Gnosis Diary: Life as a Heathen

My personal experiences, including religious and spiritual experiences, community interaction, general heathenry, and modern life on my heathen path, which is Asatru.

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Odin is Not That Guy

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

Recently there was a discussion in the Asatru Facebook Forum that evolved a subthread about Godan, the name of Odin among the Lombards. I received some gnosis, and so, since this blog is Gnosis Diary, I'm going to tell you all about it.

As background to the Godan discussion: The main thread had been affirming the original poster's exploration of Asatru as a possible path, which grew into discussion of Unitarian-Universalist style religion, which eventually branched into the Godan discussion. It was pointed out that the name Godan was the origin of the English name God for the Christian God. This led to a question of whether they were the same god.

At this point Odin spoke in my head. (Which is not unusual for me at all, as you see if you read the past few years' blog posts, and we had just been communicating during my daily morning coffee ritual a few minutes before, so this was not a remarkable occurrence except that he had a message he wanted conveyed.) "I am not the same god."

Since the original post was a new seeker's intro post, when Odin joined the conversation in my head I wanted to be sure to express it in a way that would not be received as argumentative or unwelcoming. I remember very well how people reacted to my first few reports of messages from the gods, like "Don't poison the Earth," which I had to completely recast as "Love nature and care for her" before people found the message acceptable, when I first started receiving this type of gnosis a few years ago when I was opened to the gods by writing fiction. So with that in mind, I crafted my comment.

Additional background: the comment to which I was responding also mentioned the "chosen people" thing, which I why I included a reference to it in my answer. One of the differences between Odin and YHVH is that Odin doesn't have a chosen people. Some of the heathen gods were patrons or ancestors of species tribes or nations in historical times-- the Lore specifically says the Langobards were named by Frigga who favored them in a war, for example-- but they never said other people couldn't worship them. So the comment to which I was responding started off by commenting about the name Godan being borrowed for the name of xian God, and also included a reference to YHVH having a chosen people.

So here is the comment I created to convey my gnosis in a way that other Asatruers would find unobjectionable:

True. So if people want to reclaim the name God / Godan for Odin that's fine. The being most people mean by the name God is someone else entirely, who may or may not be still the same god whose name was taboo; since that god did have a chosen people and most modern day xians are not from that people it begs the question who that guy really is anymore, but that's beyond the scope of a study of heathenry so I have no answers there. One thing I do know, well two things, firstly that all outlooks from atheist to unitarian-universalist to soft polytheist to hard polytheist are part of modern Asatru and are welcome here, and secondly that Odin is not YHVH because he told me so. That's another thing that is welcome here: gnosis. Because the gods are here now.

(comment finished with smiley face emojis.)

So, here is my opinion about what it's like to have gnosis like this: it's easy to communicate with the gods. What's hard is figuring out how to talk about communicating with the gods in a way that other people won't knee-jerk want to argue with. I think there are probably lots of people who have gnosis like this and just don't talk about it because it's so hard to talk about. That's one of the things I want to help with by writing this blog and also by running the forum: to normalize talking about gnosis so it will be easier in the future.

I know I succeeded in crafting my response correctly because my comment led to a nice discussion of the other person's gnosis and opinions. Which led to the related but distinct discussion of how different is Odin from Godan from Wodan, and how different is one person's Odin from another person's Odin. I think Odin, Godan, and Wodan are simultaneously different and the same. And for the second question, I like the metaphor of the godphone, where everyone has a distinct phone number and might get the wrong voicemails if they dial in from someone else's. When I receive gnosis I always know if it's just for me or intended to be conveyed to other people. The very few messages I receive to convey are such a small percentage of the conversations I have in my mind with my gods that they stand out like a red tree among yellow and green trees. Like looking a hillside full of trees in autumn and there is only one maple tree in the whole forest. Usually the only time I can just directly relay a message without trying to craft a way to say it nicely is when I'm giving a rune reading, in which case people already expect and want a message. This is a skill it took me years to learn, and I'm not sure I'd really say I've mastered it yet; if I had, perhaps it would be easy. lol.


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Erin Lale is the author of Asatru For Beginners, and the updated, longer version of her book, Asatru: A Beginner's Guide to the Heathen Path. Erin has been a gythia since 1989. She was the editor and publisher of Berserkrgangr Magazine, and is admin/ owner of the Asatru Facebook Forum. She also writes science fiction and poetry, ran for public office, is a dyer and fiber artist, was acquisitions editor at a small press, and founded the Heathen Visibility Project.


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