Midweek and the eve of the Winter Solstice- Woden’s Day. Look in the sky! It’s Woden on his trusty 8-legged steed, Sleipnar! Odin the Wanderer, the one-eyed Norse god, god of war and death, and the god of poetry and wisdom. All of his actions are related to knowledge, wisdom, and the dissemination of ideas and concepts to help Mankind. He’s the father of Thor, the next day of the week.
J.R.R. Tolkien fashioned Gandalf out of Odin, referring to him as an ‘angelic being.’ Children who have read Tolkien understand the mystical powers of Gandalf, or Odin, the same as Norse children revered Odin. In the artist’s rendition at left, he also appears to resemble the Santa Claus of old, before the red suit.
During the Norse festival of Yule, the first toast was to Odin, “for victory and power to the king.” Thus, when your host at the holiday party offers you a cup of Wassail, be sure to lift your glass and give a toast to Odin, not necessarily for victory or power, but rather to honor his wisdom and love of language.