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Character Information:

  1. Who is Odin?  - Information about Odin from Norse myth, taken from Asatru-U's beginner course.
  2. List of Names of Odin - A list of the various names of Odin and their meanings.
  3. The Havamal - Taken from the Poetic Edda, words of wisdom from Odin.
  4. The Runes - The Elder Futhark, taken from the Asatru Alliance's website.
  5. Wode - Definition of the frenzy for which Odin is known, from Asatru-U.
  6. The Story Comes Full Circle - The Inevitable Character Information, for use in roleplay and writing.
  7. Asa-Who? - A brief, useful introduction to Asatru, the reconstructed religion of Northern Europe, which this character is based on.
  8. The Gods - A brief introduction to the major gods and goddesses of Norse mythology
  9. On Customs Found in the Eddas - Brief tidbits gleaned from reading the Eddas and Sagas that I don't want to forget.
  10. The Raven's Hoard - As posted on Tenebrae Nostro - Odin's bookshop in Los Angeles
  11. For the Record - Disclaimer.

Writing Prompts:

  1. One
  2. Two
  3. Three

In Character Appearances:

  1. Meeting with a Mage at Midnight - Why would Odin want a bookstore in LA? Stay tuned to find out.
  2. Two
  3. Three

Out of Character Appearances:

  1. Application to Tenebrae Nostro - OOC/Meta
  2. I smell a rat... - OOC/Meta - What can I say? Deadpool is insane.
  3. Application: Miranda Vaslou - OOC/Meta
  4. Painting the Town - OOC/Meta - Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned? What about a woman kidnapped?
  5. Happy Birthday! - OOC/Meta - For the record, I don't eat babies.
  6. Meeting with a Mage at Midnight - The OOC companion to the IC post.
  7. Dark Recesses - OOC/Meta - A little OOC love for an amazing writer.
  8. Plot Idea - OOC/Meta - Aren't we glad Odin can't run for mayor? Nod and agree with me!
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The storm started brewing just as night was beginning to fall. It promised to be a real tempest of a storm. Frigid wind howled in from the north, wailing like a hundred damned souls through the old Catholic church on the street corner. The temperature dropped steadily, until frost began to form in the sparse grass. The scent of pure, clean rain and distant ancient pines overpowered the rank smells of the city, blown in on the ill omened wind. For a moment, as the bells in the church tolled midnight, all was silent, and then the heavens opened up and rain pounded down in frigid sheets that stung the skin and left a sheen of ice on the street. Lightning flashed, thunder crashed, and the clouds descended like a giant's fist. Thunder roared, and the tornado retreated back into the clouds before it could touch ground. In the middle of a street, had anyone been able to see that far, clouds gathered at street level and flashed with lightning. The end of a rainbow touched the rising icy slush in the street. Another crack of thunder, the loudest yet, and then hoof beats could be heard over the raging storm.

The horse stood steady on the very end of the rainbow, eight hooves a good foot off the ground. Its eyes flashed red, its flanks were gray as death, and when it opened its mouth to shriek a challenge to the raging storm, its teeth were covered in runes. Its rider wore a long, blue-black cloak that covered him from neck to ankles. A wide-brimmed hat was pulled low over his left eye. His one-eyed gaze swept the street. He nodded to himself, as if satisfied, and dismounted. He gave the horse a sharp slap, and it galloped out of sight into the cloud. Wind, rain, and even the thunder disappeared at the same moment the rider's cloak and hat did, and he stood in the middle of the street, ankle-deep in melting slush. Long, blond hair hung wetly, and he swept it impatiently from his one good eye. His tee shirt and jeans were worn, the boots had seen better days. When nothing stirred on the street, not even a breath of wind, the rider nodded to himself again and headed to the only lit storefront on the street, a bookshop called
Dark Horse Books.

I felt the magic as soon as I entered the shop. It hummed in my bones and warmed me like a reunion with a dear friend. The scent of death was not abhorrent, but comforting, a reminder of times past, ale shared, and stories swapped with the dead. I passed the front without a second glance. The magic was not among the stacks of Twilight and Harry Potter. Its pull was strongest in the back room. There, the scent of death and old parchment surrounded me and I sighed contentedly and sat in an overstuffed armchair to read. Shadows flitted around the room, shadows with no visible source. Shadows that whispered quietly among themselves. I raised an eyebrow and watched them disappear up the stairs to the rooms above.

