If I had to sum up the heart of the Odinic path into two words, they would be these words:
An Odinist does not shy away from doing something that is hard, because effort is beneficial. An Odinist does not shy away from doing something that is painful, because pain is a most useful tool. An Odinist does not shy away from sacrifice and loss, because these things too can be beneficial.
When times are tough, Odin does not offer mindless reassurances that everything will be alright. He does not claim that every bad thing is part of some mysterious, invisible greater good. He does not promise an eternity of reward in some future existence. Instead, he teaches practical ways to use and benefit from the world as it is.
The wisdom that Odin teaches is the wisdom to see the benefit in everything. By that I do not mean some blind Panglossian optimism, I mean learning to use all experiences for your own benefit. Consider:
Have you been injured, and find yourself in constant pain? Then you have the opportunity to learn how to focus your mind, be productive, and keep your mood up under difficult circumstances. If you can manage to do these things, you will be sharper, happier, and more disciplined for the rest of your life.
Hungry? Then you have the perfect opportunity to use the clarity of mind that hunger brings to sharpen your meditative state, which brings mental health benefits.
Lost your job? Now you have the chance to work on your powers of persuasion, which will benefit you in all areas of life.
Have you been betrayed by a loved one? You now have an unparalleled opportunity to work on disciplining your emotions, on being productive even while heartbroken, on not lashing out in anger when you feel pain. Learning to do these things will make you a better person.
Are you suffering from depression? Then you have the chance to condition yourself to think in ways that do not reinforce the depression, and instead lead on to better moods. While medications may help, conditioning your mind to steer clear of depression naturally will be a much more effective treatment.
Everything furthers. The mind of an Odinist is like a bonfire: everything put into it becomes fuel. Good things, bad things, indifferent things, all become fuel. Pleasant things, unpleasant things, the mind of an Odinist takes all that comes his or her way and turns it to his or her benefit.
This makes an Odinist unstoppable. An Odinist does not run from fear, or pain. An Odinist keeps going long after everyone else has quit or collapsed. An Odinist can be knocked down, but cannot be kept down.
Some people find Odinists to be dark, strange, even unpleasant. They do not understand why we embrace pain and suffering the way we do. Let me tell you something. It isn’t masochism. It isn’t even really darkness. It’s more a matter of being able to recognize power and opportunity where most people cannot see them. Odinists desire growth, strength, intelligence, and wisdom above all other things, so we take advantage of everything that comes our way.
And you know what? Being able to see value even in scary, painful things means that fear and pain aren’t such big deals to us. It actually makes us happier, and more well adjusted in general.
Now, Odin’s way is most certainly not for everyone. However, his example is something that anyone can learn and benefit from. Especially when times are dark. All you have to do is remember that everything furthers.
May Odin bless you.