from the Holy Light Tarot to verify that this was a sign from Odin and got the Valkyrie-like Queen of Swords, watched over by one-eye. So yeah…
Preparing to Work with Odin as a Tutelary Deity
I shared the reason for spending one year going deep into the faith of my Norse/Nordic (the Saami included) ancestors in an Instagram post not long ago. However, in that post, I didn’t share that I am working with Odin as my tutelary deity for my year-long N=1 experiment. The truth of the matter is that Odin first chose to connect with me back around the same time that Hel came into my life.
Back in 2010 I had my first encounter with Odin, while working on module one of Freya Aswynn’s rune correspondence course. It wasn’t long after that my life fell apart and I never progressed in my rune studies at the time, nor did I continue working with Odin.
Odin left me to my own devices when I failed to pick up the phone and waited until I was ripe and ready. This coincided with studies in Norse Shamanism that I started a couple of weeks ago. As part of the program, we have to journey and the first deity to show up was Odin. And you’ll never guess what the first spirit animal was! Wolf! Of course.
My plan is to work with different deities/spirits each day of the week. Mondays are dedicated to the Norns and the disir, Tuesdays to Hel (I wasn’t feeling Tyr), Wednesdays to Odin, Thursdays to Thor, Fridays to Freya, Saturdays to Loki, and Sundays will be my day off (though not quite but that part is private).
Through all of this, Odin will be my guide. It was in this capacity he appeared as I journeyed to ask for assistance while exploring the faith and practices of my ancestors.
Patron Deity? No Thanks!
The term patron deity is not really a Norse/Nordic concept. We are supposed to find a patron deity to work with for the course I’m doing but I prefer the term tutelary deity. I also prefer committing for a fixed term of a year rather than for life. I’m not ready for a patron deity and I’m not sure I ever will be.
ETA Dec 2022: I didn’t last the year. I gradually grew more uneasy about working with Aesir and started drifting about six months in. They were possibly even less comfortable with me than I was with them. It just wasn’t a good fit. I keep wandering and I keep returning to the Lord. You can learn more about what happened with that in this podcast episode where I’m interviewed by Tom Llewellyn.
A concept similar to a patron deity in Norse Paganism would be fulltrúi (encompassing dedication). However, many Pagans do not like this concept because it’s a form of henotheism. Henotheism means acknowledging that there are many gods but choosing to worship just one. For me, connecting with the gods is more about forming a good working relationship than about worship, and I wish to learn from as many of them as possible.
A concept I like better is the one described in Ásatrú for Beginners by Mathias Nordvig. It’s ástvinr (loving friend). Just like you can form closer bonds with some humans than with others, it’s natural that you feel more kinship with certain gods than others. However, the goal for me with exploring Norse paganism is to get to know myself and my ancestors better first and foremost and that is why I wish to connect with as many of the deities that mattered to my ancestors as possible.
Odin is definitely an ástvinr and someone I relate to on many levels. Freya Norling suggests that Odin might have a connection to my Saami ancestors as well. Hearing this made me feel even closer to him. I share his thirst for wisdom as well as his dislike of imposing dogma/regulations. As Freya Norling accurately points out, these are very Saami traits of his.
Signs that Odin is Connecting with You
As previously mentioned, wolves are a sign that Odin is wanting to connect with you. Odin’s two wolf companions are known as Freki and Geri. Ravens are also associated with Odin, just as they are with Hel, since he too is very much a death god. His two personal ravens are known as Hugin and Munin.
One of Odin’s names is Hveðrungr which means Weather Changer, so any time you seek to connect with Odin in nature and there is a quick change in the weather conditions, you know that you are being heard. A good tip is to get to know as many of Odin’s names as possible since he might use one of them to connect with you as well.
Other well-known symbols associated with Odin are drinking horns (the horns of Odin), spears (because of Odin’s spear, Gugnir), the Valknut, staffs, wide-brimmed hats, blue cloaks, one-eyed people, and an eight-legged horse (Sleipnir) that helped Odin travel between the nine worlds of Yggdrasil.
You’re obviously more likely to come across a raven or hear one cawing than you are seeing an eight-legged horse. But let’s not forget that Odin does communicate via electronic means and images related to Odin could start showing up uninvited in your feed. These could also act as signs that Odin is connecting with you.
How to Leave an Offering for Odin
It’s easy! Odin doesn’t eat and he only drinks alcohol! Meade is probably a favourite tipple. However, don’t be afraid to try different types of alcohol to see which one seems to raise more of his energy and presence.
Modern-day Pagans often write poetry to their Deities as offerings. You can commit your poems to the hearth or burn them in the cauldron as an offering.
It might be a good idea to leave an offering for Loki as well if it is alcohol you are using. Odin once made a vow to not drink unless a drink was offered to Loki as well.
To me, leaving an offering isn’t a form of worship; it’s a form of fellowship.
If you leave a drink offering you can let it sit overnight on your altar. Pour it out in nature, never down the sink.
Happy Odin’s Day!