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A is for All-Father (Pagan Blog Project)

I've decided to participate in the Pagan Blog Project again this year, but in a more focused way than in my previous attempt at it in 2012.  (Actually, I'm not sure if I kept with it for that whole year or not, and I skipped 2013.)  This year, the focus is going to be entirely on Odin, specifically on His heiti, the epithets or by-names used to refer to Him throughout the surviving northern literature (known to heathens as “the lore”). Odin has so many names in these sources that I could count only about 5 letters of the alphabet for which there are no established heiti, and for those letters—assuming I can't come up with a suitable modern epithet to fill the gap—I will discuss some other aspect of His historical or modern worship.  It remains to be seen whether I'll write something for each week, or just one post for each letter. I've been seeing online a tendency to stereotype Odin into just one or two roles: as the aged patriarch of the northern pantheon, perhaps, or as a remote patron of mystics and kings.  In my many years of living and working closely with Him, I have seen many of His faces, some of which I hope to share here, at the same time as I hope, though delving into His many names, to reach an even deeper understanding of Him myself.

We'll start off with one of the most well-known and frequently used names for Him: All-father.  I don't gravitate towards this name much myself in my own practice, because I don't have a father-daughter relationship with Him, but the name itself doesn't refer to personal relationships so much as to His overall status as the father of gods and men.  In Snorri Sturluson's Edda (often called “the prose Edda,” the primary source text that's probably best known to the vast majority of heathens), Alfodr is used more or less interchangeably with Odin in referring to Him.

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