Nine is Odin's sacred number. He hung for nine days and nine nights on YggdrasiI and that ordeal is one of His ultimate and most sacred mysteries. I had planned, initially to write about that today, November 9. Then I saw a stunning image of the Old Man and, being a rather impatient human being when it comes to sharing those things I find exciting or moving or lovely I decided to indulge and share this image with you today. That got me thinking about how important our physical senses were to the experience of the holy and that's when this post took a completely different turn.
I think it is safe to say that most of us crave images of our Gods. We treasure pictures of loved ones and they can be powerful mnemonics for those times when we cannot be in the presence of our loved ones; so why would it be any different with a God? Most Heathens and Pagans I know positively delight in finding good images for their altars. I know for myself, Odin is such an integral part of my life, such a core axis around which everything that i am is centered, that I positively ache for any image that remotely and in however small a way captures the barest wisp of Him.
Moreover, we've been gifted with our sensorium for a reason. We experience the world through its blessings: sight and sound, smell, taste, touch. That can play a powerful part in how we develop and experience our spirituality too. Each aspect of our sensorium has the potential to be a potent filter, a channel, a conduit through which we can draw closer to the Powers and, I have long come to believe, through which They can experience us and our world. Surely the experience of a Deity as a Deity is a far different thing than to experience Midgard reality through the lens of humanity. This would mean, at least I think so, that using our sensorium to explore our spiritual connections is sacred work. It's an offering, a gift, a celebration. Moreover, it's an offering that benefits both parties. Think of the myriad ways that we can develop our devotion if we bring all of our senses into play!
So I am sharing this image with you today and I would very much like to hear from my readers (if not here, then perhaps privately via email): share with me the images that best evoke Odin for you (if you give me links, i can share them here). I know some people make play-lists of songs and music that remind them of their Gods. I've never done this for Odin (odd too since I love music and had -long ago-some training as a classical musician) but i'd love to hear what others have done. Later on in this series, i'll be sharing incense recipes, food recipes that i've used in offerings, and other things that appeal to the senses and that call Him forth.
Let us come together to build a repertoire of the senses, a grimoire of the sensorium filled with thousands upon thousands of ways to glimpse His presence, to taste His presense, to hear, feel, and sense His Presence...things that call His essence forth in our hearts, minds and spirits. All of us who love and honor Odin have a different relationship with Him, He pours Himself into us differently, because we are unique and our relationship with Him is equally unique. If all of us were to come together and share or pool what He has shown us of Himself, it still would not comprise even a tiny drop of that numinous Power which is Odin, but we would, in our understanding and hopefully adoration of Him be enriched.
This is a very special kind of magic, and a very important kind of devotion. For generations, the dominant flavors of Christianity have taught subtly and sometimes not so subtly that the sensorium was somehow tainted, that it was unworthy, shameful, and certainly not holy. I think some of those attitudes have crept into Heathenry (take a look at the structure of the basic blot) without us ever realizing it. It's time to put a stop to that. It's time to reclaim the power of the sensorium. it's time to break down any ideological barriers between sacred and sensual (a term i am using to imply 'of the physical senses'). It's time to truly honor the God of wod.
(thank you Oscar C. Cortelezzi for giving me kind permission to share this picture here. It is a gorgeous piece of artwork).