Odin, king of the Norse gods

Updated: Feb 27

Odin “Oh-din” Often named the Allfather by the Norse people. He is called ‘father’ because it was said that all the gods came from his seed. Except, with two brothers, who also bore children, that is not possible. Odin’s name can be translated to ‘wind’. The meaning of such a name comes from his personality. Scholars have said, Odin was as fierce as a storm, but at the same time, as gentle as a breeze. He ruled in Asgard, the kingdom of the gods. Many of the gods and goddesses had their own dwellings to live in and rule over, but would often stay in Odin’s citadel. They enjoyed being in company with each other, to feast and be merry. Odin was the god of thought and knowledge. Sometimes he was also called the god of death, because he found spells to speak with the dead. However, he did not rule the dead, that was the responsibility of another goddess. Odin often walked amongst the humans, in disguise as one of them. He did so to gain intel and knowledge of anything he thought useful. He had one flaw in his disguise that he could never fully conceal, his missing eye. He would try to hide his eyepatch behind hoods and hats, but if spotted, Odin would be found out right of way. Seen with Odin were his loyal animals. On each shoulder were his two ravens. Hugin, meaning thought, and Munin, meaning memory. The ravens flew everywhere, spying deep secrets of all the lands, and whisper their reports to Odin. At the foot of Odin’s throne were his two wolves, Geri and Freki. They would often travel with him when he wandered earth, while his ravens soared high over his head. Odin was beloved by the other gods, and the humans that worshiped him. He sacrificed much to be as wise as he could be for them.

A rare amulet found in Denmark. It depicts Odin's face on the golden surface. To read more about this amulet follow the link to their article. Rare 1,500 year old Odin amulet found in Denmark - The Archaeology News Network

How Odin lost his eye

Near the beginning of the creation of the earth, when there were not so many gods in Asgard, and humans were still sparse on earth. Odin was constantly in search of gaining as much knowledge as he could obtain. He was already wise and clever in his own power, but wanted to be able to understand more. He sent out his ravens to search for anything that could help him. His ravens did not fail him, for they did find a solution. The Yggdrasil ash tree, that has been in existence since the beginning of creation had a fountain at its foot. It was constantly being fought over by dwarves and giant snakes. What none of them knew was that under the roots of the ash tree, there was another fountain, hidden in the ground, and guarded by a frost giant. It was the fountain of all knowledge, and could broaden the mind. After the ravens reported their findings, Odin donned a disguise, and set out to the fountain. Now the frost giant was named Mimir. He had drunk from the fountain himself, making him the wisest being that ever existed. Mimir had slumbered for many long years while guarding his fountain. He had grown stiff from remaining so still for so long. When Odin approached, with his disguise, he spoke to Mimir, stirring the giant. Even while groggy, Mimir recognized the Allfather, and knew of Odin’s purpose there. Odin asked that he might put his horn in the fountain to have a draught of the water to quench his thirst. Mimir refused at first. That did not deter Odin. He insisted, offering any kind of trade. Odin refused any denial for so long, that Mimir finally conceded. He said he would only relent if Odin gave up one of his precious eyes. Odin had magnificent eyesight, that could see all from his throne in Asgard. It was said he could even see through a person, seeing their thoughts and schemes. They were his pride and advantage over his enemies. With such a high-priced bargain , Mimir was sure Odin would be defeated and give up. After thinking about it long and hard, Odin agreed to the bargain. He plucked out his own eye and dropped it into the fountain, where it sunk to the bottom. Unable to refuse him now, Mirmir let Odin dip his horn into the fountain. From then after Odin’s mind opened, and he was now the wisest of all, second only to Mimir. For Mimir had lived longer, and gained more experience from life. Giants had existed long before humans or even the gods themselves. However, this did not last long. Later, Odin traded Mimir to one of his enemies, the Vanir. It was for a peace treaty Odin was trying to negotiate, between him and the Vanir. It did not take long for the Vanir to grow enraged with Odin again, after the peace treaty. In revenge, they killed Mimir. Since Mimir was a giant they thought it would be a less offensive death, because all the gods and goddesses hated and fought wars with the frost giants. The Vanir cut off Mimir’s head, and sent it back to Odin. With Mimir dead, Odin was now the wisest of them all. Some of the gods whispered that Odin had planned this from the beginning, getting rid of a rival, and any threat Mimir might have caused. That is not the end of Mimir though. In Odin’s gained wisdom, he had learned rituals, with herbs and spells, to be able to speak to the dead. He kept Mimir’s head, well preserved, and was able to speak with it when he wanted. It is said, that Odin did this not once, but many times. To giants, gods and people; to anyone who proved to be the wisest. He kept their heads on shelves, carefully preserved so that he could speak with them. But, that is only rumours, and it may be best not to believe such unsettling things.

The End

Article written by, Billie-Gean Richard

Sources used Books: Norse myths and Tales, Epic Tales. By Flame Tree Publishing Norse Mythology, by Neil Gaiman Websites: https://mythologysource.com/ https://thenorsegods.com/

The pictures used for the article are also from these websites, unless stated otherwise.

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