Our gods. What are they? Are they to be "worshipped"? To be prayed to and kneeled before? Are they real, in flesh and blood!?
Actually, our gods are to be impersonated. A marked individual will take the role of a god. Yes, he LARPs as a god. In fact, the Norse masculine term for "Pagan priest" is actually goði (from proto-Nordic *gôðan), meaning "god"/"good". The Norse feminine term for "Pagan priestess" and "goddess" is gyðja, from proto-Nordic *gudjôn, meaning "goddess".
The priests IMPERSONATED a god. The priestesses IMPERSONATED a goddess. That is how they gained the power of the deity.
And what was that power?
They had the power of Mímir. You know; the decapitated HEAD of Mímir, a name that translates as "reminiscence". MEMORY. They could narrate the recollection of the... ancestors. They could help transfer those memories BACK to the REBORN ancestors. To make them remember. To make them regain their spiritual strength, their fortitude, from previous lives. But first of all: they could help IDENTIFY the reborn dead. Are you really the man or woman in the burial mound? Do you really have the right to claim the possessions therein? Do you really have the right to claim his name and honour? Do you have the right to claim his or her SKULL and FEMUR? Do you have the KEY to the grave? The right password?
They would be able to tell. They had Mímir, knowledge of the dead, and could ask the right questions, to determine all of this. THAT was the role of the GOD and the GODDESS.
And yes, it was a man and a woman, IMPERSONATING a deity. So indeed, the gods were REAL, in flesh and blood, but NOT like most people seem to imagine things.
Their apprentices were taught to remember the same keys and passwords, so that they could take over as the GOD or the GODDESS when they died from old age. Thus the memory of the passwords and keys was never lost, and the deities could live FOREVER. Thus they were IMMORTAL beings.
Marked, I say? More about that another time...