Flip. The ancient parchment in my hand was old and brittle, but I was well aware of the fragility of such texts and was careful. Flip. It was written in Old English. I remembered the language, distantly, and what was written made me laugh out loud. What possessed the shopkeeper to translate such a ludicrous text? The rituals in here were bloody, the experiments misguided, and the conclusions dangerous and tantalizing for anyone wishing power. I shook my head sadly. This book was a waste of time. The shopkeeper would be better off translating the next book in the stack. It hit its mark far better.

"I don't recall inviting you back here." The voice was oh so proper. British. And sounded more than a little peeved. I turned and looked towards the doorway, where the shopkeeper stood with his arms crossed. He looked as if he were struggling not to wrinkle his nose at me. I glanced at my jeans and tee shirt and up at the shopkeeper's khakis. I was obviously not welcome. Tsk tsk. Hadn't he learned not to judge a book by...oh, wait. I looked down at the book in my hands. The cover was nice, but it was filled with rubbish about curing vampirism, liberally mixed with Christianity of course. I squinted my good eye. Interesting! If I turned my head just so, that one vampire on page forty-five looked just like me. It was uncanny, really. "You aren't welcome in there." The shopkeeper's voice cut into my reverie.

There was a push of power, that same death magic I knew so well, and I glanced up sharply. Yes, there above the door, where I was a fool not to have seen them. Anglo-Saxon runes were carved deep into the wood, stained crimson with what looked like paint but felt in my bones like human blood. Nothing else resonated so clearly with its own life force. A band of steel wrapped around my chest and I could hardly breathe. I chanted quietly under my breath the spell that would protect me, and the horrible tightness loosened. I laughed. "Very good. You are very gifted, for a novice pupil of a way of life long dead." I set the book aside and gestured for him to join me. "You did invite me. My name is Einar Borsson, we spoke over the phone." I deliberately exaggerated my accent, though I've been speaking English for a very long time. I reached behind me for the wine bottle and two glasses sitting there on a table. "I hope you don't mind. It was a difficult flight." I sipped at the glass and gave the shopkeeper a grin. "So. I believe you had paperwork for me to sign."

The shopkeeper still stared, as if I were a puzzle he hadn't quite figured out. He snapped out of the trance only when winked my one good eye at him. "Yes, of course. The realtor dropped the papers off this morning." He rummaged around in his desk and handed me a folder. "All the marked lines, and the bottom copy is yours." I reached for the folder, and he kept a tight grip on it. His eyes narrowed, and he sniffed the air as if he were a hound. "How did you break that spell? It would have killed anything mortal." He looked confused for a moment, and then he visibly paled. His hand clutched at a hammer-shaped talisman around his neck.

I laughed and started signing the many lines. "Like I said. Very good for a novice."
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To be updated continuously as I find footnotes I should remember.

1. A man hid his name from his enemy, because in olden times it was believed that the word of a dying man might have great power if he cursed his foe by name.
2. Fey - Doomed to Die - the idea of an inevitable but unknown fate seems to have been practically universal through out the pre-Christian period.
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(Text taken from the Asatru Folk Assembly)

Read more... )


Jul. 13th, 2010 09:18 pm
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Asa-Who? (A Brief Introduction to the Asatru Religion)

by Ann Gróa Sheffield

What is Asatru?

Asatru literally means "true (loyal) to the gods". Asatru is the reconstructed, pre-Christian faith of Northern Europe. This ancient religion was practiced in England and Holland, Germany and Scandinavia. Today, people of diverse backgrounds are drawn to the ancient Norse gods and are working to make our faith live again in the modern world.


Read more... )
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In the Beginning...
All was fire and ice. As the fire from Muspelheim met the ice from Nifelheim, the jötunn Ymir and the cow Audhumla were created. Ymir's foot begat the race of Jötnar. As Ymir slept, he sweated in the intense heat, and thus Surtr, a jötunn of fire, was born. Later, when Ymir woke, he drank from the cow Audhumla while she licked on a salt stone. Her licking revealed Búri, and with a jötunn female he fathered Borr, the father of Odin, Vili, and Ve.

