Shamanic cultures, and the PIE-tribes did practice shamanism, had to talk in symbolism in order to express what they meant. These cultures did not write texts nor did they have an Alphabet. Totemism was essential as an act of re-union with the mother-consciousness. That’s why we see a lot of animals hidden in myths, but their deeper meaning has become more and more lost. They were messengers, initiators, guardians. Their spirit was a direct channel to the Otherworlds. Odin and his journey is such an old myth, although a deeply misunderstood one. In modern context, his image is almost always associated with external battles and external war.
Óðinn, Woutan is an Archetype. There is the notion that he was a Viking God, but he was known to all Germanic tribes, as Viking derives from Old Norse Vikingr, Sailor. All the Germanic farmers, hunters and homesteaders in northern and central Europe were by the very definition not Viking. He’s deriving from Indo-European shamanism older than the Viking Age, he himself is a symbol. He’s the human Ego. The human mind. He hung there on Yggdrasil. The shaman tree of traveling the spirit realms. He had to fight, too: His own inner weaknesses. Shamanism was always about initiation.
He had to overcome himself, his fear, and he had to put his own Ego, the mind of the I, behind in order to see. Huginn (Old Norse thought), Muninn (old norse mind). He’s the raven God hrafnaguð. The Ravens are a symbol for the soul/mind traveling the realms. They – the Ravens Fylgja – will take the spirit with them on a flight. Thought and mind are the key, the portals, but also polar energies. His initiation on Yggdrasil is equal to sacrificing the human Ego (his eye) in order to see. The human Ego projects. It’s full of wishful thinking. The battles are more internal in that context. In order to understand, one has to overcome it. Worshipping and praying to Odin was never the point, never the message. The point is to be him and understand what his symbol means. The Ravens are the guides, but they’re far more than that. Take a deep look within yourself. Initiate yourself.