Personal View of Odin
The following is essentially a personal narrative of my spiritual quest leading to my involvement with Odin on a variety of levels and of various aspects. It is therefore highly subjective and perhaps biased in places. A version of this article has been published in “Idunna”, the magazine of the Ring of Troth, U.S., at the request of Diana Paxson its editor, and I thought that it may make a quite nice addition to my website.
To quickly recap on my personal history. After an horrendous childhood in Holland subjected to ‘the system’ and all that goes with it, I finally emerged into the world at the age of nineteen, and soon got involved with the occult. Having been taught the basics in a spiritualist circle and later on studied some years the material of the AMORC, I struck out on my own and emigrated from Holland to England to get involved with Wicca in 1980.
It was within this Wiccan context that I had my first inkling about Wodan, although I was aware of the existence of runes, as my first husband George introduced me to these. In 1980 through an amazing series of coincidences I ended up in the house of Alex Sanders in Bexhill, Surrey and was initiated into Wicca. A that meeting a young man with severe halitosis (I can still smell it) was waffling on about the Germanic gods and Adolf Hitler and he claimed on that occasion that he had been an SS camp commander, which totally put me off this god Wotan whom he kept mentioning. The same person in 1986(?) in a Runic Guild meeting claimed to have been von Stauffenberg! However after being initiated by Jim Bennett in Alex’s coven I met Lionel and with him formed a coven in 1981. It was within the coven that I slowly became aware of Him, whose name I did not know at the time.
Everyone seemed to be worshipping all sorts of gods, from Egyptian to Greek and especially Celtic. Somewhere in 1980 I was given a book to review by the editor of an occult Thelemic magazine named Aquarian Arrow. The book, on the runes, was by Carlyle Pushong! Needless to say the book was shite and I did not bother with the runes any further. Sometime after that, in 1982, during coven meetings a dark hooded figure was seen time and time again every bloody meeting, standing outside the circle, waiting to be recognized and invited in. My good friend Charlie who had this sight convinced us all that it was Saturn and, no, you did not want to invite him in!
Charlie was a Greek classical scholar from Cambridge as well as a Wiccan High Priest and none of us questioned him in this matter. During this time I was also leading a magickal training group named ‘The Free Spirit’. We worked all sorts but mainly Western Mysteries and Arthurian. During that year I became very restless and felt a pressure building up that I had to do something specific. During that time I actually had a dream of being in an office seeing a psychiatrist, an elderly grey haired gentleman with gold rimmed glasses, and he handed me a large golden key. It took me years to connect this. I had to open, until then virtually unexplored, part of the esoteric mysteries, namely the Northern Tradition. But whilst writing this, I realized that Wicca was not the sole portal of entrance to the Odinic Mysteries.
Recently lessons have come to light which I did in 1981 from a Western Mysteries Inner Order. I’ve always had the greatest admiration for Dion Fortune. Hers were the first occult books that I read. It was only in 1996 that I read hers and Seymour’s magickal diaries and found out that she was originally appointed to do this job; however, during the second WW? I don’t think so! So it was down to me 30 years later! I now think that those two lessons opened up the Inner Plane contact with Wodan; in Lesson Two or Three some months later in 1982/3. The exercise was to “meditate on J.C. on the Tree Of Life” and no, not Yggdrasil either. Well I have always had a fascination for the Cabala and my layout of Yggdrasil was inspired by my studies in this field. However, J.C.? No way! I immediately dropped these lessons, as no way was I a ‘Kristjan’.
At that time I initiated a rune worker into my coven and he introduced me to the Runes properly as the futhark: the first book I read in ‘82, ‘83 was ‘Runes’ by Ralph Elliott; in it I stumbled on the verses of the Havamal where Odin described his initiation on Yggdrasil, and I was so obsessed with the subject that for a long time I could feel everything he went through! This was the experiment required in the Western Mysteries Order called: ‘ going through the nadir’; but after another manner. When first I was ‘contacted’ there was nothing; not even ‘Blum’s’ or ‘Flowers’ for that matter – just some cabbages floating about! I was on my own!
Then an incident occurred in the coven, in which my husband Lionel compromised himself with a visiting priestess. I was devastated. However this was the trigger for a major change of focus in my life. I separated myself for one day and called out to Wodan. All of a sudden I knew who it was outside that circle! Bollocks to Saturn; it was Wodan all along! That wild unceremonious verbally violent scream of invocation resulted in my being enlisted in His service. And so I remain to this day. The same night I ‘got the runes’ – just like that! Everything fell into place. Poor old Lionel spent the remainder of our relationship in second best position. So there I was on my tod in a coven full of ‘Celts’ and ‘Greeks’. I was as potty about the ‘Old Man’ as a love struck thirteen-year-old about ‘Elvis’. Didn’t talk about anything else but him day in day out: everyone was sick of hearing about it; Lionel even more so, poor sod! This went on for quite few years. Eclipse No one wanted to know about my recent discovery of Wodan; it was rejected out of hand as Nazi! But soon after this, I met others who followed the Northern path albeit in a slightly different way: I joined the Odinic Rite, sometimes more appropriately spelled Odinic Right. Little did I know. I was just a pagan looking for my own ancestral gods, and doing Rune Readings at a psychic fair in Camden. By the time you read this I will be doing rune Readings via the Net. Through the Odinic Rite though, I met some very valuable people, of whom the most influential was my good friend Jane Whitehead, without whose personal assistance, typing and editing skills, ‘Leaves’ would never have been written, and none of you would have heard of me today! Wassail to Jane! For a short time, I think it was 1985/6, I was running a ‘Runic Guild’ outfit under the auspices of the O.R.; nothing to do with the ‘Rune Gild’ proper. I decided from then on to run my own outfit; Asatru Folk Runic Workshop. I advertised and gave weekend seminars on the Runes, which raised enough money to publish ‘Leaves’ out my own pocket as I did not think any publisher would want it. Thanks to Edred Thorsson, Llewellyn accepted it, and it was first published by them in 1990.
