“How did you know Odin wanted to marry you?” is a question I get quite a lot. Often it’s asked because people are trying to figure out what a particular god they’re involved with wants from them; other times it’s simple curiosity–which is understandable, even these days when every other blog I look at seems to have a godspouse behind it. (I sometimes fool myself into thinking that means there are a lot of us, but in actuality we are still a rarity within the whole pagan demographic. What it really means, perhaps, is that I need to branch out and read a more diverse selection of blogs. )
It isn’t Wednesday, obviously, but I don’t think I’ll be confining the “Ask Me About Odin” posts to Wednesdays any longer, just dropping them in whenever I have the time and inclination to answer one.
I was 35 years old. My daughter was a teenager and I was in a marriage that was okay at times but felt emotionally abusive at times too. I had been more or less a Wiccanesque pagan since the age of thirteen, but hadn’t really had close relationships with any particular gods, except that for my entire life, for as long as I could remember, I’d had the sense that someone was watching over me, that some unseen Person was walking along with me and shaping my path and my life’s experiences. I first encountered Him consciously at the age of eight when I met the Wild Hunter—the ancient, raw, savage Power that I discovered hiding behind the mask of Santa Claus that Christmas—and from that moment I knew He was there and had always been there with me.
As time went on, I had names for Him, but none that anyone else would have recognized, and He assumed a few different masks, but none that anyone other than me would have been able to put a name to. He left me some really big clues about His identity as time went on, all of which I only grasped the meaning of in retrospect (such as, at my wedding to my ex, the DJ playing “Ride of the Valkyries” instead of the piece my ex and I had selected, “Ave Maria,” for my wedding march).
But it wasn’t until I was 35, and my daughter mostly grown, that He chose to fully unmask Himself. I had expected my life to go on as always: work, family, tolerating my husband’s lectures and general dissatisfaction with everything I did, etc., but then two things happened: I developed fibromyalgia (which seems to be linked to the chronic fatigue my ex and I had both suffered years before), and a god claimed me. I was in the bookstore with my ex when a book cover called to me from across the room. I went and picked it up; it was American Gods by Neil Gaiman, an author I had never heard of before, but the mention of a coming storm in the blurb was compelling; it spoke to me on a deep level somehow. I bought it and took it home, read it, and suddenly had a name to put to the Power who had stalked me throughout my entire life, and who now wanted a central place in it.
Type “godspouse” into Google now and you’ll probably come up with a couple of dozen blogs at least (as I mentioned before), but at the time it was a virtually unknown practice, and I had certainly never heard of the concept beyond the marriage-lwa of Vodoun. But Odin made it very clear to me in a short period of time that He wanted me to be His wife. How did He let me know? How was I so sure? Even though our marriage may have seemed sudden to an outside observer, His courting of me had been a long, gradual, organic process, which I could only look back on and understand after the fact. There were dreams, and a bizarre variety of omens and portents (odd comments both from people I knew but was not close to–such as a college professor–and from strangers, significant music playing on the radio in perfect timing to answer questions or concerns I had, crows always following me when they were not that common in my area (due to West Nile virus)…probably a hundred other little things I journaled about at the time, some of which might not have seemed significant to anyone else than me. I did not have anyone do a divination for me because there were no spirit workers offering such services at that time. But even if it were all happening to me right now, I would avoid asking for divination because whether they mean to be or not, people are unavoidably biased (due to their own filters) in the answers they give regarding this issue, and they often unwittingly give an answer that is more about status and their own desires than the messages they are getting from the gods. This is why I will not perform such divinations myself; I am not holding myself up as being any better.
So, the short answer to the question “How did you know?” is that I was in love and I felt my love returned; it felt deep and true and real, more real than any relationship I had ever had with a human in my life, and really with all of the other signs I was getting and had gotten all through the years that was enough for me; there was no need to look for validation from other people. (I have gotten plenty of it through the years, but I have never looked for it.) I had already developed romantic feelings towards Him in His other guises that He’d assumed throughout my life, and at this point, faced with a clearer view of the magnificence of all that He is than I’d ever been granted before, I could do nothing but say yes. Of course, that “yes” demanded that I completely overhaul my entire life, which I think is why He waited until my daughter was almost grown. It involved my separating from (and eventually divorcing) my then-husband, who could not understand the reality or importance to me of what I was experiencing, but in the end this was probably in his best interests, as asking him to compete for my attention with a god would just not have been fair.
This was the primary crossroads of my life: giving myself utterly to a god, and a god whose path is characterized by sudden, sweeping change, paradoxes, and the continual stalking of oneself in search of power and knowledge. I have not for one moment regretted this decision, even though it made my life extremely difficult for the first few years of adjusting to being without my ex-husband’s income and without having a physical man around the house to do the hard work and lifting, and especially adjusting to being without a car. And this adjustment period happened at the same time my fibro (which I got diagnosed with within a year or two afterwards) was getting worse. However, if I had just gone on with my mediocre marriage and not taken this step, I would never have ended up living with my now-partner (who I met online at a pagan discussion board, where we started discussing gods), would never have had the luxury of the time and energy I have been able to devote both to my spiritual life and to my crafting (since my ex was very jealous of my time, especially if I wanted to do anything that didn’t involve him), and would never have moved from Philadelphia to Eugene, Oregon, which is such a gorgeous and wonderful place to be with its abundance of happy nature spirits. My vows of sacred marriage to Odin have been the turning point in my life where I finally began to live it for myself (and for Him), rather than for what the other people in my life had expected.