Odin’s persona and sacrifice on the world tree, his initiation at the world axis, is steeped in mythology and runesters and scholars alike have been interpreting it for generations. The more I think about the old Havamal poem, and the characteristics and kennings ascribed to Odin, I am starting to see them from a modern perspective, per se. Taking Odin’s life and analyzing it under the context of the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche may seem like an irrelevant thing to do, but it helps me understand in a more practical sense the Odhinic complex and what it may mean. The hunger for knowledge and self mastery by overcoming taken by the High One, is the same in his concept of the Will to Power, as that shown his rite of ascendance and gaining of the mysteries. It is probably that the Scandinavians were not so intellectual and analytical of the mind sciences, but one does need to go farther than Odin’s own Mannerbunde, the elite group of men who held a rigorous code of behavior. The nine noble traits are essentially a refined and tested method of individual mastery which constituted The Right path, those are;
- Self Reliance
One special idea that has crossed my mind is the way Odin attained his wisdom
“geiri vndaþr oc gefinn Oðni, sialfr sialfom mer,
wounded with a spear, dedicated to Odin, myself to myself”
It is written and known that Odin gave himself in an ascetic act of transformation, to sublime that which was of a higher essential form, which is also Odin. It is traditional now for the vitki, or Odinist who identifies with the Odhinic archetype to make similar such dedications and offerings for their own self overcoming.
In Nietzsche’s concept, there is a subjective force, drive, desire, which is the Will to Power. It is purely understood from within the self. Not only the primal instinct of survival and causal action and reaction, but the gain and attainment, and need to thrive. The intentions of this specialized force is for attaching more power to one’s unique telos. The will to power is the manifest energy that lies within everything that is able, and is accommodated by consciousness. Nietzsche describes the animistic will to exist as only the first level of his Will to Power, such in that when the animal is attacked it must fight, in order to defend it’s first tendency to live. However it will not go on struggling to merely live if it is not threatened. The next level up would be observed in the way it creates and experiences objective phenomena, just as us humans. If we are not in bondage, or under attack, we must naturally grow, and advance towards something better which is the way of all organic beings. It is realistic to assume that a Right man/woman will seek to gain status, respect, resources, and health. Speaking on the understandings of the various Sagas, all the most important characters had these traits about them, the karls and earls were most highly revered for their oppulence, personality, and drives to succeed. Odin being just one of these who have risen up, proactively. Nietzsche also argued for the value of pain, as an obstacle to be overcome, shadowing of course Odin’s wounds that only create a new being from the symbolic death of the old flesh to the new
Some of Odin’s kennings elude to this idea of his Will To Power: Farmögnuðr meaning Journey Empowerer, Fimbulþulr means Mighty Thule (High Speaking One), Foldardróttinn means Lord of the Earth, Gramr Hliðskjálfar means King of the High Seat, Runatyr God of Runes or Sigðir Victory giver. These ones directly give vent to his elite prowess among the gods and men.
In the multiverse of the Teutonic cosmology, there are 9 worlds, which can here represent the different planes of existence. Besides being separate parts of the whole world, these may be traveled to bodily or in an a-corporeal state. These realms, where the rune magician can only enter with the right attitude or WILL. In these 9 worlds are matter and energy. The energy inherit in these worlds are influenced creatively by the subjectivity of the vitki or magician who occupies them. Odin was the master shaman and magician, and could travel these realms as he may on his steed. But Odin’s purpose for occupying these places was not an accident. He intended by his will to traverse these realms which may seem dangerous by others who are shackled by fear. Fear being the counter-intuitive and decaying tendency fundamentally against the Will to Power. By entering into Asgard, the underworld, or riding to the four cardinal points and especially his ritualistic apostasy on the Ash tree to gain the secrets, which are the runes, he learnt of the ways of men, and the physics of the universe. New Power came to him, in 24 seed forms, runar. The All-knowing one, then sought out by those of the Vanir for divine rede.
A few other of Odin’s kennings which are emblematic of his Will To Power.
Svipall (Shape-shifter) Odin could change shapes, into other lifeforms, such as an eagle to steal the mead of odhroerir, which is the sacred drink of the Gods. Into one of his many avatars, to woo over women, to aid those in battle, or for consultation with his worshippers.
Vakr (Awakened) Like the mystic, or enlightened one who is finally drawn from his slumber.
Vinr Míms/Lóðurs… Odin was friends with many high minded folk, and demigods alike, including Mimir who guarded the well of wisdom. Therefore the clan aspect increased his knowledge and insight through sympathetic relationships.
Odin’s knowledge and gaining of the the occult powers goes side by side, ‘knowledge is power’. Odin’s brothe Ville (Wiljon) is believed by some Germanic historians (Edred Thorsson) to be an avatar of Odin and Wiljon means Will. In the Gild I am part of, the root of GROA (to grow) is a seed that I offer within, giving oneself to onself. It is growth, and thus attainment to higher vistas of experience and wisdom, and my own responsibility to nourish it and make sure it has everything it needs to truly grow. GROA is self-generating growth and the Will To Power and the vitki is indeed another ray of Odin himself, because as Odin is the symbol of this Growth, he exists as the seed, and every form of that which grows along the way. The Will to Power is the fuel for GROA, and Odin, and the Tru self.