Odin's Quest: Symbolism
Odin is One
Please see the post Odin, Tyr, Thor - Demystified which explains why I think Odin means 'One'.
Paganism is about personal spiritual development. Pagan's don't outsource their spirituality to other people, they take responsibility for it themselves. So consider this:
If Odin is One, then this is "One's Quest". We use the word 'one' in English to me 'anyone and everyone'. So this phrase equates to "Your Quest".
So Odin's Quest is literally "Your Quest".
We all must walk the path of Odin, to grow out of the childish emotional ego-mind, into the adult mind of knowledge.
This is the Great-Work of Alchemy: To escape the prison of ideology, and thus the wheel of incarnation, and be truly liberated.
It is to remove the Sword of Spirit, from the clutches of the Stone of Matter, as the legendary English King Arthur did. It's the symbol of what it is to be British. This is our true spirit.
Odin's quest, in the myth, is described in symbolism. It's not as bad as it sounds...
Odin's Single Purpose
Odin is said to have thirsted for knowledge so much he:
a) Plucked out one of his own eyes, and
b) Hung himself of the tree-of-life for 9 days, wounded himself with a spear, and fasted.
In the first story, Odin wanted to drink from the well of Urd, which imparts knowledge of all things, and the price was one of his eyes.
In the second story his aim was to obtain the Runes. They would allow him to know the true name of all things, and thus gain power over them. It gave him great 'magical' power to heal, protect, bind, and even wake the dead, but the implication is that the runes are science, not magic.
"Finding the Runes" would mean finding the correct place in the Universal-Plan for all the basic vocal-sounds used in language, and finding the correct written symbol for each as well. They could not be arbitrary assignments, this would have to be the Universal, Perfect Language, and thus true original common-language of all creation - which all things would understand... So he could talk to all the spirits of Nature directly - thus 'magic'.
The symbolism of the removal of the eye, as I mention a couple of posts back, is that he became single-focused. It symbolises the personal sacrifice of complete dedication to the noble cause of Knowledge & Liberation from the Wheel. Which is probably the same as entry to Valhalla, (The Hall of the Valiant), where you sit at Odin's table, and are 'beside God', i.e. in Para-dise.
(Note: Valhalla is usually translated as the "Hall of the Fallen", but I think this misses the spirit of the word, because it's the same root in Val-iant, Val-our, and Val-id. So it denotes the Valiant, IMO)
Generally the one-eye symbol means total focus & dedication to a single purpose.
The single eye is the single I, the undivided consciousness, God, the All-father, One.
Perhaps he gave up his left eye, symbolising that he could no longer see evil...
And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire.
The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.
Is it a 'coincidence' that Jesus said this? Was he speaking literally, or was Jesus attempting to explain Odininsm to his countrymen?
(Note: My reading of the story of Jesus is that he was trying to bring Paganism and the Common-Law to the Jews.)
Symbolism and Abstract Thinking
All religious texts & stories, of all religions, were written by people who understood symbolism, and abstract thinking. They encoded their messages in the stories. So to understand them, you have to see them in this light. They're not literal truths, but symbolic ones, and they often refer to abstract concepts (e.g. God = Truth, Christ = Logic).
In the Golden-Age, nothing needed to be written down, because people lived a long time, were extremely intelligent, and had phenomenal memories. (Writing is a very difficult way of conveying information, because it's prone to misunderstanding, and there's no opportunity to ask questions.)
But as the seasons turned, the sages of old realised that the Kali-Yuga was upon them, and people were losing the ability to attain the Yang-mind of Independent-thought. The Light of Day was leaving the minds of men...
They wanted to transmit the truth to the future generations, like us, who would be desparately trying to find the truth in a world of darkness, as the world emerged from the terrors of the Kali-Yuga, the Winter of the Long-Year.
But they couldn't transmit those truths directly because people wouldn't have the right-mind to understand them. They'd be misunderstood, or destroyed. The only way they could do it was to hide them in childrens stories...
People are born with the Yin-mind of the child, which only understands literal things, but takes great pride in remembering things accurately. It loves stories and fiction, but hates deep-truth. So the Sages wrote many long and complex stories, of many and varied gods and godesses, steeped in hidden-meaning and symbolism, to be told to the children, and repeated over the generations.
They knew that even the most intelligent of the evil-rulers the world would produce, would never be able to understand the true message of the stories, and so they would never realise the truth they contained, and would, most likely, just ignore those stories. If they became changed, the editors wouldn't know what parts to change to achieve their evil purpose, because the meaning was obscure to them. Yin does not understand Yang
So, I suggest that this is how we should view the old stories...
Imagine you inherited an small statue of a king from your grandfather, intricately-carved, beautiful to look at, with inspiring workmanship, and you treasure it, and pass it on to your son, and he passes it on and so on, for many generations...
Then one day, a child of the family takes the prized heirloom, and smashes it into many pieces on the floor. The family look on aghast at the loss of the ancient statue, ready to punish the child. But among the broken pieces of the statue, they see a diamond, larger than any they had ever seen before...
Before the breakage, the statue was worth quite a lot, a prized antique, but the gemstone it concealed within could buy paradise...
Odin and the Four Elements
The old stories aren't to be taken literally, but as allegory, so here's a personal example of how I perceive the archetypes of the following story in my own life...
The story of Odin hanging on Yggdrasil, the world-tree for 9 days, wounding himself with a spear & fasting... It sounds awful, but it's metaphorically similar to what I've been doing, which isn't that bad...
