A month and a half ’til deadline, and I’m feeling eerily calm and confident about The Book. This can only mean one thing: DOOM.
Granted, the doom isn’t going to be missing my deadline. The first manuscript will absolutely be finished and submitted by 14 Jan. No, it’s going to come when the editors at Llewellyn read it and wonder what the fuck I think I’m doing. Either way, I’m having fun writing (especially now that I’ve got the Scary Academic Sigyn chapter out of the way – since there’s not much about her in the lore, that chapter leans heavy on interpreting her role and nature through etymology. Interesting stuff, and I’m lucky to have a brilliant linguist among my friends, but reading his dissertation and accompanying journal articles was An Experience. That chapter was like writing a final thesis for a grad-level course . . . and I skipped all the classes). If nothing else, this project is providing a lot of new resources and Thoughts and understanding about Loki and Sigyn, and I’m getting a lot out of it personally. It’s a delightful experience, and I’m glad its one I get to undertake.
That said. . . Óðinn is being a bit of a drama queen about it. Why am I suddenly spelling his name all fancy and Norse-like? Because he has been harassing people about it. Buckle in, y’all, this is going to get weird.
Long time readers are used to seeing me spell his name as Odhinn. It’s how I always remember it growing up, and “Odin” never really felt . . . accurate? It doesn’t jive for me, personally. As I got older and started mucking about with online resources and older texts, I recognized that I was just spelling the name as it would be written without the Eth. The ð, of course, translates to “dh,” and since I grew up in the ’80s and ’90s, well before the advent of downloadable language packs to select Nordic characters from a long-press on a touchscreen, obviously we were just writing it as Odhinn. So that’s that.
Fast forward to the end of 2019: I meet Mortellus, they ask me to write the chapter on Heathenry for their upcoming book about pagan funeral customs, and I submit it with the Odhinn spelling. Peachy. Mortellus also referenced him in chapters discussing various beliefs regarding afterlives, mythology, etc. They also used the “Odhinn” spelling. Consistency, yo!
By mid-2020, I land a book deal of my own, and while it’s Loki-centric, of course the Old Man is mentioned throughout. There’s no dealing with one without the other. As my friend D says, they’ve always been a two man con. I’m plugging away with Odhinn. Sure.
My aforementioned linguist friend is one of my beta readers. He suggested I change Odhinn to Odin for two reasons: this is being written for a general audience, in which the common Anglicized spelling is going to be most familiar. The second reason involved a lot of stuff about linguistic consistency, summed up as “If you write Odhinn, similar words should be spelled with the same convention, like Midhgardh, because that’s how it was actually done in Old Norse.” Sweet, execute a little find/replace action, and we’re good.
A few days after this exchange with the linguist, Mortellus lets me know about a bizarre experience. They practice British Traditional Witchcraft as a lineaged Gardnerian Wiccan. Yet they had, on the same day, received THREE messages from three separate strangers telling them about dreams they had about Óðinn. In all three dreams, Óðinn was arguing about how to spell his name.
The next morning, Mortellus received word from Llewellyn that printing of the pagan funeral book was delayed because when they started to print, something went FUBAR with the presses or something. I don’t know the details, just that printing had stopped, the issue probably wouldn’t be resolved until the weekend. So the editors wanted to know if there were any last-last minute changes to be made. Weird, right? Like, the book was literally signed off and sent to the printing department, so why would there be any last minute changes at this point?
So we’re talking and I’m urging Mortellus to ask the three strangers how Ol’ One Eye thinks his name should be spelled. While waiting for responses, Mortellus checks the final .pdf of their book and notices the editors changed all of my “Odhinns” to “Odin” in the heathen chapter. This immediately raises a brow on my end because I had just made the same change to my manuscript. Within minutes, Mortellus starts getting replies from the 3 dreaming strangers. Óðinn was the reply from all. I found it interesting since none of the three practiced any form of Nordic path, and use of the Eth and accented “o” is not even remotely common knowledge regarding the Allfather. In fact, one of the dreamers didn’t know what that letter was or how to type it, so they told Mortellus something like, “Odhinn but with the weird thing for the dh?” Another dreamer even made sure to include the accent mark over the O, a message Mortellus received a few minutes after The Linguist told me if we’re using the Eth, the O needs to be accented to denote the long O sound.
Mortellus fires off a note to the editors, and they make the change. The presses are fixed the same day, and the book is finally printing. This all happened within a few hours: presses go down, they estimate the print run is delayed by 4-5 days, Mortellus and I compare notes on the various messages we’ve recently received about how to spell Óðinn/Odin/Odhinn, and the moment the Óðinn form is inserted, the book finally prints, back on schedule.
What. The. Fuck.
Also, I just want to point out how irritated I am that the Ol’ One Eyed Bastard threw this kind of fit when he’s mentioned, like, 4 times in Mortellus’s 400+ page book. IT’S NOT EVEN ABOUT HIM.
But hey, message received, and I immediately changed all mention of him in my book to Óðinn.
I feel like I should get bonus points from him for having spelled his name his preferred way all of these years, even if I did it the Anglicized way. I mean, Odhinn is the literal American Alphabet version of Óðinn. Yet for almost 20 years, he batted me away from his cloak as I went about thinking I was an Odhinnswoman . . . I’m sorry, Óðinswoman (not a typo! According to The Linguist, when making a possessive out of Óðinn, the second “n” drops away). Like, dude, give me a little credit.
How do all y’all spell That Name? Frankly, I think it doesn’t matter much whether you spell it Odin, Odhinn, Óðinn, Othan, Wotan, whatever. That’s between you and him. But if he’s going to be prickly about how his name appears in print when I’m writing about him (I’M SO SORRY FOR THIS NONSENSE, MORTELLUS. THIS IS WHAT YOU GET FOR HAVING A LOKIAN CONTRIBUTE TO YOUR BOOK!), then so be it. I’m a chipper idiot, but I’m not foolish enough to fight the Allfather about this.
I’m just glad Loki’s name is just straight up Loki, not Løkî or Löḉȉɘ or L̴̳̱͔̘͊͘o̴̜̰̠͍̩͒̑̈́͝k̷̢̲̘̄̔̑ḯ̷̢̲̦͍̈́͝ .