Odin Stitches the Binding of a Book

Odin craved knowledge and power. He watched as the Norns inscribed runes on the trunk and roots of the great tree, Yggdrasil. What the Norns wrote became manifest. Odin desired this knowledge. It required great sacrifice but he learned the secrets of the runes.

Binding is at the heart of seidr, the Norse magic concerned with knowing and changing fate by symbolically weaving events into being. The term, seidr, literally means string, thread, or cord; or as an action, to tether, snare, or bind. Among the gods, Freyja was most skilled in seidr. Odin begged Frejya to teach him seidr.

In this image, Odin stitches the binding of a book. What is he after? Stitched books represented transformation in the human world. At the time, Christian Gnostics wrote independents gospels telling of their knowledge of God. Was it a threat to Odin? Did he abet the church in binding a preferred set of books into an authoritative Bible, minus the Gnostics?

Was it worth it? Books were a handy invention, easy to hide and carry a secret message. The invention of the book was at the heart of the Christian revolution, the religion that ultimately replaced Norse mythology. Did the magic of books cause Ragnarok, the downfall of the Norse gods?

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