I fast from the world, as a hermit in nature, literally in the middle of nowhere. I go out as little as possible. I don't watch TV, or listen to music much. I have trees & wildlife, and chickens. (Chickens are lovely.) It's peaceful & I like it.
I'm not particularly interested in what I eat, what I wear, or what I look like. That's boring.
It's important to exercise though, however old you are...
Odin wounded himself, by sticking a spear in his own side. Why would he do that? Here's a possible answer...
A spear pierces. You could say Truth is like a penetrating-spear, and Logic is like a dividing-sword... Facts don't divide but they do penetrate the mind. They are Yang to us, and fertilise our consciousness with information. How we then interpret it, is logic, a separate process.
The lower part of the body probably represents the lower-self, the ego / animal-mind / Yin-mind.
What Truth could Odin have penetrated his mind with, in order to wound his lower-self? Perhaps the simple truth that his ego was not him...
It seems to me that's the first lesson on the spiritual path: To realise your ego, your emotions, bodily urges, and thoughts are not you. All those things will be lost at death (or reincarnation), because they are the Elements of Earth (body), Water (emotion), and Air (thought), and they all contain Yin (which is Death, in this context).
The only thing that can be passed between incarnations is your Will - your Desire - the Fire Element, because it's the only Element that contains no Yin (It's Yang-Yang), and so cannot be touched by death.
I've been consciously training myself to crush my ego. That's taken some effort, I was very narcissistic before. Narcissism is very common these days, but it makes one foolish and defneding one's ego is dishonourable.
The first thing you have to do to control your ego, is be able to name all the emotions/feelings you have.
To break a spell - you have to name it.
You have to be able to observe & name your emotions, because then you separate yourself from them. You're the observer, they're the observed. Then you can see that they are not you. Your feelings & emotions aren't the real you, you are the observer, they are something else...
Here's a simple experiment that might work for you: Close your eyes, and see if you can locate where you are in your body.
You can ask yourself "Am I above or below my eyes", and "Am I above or below the top of my head?".
You'll (probably) find that your consciousness is at the point (roughly) where the pineal-gland is located.
You're the observer, your body is a vehicle, and you're along for the ride... Everything you experience is the "not you", by definition. It just feels like it is you because your Sword (Spirit) is still stuck in the Stone (Matter). This is the essential power of illusion of the Goddess - to make it all seem real. (And doesn't she do a good job, and isn't she beautiful.)
You have to kill the ego because it's a false-image of you, and so is the only thing that stands in the way of you remembering who you really are, and where you came from. It is your personal Satan, your adversary who God put there, so you can learn how to defeat it, and return home.
That's the only reason why evil exists - to be overcome. How else would you learn to be good?
And learning is sometimes forgetting: Forget who you think you are, that's the ego... You're not a mortal human, you only appear to be. To remember who you are, you have to forget who you think you are. The false-self has to die.
I've spent years (not yet 9) "hanging on the tree of life", i.e. contemplating God, the Dao & the Four Elements, to the exclusion of much of a social life.
It's not literally hanging with a rope, it's 'hanging' in the sense of to 'hang on to every word', to listen attentively. To be hanging around, waiting for that important phone-call from the person you love...
When you 'hang' on something, you're making yourself Yin to it. You're being supported by it. You're dependent on it. And you're not going anywhere... It's 'submission' to God.
"(Jesus) said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ”
The weather during Odin's period on the tree was reportedly windy... Wind/Air symbolises Law because it pushes in a single direction, and you can't see it. He was "open to the elements", subject to the wind, a servant of the law.
You'll be pleased to know that no actual physical removal of body-parts is necessary...
I've metaphorically, and not literally, "plucked out one of my eyes". It just means to become focused on a single thing. In this case: the Whole Truth - and to go beyond ideology to knowledge. I could've done it to focus on becoming rich, but my heart just wasn't in it.
Everything else seems pretty dull & boring to me these days. The Great-Work is a path with a heart. It gives a lot back. I've no regrets.
Truth is Yang, and Yang is One - it can't be divided. If you divide truth, you have lies. Partial truth is no truth at all.
“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
Odin is God, and when incarnated is the Realised-Man, the Christ, Krishna (Hinduism: worshipped as the eighth avatar of the god Vishnu and also as the supreme God in his own right.) These are all avatars of the Prime Creator, in flesh.
Odin is the Hero, who sacrifices himself for a higher purpose. Odin is Truth, reason, science, free-will, and ego-death.
This archetype is available for any human being to embody, if they so choose. It's not limited or restricted to any 'special' people (as the Christians claim) - anyone can choose it - because we have free will.
That's probably the only real choice that humans have, which Archetype to embody: Alliegance to which god / principle / ideology.
So Odin is both the All-Father, One, and he's the Son: Logic. He's the God, and the God incarnated as a Man, which any man could embody. This was the original pagan vision that I suspect Christianity was based on, only they excluded everyone with the story that 'Jesus' was special, and not just an ordinary man. Please see Was Jesus Special?
Odin's quest is our quest. We all have to do this at some time...
You can put it off until your next lifetime, but do you really want to have to go through all the trials of early life again? The path to freedom may not be so easily available in the future, in your next life.
The world really needs more people with genuine virtue & valour today, next lifetime may be too late.
There's no honour in failing Odin's test, or in being a baby again..
Paganism is about honour and virtue. I'd hate to have to be reincanated again.
I'd prefer to sit at Odin's table instead, but it's up to me to be worthy.
Unfortunately you can't buy 'indulgences' in paganism, unlike the 'climate-change' religion, where you can buy 'carbon-credits'.
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