Odin


“Brunhilde knelt at his feet” by the German painter Ferdinand Leeke

Odin is the most powerful God in the Norse pantheon. He is sometimes called the all-father, but in fact has many names as he has taken on many personas for various occasions. He is associated with the day Wednesday. This is because the word Wednesday comes from the word Wotan, which is another name for Odin. Therefore, Wednesday is “Odin’s Day”. Odin is associated with many things including healing, death, wisdom, and the runic alphabet.

Odin is capable of shape-shifting into any animal or human form that he wishes to take, and it is said that he speaks so softly that anyone who hears him knows what he says is true.

Odin also has several animal companions. This include his eight-legged horse Sleipnir, his two ravens named Huginn and Muninn, and his two wolves named Geri and Freki. Sleipnir was a gift from Loki and can travel as fast in the air as he can on land. His two ravens are a spiritual aspect of Odin with their names meaning thought and memory. Every morning Odin sends them out into the world, and every evening, they come back to him and tell him all they have learned from their travels in the nine realms. His wolves, Geri and Freki, are always by his side. Their names mean “the ravenous” and “greedy one”, respectively.

One of the most prominent myths surrounding Odin is his self sacrifice and hanging on the tree Yggdrasil to gain the knowledge of the runes.

“139. I ween that I hung | on the windy tree,
Hung there for nights full nine;
With the spear I was wounded, | and offered I was
To Othin, myself to myself,
On the tree that none | may ever know
What root beneath it runs.

140. None made me happy | with loaf or horn,
And there below I looked;
I took up the runes, | shrieking I took them,
And forthwith back I fell.

141. Nine mighty songs | I got from the son
Of Bolthorn, Bestla’s father;
And a drink I got | of the goodly mead
Poured out from Othrörir.

142. Then began I to thrive, | and wisdom to get,
I grew and well I was;
Each word led me on | to another word,
Each deed to another deed.

143. Runes shalt thou find, | and fateful signs,
That the king of singers colored,
And the mighty gods have made;
Full strong the signs, | full mighty the signs
That the ruler of gods doth write.

144. Othin for the gods, | Dain for the elves,
And Dvalin for the dwarfs,
Alsvith for giants | and all mankind,
And some myself I wrote.

145. Knowest how one shall write, | knowest how one shall rede?
Knowest how one shall tint, | knowest how one makes trial?
Knowest how one shall ask, | knowest how one shall offer?
Knowest how one shall send, | knowest how one shall sacrifice?

146. Better no prayer | than too big an offering,
By thy getting measure thy gift;
Better is none | than too big a sacrifice,
.    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .
So Thund of old wrote | ere man’s race began,
Where he rose on high | when home he came.

The Poetic Edda by Henry Adams Bellows

According to Northern Paganism, there are many ways you can honor Odin in your home and life. His colors include grays, dark blues, and black. Symbols that are sacred to him include ravens, wolves, and spears. If you want to have an altar dedicated to Odin, it is suggested that you have at least one of the following: a tobacco-filled pipe, the Nine Sacred Herbs, and Runes. Odin enjoys good quality alcohol, and you can honor Him by donating your time or money to any veterans organizations.

If you want to learn the Runes, that would also be a wonderful dedication to Odin given the fact that he sacrificed part of himself to gain the knowledge of the Runes for the Nine Realms. Learn the Runes and dedicate your hard work and learning process to Odin.


Sources
The Poetic Edda by Henry Adams Bellows
Northern Paganism


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