By that time I had left the O.R. for a variety of reasons, mostly because they weren’t occultly inclined. At that time I also got involved in the music business and was involved with ‘Current 93′, led by Dave Tibet. In the same year as ‘Leaves’ was published I also had a record come out, ‘Fruits of Yggdrasil’, which I consider to be the best, most inspired work I’ve ever done. Later recordings are basically well-produced ‘clones’, ‘Fruits’ came from the soul, heavily inspired by Woden himself . My whole existence centred around Woden, from my last conscious thought at night to the first emerging waking up in the afternoon; it was no wonder that by 1993 I was thoroughly burned out. And I made a fatal mistake, and made it more than once: all this time that I was so totally focused, if not obsessed or possessed, depending on a given point of view, by Woden, I simply did not recognize that people were taking advantage of that, financially. Unfortunately when it came to money I wasn’t very much on the ball. I was taken for tens of thousands from ’88 to ’96, that is in 8 years. I won’t go into details, as this is about me and not the cheating scum. By now Woden has redressed the balance anyway. He has given me far more than ever I was robbed of in His name, and not all of this purely financial either.
The most dramatic event after my invocation in 1983 happened in 1993, after my relationship, or what passed for a relationship, with a fantasy writer whom I thought was the perfect person with whom to perform the ‘Great Work’. He seemed to be as dedicated to Woden as I was, and initially he might have been; however I mixed up the ‘planes’, f***ed up by lending him a lot of money in exchange for promises for work most of which never materialized, and lost about three thousand odd quid. Thoroughly disillusioned and sick of the whole thing, two months after this emotional disaster I was invited by Kveldulfr Gundarsson to give a lecture tour in the U.S. for the Ring of Troth. It was there that I met Diana and other very valuable, supportive kin. This tour was also a complete disaster. Whilst I was flying in, the building in Ottawa where I was suppose to speak burned to the ground. Then I got stuck in New York, snowed in for five days, and missed another three talks, two in NY and one in Phoenix. That left just Tucson, L.A and the Bay Area. Needless to say that it was in the Bay area that I met the True Folk and forged deep bonds of friendship with them. Diana introduced me to the practice of ‘channelling’, which in the Northern Traditions was known as ‘Seith’ or ‘Spae’.;When I entered into the home of one of these people a revelation occurred. As I was happily chatting about Odin, getting rather enthus-iastic and chanting a few runes, one poor bugger in the group was ‘grabbed’. I had never seen this before. I had read some books about Voodoo and Santeria where this is a normal practice; but now I could speak to Odin directly, and it changed my life: and of course I wanted some of the action.
Well, at a Fellowship of Isis Conference I got what I asked for. I was asked to invoke Odin and, after a discussion, obtained consent to do this for real. ‘S’, a prominent occultist and magician, volunteered to be the medium. It was a success. People were in awe. Because, until then, for so far I know, no-one apart from spiritualist mediums had done any possessionary work in public. I did. Odin came through loud and clear, gave a speech and left, or so we thought… Later the same afternoon ‘S’ participated in an impressive Egyptian ritual: not a trace of Odin whatsoever. A few days later I was told that after the FOI conference, ‘S’s wife and their guest, a leading Priestess, went to bed. ‘S’ fell asleep on the sofa. He awoke in the early hours of the morning, went upstairs and sat on the bed, and therefore had sat on his wife, who of course woke up. She asked him to get up as he was crushing her; but he was speaking in tongues and completely possessed. Somewhat startled, she commanded in the name of the Goddess that he get up. He did, then sleep-walked to the room of the other priestess and opened her door. At her call of “who is there?”, he answered what sounded like “I am Odd”. She felt that the situation wasn’t ‘right’, but the room was a permanent temple and she noticed that he could not cross the threshold. She gave an occult command that he depart. Both women knew that it wasn’t ‘S’. The priestess thought that he said that he was looking for Freya. Well, they coaxed ‘S’ to normal consciousness and he simply slept the rest of the night, not being aware of anything at all the next day.
