Pantheon: Norse / Germanic
parents: Bor and Bestla
Siblings: Vili, Vé
Children: Baldr, Thor
Odin is the ruler of the Aesir tribe of deities and the ruler of their home, Asgard. He is however known to venture far from his kingdom on long solitary wandering through the cosmos in search of knowledge. He is a relentless seeker and giver of knowledge. Odin prefers to make his own judgement over following established societal standards of justice, fairness, law or conventions. As such he was considered the divine patreon of rulers, outlaws and misfits. He was also the God of war and poetry which speaks to his contrasting nature.
Odin is also the ruler of Valhalla, a place in the afterlife where half of the soldier who died valiantly in battle went. The other half was claimed by Goddess Freya.
The name Odin has varying translations from “Master of Ecstasy” (Norse-mythology.org) to
Odin had animal companions that accompanied him. There were two wolves named Geri and Freki whom he is said to give all his food to while he chooses to consume nothing but wine. There were two Ravens named Huginn and Muninn who were his informants. He also had an eight legged flying horse named Sleipnir who was able to fly in great speed across the sky, across water, as well as into the underworld.
Associated Aspects: Knowledge, Wisdom, Poetry, Wit, Learning, Runic Alphabet, Sovereignty, Battle, Healing, Death, Sorcery
Appearance: Odin is described in Mythology as a one eyed, long bearded man. He always carried a spear called Gungnir, wore a blue-grey cloak with a wide brimmed, floppy hat that covered the missing eye. It is said that his eye blazes like the sun. In addition, Odin has the ability to shape shift and change his appearance when he needs to.
Personality: Relentless seeker of knowledge. Had a love for causing conflicts and shift in power. He speaks in phrases and riddles.
Animal Associations: Wolves named Geri (The ravenous) and Freki (Greedy One), Ravens called Huginn (Thought) and Muninn (Memory), An eight legged horse named Sleipnir (sliding one).
Plant Associations: beech, ferns, maidenhair, mandrake, marjoram, polypody, valerian, yew
Symbols: Gungnir (the swaying one) a spear that was made from Yggdrasil’s ashes and carved with secret runes, it never misses a target. Draupnir (The dripper) a magical golden ring from which every 9th night 8 new rings of equal power drop out of. The triple horn of Odin, 3 drinking horns in interlock.
Hanging on the world tree for Runes: Arguably the most popular story about Odin is about how he hung himself on the world tree, Yggdrasil, to gain knowledge and power of Runes. Odin first stabbed himself with his spear, Gungnir, before hanging himself. He was said to be in a state of living death as he hung for 9 days and nights on the world tree, during this time he received no food or water. Odin has sacrificed himself, to himself. At the end of this sacrifice he recieved knowledge of runes; a magically charged Germanic alphabet that is said to hold many secrets of existence.
Sacrificing his eye For knowledge: Odin’s one eye is a defining feature in how he is described. He sacrificed his eye at the well of Mimir (Well of wisdom) in exchange for a drink of the well’s water. Mimir (The wise one) is the name of a creature that gained its knowledge by drinking from the well of Mimir (the well was named after the creature), located in the roots of Yggdrasil, the world tree. After Odin sacrificed his eye to the creature, Mimir took its horn and dipped it into the well, drawing water for Odin to drink. After drinking from the well Odin gained inner wisdom.
Father of poetry: The wisest being who ever lived, Kvsair, was killed by dwarves. The dwarves mixed Kvsair’s blood with honey to form a potion that granted wisdom and the gift of poetry. The dwarves gave the potion to a giant to hide in the middle of a mountain. The giant left his daughter to guard the mountain. Odin being a relentless pursuer or knowledge and wisdom wanted this potion, so he shape-shifted into a handsome giant and charmed the giant’s daughter into letting him drink the potion. Once Odin swallowed the potion he turned into an eagle flew to Asgard but along the way a few drops of potion flew to the earth and became the inspiration of human poets.
Odin was affiliated with Berserkers (Shaman warriors) and other types Shaman warriors, whose fighting techniques and spiritual practices centred around achieving a state of ecstatic unification with certain totem animals. Usually these were erocuiou animals like wolves and bears. They identified Odin as master of the beasts. Thus as a warrior God Odin was not concerned with reasons behind any given conflict or it’s outcomes instead he reveled in the raw chaotic battle frenzy.
There are a few symbols of Odin that still survive today. The day of the week, Wednesday, was named after Odin. “Odin’s day” or “Woden’s day”, Woden was the Anglo-Saxon version of Odin. The Asatru faith still uses the triple horn of Odin, horns are used in traditional toasting rituals.
This is just a short summary of the mythology behind the Goddess, below are some resources for further reading.