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Forums -> Norse Paganism -> Odin

Odin
By:
Post # 1

Odin ( also known as Wuotan or Woden in Anglo-Saxon myth ) was the highest/holiest God in Norse mythology. He was said to be a spirit, a personification of air and a God of wisdom. He became a leader-figure, and a protector. As all the gods were said to come from him, he was called the Allfather. Eldest and chief among the other Gods. He had varying characteristics and names, of which there are over two hundred. Some stories say that Odin was a wizard, skilled in using mysterious ways. Others say he was considered to be an old God of sea and wind. Spirits of the dead were believed to have been taken away on the wings of storms, so Odin was worshiped as a leader of disembodied spirits.

Appearance-wise, Odin was often represented as a tall man roughly around fifty years old. He either was shown with a long grey beard and bald head or a head full of dark curling hair. He often wore a large grey suit that had a blueish tinged hood to encompass his face. His body was very muscular, and covered in a white/blue/gray mantle to represent the sky. He carried Gungnir, a famous, sacred and infallible spear, in one hand. On either arm or hand he would often be shown wearing Draupnir, a ring that symbolized fruitfulness. When he was shown seated on his throne, they often depict him wearing a eagle helmet.

On either shoulder perched two ravens: Hugin ("thought") and Munin ("memory"). Odin would send these ravens out into the world and watch for their return. They would report back to him all that they had seen or heard and would keep him informed about the doings in the world.

At either foot was a wolf or hunting hound: Geri and Freki. These animals were considered to be sacred and a blessing from Odin if either crossed your path. It is said that Odin fed both of these animals by hand, rarely eating anything and only occasionally tasting mead.

He occupied Asgard and the highest seat- known by the name of Hlidskialf. This seat was a throne and a watch tower. Odin often sat on this seat and overlooked the whole world.Only Odin and his wife, Frigga, could use this seat. Aside from his place where the Gods occupied for council, and Valaskialf (where his throne was located), Odin had a third area in Asgard that he positioned himself in. This palace was known as Valhalla ("hall of the chosen slain"). It was very gigantic, elaborate and interesting. At this palace, Odin sat long tables and offered accommodations for warriors who fell in battle known as Einheriar) who were his favorite guests.

Ancient northern nations viewed war as an honorable occupation, and as such courage was viewed as an extremely important virtue. Odin became a God of battle and victory. Before a war or battle would begin, it was believed that Odin would send forth his special attendants known as the Valkyrs ("choosers of the slain"), who would selected one half of the dead warriors to be taken to Odin's hall where they were praised for their deeds and treated with the utmost respect.

When engaged in battle, Odin would ride a gray steed (known as Sleipnir) who stood nearly eight feet tall. He brandished a white shield and a glittering spear. Other times he would use his magic bow, from which is was believed that he could shoot ten arrows at once.

As mentioned earlier, Odin was known for his wisdom. But he obtained this in a very famous story. One morning Odin wandered off to Mimi's ("memory") spring, in whose depths the future could be seen. He asked the old man who was guardian of the depths to let him take a drink. But Mimir, who was wise and knew the value of this favor from Odin, refused to grant Odin's demands unless Odin would consent to give one of his eyes in exchange. Without hesitation or question, Odin plucked one of his eyes out and was allowed to drink from Mimir's water. Odin gained the knowledge that he had been seeking.

However, he was sad for he had been given insight into the future and was aware of the transitory nature of things. He knew the fate of the Gods, and knew of a doom that waited for them in the future. He began to be seen wearing a sad and melancholy expression. Odin decided he wanted to test the knowledge and wisdom he had gained. He visited the giant Vafthrudnir and challenged him to a contest of wit. The stake would be the loser's head. Odin was disguised as a wanderer and told the giant his name was Gangrad. The giant began to question the wanderer over the horses carrying Night/Day among other things. Odin answered without fail, then in turn began to question the giant.Odin asked of the origin of the Gods, the creation of heroes, and asked what words the Allfather had whispered to his
dead son, Balder. In shocking realization, the giant declared the no one but Odin would be able to answer these things and noted that he accepted and deserved the penalty of failure- his head. However, from there it gets complicated as there are various endings describing whether or not he lost his head.


Aside from being a God of wisdom, Odin was God and inventor of the runes- an early alphabet used by northern nations. Just as he had sacrificed something for knowledge, he must sacrifice something to gain this ability as well. He hung himself, using his spear, nine days and nights from the sacred tree, Yggdrasil, and stared in deep contemplation at the depths of Nifl-heim. After he mastered this new knowledge, he cut magic runes into his spear and into the teeth of his horse, as well as on other inanimate objects.

Odin took a strange interest in the affairs of mortals. Many varying stories tell of times when he wandered to earth, disguised in one form or another, and watched over humans.



There is ,of course, much more to learn about Odin. However, it would be more beneficial to learn these stories and such on your own if you are interested in them.


** Note: There is, as with many types of mythology, variation between sources. This is mythology, and I do not claim any of it to be "true" or set in stone, so to speak. **
Sources:
Myths of Northern Lands by H.A. Guerber
Norse Mythology: Great Stories from the Eddas by Hamilton
http://www.pantheon.org/
http://oaks.nvg.org/odin.html
http://www.vikings-history.com

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Re: Odin
By:
Post # 2
Cool post.
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Re: Odin
By:
Post # 3

Another faultless post.

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Re: Odin
By:
Post # 4
At the rate your going, every topic possible will be covered in a month. As always, thank you for enlightening us with your work :)
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Re: Odin
By:
Post # 5

@Analin why do you say its a faultless post?

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Re: Odin
By:
Post # 6
Well I must say you've done quiet a bit of reasearch what by chance do you know of thor ? and his color and have you ever herd the epic of Fire and Ice.... or the battle of giglamesh and the prophecies of each... and why they relate to thor and odin... many things out ther pertaining and realates all to the same story just told in maney diffrent ways....
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Re: Odin
By: / Beginner
Post # 7
Is Mimi a different spelling or did you mean to type Mimir?
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Re: Odin
By:
Post # 8
Yes, I meant Mimir. Forgive me for not noticing.
There are similarities between mythologies, and I intend on writing on Thor next.
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Re: Odin
By:
Post # 9

Yes great post i hope you do Loki Goddess Hes is my pagan deity :)

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Re: Odin
By:
Post # 10
Nice post, i really enjoyed reading it. I love norse mythology and Gods :D cant wait for the one on Thor
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