When they went downstairs, they found the back door open, and he said that he did remember a desire to walk in the open air and nature, and had walked to the end of the garden and shouted ‘Odin’. ‘S’ experienced some more interference from Odin: a female who claimed to be a priestess of Freya was called in to ‘exorcised’ it. Not very successfully, I may say, as there emerged problems in S’s life for a while; but it set itself right around the same time that my partner Lionel died. At the time, I didn’t know any of this, as I was too busy looking after Lionel. Funny that it did not occur to anyone, even the ‘Elder Priestess’, to simply call me in. A lot of heartache would have been avoided if they just would have applied the most logical solution straight away and sent for Freya as they were asked to do in the first place. There was a sinister effect on me as well, in that there were some people with darker motives who were ‘stirring the shit’ as we say in the UK, between ‘S’ and his wife but also involving me; obvious motives being implied as regarding me. Whilst I was only interested in ‘S’ as he was the only one to be trusted in the UK apart from ‘Wolf’ who lived in Cambridge, who could facilitate verbal communication between me and Odin. I would have travelled through the nine worlds and back to speak to Odin. No other motives were ever involved, my mind operated on only one track: Odin, Odin and again Odin.
Then one day I woke up and Odin was gone! So far as I was concerned I was finished and ready to ‘go and see him in person’ and find out what the f*** was going on. As I was contemplating my one way ticket to Asgard, my wolf brother rang up, some question or comment about Valkyries, and he intuited that something was very wrong. He went out on a vision quest and contacted Odin about this matter. Odin showed him a little crusted cap of some rust-coloured material on my crown chakra. Kveldulfr was instructed by Odin to strike it with Gungnir, the cap burst apart and I was back to normal. ;‘I was however very anxious about the fact that any asshole with a grudge could disconnect me from Odin, my Inner Plane contact. I was thinking about finding a way to eliminate this possibility forever, well at least for this incarnation. I had the idea, but not quite the audacity, to suggest it. I had read in Voodoo literature that devotees sometimes ‘married’ the Loa. At the same time I knew that in Sweden in the Middle Ages (Kveldulfr insert right date and names if you please) a female priestess was considered by all to be the bride of Frey and drove around with a cart and Frey’s statue. When I very subtly questioned Kveldulfr, by coincidence he had come across ‘Agricultural Customs’ by Jan de Vries. In this was mention of a ritual involving the ‘last sheaf’ and Wodan. After due consideration and various consultations we decided that this was the only way for me to progress, both esoterically as well as personal spiritual growth.
On the 28th of November 1993, within a small circle of kinsfolk in attendance, I was married to Wodan. Looking back on all the above described events, I will now offer an esoteric analysis based on the hypothesis that Odin is indeed an initiator. We know from conventional occult teaching from the Western Mysteries, that when a neophyte hits the road into the occult, he or she may be assigned an Inner Plane teacher, and perhaps more than one at any given time relevant to the development of the student. That is from an established occult point of view. This teacher for me was Wodan. He taught me the runes, or at least he facilitated in some way for me to be able to access the Well of Mimir from which I retrieved some of my Runic insights. Now, all this happened after I was given the name Freya in a Wiccan initiation. So at that time I presumed that, because I called myself ‘Freya’, I was recruited by Odin.
Much later I discovered some synchronicities in my background (as described in my personal introduction in Northern Mysteries. For example; the fact that various of Odin’s Heroes, such as Starkadder, Sieglinde, Siegmund and of course Siegfried, have shall we say a rather unconventional if not more modern dysfunctional upbringing; as did I. Much later on I recognized another significant resonance, this time with the;Well of Mimir Freya whose name I was given. In the mythology she searches for Odd, or Odr: an alternate Odin, as is now well accepted by academics and occultists alike. ‘Me, too! I spent the better part of 20 years ‘searching ‘ for Odin, and of course all the time my concept of ‘Odin’ and my understanding of him changed, even after I got married to Him. I am still on a never-ending search, the ‘marriage’ in this respect functioned in the same manner as a major Initiation comparable to those taken in other Inner Orders, with the only difference being that it was done within a circle of close friends rather than a conventional magickal group. As I said, I still am on the search and all along the way I discover that the more I find out, the more doors open to even greater understanding of ‘Odin’ way beyond the popular image of the ‘Old Man’ with the floppy hat, the Odin from the ‘past’. I am now learning and reaching out to the Odin of the ‘future’ so to speak.
As ‘past’ and ‘future’ are equidistant from the ‘present’, this is a most worthwhile path. So, could it be that I was always meant to be His? And if this is true for me, then perhaps every human being on the planet has an Inner Plane connection and the objective of occult practices, whether Asatru or not, is to become aware of this, consciously recognizing it, and enter into a spiritual relationship with it on a daily basis so much so that one becomes part of it. At the same time one may integrate on a depth psychological level the Inner Other of opposite gender. This of course is the magickal and psychological significance of my being ‘married’ to Wodan. And I am now in a better situation spiritually and economically to afford myself the time and the peace to write and teach. Of course now, seventeen years later, this is known. At the time that these processes occur, however, one is usually not aware of it; as one is caught up in the current and swept away. Only years of reflection and meditation will offer the realization of a pattern having been played out in your life, relating, in my case, to the change of name. I am working on a paper regarding name changes for future publication either in my next book or my website or both. There is an Inner Mystery School that Initiates. But it is run by the gods themselves. There is no outer order, as yet.