I feel as though there has been a real resurgence of interest in Norse mythology in the past five years or so, and at the top of that Norse gods pyramid is the all-father, Odin. My own interest in Norse mythology has been high for many years and I’m always interested in learning more which is why I was excited to read this book.
All-father. This is only one of the MANY names that Odin has been called throughout the various mythological stories of the Norse gods. If I came away with any special from this book it would be the long list of additional names or titles for Odin, such as “Bölverk (Bale-work), Ginnarr (Deceiver), Skollvald (Treachery Ruler), and Svipall (Changeable One or Changer)”.
But beyond these additional names, I can’t say that I really got much from this book. Author Diana L. Paxson spends a good deal of her time quoting from other authors. To some degree this is fine, but Paxson does it so often that I wondered why I wasn’t just reading some of these other authors/books instead.
My biggest problem with this book, though, is that it seems less an informational book about Odin and more a book about how to be a modern worshipper of an ancient god.
Each chapter ends with a section called “Practice.” At the end of Chapter One, for instance we have:
1. Build an Altar
2. Collect a library
And Chapter Two includes:
Make dinner for the god. Fill one plate for yourself and set the other
before your Odin altar. There is general agreement that rare roast
beef or ribs please him, or smoked salmon. I often cook asparagus
spears with garlic—“spear-leek.” If you have a dog, ask it to act as
priest of Odin’s wolves and clean the god’s plate afterward. For drink,
pour mead, whisky, or red wine.
Given this, what I consider unusual, focus on how to worship (or celebrate) Odin I took a look at the author and learned that she writes ” primarily in the fields of Paganism and Heathenism” and suddenly this makes a little more sense, but does nothing to change how much information we get about Odin.
Overall, this book was a let-down.
Looking for a good book? Your enjoyment of Odin: Ecstasy, Runes, Norse Magic by Diana L. Paxson may well depend on what you are looking to get from the book.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review.
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Odin: Ecstasy, Runes, Norse Magic
author: Diana L. Paxson
publisher: Weiser Books
paperback, 283 pages