The three brothers killed Ymir and created seven more worlds using Ymir's body. His flesh became earth. His blood became the oceans, lakes, and rivers. His bones became stone. His brains became clouds, and his skull, the sky. Later, Odin, Vili, and Ve were walking along a beach, and came upon two tree trunks. The brothers fashioned them into human-shape. Ve gave them the ability to hear, see, and speak. Vili gave them mind. And Odin gave them life (literally: wode, meaning the frenzy in which a poet writes masterpieces and in which a berserker fights). To protect humanity from the Jötnar, Midgard was surrounded by a fence made of Ymir's eyelashes.

A God by Any Other Name...
Odin is described by Snorri as the chieftain of the Æsir. Foremost, he is a god of death in all its many forms, though not a god of the underworld. He is most concerned with the coming Ragnarök, and spends tremendous effort preparing for that day. The bravest warriors spend the afterlife in his hall, awaiting Ragnarök, when the gods will need their help to ensure the rebirth of the world. He is a god of wisdom and magic. He has endured much pain and hardship in the pursuit of knowledge. In order to drink from Mimir's Well, in which all wisdom lies, Mimir demanded he cast an eye into the Well. He hung from the World Tree for nine days and nights, pierced by a spear and pledged as a sacrifice to himself. Given no bread or mead, he peered down, took up the runes, and fell screaming from the tree. After Mimir's death at the hands of the Vanir, he preserved Mimir's head using spells and herbs and he talks with it to gain its knowledge. He is the leader of the Wild Hunt, leading a host of the slain across the land in the dead of winter, and leaving the living with the promise of new growth. In this way, his true nature is seen: An (often cruel) god most concerned with preserving the knowledge of the past and ensuring the cycle of death and rebirth.

...May Not Be the God You're Used To.
Or: In Which The Author Takes Liberties For Fictional Purposes. The Germanic gods are described as mortal, aging and dying as easily as humanity. The goddess Idunna is the caretaker of the apples of youth, which she distributes to the gods to maintain their immortality. When Loki's pranks cause her to be taken from them, they grow old, and she must quickly be rescued. Odin, however, contradicts this. He is described as an old man, bearded and one-eyed, with a hat pulled low to cover his eye, and a cloak of blue-black (the color traditionally associated with the dead). He drinks only mead or wine and he feeds the food given to him to his two wolves, Geri and Freki (both meaning "the greedy"). He has been "killed", sacrificed to himself to learn the runes. The god whose eye is forever looking to the future, forever preparing for the final battle, is more of the dead whom he communes with and claims than of the living. 

He is blind in one eye. Around his neck, marks can be seen where the noose dug into his flesh. Above his heart, a brutal scar marks the place he was impaled with his own spear, in his quest to learn the runes. The death-god is often seen with his two wolves, and his two ravens, carrion-eaters and the scavengers of the battlefield. He is more of the dead than the living, and while he has fathered gods and great kings, he does not eat and his heart does not beat. As belief has waned in the Germanic gods, and others have risen to take their place, so too has his power waned. No longer is a mere word from him enough to seal the fate of his chosen mortal. Men worship other gods, now, and other gods claim that right. He retains the wisdom he sacrificed so much of himself for, but his search for more wisdom is difficult and dangerous, and he gives up ever more of himself with every spell he casts. While the landscape of Midgard is safe, though fraught with turmoil and ravaged by decay, the landscape of the other eight worlds has suffered horribly in man's disbelief and his quest to master his world, and the journey between the worlds is a dangerous one. The Jötnar grow restless as the body of their father, Ymir, decays. The restless dead gather in the hall of Hel and make ready to sail while Nidhogg gnaws at the roots of the World Tree. And from the south, Surtr waits in Muspelheim to consume the nine worlds in fiery oblivion. The wise god believes, now more than ever, that Ragnarök is at hand.

...And In the End, Life Begins Anew.
The roosters crow, the Hound Garmr howls and breaks free of his fetters. Strife descends upon the worlds. Man wars with his brother, and his wars consume the world. Heimdall blows the Gjallarhorn and rallies the gods to battle. Odin converses with Mimir's head. The Jötnar march to war on the gods from the east, while the Midgard Serpent stretches its jaws wide. Surtr marches from the south, consuming everything in his path in fire. The old gods meet the invaders in battle, and both sides slay the other. The Wolf Fenrir devours the Sun and the Moon, and he begins to devour the earth before Odin confronts him. Odin is devoured by Fenrir before Odin's son, Víðarr, avenges his father's death. The worlds are consumed by fire and slip into the sea.

