It is written that Odin and his brothers created the world from the body of Ymir, the primordial giant. From death came life, and this is a fundamental theme of our universe. There will always be a price for creation. Only death can pay for life.
It was Odin and his brothers who gave to humanity that which makes us human. Life, breath, warmth, free will, and soul. In some way, we became imbued with that strange quality of consciousness that we can’t even begin to understand. To a pair of naked humans, Odin and his brothers gave the same drive to create that had led them to form the world.
We humans grew and prospered. A thought led us to a thought, and a deed to a deed, even as it had for Odin when he learned the runes. We began to create music and poetry, songs and stories. We began to strive for things beyond the physical world. The gods gave mankind souls, and mankind created thousands of characters, heroes and gods, monsters and villains. We have never figured out how to give our characters corporeal form, but does that matter? A poet or a writer can create a character and give it a soul and a personality.
And yet, those creations are still created from the bodies of those that went before. Just as Odin created the world from Ymir’s body, we create from pre-existing materials. Stories are woven about real people until they become myths. Myths are butchered and torn apart and then sewn back together to create new stories.
As time goes on, the stories that are remembered, that are recycled down through the ages, the characters that are endlessly reborn into a thousand new bodies, are the ones that hold truth. Perhaps not ruler truth, mathematical truth, but truth for humanity. Truth for our souls. And as our personalities are reborn time and time again, living and growing and evolving, so our mythology grows and evolves.
This cycle of death and rebirth and evolution is the sphere of influence of the death god. Just as we reach back to half-forgotten myths to inspire beautiful characters, our souls reach out to the souls of our ancestors for guidance. Just as a story might need to be forgotten so that it can be told in a new and more beautiful way, so our personalities must pass through death to be free to evolve further.
And so we have come to another aspect of Odin, the Grim Reaper. If everything lived forever, all would die. It is only in the soil provided by the decay of living things that plants can grow and thus be and feed more living things. The price of life is constant death, and we are all living constantly on the bodies of the dead, then dying to make room for more of the living.
The god of death is the god of life. The god of destruction is the god of creation. The Grim Reaper is the Hanged God, the One-Eyed God, who sacrificed life and eye for the knowledge to preserve life.