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Óðinn/Odin: A Reference on the Norse God of Wisdom and War

Please note that this work is subject to updates and that the most recently updated version will always be the document in my google drive linked to on my Resources page. Please also note that you should not accept any of this at face value and always research any of the information I make available yourself. This is intended to be a simple reference and jumping-off point.

Odin and Gunlod by Emil Doepler
Odin bei Gunlod, Emil Doepler

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Musings on Óðinn/Odin

Since I went back to adhering to Germanic Heathenry in 2017, I’ve maintained a distrust of Óðinn because of the many historical instances of his own worshipers calling him “treacherous” or “deceitful,” or otherwise untrustworthy. I’ve kept my distance out of fear until today, but now, I’m thinking that I may have been too quick to judge him. Upon reading these parts of the Havamal, it seems like Óðinn regrets his cruelty towards Gunnlöð:

Stanza 104:

From her golden throne, Gunnlod gave to me
A drink of the glorious mead;
But a poor reward I gave her in return
For her true heart and troubled spirit.

Stanza 108:

I doubt that I would have come home
From the realms of the Giants,
Had I not been helped by Gunnlod,
Whose arms had been around me.

Stanza 110:

Odin swore and oath on a ring;
Who can trust his troth now?
He took drink at Suttung’s table, and betrayed him:
He left Gunnlod in grief.

Before and after these passages, he expresses scorn for women’s deceit, but never for women who are faithful to their word.

So, this is my apology to Óðinn.

Wise god, I was wrong to judge you so quickly when I’ve never known you myself and the bulk of what I’ve heard about your was what others long before my time had to say, and I also recognize that their opinions may have been tainted by the bitterness of admitting defeat after fighting long and hard. I don’t think it’s likely that you’ve done a complete one-eighty since then, but out of respect for you as a god and as a person, I won’t allow other people’s words to color the lens through which I view you anymore.