Why Odin?

 

Odin-Cinemagraph

People ask me sometimes “why Odin?” I’m always boggled by that question. It’s asked with honest curiosity of course and it’s not something that ever gives offense, still I always find myself puzzled when it comes up: how could it not be Odin?

Firstly, the question presupposes that I chose Him instead of being called to service by Him and my experience was far more the latter than the former. I’ve talked about this aspect of devotional work before, that sometimes it’s the Deity calling the human forth. I’m not going to focus on that here. Instead I want to tackle the question in the spirit it’s usually asked: why would I cement myself so deeply to Odin (if I had any other choice)?

Even writing it, this boggles. How could I not? It’s not a matter of being a godatheow, it’s not a matter of being in service and having given my consent and choice to Him a long time ago … none of that is enough for a truly good and positive devotional relationship. More and more I’m coming to think that to be in the best relationship possible with one’s holy Powers, one has to make that choice again and again, every single day: when I wake up, I can choose to order myself, inside (heart, mind, spirit) and outside (actions) around Him and my understanding of what He wants from me or not. He doesn’t have to force this. It would have little worth if it were forced again and again. This is something that I compel myself to do … it is a turning of my own heart inside out for Him every day. This is a daily renewal of our relationship, our bond of service, my love for Him, my devotion. This is what I do to maintain a clean, healthy relationship with Him while being in service to Him. Could I serve Him without this mindful recommitment? Sure, I suppose so but it would not be vital, it would not be clean, it would not be done well. I care about such things: I want to love Him well.

The argument usually given when this question is asked is “but He’s so hard.” Yes. He can be very hard upon those He claims but He is hard upon Himself, harder than we can ever imagine. I often think that all of the Powers have the potential to be demanding in ways for which we, raised as we are in a culture unaccustomed to reverencing clean and honorable service, lacking in some cases even the definition of what this might be, are scarcely ready. We come to our devotions terribly unprepared. This steepens the learning curve of course and, I suspect makes the process more difficult than it otherwise has to be. Ironically I also believe that it’s precisely this spirit of clean devotion: to the Gods, to the ancestors, that is the curative for that cultural disconnection.

 

I often feel tremendously sad for our various communities (and let’s not pretend that there’s any one Heathen community; there isn’t. There are many intersecting and often opposed communities). We have such a long way to go before we grasp even the most basic understanding of what devotion is all about and the many ways it can benefit not just the Gods but the community itself as well. We fight the very medicine that would make us stronger and more cohesive. The learning curve is very, very steep.

Why Odin? It’s Odin. He is my everything. He is the breath upon which I live and die. He holds my heart. How could it not be Odin? Even in mortal love, we seldom have the luxury of choosing to whom our hearts are given in adoration. The heart knows its master. It knows its best shelter. It knows wherein to find its most fulfilling joy; and if that joy requires a bit of sacrifice now and again, such things only make the whole thing sweeter. That’s why Odin; because there are conversations of devotion between us that even I have no capacity to translate. Because He did not have to write Himself into my heart, He was already there. Perhaps because, just because, I never had to ask why.

I’m often asked if I ask Him for things. Usually only one: let me love and serve you cleanly and well. Anything else I need will flow from that as inevitably as the sun will rise.

May He always be hailed.

(Excerpted from “He is Frenzy” by Galina Krasskova, Sanngetall Press).

