Quiet, watchful, patient, and stoic are all words that can be used to describe one side of great All - Father Odin's personality. On the other side is a God who is constantly in search of wisdom and knowledge. Always reflecting, and comparing, His search for the ultimate knowledge is His obsession, and His life. It is said in the Eddas that He wanders the worlds, in disguise, in search of answers to what - ever questions He desires answers to. To judge His level of knowledge He travels to far away places to challenge others to contests of wit. He always, of course, comes out on top in these challenges, though sometimes He uses a little cunning to achieve His goal. This can be seen when He is competing against Vafthrudnir. They are equal in knowledge until great Odin asks, " What words did Odin whisper to His son, when Balder was placed on the pyre." Only Odin, of course, knew the answer to that question !
His search for knowledge has led Him to sacrifice much, including His eye, in Mimir's well, and once almost His life when He was hanging on, wounded by His own spear, that great ash tree Yggdrasil. Falling He gathered up the wonderful rune stones that are still used by some today, including yours truly. No one in the nine worlds understands everything as well, or as in depth as the All - Father. And this knowledge is both a blessing and a burden to great Odin. For He knows not only the past and the present, but also the future, which holds disaster for the Gods and all the nine worlds. A disaster that even with all His wisdom and knowledge he is powerless to prevent.
Odin is a God of mystery and intrigue, always watching, always seeking, sometimes even conniving, as when He steals the mead of poetry. He hides in the shadows of our worlds and our minds. From His high - seat, in Hlidskjalf, he sees everything, nothing misses His eye, no thought escapes his mind. Every day he sends out Hugin and Munin to scour the worlds, and gather what they see and hear, and at breakfast they come back, sit on All - Father's shoulders and whisper tidings in his ears. The width and breadth of His knowledge is unfathomable to us here in Midgard.
In times past Odin could make a man a king or remove him from his throne. Loki, in Lokasenna, said, " Be quiet Odin ! You never could decide a fight fairly. I know how often you have allowed the weaker man to win." But Odin knows that strength does not come from physical stength alone, but also from the strength of one's intelligence. We may not understand His decisions but we have to trust that the All - Father always makes the best choice.
As King of the Valkyries, he chooses half of the battle dead warriors to sit on the hallowed benches of Valhalla. Freyja, probably as an agreement from the Aesir - Vanir war, gets the other half. He whispers in His Valkyries ears which ones to take and which ones to leave. For even though All - Father knows the end - battle is lost He stills wants the most determined and ferocious of warriors to face the evil forces of chaos. He feeds them well and gives them good drink so they will be fit for the final days, He sharpens their battle skills by allowing them to fight in the courtyard of Valhalla. These are His champions !
It says in Gylfaginning, " We all serve Him as children do their father. " Nothing I can say can improve on those words. He gave us life, He gave us the runes, He gave us the mead of poetry, He gave us our protector, the Mighty Thor, He gives us His knowledge and His love. It is, however, a tough love ! For He expects us to speak and act in honorable ways, according to His code of law. Unlike Freyja, Odin resides in our minds and not in our hearts. His love is shown to us in the form of a confirming nod, or a simple raising of His chin in pride over our accomplishments. His reward to us, is wisdom and knowledge, and few gifts are more meaningful. As a child of Odin I bask in the glow of his brilliance, but I am also fully aware of the consequences of straying from His path into the shadows. To love the All - Father Odin is to embrace wisdom itself !
Go with Odin's wisdom, Freyja's love and Thor's protection !