Norse God Odin

Norse God Odin - Georg von Rosen 1886

Norse God Odin

Norse god Odin was the main Viking god. He is also called All-Father since he is the father of all the gods and actually goes by some 36 different names. The main reason for that is his tendency to disguise himself on his travels among ordinary people. Wearing a mask, a long hat and a green coat was his favorite disguise.

He is described as the king of the gods and the other gods make up his court and serve him even though they are powerful themselves.

Odin is the wisest of the Viking gods and seeks his knowledge far, even to his arch enemies the giants. A lot of his knowledge comes from the giant Mimir. According to the story he went there to get a drink from the fountain of Mimir in order to gain supreme knowledge.

Mimir didn’t allow him that unless he sacrificed one of his eyes. From then on Odin has been with but one eye since the other one is still on the bottom of Mimir’s fountain. He pulls his hood over the missing eye and that is one way of recognizing him when he is traveling among humans. From the giants Odin also got the mead of poetry.

Odin is first and foremost a powerful wizard. When Mimir was killed by Vanir, Odin got his head and he conjured it so that it told him many secrets. He also used to ask the head for advice in emergency situations.

Wizardry was often conducted with runes and Odin got his great knowledge of the runes through an unusual experience. He hung from a tree for nine nights without food or drink and with a spear in his side.

By suffering this way he gained all the knowledge of the mysterious runes. Actually the original meaning of the word rune is mystery and very few people understood them.

Since the time he hung in the tree, he never eats which is another way of recognizing him in his disguise. The mysterious traveler who does not eat while others do, might be the Norse god Odin himself in disguise!

Odin also used his wizardry to seduce women. For example he seduced a woman called Gunnlada to get the mead of poetry. Odin had her give birth to two boys Vali and Vidir that were to become avengers of the gods. Vidar is to avenge Odin and Vali is to avenge Baldur.

Odin has two ravens, Huginn and Muninn, that sit on his shoulders. He sends them each day to all corners of the world to seek news and they whisper in his ears everything that they see and hear. If Odin wants to see things for himself he often does so by sitting in his throne, Hlidarskialf. From there he can see every world.

Odin’s home is called Valhalla (Hall of battle slain). It is a magnificent place and many live there with him because everyone that has been killed in battle from the beginning of time gets to go there. These are Odin’s favourites.

Valhalla is a big place with 640 doors and in armageddon 960 battle dead warriors will pass through each door to fight the giants.

Odin frequently meddled in the affairs of humans in order to stir up violence and war. By doing that he increased the number of warriors in Valhalla that would fight with him in the final battle. His fate will eventually be that he’s eaten by the wolf Fenri in the final battle against the giants.

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