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Adapting Psalms


Active Member
Premium Member
After many paths and spiritual experiencies I recently came back to Ásatrú and I thought again of adapting psalms, what do you guys think? It's a little surprising to me that they end up very good just by replacing a few words. Maybe some words like "Lord" aren't even necessary to replace.

Maybe some people in Judeochristian paths will find this disrespectful; but I don't intend any offense really.

For example, from Psalm 23 (KJV):

1 Odin is my guide; I shall not want.

2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valleys of Hellheim, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy sword and Gungnir comfort me.

5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my drinking horn runneth over.

6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in Valhalla for ever.

Not sure if "house of the Lord" should be better translated as "Asgard", since Valhalla is just the hall.

Psalm 112:

1 Praise ye Odin. Blessed is the man that follows the Allfather, that delighteth greatly in his advices.

2 His seed shall be mighty upon Midgard: the generation of the upright shall be blessed.

3 Wealth and riches shall be in his house: and his righteousness endureth for ever.

4 Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness: he is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous.

5 A good man sheweth favour, and lendeth: he will guide his affairs with discretion.

6 Surely he shall not be moved for ever: the righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance.

7 He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in Odin.

8 His heart is established, he shall not be afraid, until he sees his desire upon his enemies.

9 He hath dispersed, he hath given to the poor; his righteousness endureth for ever; his horn shall be exalted with honour. (the original says "horn"! but I think it doesn't refer to the drinking horn)

10 The wicked shall see it, and be grieved; he shall gnash with his teeth, and melt away: the desire of the wicked shall perish.

Psalm 91:

1 He that dwelleth in Asgard shall abide under the shadow of Fimbultýr (= "Mighty god"; also thought of the name Jörmunr).

2 I will say of Dróttinn (Lord), He is my refuge and my fortress: my god; in him will I trust.

3 Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.

4 He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. (Odin took once the form of an Eagle in a myth, so feathers and wings make sense!)

5 Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;

6 Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.

7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.

8 Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.

9 Because thou hast made Odin, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;

10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.

11 For he shall give his einherjar charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.

12 They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.

13 Thou shalt tread upon the bear and adder: the young wolf and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet. (no lions in Scandinavia, so I had to replace "lion" either with "bear" or "wolf")

14 Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.

15 He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.

16 With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.

The Kilted Heathen

Crow FreyjasmaðR
Gotta be honest, I don't think this fits Heathenry much at all. I'll be able to go more in detail when I'm off work, but some initial thoughts:

1. We require no salvation, nor is Óðinn our "shepherd".
2. Helheimr is not bad, nor a home to evil.


Active Member
Premium Member
1. We require no salvation, nor is Óðinn our "shepherd".

Well "salvation" can be interpreted in many ways.

No, he's not our shepherd, that's why I replaced "shepherd" with "guide".

2. Helheimr is not bad, nor a home to evil.

Should I have mentioned Nastrond instead?

Anyway, still not an expert in Norse culture and I'm open to suggestions of course; it could be just left with "valley of the shadow of death".

The Kilted Heathen

Crow FreyjasmaðR
The problem is it is still far too Abrahamic. Even replacing "shepherd" with "guide"; laying down in fields, being led as sheep... I'm not at all for the "wolves of Odin" nonsense, but all this still puts Óðinn as something he is certainly not. We need no salvation from any divine source, in any sense of the word, and all these gentle notions from psalms meant for Yahweh absolutely do not fit with anything of the Scandinavian gods.

As for Náströnd, it's not really an evil place either. Before the Eddas were written down and Christianized, Náströnd was as it's name describes; the Corpse Shore, where the dead would arrive at Helheimr and be taken by Níðhöggr. Níðhöggr, who sucks the blood from the corpses - blood which contains our life essence - and releases them into Hel to inhabit free of their flesh.

We, as a religious culture, don't really fear the "valley of the shadow of death". We don't have this Absolute Devotion to the gods as is conveyed in the psalms - even with replaced language. It just doesn't fit.