Worshiping Woden

As many of you know, I am dedicated to Wóden. I have been since about 1989 when I had a dream in which he came to me and gave me a tour of the Nine Worlds. Whether this actually happened or was just a figment of my imagination I do not know. I did count it as significant though, significant enough that I dedicated myself to him. I do not consider him my patron. I do not think gods and goddesses serve as patrons these days. There is not enough evidence to suggest this. Still, I feel that I have had a sometimes close relationship with him. Early on I made regular offerings to Wóden. These were almost always libations of mead, although sometimes I offered necklaces and other such items. My worship of Wóden was closely related to my study of the runes which in the first few years of my being Heathen played a big role in my practice.

Over the years my relationship with Wóden changed. At first, I naively expected him to answer my every prayer. What I found was it was very rare, very, very rare that he would intercede in my life. Usually, it was for the big things, a new job, a new relationship (when I was younger I could not stand to be alone). Even then such intervention was rare even though when it did occur it was for the things that would affect my life in a major way. Over time from these things becoming sour I would blame Wóden, and I began to withdraw from him. Then at some point when I was studying the goddess Fríge I came upon the tale of the naming of the Lombards in the Historia Langobardum. The Lombards were about to enter into a battle with the Vandals. The Vandals had made offerings to Wóden and had been granted victory. The Winnilie as the Lombards were then called had made offerings to Wóden, but to no avail. They then offered to Fríge. She told them at sunrise to go out with their women, and have them pull their hair in front of their faces to make it appear as though they had beards. She then turned Wóden’s bed so he faced them. Upon awaking in the morning he saw the Winnilie, and said “Who are these long beards?” Fr&iacute’ge responded, “Now that you have named them, you must grant them victory.” Thus the Lombards were named, and they won the battle. This tale taught me one important thing. To work with Wóden you must also work with Fríge. From that time I have always made regular offerings to Fríge when I offer to Wóden. I have found that my relationship with Wóden has been much better because of that.

I still pray to Wóden regularly though it is rare I make offerings to him. I think the gods and goddesses really do not take notice of individuals. I think they are more focused on communities. It is rare, I think, for them to intercede in someone’s life. My practice has therefore turned more to veneration of the ancestors. Still, when I have something big in my life I make offerings to Wóden and Fríge. Sometimes they answer and sometimes they do not. This has not changed my relationship with them. I know I am the one responsible for my life, and I should not expect help from anyone. The gods and goddesses, nor the ancestors are at my beck and call. If anything it is the other way around. I am there to serve them. I really cannot offer any advice on following Wóden. The only thing I can say is that you should acknowledge Fríge as well. And expect to be taught personal responsibility. The gods, Wóden especially only help those that help themselves. You cannot expect things to be handed to you on a silver platter.

About these ads

7 thoughts on “Worshiping Woden

  1. THANK YOU!!! I have been saying for years that the gods are not a divine ATM nor a cosmic Santa Claus (although it can be argued that the Santa legends derive from those of Woden/Odin.) A human being has to put the shoulder to the wheel. The gods will help, but no one should be expected to sit on their behinds and let life fall into their laps.

  2. I think there is a reason the gods gave us the gifts we have to effect our worlds through action, proactive-ness, and magic. I think they do take an active interest in certain individuals who are being groomed for a particularly important task. But for the most part all we can only expect from them is support rather than intervention. It is like the final line Masons use in their vows “Make me steadfast to keep and perform the same.”

  3. aheathendragon says:

    From personal experience I would agree with you on the Gods being more responsive to a community then to individuals. I would also agree with the comment on those individuals they do take a personal interest in, that interest though tends to benefit the larger community more then the individual.

  4. Swain, I respect your opinion and have learned a good bit from your books, but my experience with Woden has been more personal than you seem to think is likely.

    I first met the All-Father at an ADF Yule rite last year. I was fairly new to practicing paganism at the time and did not have a patron deity or even any particular one I felt close to. I had tried to approach some of the Irish and Welsh pantheons without feeling much interest from them.

    The experience at the rite felt powerful though, and over the next few months I noticed two things I took as omens: I began to feel a resonance with the Hermit card in Tarot — in particular, the Druidcraft deck — a figure that looks like Odin — and I began to see ravens. (Maybe crows, but close enough.) After a few weeks of this, I held a small ritual at my home shrine, asking Woden to provide a sign if this really was him seeking my attention. Then I walked outside and a moment later, one of the large black birds landed gracefully in a tree in my front yard.

    Fast forward to the past couple of weeks — we had offered to Thor/Thunor asking for protection from Sandy, the ‘superstorm,’ and indeed we emerged from that unscathed. Then we left on a road trip of about 2,000 miles round trip for the Thanksgiving holiday. We briefly discussed a similar ritual to ask for protection on the road, but didn’t do it. It slipped through the preparation cracks because we didn’t make it a priority.

    On day two of the three-day drive, a rock from the road cracked our windshield. The motel where we stayed overnight was a rat trap with a bed made of bricks. On the morning of day three, I slammed the car door on my finger. And a few hours later, when we arrived at our destination, I tripped and fell on the concrete patio and bruised myself pretty good.

    Before we left to return home, we did make an offering .. some Irish whiskey in apology for neglecting to do s earlier and some more in asking Woden to ride with us and protect us on the way back. We identified Woden as the god to offer to because most of the misfortune had happened directly to me. And sure enough, our ride home was completely free of damage and injury. The crack, which has been spreading a little further every day, stopped growing larger about the same time we made our offering.

    So while I do not question your own experiences and the validity of your conclusion about the degree of individual interaction, I think it may not the case for everyone.

  5. rabidbadger73 says:

    At one time I was big on having a patron, but as I’ve grown in my practice I tend to look at the gods and goddesses equally. I think having a favorite rune/ god(dess)/ historical hero/ etc. is very helpful for beginners, but as you grow in your practice, you tend to stop playing favorites, and look at the big picture.

  6. Dale Overman says:

    I like Swain have been dedicated to Woden for two decades now. As my understanding and beliefs have matured, so has the relationship. It was Woden who set my foot on my heathen path 23 years ago of that I am sure.. However, he expects us to mature, learn, and become strong in our religion or path with time. He still aids me perhaps in tough times? I agree with Swain in that if you offer and pray to Woden you need include Frige as well.. I urge folks to connect with their ancestors and the wights of wood, field, and mountain. I feel they interact and perhaps care a bit more for us a people than do the gods.. Your ancestors have a vested interest in your survival in my opinion.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s