cover image Odin: Ecstasy, Runes, & Norse Magic

Odin: Ecstasy, Runes, & Norse Magic

Diana L. Paxson. Red Wheel/Weiser, $22.95 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-1-57863-61

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. (Sept.)