OK, there are probably several reasons why I’m not a Heathen, to be honest. For one, I’m perfectly happy where I am now, and am confident that it is where I am meant to be. While I love the drama of Norse myth, the heathen worldview doesn’t mesh well with mine. Its generally seen as one of the more conservative pagan religions and I am so very not conservative. But all that could be gotten around – there are exceptions to every rule.
The main, unavoidable reason I’ll never be Heathen is this: I’m not allowed. I’m pretty sure the Allfather has forbidden it.
I’ve always liked Odin, one might even say I have a bit of a God-crush on Him. He’s such a great combination of bad ass and trickster; wisdom, magic and general ass-kickery.
Odin is also the first pagan deity I was certain I felt the presence of. This was about 15 years ago, during a ritual that my sweetie and I were helping a friend with. The friend was doing all the active work, we were just there to witness and help keep the energies in balance. It was part of his trad that we were left in the dark about the details. (I wouldn’t recommend this normally. This was a very trusted friend.)
We were in a public park, in a semi secluded area – it was unlikely anyone would stumble upon us, but we could still hear the sounds of people playing on the nearby lake. Only once the ritual began the sky darkened and the sounds of laughter and speedboats faded away, as though we had been enveloped in a cocoon. There was a definite sense of “other,” a presence which brought both uneasiness and familiarity. It wasn’t until the way home when we were filled in on everything that I knew he had been invoking the All Father, to make an offering and request His assistance.
Not long after I had another encounter which led to my, erm, we’ll call it a faux pas.
I was in what I perceived to be a really bad situation in a relationship. One night I had gone to sleep particularly distressed and woke up to/dreamed the silhouette of a cloaked figure in a wide brimmed hat at the foot of my bed. Again, I felt a presence. I interpreted it as Odin, showing a passing interest in me because I had participated in the rite.
I don’t know what possessed me to think this was a good idea, but I poured out my heart to the shadowy figure, and asked Him to help me find a way out of my dilemma.
A few days later I was presented with a way out.
The thing is, I chose not to take it. (Upon reflection, the situation wasn’t as bad as I’d made it out to be and all it had required was some open communication and a little compromise.)
Yeah, not good. Thankfully I hadn’t made any actual oaths, or I suspect I would have been in a world of hurt. As it is, I consider myself very lucky. When I approached Odin after that, the sense I got was not one of anger but disgust. As if He was saying “Go away kid, you bother me. You’re not wanted.” I still get that feeling to this day.
So many people write about their positive experience with the Gods. I figured it might do some good to share a negative one. Was it all in my head? Maybe. Am I going to test that? Not on your life.