Walking Toward Yggdrasil and The Whisperings of Woden
Galina Krasskova, Asphodel Press
In the world of Heathen spirituality, finding a devotional based on personal experience can be challenging, due to a tendency in the community to concentrate on ancient traditional texts of the Eddas and Sagas. Personal gnosis, celebrated in Neo-Paganism, is underrepresented, even discouraged, in reconstructionist Heathen circles.
Galina Krasskova, a self-described “free range tribalist Heathen” and priest of Odin, has written these two slim personal volumes — Walking Towards Yggdrasil and The Whisperings of Woden — for those seeking a closer relationship with “The Old Man” beyond what is written in ancient texts.
Galina has an intimate relationship with Odin and shares her struggles and obsession in Walking, a devotional composed entirely of poetry. She falls in love, she yearns, and she rails to Odin about her shortcomings. These poems made me a little uncomfortable; that being said, I admire her courage and dedication in showing us this part of her life and for not being ashamed or embarrassed of her passions. Walking is very personal, and I would recommend it primarily for those the curious and those seeking different points of view of Odin beyond the standard texts.
Whisperings has higher ambitions than Walking, but sadly, those ambitions are only partially realized. Each of the nine chapters is intended to help the reader gain knowledge about Odin, and include a short history lesson of Odin’s path and a variety of devotional practices including ritual baths, altar dedications, meditations, pathworkings and runework. The appendix is a good resource for any eclectic witch looking for incense recipes and herbs and oils associated with Odin.
In between meditations and instructions, Krasskova includes her writings, and these really do not work for me. The poems read like a teenage girl obsessed with the latest movie star; they also seemed out of place in a book for a general readership. I also expected the scholarship and writing to be a bit tighter; Whisperings could have used the assistance of a good editor. There’s so little of this kind of engaged devotional material available, it’s hard to fault Krasskova’s efforts, but earnestness only goes so far, and both of these efforts are recommended only for the curious or the stalwart reader that won’t mind the unevenness of the material.