Wōden

Meaning of Name:  Stems from Old English ,’wōd’, meaning ‘fury’ or ‘madness’. Lit. ‘Furious One’.

Pronunciation: ‘Woe-den’, with the ‘o’ pronounced the same as the ‘o’ in ‘hose’. Wōden has one of the largest collections of epithets, by-names, and kennings of all the Germanic gods.

Function: Wōden is a god of sovereignty, leadership, and hidden knowledge (seen from his Nine Herbs Charm works).  He is the personification of divine fury, madness, wandering, warfare, death and the dead, sacrifice, and violence, a leader of a warband of ravenous, ecstatic warriors.  Wōden leads the Wild Hunt during the liminal period of the year, riding at the fore of his host during that dark time..

Wōden is a god of liminality, as He is the Wanderer.  He traverses the worlds at whim, breaching the barriers between them easily in an effort to gain knowledge, or ferry the dead to and from the mound for His own ends.  As a God of esoteric knowledge He is a magician – and is thus associated with prophecy.  His coupling of Frīge, who understands and works with fate, rounds this role out.  He is a king-maker, and a destroyer, and marks his sacrifices with a spear throw.

Iconography: It is a common theory that the images of horned men, wielding spears  found on various Anglo-Saxon artifacts (Finglesham buckle) represent Wōden, or a devotee of his cultus. 5th century spear pendants found in Kent may also have been worn by Wōden devotees. Wōden is commonly associated with carrion birds (ravens and eagles), wolves, dark hounds (in later images of the Wild Hunt), and the spear.  Wōden is also thought to have been portrayed as a horned deity.

Attested Sources:  Wōden is listed in the royal genealogies, Maxims I of the Exeter Book, The Nine Herbs Charm, various place-names throughout England (Wednesbury, Wednesfield, Wansdyke etc.) and in modern Wednesday. He may also have been indirectly referenced in the ‘ōs’ rune poem and as ‘Mercurius the Giant’ in Solomon and Saturn.

Contemporary Bīnaman: Hygeferigend (Soul Bearer), Pæþwyrhta (Path-maker), Wordsāwere  (Word sower), Wihtferiend (Wight ferrier), Lǣce (Leech/Healer), Ādrysendlīc (Unquenchable, Inextinguishable), Wēstend (Destroyer, Desolater)

*Credit to Lārhūs Fyrnsida for the majority of this information and description. I have edited this down for simple reading and for personalisation of what He means to me.

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