I just had a thought.
Going off how Odin’s simultaneously a god of knowledge and a god of ‘fury/madness/whatever you want to call it’…
Would that make him affiliated with anxiety? Anxiety, but also the creative rush, when you’re so immersed in the creative process you lose track of time.
I can’t find the thread again, but there was a conversation a few weeks ago about Jackson Crawford’s introduction to his translation of Volsunga Saga, in which he describes Odin as more anxious than most people give him credit for.
I think that’s fair. A lot of the events in the lore are driven by him not being able to just chill and let things be.
At the same time, I think maybe that those very qualities mean he might not be the best option in terms of finding a deity to help with anxiety? At least, I don’t think he is for me, in that chilling and leaving things be is actually an acceptable and stress-reducing thing to me under many circumstances. From my Odinic friends, I get the sense that he’s more helpful for folks who, like him, don’t have that in their nature.
If I may? I think anxiety comes with the territory of Knowing Too Much. The moment I became self aware of my eventual fate is the moment my anxiety kicked in, and yet the more I pursued more knowledge, it sunk in that Something is going to happen one day that I will have no control over.
It’s…I guess it’s a bit of a comfort for me that Someone like Odin saw that for his son and thought to himself ‘shit this needs to be prevented’, because heck I’d like to ask every living thing not to harm me too, but it’s not possible. The anxiety over knowing that Baldr was going through rough Dream Shit and not being able to do anything about it? That’s really frightening shit for a parent and even for someone who’s just a friend. The most he and Frigga can do is offer an alternative solution that gets them screwed over eventually in the fallout. Not being able to chill and just let things be seems to be a thing that swings most if not all of Ragnarok into the big picture.
Funnily enough, it’s Loki that’s been helping me get over most of my anxiety, not the All Dad. Strange how certain bedfellows shift perspective over things, but that’s what it is I guess ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Yo. Hopefully it’s cool that I’m reblogging from this point, because I liked the addition, but I was the one who posted the Crawford excerpt. It doesn’t really have any extra info- it was actually a kind of weird, sad thought I had sitting outside while reading it, and I have kind of weird, sad feelings about how many people it resonated with (although I don’t guess that I’m surprised). Anyway, here’s the part in question:
I think part of what struck me hard is that the whole ‘picking the best of the dead for Valhalla’ thing gets so often framed as just a manly man warrior thing, which given the culture isn’t precisely incorrect. But at its core, there’s a god who is living with a fairly detailed description of not only how he’s going to die, but how the entire world is going to end. And for better or worse, he’s the Allfather, and beyond that, he asked and got an answer. The burden of that answer weighs heavily upon him, and it wasn’t really something I’d considered actively. I knew, but I didn’t… Know.
As a perhaps contrasting opinion though- he does help me with the issue, and for me I think it’s because of the exact reason it could be unhelpful to another person- but he does know. He Lives(Lived) Like This. Undoubtably on levels I don’t have to, but a real quick sum up of the phrase ‘struggle to prevent or forestall his own death’ could be ‘survival’, and either way I think the concept is at least somewhat relatable to most humans, some more than others. I can’t say I’ve always been looking to do that, but on a good day, yeah.
The point being, though: he Lived. He kept on truckin’, hanging on trees and stealing mead and wandering and ruling with that sword above his head. He lived, and for me, there’s been advice and learned examples there, both from the lore and personal experience with him. That, and on what is possibly the most YMMV note: when it was really bad, recently, through the hospital and then driving/moving to another state alone with nothing really concrete waiting for me-
…when you’re terrified, sometimes it helps to be friends with someone Terrible. He’ll be company in the snake pit, at least, and sometimes that’s all you need.
Someone who knows a fine trick for being surrounded by uncertainty, fear, and the unknown; when you’re not in control; when you have negative capability-
You might take a deep breath- the deeper, the better, slows the heart-hooves gallop- and you might ask the question:
“Well fuck. What now?”
What you Know then may surprise you. Or what you find you need to Know, or possibly, yeah, create. The terror of the blank page, canvas, stage or otherwise, there, but you know, stage fright is a thing.
Luckily, we have an app for the last part too.
Also worth noting that the Havamal suggests it’s best not to be too wise, which seems odd until you realize that it’s basically a manual to have a good life in Old Norse society. Being too wise means you won’t fit in, means people look askance at your constant need to query, to look behind, through and within things beneath the surface. As endless wanderer, greedy grey wolf ever seeking more knowledge, one is never content, never satisfied – except for perhaps in the arms of Frigg, but even that is temporary.
1620s, “greatly troubled by uncertainties,” from Latin anxius "solicitous, uneasy, troubled in mind" (also “causing anxiety, troublesome”), from angere, anguere "to choke, squeeze,“ figuratively “to torment, cause distress” (from PIE root *angh-“tight, painfully constricted, painful”). The same image is in Serbo-Croatian tjeskoba "anxiety,“ literally “tightness, narrowness.” Meaning “earnestly desirous” (as in anxious to please) is from 1742. Related: Anxiously; anxiousness.
That tightness, constriction? Fits the hanged god. Fits one who is painfully aware of the snarls, loops, and whorls of wyrd.