As an Odinist, I keep getting asked about why I am one, and how I make Odin’s lessons apply to my daily life. This usually seems to be the result of someone only being aware of Odin as a god of warriors. However, while an Odinist should indeed have something to do with the arts of war, he or she must be so much more than that.
An Odinist must also be a person of knowledge in some way. Spiritual development must also be a constant part of the Odinist’s path. He is also a god of poets and, by extension, all of the inspired arts. After all, he is the god of inspiration. An Odinist should therefore also be something of an artist. An Odinist must also be a traveler, for his role as a wanderer is as important as his role as a warrior, if not more so.
This is a lot to do. Living in a way that expresses this path does not involve a lot of sleep or down time. As a poor working man, I cannot give myself to an entirely religious devotional path. Nor do I think I should. Odinists should be active in the world. So I try to make my life in the world also an expression of my religious devotion.
This combination of a lay life with elements of monastic devotion is something that Christians used to do particularly in the Middle Ages. To this end they wrote Books of Hours, that gave monastic schedules of devotional activities and prayers for each hour, with explanations of what they meant. Lay people could incorporate as much or as little monastic structure into their lives as they liked.
This is much what I have tried to do with my life as an Odinist. While I have a great many practices that happen once or a few times a year, or on special occasions, I try to arrange each day as an expression of all of the Odinic virtues, and keep to a devotional schedule appropriate for a holy man.
After I wake up I take an hour showering, dressing, making coffee, cooking, etc. My particular way of relaxing after this is to read the news while drinking my coffee. An Odinist should be a person of knowledge, after all. I increase my awareness of the world while waking up more fully. It’s pretty relaxing and an expression of my Odinic path.
After this I put on music. An Odinist should be involved in art, and that includes appreciating as well as creating. During this time I write blog posts, catch up on email, moderate the forums I run, write something more for my latest book, or take care of incidental business matters. (I’m self employed.) I am being creative during some of these tasks, and living up to my various responsibilities at the same time. The music puts me in touch with my inner self, as I generally choose music that will do that.
Which makes the time following this period perfect for meditation, prayer, and other spiritual practices. On a rushed day I might have no more time than allows for a quick bow and “Hail Odin!” at my altar. Other days I might spend a half hour in meditation, or stadhagaldr, or seidh. I also get in a good physical workout at this time. Staying in shape is not just good for health, it is a necessary part of being a warrior. Even Odinists who do not fight professionally should live as if combat is always possible. Part of this means staying in shape. I also work martial arts drills during this time.
After the workout I take a break, sitting down to read a book. I cannot travel physically every day, but I can travel in my head. With a book I can visit world created in the heads of others. In its own way, this is as instructive as physical traveling.
Then I buckle down to work. On days when I am tending to my business, this simply means doing business work. On the occasional days I set aside for my true passion, the sciences, I pursue my scientific work. These days are best for me, in that science is also a creative endeavor, and it is also a prime opportunity for me to pursue knowledge.
During the working day (as I work at home) I take breaks to work some martial arts forms, or meditate. At the end of the day, some days, I unwind with a few drinks. This is not just a means of relaxation, it is also an Odinic sacrament. He is the god of alcohol, and its use as an entheogen was a large part of Odinic practice.
Every day I live is guided by my understanding of the Odinic path. It is not just a path for warriors, it is a path that can enrich and fulfill day to life as well. By taking a devotional approach to daily life, I can turn every day into a repetition of perfection, a broad, full expression of what it means to be an Odinist.