How Odin beat Iduna to the font

Published: Fri, 02/11/22

Our daughter Iduna was due to be baptised at the Methodist Church I belong to on the 29th of March 2020. Everything was arranged with the church for the Sunday and we planned a party for the Saturday night well. Both families were due to be well represented and there was going to be a short ritual that evening in which each guest who wanted to could offer their own blessing on our infant daughter. Travel arrangements were made, hotel rooms booked, and then during March everything fell apart and the church itself was closed for the next several months. The minister who would have officiated resigned from the ministry and took early retirement last year. Along with a great many other organisations it took a while for the church to reestablish a routine of activities again. In September Fran Rhys, a lady minister filled the post of Superintendent minister for the circuit and she seems to be settling in well.

I first met Fran at a circuit service last year when I had taken Iduna with me. I told our new minister that we would still like our little girl baptised, albeit two years or so later than intended and a couple of weeks ago Fran visited to meet the whole family. We discussed the implications of baptism and what the service would involve. It was also suggested that it would be good thing if Iduna could witness another child being baptised so that she would know what to expect when her turn comes. Due to the aging demographic of the Methodist church infant baptisms can be rather rare events, the last one at my church was over three years ago when a little boy named Regan was christened there. As it turned out Regan’s little brother was also due to be baptised on the coming Sunday.

There had been some discussion about Iduna’s name with the minister, yes it was Scandinavian, yes Iduna is a Norse goddess name, but is still used sometimes as a girl’s name in the Nordic countries. Would she likely be the first child to be baptised at the church with such a name? Then it turned out that the name chosen for the child being christened the coming Sunday is Odin. Apparently the parents told Fran that the name comes from the Lord of the Rings. I know Tolkien was heavily influenced by Norse Mythology and borrowed many themes for his own work, but I can’t recall the name Odin being used in the ring trilogy, I am sure someone can correct me if I am wrong. I guess it was a simple explanation for a minister for choosing such a name.

The church was full last week, little Odin had a lot of support and I don’t think I am exaggerating by suggesting that the regular congregation was outnumbered by at least four to one by the visitors. There were so many children present it was even worth having play group in the church hall during part of the service. I think it is fair to say that the majority of the visitors would only find themselves in church for christenings, weddings, and funerals, but it was nice to see a full church for once, and Odin’s parents seemed very pleased with the occasion.

Not sure what last Sunday proves, perhaps just that when you think you are pushing the boat out a bit some one else is already paddling half way to the horizon. It did seem very strange hearing the minister referring to the little boy she was christening as Odin Then again, I know who Odin is and the minister claimed she just thinks he is a character from a fantasy novel.

I do want Iduna to grow up with an appreciation of the spiritual aspect of life. She is already quite used to being in church and will be coming with me when I am preaching this Sunday while Venetia is working a shift at the swimming pool. I also took her to her first pagan ritual at mid-winter. I am not quite sure what she made of it, but she was very patient and she enjoyed finishing up the cake that was left over after the ritual. To me the only division is between scientific secular materialism, which is currently the unconsciously accepted religion which dominates our world, and an awareness of the spiritual nature of the universe. The important thing is that Iduna grows up with a conscious awareness of her choice of beliefs. I have no idea if I am going about creating this awareness in the right way, but at least she is getting some experience of how people express their spirituality and I guess that is a start.



PS I am not planning on organising a Stav Camp as such this year. However, there are going to be camps at Silver Wood,a venue in North Lincolnshire about 10 miles south of the town of Brigg. There was a short weekend camp there for Samhain last November and the mid-winter ritual I mentioned above. The next event will be a weekend camp for Beltane over the weekend of the 22nd to the 24th of April. I will be there to participate in the event and there is plenty of space and time to do as much Stav training as we want to. I will lead morning Stav sessions, workshops on various aspects of Stav, and whatever training people want. I have talked to Pia Morgan, the organiser, and she thinks it is a great idea. There will be all sorts of other workshops and the ritual to join in with too and we will get people giving Stav a try as well. Cost will be 30 pounds for the camp (not including food) and spaces are quite limited so book soon if
you are interested. There is a Facebook page for the event but not a website as such. Let me know if you are interested and I will give you the information you need to book.

There will almost certainly be similar events later in the year where we can do the same thing but lets see how this one goes first.