Month: August 2016

Woden and Odin are not the same god (or are they?)

Odin (1825-1827) by H.E.Freund
Woden and Odin are not the same god (or are they?)
Perhaps it remains a little short-sighted to broadly assume as many do in Anglo-Saxon heathenry reconstructions that Woden and Odin (and Wotan, Oðinn, Wotanaz, etc.) are the same deity, and yet they are not. I could be wrong but such contradictions tend to always lead to much confusion. Are the two gods actually the same? Quite possibly yes but with cultural and time distance differences. But the cultural distinctions between an Anglo-Saxon interpretation of Woden and a Norse interpretation of Odin are important and informative, because they present different faces, aspects, and influences. This edges into theoretical metaphysics and admittedly has issues with evidence, off course. Here is the crux of the matter: In approaching the differences between Woden and Odin, we’re forced to rely on comparative studies between Anglo-Saxon and Norse cultures, which understandably has pitfalls and dangers all their own. Many Heathens, even steadfast Anglo-Saxonists, have to plug holes (make stuff up) in their mythology using later cultural source material. But this is dangerous. One cannot simply plug the Old Norse Odin mythological knowledge with Woden’s character and expect it to work, at all. There are significant cultural, social, and environmental factors to consider in the development of Anglo-Saxon myth that do not exist within the Norse experience.