Throughout the Lay, Odin repeatedly reminds the questioner of who he is. Much I have fared, much I have found, much I have got from the Gods. The giant cannot see it for his own greatness. Or, at least, what he is believing to be his greatness. He does not have ears to hear. This repeated phrase shows a decided respect for the Gods. Much he has gotten from them. But it does not occlude the effort he has put into earning this knowledge. Much he has fared, much he has found. While it may be a somewhat deceiving turn of words when one considers how he “found” the runes or the mead of inspiration, it seems to be very clear he objects to “chieftains” who lay claim to this knowledge without putting forth the effort to earn it.
We are bombarded by these types of men in Asatru on a daily basis. Men who show up as chieftains or Gothis on some new and very special page dedicated to this or that new organization. A “safe space” for heathens or runesters or justified and folkish people to be proud of their attitude towards this faith and way of life. They fully expect people to honor their self-titled position, not knowing that there are countless heathens out in the world who do not respect at all the knowledge they believe they are in possession of. In possession of, but not understanding a single bit of it. They abuse this knowledge by using it to justify their excesses of personality or worse yet, to justify and embolden their righteous indignation based on their inflated egos. With absolutely no accountability for their words or actions on social media and lots of people more than willing to jump on the bandwagon in order to boost their ego as well, it becomes a morass of personalities. A swamp of characters doing their best to feed that identification with their own thoughts they fully believe to be their being. All the while, telling the world that this is Asatru.
Odin in this tale is a fine representation of what Asatru really might be. Taking issue with a giant, a being which has always represented the basest of human emotions and thought processes. Uninspired human intellect and primitive emotional states of being. Unlike the skilled dwarven craftsman Alvis, this great giant has not based his position on the skill of his work. Alvis made the assumption that through his work, the skill of his hands and the identification with his job, that this was the culmination of his being. Instead of working through the other issues of who he is, he figured he could just marry into a higher state of being. Gerdr and Skadi both endured great personal sacrifices to earn their seat at the table. Alvis made no such effort. Vafthruthnir has made no such effort either. He has contented himself with simply gathering around his fire beings of a similar stunted mindset and emotional state of being. It is a standard response for individuals seeking to bolster and feed their ego. There has never been a more efficient manner for individuals who are completely engulfed in their egoic thinking patterns to feed their egos. For all intents and purposes, across thousands of years, he is a reflection of every upstart heathen who has decided to build an Asatru organization.
The typical “us against them” mentality is par for the course. The individuals who attend this effort are typically spiritually unconscious people and in their sleep, they attempt to reinforce how right they are by means of what they believe to be a superior intellect. They attempt to derive a sense of being and purpose by their association with someone they perceive as being more right than whoever they decide is their opponent. This madness has populated the timeline of history in grotesque fashion. 100’s of millions of people have perished from this very train of thought. One can see why Odin would be willing to apparently risk life and limb to defend that which he has put so much effort into creating.