I’ve been reading different books and blogs on Heathenism and Asatru lately, and they all empasize the importance of honoring your ancestors. I get why–they are your family. They’ve had their trials and tribulations, they care about you and what happens to you, and they can certainly teach you things. About the time I started this blog, I set up an ancestor altar complete with red candles (red to symbolize the blood that binds us–or the love of each other as ancestors don’t always have to be blood relatives!) and wood carvings my grandfather made.
I have to admit, when I first started down this path, I didn’t expect Family to be such a big part of it. My family (what little I have) isn’t that close. We’re spread to the four corners of the world–one cousin is two hours south of me, one is in India, my grandma is 45 minutes away and none of us are close. The only person in my (blood) family that I can say I’m close to is my mother–we’ve always been close, which I’m eternally grateful for.
But I’ve noticed that even when I mean to just be studying Odin, I wind up making notes about His family members as well. Given that Odin has said that He won’t drink unless Loki is offered a draught, I’ve starting giving a nod to Loki whenever I make offerings to Odin. But any discussion mentioning Loki and Odin isn’t complete without mentioning Thor as well. Or Baldr. How can one not learn about Baldr and see His importance when one is working with Odin? Same thing for Bestla, Frigg, Freyja. And She leads to Freyr and Njord, who leads to Ran and Her husband, Aegir. Loki leads to Sigyn (a Goddess I am growing to LOVE thanks to Galina Krasskova‘s blog posts about Her! <3) and their children. And…and…it’s a huge family affair.
This journey has taught me a lot, but one of the lessons that stands out the most is the importance of family–blood relatives and not. The ones you name family are the ones you love, that love you, and that are always there for you no matter what.
Sort of on topic, but a little off, I’ve made an observation. I’ve noticed Odin seems to go after those of us who have “daddy issues”. That is to say that we don’t have the greatest relationship with our fathers. I’ll use myself as an example in this.
My dad is…a workaholic, and a bit of an alcoholic, though he’d never admit to it. Fists weren’t his weapon of choice–words were. And they weren’t nice words. I still doubt myself to this day, whatever worth I may or may not have, because of the things he said to me in the middle of the night, words slurred as he left me a voicemail. My parents divorced when I was one, so my dad had regular visitation rights every other weekend. Except, I never wanted to go. He’d go off to work and leave me home alone. And if he was home, he’d be sprawled out on the couch, beer in one hand and the remote in the other as he searched out football games. If he did pay the slightest amount of attention to me, it was to point out my idiocy or incompetence. Fun times.
That was fifteen or so years ago now. But to this day we are not close–he doesn’t even know my current address, though he has my phone number. And I have his. We’ve just settled into this routine of calling each other once every few months to make sure everyone is okay, or when there’s a death in the family (like when my paternal gradma died last year). Otherwise, he may as well be a stranger on the street. It makes me sad that it’s this way. But anymore communication with us and things get dicey and unpleasant.
Odin has kind of stepped in and usurped the role of Father figure. Sure He’s my teacher and muse, but He also carries the role of Father. That’s really the best way I can define my relationship with Him–He’s my divine Father. He guides me and teaches me, just like a father would. My earthly father gave me serious issues with trusting men–I don’t, really. Angelo is the only one that I really trust. But with Odin I’m learning that guys aren’t all bad–they can be trusted, even when they drink. In this way, Odin is actually acting as a Healer–not a role I would’ve expected Him to take on, but I find He is nonetheless. And I’m glad.
The other day, Beth made a post about her favorite pictures of Odin. She posted several of my favorites, yet showed me new ones as well. I fell in love with this one. Though it’s Brunhild depicted, this is pretty much exactly how Odin feels to me. So many feels occur when I see this picture that it’s almost impossible to articulate them, so I won’t. I’ll just share the picture and let you take from it what you will. ❤