Gnosis Diary: Life as a Heathen

My personal experiences, including religious and spiritual experiences, community interaction, general heathenry, and modern life on my heathen path, which is Asatru.

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Bloggers
    Bloggers Search for your favorite blogger from this site.
  • Login
    Login Login form

Asatru FAQ: Was Odin Human?

The Asatru FAQ series is my answers to questions asked on my forum, the Asatru Facebook Forum. Frequently Asked Question: Was Odin human?

My answer:

That's a fairly common interpretation, but I personally don't think he was.

The logic of the interpretation of Odin as human who ascended to godhood goes like this: Tyr was the original Sky God and King. Odin appeared in the culture suddenly. Odin's myth includes a shamanic initiation, or possibly two-- the Tree and the Well. He was therefore a great mystic to ascended to godhood.

The problem with this interpretation is that Odin's myth also says he sculpted our world and humanity. If one is going to say that part of Odin's myth, the part about initiation as a magic user, is a literal history of an actual person, then how can we simply ignore another part of the same figure's myth? It makes more sense to say all parts of his myth are metaphorical and none are literal.

I personally interact with Odin in the form of the trinity of brothers who created the world and humans (Odin / Honir / Lodhur.) So, that part of his story is very important to me, and I don't want to just shrug it off.

Image: Gods of Asgard calligraphy by Erin Lale

 

Last modified on
Erin Lale is the author of Asatru For Beginners and other books. She was sworn to Freya as Priestess in 1989, given to Sigyn, and is a Bride of Odin and his brothers (Honir, Lodhur, Loki.). She has been a freelance writer for about 30 years, was the editor and publisher of Berserkrgangr Magazine, is gythia of American Celebration Kindred, and admin/ owner of the Asatru Facebook Forum. In 2010 and 2013, she ran for public office. She is a dyer and fiber artist, was acquisitions editor at a small press for 5 years, and is the author of the Heathen Calendar 2017 and 2018.

Comments

  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham Monday, 01 July 2019

    Wasn't it that historian Saxo Germanicus who first identified Odin as some ancient king?

  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale Wednesday, 03 July 2019

    Indeed, but he didn't have access to the full range of heathen mythology that we have today, and didn't know the story of Odin-and-brothers as sculptor of the world and of humanity. He is an important source of information, especially because he wrote very early on before the northern peoples were converted to xianity, but he was writing as an outsider who observed the Germanic tribes, not as someone who actually learned all their oral lore.

  • Please login first in order for you to submit comments

Additional information