As some of you may have noticed, last week my pantheon unexpectedly had an addition to the family. What I mean by this is that as of last week, there’s a new member of my illustrious circle of Deities, namely Odin. That absolutely and emphatically wasn’t my idea; it came from Loki, and it came quite surprisingly. I would not have initiated a relationship with Odin on my own.
This is about a medium term (temporary) issue, something I need to learn how to do, but which Loki cannot (or will not) teach me. He’s got His reasons. It’s about wandering — about metaphorical, but very real wandering — and I’m learning from Odin in His aspect as the Wanderer. Vegtam, Gangleri are some of the kenningar used to describe Him in His Wanderer aspect.
There were, and still are, a number of concomitants to this new turn of events. They come both from Loki’s and from Odin’s quarters. As far as Loki is concerned, I have to admit I’m suffering from them. He is very understanding regarding the effect the whole affair has on me. This effect was something I felt instantaneously, even before I knew what any of this would be about. Even before Loki came out with it and told me what He expected me to do, something changed between Him and me. I can pinpoint the exact moment when it happened, even though at the time, I would have been unable to describe what exactly it was that changed.
I’ve written about how all of that came to pass, in the shape of a poem. This change is only temporary, but it is a kind of change that affects me more deeply than anything I could have imagined. But that’s not what this post is about.
The surrounding circumstances from Odin’s quarters are… impressive. Deeply impressive. There are no other words for it. As it turns out, it is difficult even for me to remain omen-skeptical in the face of one of the Powerful ones entering my life with all the subtlety of a fully grown rhinoceros. The following is an excerpt from the cabinet of curiosities of Divine Subtlety:
It started with weatherly caprices (i.e., strong gusts of wind) that were extremely well timed. It continued with very unlikely autocorrect mixups on my phone, in which a very everyday word suddenly turned into “odin”; at the same time, the bike oracle suggested the word “Wanderer”. A telephone connection was cut off repeatedly, while I was attempting to use it to talk about relevant “God things” — and an attempt was all that came off it, as either the wind caused the microphone to deny me service, or alternatively, the entire tech caboodle went on a general strike and noped out of there as a whole. Dead within seconds, and that three consecutive times. And all of this happened at the same time, or rather, within only five minutes.
The story continued with a well-known social networking platform in hues of blue starting to selectively swallow messages I was trying to send to a friend… the very same friend with whom I’d attempted those phone calls earlier to get on her nerves about my “God things”. A couple of days later, our well-liked platform has spat out the missing messages… but my view is missing the scroll bar that would allow me to see anything but than the last couple of messages.
Then, a stranger turned up at my work, complete with hat and coat, who half-turned towards me (so that I could only see one eye), gave me a very charming smile before disappearing enigmatically into the lift. I have been working there for years, I know the vast majority of people, and few are friendly. But the percentage of those who would know how to be charming towards a woman, in no more than two seconds’s time before the lift opens, must be very close to zero.
Two days ago, I noticed a Valknut sign on the soap dispenser in the ladies’ bathroom. Can you get any “random-er”? What on Earth is a Valknut’s business on a soap dispenser?! With other things I’d have understood it, but a soap dispenser?! In a women’s bathroom no less?! That’s a sense of humour worthy of Loki Himself.
And then there was the classic: a couple of large black birds landing in front of my office window, looking at me for a while, and taking off again. That hasn’t happened to me before, either.
So yeah, I guess one could say, Odin knocked.
In addition to that flood of outer, let’s stick with “surrounding circumstances”, there was of course a veritable flood of thought processes once I started contemplating the topic of wandering.
This post is about departure, and about equipment basics, such as… shoes, for instance. I do, however feel hyper mega super über uncomfortable quoting Odin, so I’ll have to tune that back a couple of gears. Something I was planning to do anyways, also concerning Loki quotes.
So, the thing with the shoes happened sort of like this:
I was on a mental journey — not astral travel, just some sort of meditation with intent; it’s a kind of journey meditation, only that I yield control. What I mean by that is that I consciously open myself to Gods (in this case Odin) manipulating and/or guiding it. It was, accordingly, difficult: it was the first journey of that sort that I made with Odin in mind, Whom I had not encountered personally before. As if to make up for that lack of familiarity, I had made acquaintance with a whole lot of the scary things His devotees write about Him. Perhaps my thus preconfigured state of information is one of the reasons why He’s showing Himself as congenial, charming and dashing at the moment.
Well anyway… so there was this landscape — different from the landscapes I see when on a journey with Loki, but definitely created by me — and there also was Odin Who had a wanderer’s staff with Him and was wearing a hat, but had forgone the long cape in favour of something less intimidating. Awkward silence on my part, intent muster on His.
But before I could think of anything to say, He asked me why I was barefoot. “What?” I thought, but indeed, when I looked down, I was not wearing shoes. And because shoes, just like everything else, are metaphors, that actually is telling a lot about my expectation. Because what must be going on for me to turn up shoe-less for a hike? And on a gravel and grit path that I, myself, had visualised optically and acoustically, if not haptically?
With this metaphorical wandering issue, it’s about a very specific part of my life. One that I have been spending the last 20 years or so preparing for. One where it matters if you turn up lacking your basics. And now I was there, literally lacking the proper footwear, because I thought that this was without a doubt what will happen if I get involved with this God. Yes, that’s purposefully phrased vaguely, please note: metaphors. Situations are metaphors. Nothing is to be taken at face value, but you’re only going to understand it once you take it at face value.
My subconscious had omitted the shoes. In the following, Odin asked me to remedy that. Which, without further ado, I did by visu-imagicking (you know, visualisation for people who can’t resist making up words) shoes into my own hands. Nice, leather wandering boots with some cushioning inside and grippy rubber soles. There were even socks.
He invited me to walk with Him for a bit, which I did. There was a lot of silence. No one was talking much, much less me (because, unfamiliar God!). But I was thinking about the shoes. I had “magicked” them into my own hands — when really, it might have been Odin Who gave them to me. But He didn’t. They were my shoes.
Was that to mean that I wouldn’t be completely unprepared on my journey? That I would be able to use my own preparation? That I would maybe even not be asked to do anything I was completely ill-equipped for?
Odin told me that that was exactly what I was already doing.
[End of journey]
Well, that was quite enlightening. I needed a couple of hours to get everything sorted into the right categories, but here’s the what’s what, a summary:
First: who on Earth is saying that I have to wander without shoes? Yeah, that’s right, no one but me. Second: who on Earth is saying I can’t use the shoes I’ve been preparing to use? Right again, no one but me. Third: what do I see if I turn around right now and look behind me? Yup, that would be my metaphorical home village. I am already on my way. And four: what happens if I do happen to forget my stuff? Aha! Someone is going to point it out to me, and isn’t going to let me walk into my own ruin (or that of my feet).
Thank You, Odin, and thank You, Loki, for the idea and for looking after me, my Beloved.