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.

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Novel Gnosis part 39: Wolves Ravens and Brothers

Continuing my series on novel gnosis, that is, religious insights I gained via writing my unpublished novel Some Say Fire, today I'm talking about Odin and the number 3. Three as a sacred number recurs in many stories in heathen mythology, that it, the mythology of the pre-Xian peoples of northern Europe. It also occurs again and again in the broader context of pagan mythology in the rest of Europe and related cultures. Odin's symbol the Valknut is a set of 3 interlocking triangles.

In the Fireverse, the universe of Some Say Fire, Odin’s 2 wolves Geri and Freki are generated out of Odin. Like his 2 ravens and his 2 brothers, he creates them by dividing himself. He has the power to divide himself into 3 parts and he does it 3 times: once each to create the wolves, the ravens, and his brothers.

Odin's ravens are named Huginn and Muninn, or Mind and Memory. The 2 ravens are Odin’s exobrains. He divided himself to create them, in a process rather like cell division except in a dimension in which that results in 3 entities (the original plus two beings unlike the original) instead of 2 (which are similar to each other.) The ravens have independent consciousness and will, but when they return to Odin’s proximity they can communicate with him and share thoughts and memories. Traditionally, the ravens observe what happens on Earth (in Midgard) and report back to him, but in the Fireverse they have an additional function. Odin stores some of his memories in his exobrains, and when they are away from him he is unaware of some things that he knows when they are present.

Traditionally, Odin's brothers with whom he sculpted the world and humanity are a trinity called Odhinn, Vili, and Ve or Odin, Honir, and Lodhur. Loki is widely believed by heathens to be the same god as Lodhur, but in the lore he is called Odin's blood-brother, which means a brother adopted in adulthood through a ritual. In the Fireverse, when Odin and Loki go through the blood-brother ritual, the spirit of Lodhur becomes one with Loki, so that he becomes Odin's true brother generated out of himself, "and then it had always been that way." Time doesn't work the same way for the gods as it works for us. Their actions affect the past as well as the future.

Image: watercolor art of a wolf and raven by Heather Cole, creative commons via Pixabay




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Erin Lale is the author of Asatru For Beginners, and the updated, longer version of her book, Asatru: A Beginner's Guide to the Heathen Path. Erin has been a gythia since 1989. She was the editor and publisher of Berserkrgangr Magazine, and is admin/ owner of the Asatru Facebook Forum. She also writes science fiction and poetry, ran for public office, is a dyer and fiber artist, was acquisitions editor at a small press, and founded the Heathen Visibility Project.


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