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ODIN: Ecstasy, Runes, and Norse Magic
by Diana Paxson

ODIN: Ecstasy, Runes, and Norse Magic by Diana Paxson

Weiser Books September 2017 * 320 pages with illustrations and photographs

Odin is arguably one of the most enigmatic and complex characters in Norse mythology. Revered since the Viking Age, Odin has been called the greatest of the gods―the god of words and wisdom, runes and magic, a transformer of consciousness, and a trickster who teaches truth. He is both war god and poetry god, and he is the Lord of Ravens, the All- Father, and the rune master.

ODIN: Ecstasy, Runes, and Norse Magic is the first book on Odin that is both historically sourced and accessible to a general audience. It explores Odin’s origins, his appearances in sagas, old magic spells, and the Poetic Edda, and his influence on modern media, such as Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. Each chapter features suggestions for rituals, exercises, and music, so readers can comprehend and become closer to this complicated god.

Author Diana Paxson, an expert on Viking-era mythology, provides a complete portrait of Odin and draws on both scholarship and experience to provide context, resources, and guidance for those who are drawn to work with the Master of Ecstasy today.

Paxson is a writer, priestess, and teacher who has been studying and teaching Germanic mythology and religion for nearly 30 years. She is the author of Taking Up the Runes, Essential Asatru, Trance-Portation, and Possession, Depossession, and Divine Relationships. Paxson also pioneered the recovery of traditional Norse oracular practice, described in The Way of the Oracle.

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY: This short work from pagan priestess Paxson (Essential Asatru), a prolific writer specializing in Germanic mythology and religion, is a mix of semi-scholarly exposition on lore and history; expressions of personal visions and experiences inspired by paganism; recommendations for pagan spiritual practices; and short stories, poems, and songs on the theme of Odin. Paxson explores Odin’s various names, associated symbols, and appearances in Norse lore as well as modern fiction, such as Gandalf in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. The specific practice sessions that follow each chapter will be appreciated by those involved in pagan religion; among other things, Paxson suggests building an altar, meditating while reciting poems about Odin, and creating rune charms. The accounts of Norse lore are lively and accessible introductions to the lay reader, and Paxson’s own beliefs, as well as those of her interviewees, shine through in her clear and lucid prose.Paxson’s book is charming and accessible, even to outsiders previously unfamiliar with the concepts.

S. M. Stirling, the Emberverse series: "Diana Paxson is both a scholar and a storyteller, which shows in her exhaustive, yet enthralling, Odin: Ecstasy, Runes, and Norse Magic. The figure of Odin, God of battles, but also of inspiration and poetry, lord of the slain, looms through the background of Western culture, affecting everything from our conception of kingship--Queen Elizabeth is descended from him, through the Saxon kings of Wessex--to the figure of Gandalf in Tolkien's work. Paxson takes us back to the original, and shows the archetypic, mythic power of this figure." ―S. M. Stirling, author of the Emberverse series

Ralph Metzner, author of The Well of Remembrance: "It was said in the lore and legends of Norse mythology that people who got interested in Odin, the god of hunters, warriors and oracular seers were “seized” by this deity, fascinated by this multifarious character. Diana Paxson, author of historical novels and short stories on themes from Norse and Celtic mythology was clearly seized, somewhat to her own surprise. She here beautifully re-tells some classic stories from this mythic complex and relates how they are reflected in the ceremonial practices of the contemporary Neo-Pagan revival. I recommend it highly."

Freya Aswynn, author of Northern Mysteries and Magick: Runes & Feminine Powers: "Reading Diana Paxson’s most excellent book, Odin: Ecstasy, Runes, and Norse Magic, whilst listening to WardRuna. This is perhaps the most comprehensive book ever written about Odin. Written with sound scholarship allied to intuitive perception. Capturing the best of both, and a sense of humour to boot. Each chapter is ended by a list of suggestions for working with him. Apart from the scholarship and poetic vision, it is also a most pleasant read! Recommended for everyone interested in Odin. Very, very helpful to students, but also rich in details and associations from other good books. which are listed in the bibliography! All in all, a very worthwhile work and as such equally useful to Old Timers like me."

Ivo Domiguez, Jr, Keys to Perception: "Odin: Ecstasy, Runes, and Norse Magic is a journey through personal histories of encounters with Odin, a weaving of old lore and modern thought, and a guide to practices that deepen your connection to his mysteries. Even if you don't work with Odin or this pantheon, this book is a treasure house of ideas for anyone who is serious about working with Goddesses and Gods. Moreover, there are people that are dear to me that work with Odin and this book has given me insight into the whys and wherefores of their spiritual path. This remarkable book is at times ribald and reverent, worldwise and innocent, pragmatic and idealistic, as needed to masterfully show the ways of a very complex God."