Does Odin redact secrets? If I have my mythology right I know he hoards them, but would he keep them away from others?
Interesting that you used that term:
redact (v.) early 15c., “bring into organized form,” from Latin redactus, past participle of redigere “to drive back, force back; bring back; collect, call in; bring down, reduce,” from re- “back, again” (see re-) + agere “to drive” (see act (n.)). Specific meaning “arrange, edit” is from 1851.
See the thing with secrets, is that they’re hidden - they’re runes, whispers, things that weren’t to be discovered as-is. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be secrets - they’d just be things-in-the-world, you know?
The thing with secrets is that they mean different things to different folk, more than normal phenomena. They’re loaded with it, hyper-meaning, in a sense. Deploy a secret in the right way, in the right circumstance, and you can destroy a a life, make someone rich, doom someone to servitude, or set them free from a lifetime of bondage.
But for another person, that secret has little to no power, y’know? So it’s about how you arrange, how you apply, how you deploy what you know. Information, contrary to popular belief, doesn’t want to be ‘free’.
If anything, information ‘wants’ to be arranged in, expressed as, as many forms as possible. That’s what Life is, in a sense, ‘information’ shifting, changing, expressing and re-expressing itself.
Odin wants to know, to experience. And like the rest of us, everything we know becomes part of us, indeed always was, because knowing is contagion. Is becoming-aware-within and via our bodies, our sensoria,
Deploy a word, in a particular context, and you get a very particular response. Why else would we, at the most extreme, need trigger warnings? Apply a certain stimuli and you can catapult someone into a full somatic panic response, you can make someone think they’re about to die.
And because the body is kicking in, it’s as real as real gets. But frame that word, that communication differently, you get a different response.
Norse myth, as with other cultures like the Sumerians, doesn’t posit the world we know coming out of nothing. Rather, it comes from the arrangement of Ymir’s corpse. It comes from the killing of that Primeval Body, its dismemberment and rearrangement.
So, in context, he doesn’t hoard secrets, he knows things which are secret, occult, in the original sense. And when things are hidden, well, either we let them stay hidden, or we perform the labour of finding them. We reach out, to grasp, to touch. To place ourselves in proximity to the information so that it is parsed and processed in a manner which manifests as bodymind-processes which ‘we’ can recognise - to have knowledge of a thing as a direct experience.
Now, supposing we use a drug analogy - a drug is that which interacts with the body to produce a given state/effect. The drug itself does nothing. It is the interplay between drug and patient which performs the action-effect.
The Greeks called such things, poisons and medicines both. They called them pharmakon (from whence pharmacy). So, and bear with me bit here:
Information is contagious. It spreads from contact, replicates itself. But an interconnected universe, everything touches everything else. That’s what our ancestors understood as relating to wyrd - not mere causality, but, to steal a more modern philosophical aphorism - if you want to bake a cake from scratch, you must first create the universe.
Our actions are our own, only insofar as ‘we’ are the intersection of a universe’s worth of actions, and our actions create further intersections with the universe, and hence change it. Free Will, as we think of it, doesn’t exist, because freepre-supposes lack of entanglement, something which physics has pretty much proven not to exist, at least on some level.
We’re spontaneous knots in headphones or cables. Recognising ourselves as knots, forgetting that we’re cables arranged in a particular temporary configuration.
So, what does this have to do with Odin, and secrets?
Well, if knowing is the intersection of pharmakon and body, the crossroads of manifestation wherein something resolves itself out of the roiling, bubbling well of sensory data which are our attempts to grasp the quantum soup, then it follows that the whole universe is Unknown, until certain bits of it interact in particular ways.
Contrariwise, if the universe is constant coming-together-and-breaking-apart in kosmic flux, the the universe is undergoing a constant Knowing. It is the Knower, the Knowing and the Known.
The head-bendy bit is that these two positions are not contradictory.
The best way to know, then is to not-know. To empty the cup as the Zen koans say. As Socrates said, the only true wisdom is knowing that you know nothing.
So, what happens if you’re having problems with that?
What if the ordinary is so damn obvious?
Why, then you seek the hidden in the obvious. You say - there is more, always more. You develop the feverish, sweating will to know. You rearrange your perceptions, rearrange what you know into strange and unfamiliar configurations.
You open yourself to the kosmos, place yourself at the most extreme disadvantage you can cultivate (stabbed, starving, hanged) and see what happens, because on some level you comprehend the fact that the whole universe is a secret - to steal the title of a Clive Barker Novel, The Great and Secret Show.
You rip out your own eye, in order to see in a new way. You cover the world in shadows and madness and terror and fury, and then you lift up your people and throw them in the deepest, darkest end, so that they feel like they’re utterly alone in a forest full of wolves.
Teach them to recognise the hot breath of the entire universe on the back of their neck, make them hunter-and-hunted to understand the inescapable nature of death and existence.
You murder a world and give them a new one, full of blood and teeth and glory, full of leaf-softness, sidelong glances and soft-kisses that burn, come-hither creatures and monsters.
You bind them, loosen them, teach them that each thing they thought they knew, each mundane thing, is a portal, touches the secret pulsing heart of All-That-Is.
Nine steps ahead, you take moments of their lives and bury them on the path, cover them with earth and bind them with root so that they gleam in dark soil, shining in ways they never thought they could.
You twist the threads of being together into a noose that doubles as an umbilicus to an earthen womb, the tomb-mounds serving as doorways to wisdom, covering over, sending them under the earth, into the cellar where the bright gold and finest wine lies.
Does Odin hide secrets? No.
And also yes. Because in what we may think of hiding, we begin to discover that we, ourselves are hidden and secret creatures. We may think he keeps them away, but all he does is flaunt an illusory sense of distance in our faces.
This is just an example on a way to do this. You do not have to do it this way.😊
To ground yourself after a spell, ritual or a particularly potent magical circle, use simple symbolism. Sit on the ground, placing your hands in direct contact with the earth. Let the excess energy pour out of you while repeating this statement three times or as much as needed.
“From nature shared, we reciprocate, let this energy disseminate.”
Continue relaxing until you feel the buzz in the air passing and your senses returning to normal. It also helps to eat some simple foods like raw vegetables.
This also works for people who feel the need to keep their feet on the ground. If an outdoor location is not available, go to an area close to the earth, like a cellar or sun porch. You can also just visualize yourself outside, see yourself as a tree or other plant with deep strong roots, and/or listen to nature sounds, then use the same incantation.