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About ganglerisgrove

Free-range tribalist Heathen, Galina Krasskova, has been a priest of Odin and Loki since the early nineties. Originally ordained in the Fellowship of Isis in 1995, Ms. Krasskova also attended the oldest interfaith seminary in the U.S.- the New Seminary where she was ordained in 2000 and where she later worked as Dean of Second Year Students for the Academic year of 2011-2012. She has even given the opening prayer at the United Nations Conference “Women and Indigeny”. Beyond this, she took vows as a Heathen gythia in 1996 and again in 2004, She is the head of Comitatus pilae cruentae and a member of the Starry Bull tradition. She has been a member of numerous groups through the years including the American Academy of Religion. She has also served previously as a state government contracted expert on the Asatru faith, and been a regular contributor to various print and online publications geared towards modern pagans and polytheists, and for a time had her own radio program: Wyrd Ways Radio Live. Ms. Krasskova holds diplomas from The New Seminary (2000), a B.A. in Cultural Studies with a concentration in Religious Studies from Empire State College (2007), and an M.A. in Religious Studies from New York University (2009). She has completed extensive graduate coursework in Classics (2010-2016) and is pursuing a Masters in Medieval Studies at Fordham University (expected graduation 2019) with the intention of eventually doing a PhD in theology. She has also been teaching University classes in Greek and Latin. As part of her academic career Ms. Krasskova has written a number of academic articles, and also presented at various academic conferences including Harvard University, Claremont University, Fordham University, Ohio State University, Western Michigan University, Villanova University, and the City University of New York. An experienced diviner and ordeal master, her primary interest is in devotional work and the reconstruction of Northern Tradition shamanism. Her very first book, The Whisperings of Woden was the landmark first devotional text to be written in modern Heathenry. Ms. Krasskova has a variety of published books available running the gamut from introductory texts on the Northern Tradition, as well as books on shamanism, runes, prayer, and devotional practices. She is also the managing editor of “Walking the Worlds,” a peer-reviewed academic style journal focusing on contemporary polytheism and spirit work and the first journal of polytheology. While very busy with teaching and school, she does also occasionally lecture around the country on topics of interest to contemporary Heathenry and polytheisms. A passionate supporter of the arts Ms. Krasskova enjoys going to the opera, theater, and ballet. Her affection for the arts began early as she discovered dance, which she pursued professionally becoming a ballet dancer: first with a regional company in Maryland, then in New York City. After suffering career ending injuries, she would find new forms of expression in the visual arts. For a few years Ms. Krasskova co-owned an art gallery in the Hudson River Valley of New York, and over a course of numerous years she has studied a multitude of art mediums: glassblowing, watercolor, acrylic, photography and more! She is now an avid collage artist, acrylic painter and watercolorist and has even enjoyed placement in international artist-in-residencies programs in New York, New Mexico, and Poland. Her work has been exhibited globally from New York to Paris. She has taken her passion for the arts and polytheistic devotion, to create the Prayer Card Project. Since so much religious iconography has been destroyed, or defaced in the course of human history, she is actively making new religious prayers and iconography available to the various modern polytheistic communities to support those who are building their religious communities, building their devotional practices, and hungering for art that represents their religious faith. All while also supporting the artists within these burgeoning communities.

Posted on January 4, 2016, in Heathenry, Odin, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Your post just prompts me to sing:

    Ancient God of wisdom,
    of magic and the dead,
    of warriors and poets too,
    All-Father we hail!

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  2. Great post. I too was called to Odin after searching for two years for a “patron goddess”. Imagine my surprise when I found myself swept up into the wonderful storm that He is. I honor all of the Northern Gods, but it is Odin that has my heart. May I learn to serve him well.

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  3. ” I can choose to order myself, inside (heart, mind, spirit) and outside (actions) around Him and my understanding of what He wants from me or not.”

    As a polytheist, do you find it difficult to do this, specifically for a single god? Perhaps it is because of your particular relationship with Odin that this comes more naturally? I don’t mean to say that having a deep relationship with any god is ‘easy’, but I know that I personally can find myself swamped when praying as I may start with this god or group of gods (typically close familial relations) and then end up praying to a much longer list of gods than I had initially expected. This can be exhausting and often feels entirely too shallow as part of me frantically tries to make sure all the gods important to me (how me-centric I know) get at least some attention when I started out focusing more on another god.

    I want to focus more of my attention around the gods, but if relatively superficial interactions cause this ‘swamping’, sometimes with all the attendant panic that might come with being in a boat that is suddenly taking on water, I confess to being terrified of what being in a closer relationship might be like. Or rather I’m terrified that being in a closer relationship with one, would result in an avalanche of other close relationships to the point of being overwhelmed. This is likely a foolish fear but as one so dedicated to the Gods and Odin in particular I’m curious what your thoughts might be on the matter?

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    • ganglerisgrove

      oh sometimes it’s a complete pain in the ass. There are times too where I go through periods of deep acedia, where nothing seems to be working and my motivation is vexed. Only thing I know to do is push through and stay the course. But yeah, sometimes it’s exhausting. Odin comes first and then all the other Gods and if there’s ever a conflict I’ll seek out a diviner or divine myself. that helps.

      I do find that a relationship with One is likely to bring relationships tangentially with Others lOl but it will order itself out, truly. it will happen so organically usually that it’s not so overwhelming.

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