November 1st, 2016

Meet the Gods: Odin

Merry meet.


You teach best what you most need to learn.”

Reading that in Richard Bach’s 1977 book, “Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah,” made me realize a long time ago we are all teachers and we are all students. The women I’ve circled with for nine years honor only the Goddess, so my work with gods has fallen by the wayside. That’s precisely why I volunteered to begin writing a column about gods. Each month I plan to research another one and present a small biography, hopefully leaving some links to additional information.

I am partially of German descent, so the first god I chose is Wodan, Woden or Wotan. He is known by many other names. In Norse mythology he is Odin, and it is from here that most information about him is known.

Odin was always a war god and he’s protected heroes. He is also associated with healing, death, royalty, knowledge, battle, poetry, sorcery and the runic alphabet. He is the husband of the goddess Frigg, with whom he wagering the outcome of exploits.

He is mentioned throughout recorded history. The Germanic peoples referred to him as a founding figure. He created the world by slaying Ymir, a primordial being; and he gives the gift of life to Ask and Embla, the first two humans.

At the end of the pre-Christian period, Odin was Scandinavia’s principal god.

As told in Old Norse texts, Odin ruled Midgard. He was a tall, old man with a long beard and one eye – the other he gave to receive wisdom. He wears a cloak and a broad hat, and carries a spear named Gungnir. He rides the eight-legged horse, Sleipnir, who can gallop through the air and over the sea. Traveling with him are the wolves Geri and Freki, and the ravens Huginn and Muninn who bring him information.

A relentless seeker of knowledge and wisdom, Odin was the great magician among the gods and sometimes traveled in disguise. The runes and poetry are both attributed to him.

The runes are more than letters, they are powerful symbols with which cosmic forces can be harnessed. Odin sought them not for language, but for their potent magic. To get them, he sacrificed himself, hanging himself from a branch of Yggdrasil, the great tree that grows out of the Well of Urd in the center of the Norse cosmos. In its upper branches is Asgard, one of the Nine Worlds. In Asgard is Valhalla, which is ruled by Odin.

Odin proceeded to pierce himself with his spear and then peered down into the well where, among the powerful beings, were the Norns who had shaped destiny by carving runes into Yggdrasil’s trunk. Forbidding any of the other gods to help him, he hung day and night as he sought the runes. On the ninth night, he saw the shapes and they revealed their secrets to him.

It is stated on the Norse Mythology for Smart People website, that according to the ancient poem “Hávamál,” “Equipped with the knowledge of how to wield the runes, he became one of the mightiest and most accomplished beings in the cosmos. He learned chants that enabled him to heal emotional and bodily wounds, to bind his enemies and render their weapons worthless, to free himself from constraints, to put out fires, to expose and banish practitioners of malevolent magic, to protect his friends in battle, to wake the dead, to win and keep a lover, and to perform many other feats like these.”

He masters the art of communicating with the dead to gain their knowledge and to have as many warriors as possible on his side when he must face the wolf Fenrir, even though he knows he is doomed to die in that battle. Odin appears after his death as a leader of the wild hunt, a procession of ghosts across the winter sky.

Places are named after him; so is Wednesday (“Woden’s day”).

For more information about Odin online, you might consider beginning here:

Merry part. And merry meet again.


Freyr is known as the God of peace, warriors, abundance and most of all Freya’s twin brother.  Except his chariot is pulled by the golden boar Gullinbursti, instead of two blue cats like his sister.  Freyrs chariot was made for him by dwarfs for the mischievous God Loki to give to him.  The brother and sister duo do have much in common, like the fact that they are both Gods of prosperity, fertility, and fun.  Both are well liked by the opposite sex and show no shame in it.  Freyr is married to the ginatess Gerd, and Freya to Odin, God of war and wisdom.  Freyr fell in love with Gerd after he released her from Odins throne…funny how Freya then came to marry Odin.  Freyr’s father was the sea god Njord, making Freyr very connected to water as well as the sun.  He is also the God of elves.

With his name meaning “Lord”, Freyr owns a ship called Skidbladnir, that was meant to hold all Gods ever created.  The ship had to be big enough for this task, yet small enough to fit in ones pocket.


Get comfortable and sit or lay any way you like.

Ship Meditation:

Imagine a big ocean sprawled out in front of you

Off in the distance you see a big ship and it get closer and closer with each blink

Soon it’s right in front of you and is taller than any tree you’ve ever seen

As you look around the body of the ship a man appears at the very top

He looks down with smiling eyes and asks for all of your troubles to be thrown onto the ship.  Every stress, worry, or angry feeling is to be placed on this ship to be taken away.

