With the gods worshipped in so many areas across Northern Europe, it is a fair question to wonder if the Father of the Vikings' Northern gods was the same as the one for the early tribes along the Rhine. I believe the answer is yes and no. Allfather is still the Allfather. Yet, as there were different names for the gods, the gods were viewed differently region by region and from one century to the next. These differences must be remembered whenever working with the Mysteries and you should be careful which aspect you invite into your workings. Do you want Odin or Wodan? As Aswynn warns, "It could be said that Odin is Wodan in a bad mood!" (Aswynn 177)
Just as the Northern Gods are not just of the Vikings, they are not just for the Vikings and their descendants. There are indications in the Sagas that point to the adoption and practice of the Northern Mysteries by those from outside. Gundarsson says that in the Helgi lays of the Elder Edda, “It seems to be the ritual action, rather than the actual bloodline, which transmits the soul, memory and might [of an individual].” (Gundarsson 51). Fosterage is cited as a way to pass on the might of a clan to an individual when a man presented a boy with weapons for the first time (Gundarsson 53). Finally, the author says there is a rite to claim ancestry in Hyndluljoth. He says that through this rite an individual can tie “himself into the might of the heroes of history and legend, and ultimately claims his kinship with the god/desses.” Gundarsson goes on to say, “This rite may be carried out by anyone, regardless of his/her actual clan-lineage; and the one who carries it out must then be recognized as partaking in the might of the holy clans of the North.” (page 54)
Therefore, Germanic Gods and Ancestry are not determined by blood alone and the gods and goddesses of the Northern tribes are accessible to all those who hear their call. The Vikings cannot hold a monoply on the Northern Pantheon. Anyone, with due respect, can embrace the Northern Mysteries and Web Working.
Aswynn, Freya. Runes and Feminine Powers; Northern Mysteries and Magick. 2nd Ed. St. Paul: Llewellyn, 2002. Print.
Gundarrson, Kveldulf, comp. Our Troth; Living the Troth. 2nd Ed. Vol. 2. North Charleston: BookSurge, 2007. Print.