One-Eyed Cat: Norse Paganism & Northern European Witchcraft

This is the magic of Freyja and I am her völva: a seer, priestess and oracle.

Sharing wisdom taught directly by the Norse Gods over twenty years of practice, I teach safer seiðr / seidr / seidhr (Norse trance work and fate-magic), reverent animism, and deeper workings with the Gods and land spirits through respect for all life and peoples.

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3 Misconceptions About the Norse God Odin

Posted by on in Paths Blogs


For some reason, when you work alongside certain deities, outside folks loooooove to come and chat you up about Them. Only, rather than asking questions out of genuine desire to learn, more often than not, it seems to turn into a smug confessional. I’ve even gotten the literal elbow poke to the ribs from folks who’ve never met a Norse God. Wink, wink. Toothy grin. “You know what he’s like right, riiiight?”

It really makes me feel like I’m talking about Geralt of Rivia.

When folks do this, stop smiling politely and holding your tongue. Don’t be patient, no matter who it is. Politely interrupt and set them straight right then and there— the way you would if someone talked smack about you, your family member, or the one you love. Because the Norse Gods are that. Family. It’s the least we can do, loving them back.

So, here are the three most egregious misconceptions about Oðinn I run across that I’d like to set straight, as his student, lover, friend and völva. These are lobbed from fellow pagans, academia, and within both Heathenry and Asatru:

Oðinn is a harsh God

No, he isn’t. He’s strict—and if he’s willing to show up in your life, his expectations for you are high. Big difference.

From a decade of experience as his pupil, I can say that Oðinn’s demeanor and M.O. is very like a martial arts instructor (in fact, one of my nicknames for him used to be ‘sensei’). When he shows up to teach you, it means he sees something extraordinarily worthy in you. And he will push, relentlessly, until he brings that out in you. Not mercilessly. Unstoppably. Until you either learn the lesson and stand up to him (good job!), gain some humility (hey, it happens), or  rocket to the stratosphere doing things you never even thought were possible.

You know all those stories about the gifted student who curses their hard-driving instructor, wrangling with both self-assertion and approval from the hard-ass… only to find out later they love them like a parent— and teacher loved them that way, all along? If you’ve watched The Witcher… think Yennefer and the Rectress. And exactly why that dynamic happens, despite what Yennefer thinks.

Yeah, he’s that kind of God.

Oðinn loves death and destruction

Are you #$%!‘in kidding me?! One of the few times I’ve ever seen the Big O cry was over a historic battle that changed the course of history— in the wrong direction, mourning every single man and bit of lineage wiped out there. On both sides.

Two of Oðinn’s forgotten by-names are, “The Sacrifice for Men” and “The Ancient Sacrifice”, in verse 2 and verse 13 of Baldrs Draumar . It’s what both the narrator and the raised-up völva call him in the big-reveal moments.

Oðinn, along with his two brothers, Vili and Ve, is also called “strong and loving” at the dawn of humanity, within the poem Voluspá, verse 17.

Now, does that sound like a God who revels in violence? Does a man sacrifice himself for those he doesn’t care about?

Oðinn orchestrated the death of Baldr

Ok, go back to church. Like, now. Thank you. You never stopped being Christian despite all the Viking glosses.  Still here, willing to let that stuff go? Good. Relax, you’re in good company.

Oðinn’s wife is named Frigg. You recognize that word? Because it is a word, not just a name. Literally, she is Beloved. That’s not a euphemism, but the old word for the sex act, with no Christian distinction between who you love and who you make love to. Does this tell you something about Oðinn’s massive level of heart, passion and devotion?

Does this sound like the kind of man who would use his family like chess pieces?

Do you think he would do that to his wife?

Now, do you want to look him in the eye and say that he did?

Have any other direct experiences with the Norse Gods you’d like to share? I’d love to hear them! Let’s set the record straight by collectively speaking out on our dieties’ behalf.

All Poetic Edda quotes are from Carolyne Larrington’s beautiful translation. Meme by me, with a still from The Witcher. (Go watch it, it’s a thoroughly pagan story in mindset. And a good, harsh lesson that magic ain’t free.)

Interested in more real-life experiences with Norse Gods? See The Eye of the Storm: How I met Loki, Odin: A Vision of the Yule King, and What Odin Taught Me About

You can also always stop by and ask me questions over at

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Shirl Sazynski is a priestess trained directly by Frey, Odin, Loki and Freyja. She is passionately committed to healing the rift between us and the ancestors and strengthening our friendship with the Gods, the land and the spirits sharing our world.
Her column, "One-Eyed Cat", runs in Witches and Pagans Magazine. An oracle, icon painter and author, her work has appeared in both popular and pagan media.


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