But the new world is born out of the old. The earth reappears from the water, and the children of the old gods meet to discuss old times. Fields grow without being sown, and two humans, Líf and Lífþrasir appear from the World Tree to repopulate the world. Baldr and Höðr are ressurrected and return from Hel, and together with the other gods, they rule the new world. This is the outcome for which Odin continually fights. Not for his own power or comfort, but for the rebirth of the world after Ragnarök.

Alias: Einar (One Warrior - from same root as Einherjar) Skollvald (ON: Ruler of Treachery) Borsson (Anglicized: Son of Borr)
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Definition - A part of the soul that can be seen as the function of "divine madness." Wode can lead to the heights of artistic and intuitive inspiration, and can also lead to berserker-frenzy or other manifestations of apparent madness and/or psychic overdrive. The effects of moving totally into the wode-part of one's being are generally temporary in nature, and are usually followed by a period of great weakness or unconsciousness. Generally Odin is the bringer of wode, which is often accomplished by a draught of his "mead of inspiration," Odhroerir. He is considered the patron of those who are inspired by wode, such as poets and berserks.

The Runes

Jul. 13th, 2010 01:22 pm
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The Eldar Futhark of Northern Europe

Cut for length )
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Words of the High One

Cut for length. )
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(Text taken from Wikipedia)

Cut for length )
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(Text taken from Asatru-U's beginner's course)

Originally a god of death, whose range later came to encompass magic (especially runic magic), battle (giving victory by choosing who should die), poetry, the fury of the berserk-warrior, and, at least in part, the authority of the ruler descended from the gods (he is the most frequent father of royal lines - including, according to Anglo-Saxon genealogies, the current royal house of England). In the Prose Edda (written two hundred years after the conversion of Iceland), he is shown as the chief of the gods, but historical accounts of Germanic religion do not necessarily support this; it is likelier that Snorri was modeling the Norse pantheon somewhat on the Classical.

Odin won the runes by hanging on a tree for nine days and nights, wounded with his own spear. He gave up one of his eyes for a drink from the Well of Mímir ("Memory"). He won the mead of poetry by seducing the giant-maid Gunnlod who had been set to keep it, then asking for a drink and draining all three cauldrons. To his chosen ones, he gives victory, inspiration, magic, madness, and death when he sees fit. He is seen as especially a god of wisdom, a patron of poets, thinkers, and singers. Of all the gods, Odin is the one who seems to take the most active part in the affairs of humans, and the one who appears most often in the writings of the Germanic peoples.

Odin usually appears as a graybearded man, tall and thin, with a blue-black cloak and an eyepatch or wide-brimmed hat tilted to hide his missing eye. His weapon is the casting spear Gungnir, with which he dooms his chosen ones to die in battle. He has two wolves, Geri and Freki (both names mean "the Greedy"); two ravens, Huginn ("the Thoughtful" or "the Bold") and Muninn ("the Mindful" or "the Desirous"); and a gray, eight-legged horse called Sleipnir ("Slipper"). He is the husband of Frigga and the father of many gods and human heroes. As the leader of the Wild Hunt, he also brings fruitfulness to the fields.

Odin is assisted by the valkyries ("Choosers of the Slain") who work his will on the battlefield, bringing the bravest warriors to Valhall ("Hall of the Slain"), where they ready their strength against the coming of Ragnarok. It is said that "Odin will help you if he feels like it," and it is true that he is a stern tester of his children, and often seems rather capricious. However, even when he seems cruel, his purpose is always clear: to strengthen the hosts of the gods for the last battle so that life and knowledge can be preserved and the new world born after the old is destroyed. In the late Viking Age poem Eiríksmál, Bragi asks Odin, "Why did you take victory from him (Erik Bloodaxe), if he seemed the bravest to you?" and Odin answers, "Because of that which no one knows (that is, the time of Ragnarok): the Gray Wolf gapes ever at the dwellings of the gods." Odin is a god of foresight, careful weaving of plots, and long-term agendas.

Old Norse Óðinn; Anglo-Saxon Woden; Old High German Wodan; Modern German Wotan; Proto-Germanic *Woðanaz. "The Furious (or Mad) One".
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