Our names for the days of the week,
are taken from the pages of Teutonic mythology
from the stories of legend and of pagan gods and goddesses.
Today’s name comes from a lesser known, less familiar
variant of a much better known name—
Woden, more popularly known as Odin.
Best known as Odin as god of all—the All-Father,
Woden was also leader of the wild hunt at Yule—
that mad, spectral, phantasmal, haunting, otherworldly
dash through winter’s night sky
to the howling of the hounds, the cries of the hunters,
the screaming of the wind.
The wild hunt—itself manifestation of the fierce ecstasy
that sweeps even the gods beyond themselves
into beserker fury or inspired creativity.
The wild hunt—actually less about the hunters
and even who or what was hunted,
than about whether those caught up in it—
as dry leaves swept before the wild hurricane—
about whether they were hindrance or help—
punished or rewarded accordingly.
The wild hunt—with Woden at the head
with the long beard of his chin that was as white as snow,
riding eight legged Sleipnir.
And children nestled all snug in their beds
had set out their shoes
with carrots, straw or sugar in them for Sleipnir,
and Odin would replace their offerings with gifts and candy.
This before St. Nicholas, before Sinterklass, before Santa Claus.
Woden’s day, today.
So remember, today,
the oft subtle gifts of the less familiar—the lesser known,
and of those who went before—of precedence,
the importance of attention and generosity to children,
and the blessing within domesticated celebrations
of the wild hunt of the gods—
the unpredictable intrusion of ecstasy in time—
of passion into routine,
and possibility into what is.
Remember as well this day,
the ultimately profound question—
when divine possibility forcefully blows
on the hunt,
are we hindrance or help?