Take as much time and thought as you need to do this

Once you are finished, the ship slowly turns around and disappears into the ocean leaving you rejuvenated.


Gold, water, swords, boars, ships, sails, holly, St. Johns Wart, green, rose oil, nuts, mint


(Dedicated to Sunshine)


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he Greek Goddess, artemis, is very complex. She personifies opposites.

She is seen as a virginal moon goddess, however, She is a goddess of fertility and childbirth. She was a fierce hunter, who could kill with one shot of her arrow; yet, She fiercely protected the animals of the forest and woods.

She is said to be born of Zeus and Leto. At the time of her birth, Leto was very weak, and so, it is told that She helped birth her twin brother, Apollo. Due to this, she is a Goddess of Fertility and Childbirth, a force of creation. Women in childbirth would pray to her for the safety of their children and of themselves.

As a child, she was asked by Zeus what she wanted for her birthday. She replied that she wanted a bow and arrow, like her brother; She wanted to bring light into the world, and She wanted to live her life free from love and marriage.

She valued freedom above all else and refused to conform to convention or the traditional roles of women. She was quick to anger if any man would look upon her.

Aktaon was found spying on her, unclothed, while she bathed. In Her anger at his behavior, she turned him into a stag. His hunting dogs, not knowing it was him, tore him apart.


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As a bringer of light into a dark world, She is often portrayed carrying a torch or a candle, always lighting the way for others. She nurtured the needy and protected the weak. As She defended the people against the patriarchy of the Olympian gods, She was an early feminist and is invoked by some of today’s Goddess feminists, most often in her guise of the Roman Diana.


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She is portrayed always in the company of other women, bathing or roaming through the forest, which was Her domain. This domain is the home of two of her symbols, the bear and the stag. Her rituals were conducted within the forest and trees, under the sacred light of the full moon.

The women, or nymphs that accompanied her, would run with here through the woods, as fast and sure as the deer. When they could not run from the men who chased them, they would call upon artemis for protection.

One such woman was Daphne, who ran away from Apollo, the brother of artemis. She was in such fear of being captured and used by Apollo, that she called out to Artemis to save her, whereupon artemis transformed her into a laurel tree. Apollo was ever seen after that with a wreath of laurel upon his brow.


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Another, Arethusa, who also loved her freedom and roaming the wood, was running from Alpheus when she called upon artemis. She was rescued by being transformed into a beautiful spring of clear, clean water; as such she would still have the freedom to roam through the forest.

Even though they looked to Her as the Goddess of War, She was worshipped as the many-breasted Mother Goddess of the Amazons at Her Temple at Ephesus, which was a Wonder of the Ancient World. She was served by the Melissa, the Bee Priestesses, who are also associated with Aphrodite, Persephone, Demeter and Cybele. As the Mother of the Amazons, she was called “Proto Thronia” – artemis, First Upon the Throne. She and her Temple were held as sacred.

This is a portrayal of the Melissa, the Bee Priestesses of artemis.


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The Greek traveler and geographer, Pausanius said of Ephesus, “All cities worship Artemis of Ephesus and individuals hold her in honor above all other deities. This is due to the renown of the Amazons, , those who first consecrated the land of Ephesus, those who dedicated the first image of the Goddess before the Ionian Greeks arrived”.


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While some will state that the Temple at Pyrrichos in Greece belonged to Apollo, it was to artemis that the Temple belonged, as it was built to honor Amazons who had fallen in war.

While Artemis was identified with Dyktynna in Crete, Britomartis in Minoa and Bendis, who rode a mighty horse through Thrace with her torch and spear, She is most identified with the Roman Goddess Diana.

Diana, who was originally the Goddess of the open sky became the Huntress Moon Goddess of Rome. She also was worshipped only out of doors. Her name comes from the word “diania”, which means intelligence. She gives her name to Dianic Witchcraft, as founded by Zsuzanna Budapest.

A ritual to Artemis would have your altar adorned with a green altar cloth and green candle to symbolize the forest. The Goddess candle, symbolizing artemis, would be white or silver. Some of the symbols you could include would be the moon, a stag or bear, or any other forest animal.

As always, take a cleansing bath before ritual and cast a circle in your own tradition. Breathe, meditate and focus on artemis and what you would ask of her. Light the white Goddess candle. When done, thank Her for Her presence and close your circle according to your own tradition.



The New Book of Goddesses & Heroines by Patricia Monaghan

Ancient Mirrors of Womanhood by Merlin Stone

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