I’ve often had this weird notion that Odin may be a representative of existence. By this, I mean that he is sort of a deification of the awareness of existence. He is the awareness of existence turned into a god.
Why I always thought this I don’t know. I, no doubt, got this idea as it seems to be suggested in Norse mythology, particularly in how the world was created. Some of the reasons why I suspected this are these:
– Odin had two brothers. One was Vil, which probably means ‘will’, that is, a person’s will, which reflects what a person does, his actions as a person. An unusual name reference for a god. His other brother is Ve, which may mean ‘sacred enclosure’, though I’m not sure. The signficance of his name is unclear.
– When the first humans were created it says the first brother, probably Odin, gave breath and life. The second, consciousness and movement. The third gave face, speech, hearing, and sight. They all gave clothes and a name. Here, all the brothers gave something to create what consists of ‘existence’, from life to clothing.
– Originally, dwarfs were like maggots in the earth. The brothers gave them conciousness, intelligence, and shape. Again, they gave them the qualties to exist, more than just qualities of being there, but the means and ability to ‘exist’.
– Odin sits on his throne, called Hlidskialf, and can see everything that goes on in the world. This refers to a spot where Odin is ‘aware’. It does not necessarily says he ‘rules’ from this throne, as we normally think a throne is, but that he sits there and sees what’s going on in the world.
– Odin has two ravens, Huginn and Muninn, which means thought and memory, respectively. Again, he has representations of qualties required in order to exist. These qualities are as if projected onto the image of the ravens.
– Odin sacrificed an eye for wisdom at the well of Mimir. This shows how some things must be sacrificed to have a greater awareness.
To begin with, the three brothers seem almost to represent an awareness of existence that is given to creation. They give life, consciousness, intelligence, and form to existence. It’s probably not far off the truth to say that Odin’s two brothers are just extensions of himself. Perhaps, then, the names of his two brothers are just different names for Odin? This would mean that Odin, and his two brothers, are really the same person.
The qualities or abilities that allow for awareness of existence seem common with Odin. It sort of shows that, in a way, the world is ‘created’ when we are aware of it. By having the qualities that allow us to be aware of existence, we exist. Odin, in a way, represents those qualities. This makes Odin more than a creation god, who created things. He entailed and manifested the abilities and qualities required! This is not all that common in gods. It sort of shows that Odin did not just create these things but was a god who IS these things. As such, he dispensed them to things in creation.
Many of these qualities and abilities of Odin represent states of the mind. These are very apparent with the two ravens. This seems to reflect his traits of showing the qualities of being aware of things.
In some ways, I just can’t help but think that all these are describing, really, our own awareness of existence. This would mean that our awareness of existence is Odin within us. His being seated on Hlidskialf and seeing the world, for example, is representative of our being aware of life. He is more than a god ‘over there’. He is within us and allows us to be aware of life.
If this were the case then Odin is within us all, in awareness of life. He represents that part of us that can perhaps be called the existential part of us, the part of us that is aware of our existence. As such, this would mean that Odin is that quality of ourselves projected out into the world and deified. Through awareness of existence life is known, existence is known, and so life is ‘created’. Odin allows that to happen.
Copyright by Mike Michelsen