I've pulled the 10 of Swords (upright and reversed) so many times in relationship to Odin: what blessing does he offer?; how can I deepen our relationship?; what aspects of psyche is he connected to? (just to name a few).
|Pagan Otherworlds Tarot|
Odin is considered to be a god of battle, shamanism, inspiration, wisdom, and death. His symbol is generally thought to be the valknut (knot of the fallen, or dead), three intersecting triangles. Its meaning is not firmly known, but based largely on educated conjecture. In other words, there is nothing historical that explicitly states that Odin and the valknut are connected. However there are pictorial artifacts that do appear to associate them, including one - on the Lärbro stones - that shows what is probably Odin and his ravens at a burial mound over which a downward-angled valknut is depicted.
A couple of weeks ago I was pondering the symbolism of the valknut. I decided to pull three cards about its significance, and I drew: 8 of Swords rx, Knight of Swords rx, and the Ace of Swords.
|Pagan Otherworlds Tarot|
Odin sacrificed himself to himself in order to set himself free and truly learn who and what he was. As a deity, or even archetype, it is a bit funny to think of him needing to embark on such a journey, but the story itself demonstrates the whole point of his essence: allowing the ego to die so that the soul can be free to be fully expressed.
If the World Tree is within us, then Odin is effectively hanging himself in the liminal, sacred space of his own inner self, the ultimate initiation. Who are you when you have nothing to name you? By letting himself go he was able to open himself up to the keys of the universe and universal knowledge/wisdom/truth. And with that wisdom he was able to dialogue - consciously engage with - existence itself.
Some believe that to wear a valknut indicates a dedication to Odin and/or Odinic principles, and to the path of a warrior. As I mentioned before, I believe that soldiers are one sort of warrior, and the strength, bravery, and willingness to confront physical death that they embrace as part of their duty to protect and serve is sacred and sobering. I also believe that the path of the warrior is a choice that we make in every moment of our lives, whether or not we ever set foot on a literal battle field.
From my perspective, Odin's principles include (but are not limited to) having the strength to stand up for what is right; reducing and eliminating perceived barriers that prevent us from engaging in the dynamic fabric of life; opening our hearts and minds to learning from all things, and all people; having the courage to look at our own shadows (and not run away); working to identify the influence of our egos, and then working to free ourselves from those bindings; to fully embody our unique selves. All of this involves the never-ending work of self-evaluation, self-acceptance, a desire, dedication, and intent to always "be and do" as authentically, honestly, and openly as possible; a willingness to challenge ourselves to always grow, evolve, and learn.
He alone knows
who wanders wide
and has much experienced
by what disposition each man is ruled
who common sense possesses.
-Havamal, 18 (B. Thorpe)