This article is about the Germanic god. For other uses, see Odin (disambiguation). In Norse mythology, Odin (from Old Norse Óðinn) is a god associated with healing, death, royalty, the gallows, knowledge, battle, sorcery, poetry, frenzy, and the runic alphabet, and is the husband of the goddess Frigg. The cognate deity in wider Germanic mythology and paganism was known in Old English as Wóden, in Old Saxon as Wōden, and in Old High German as Wuotan or Wodan, all stemming from the reconstructed Proto-Germanic theonym *wōđanaz. Odin is a prominently mentioned god throughout the recorded history of the Germanic peoples, from the Roman occupation of regions of Germania, through the tribal expansions of the Migration Period and the Viking Age. Odin continued into the modern period to be acknowledged in rural folklore in all Germanic regions. References to Odin appear in place names throughout regions historically inhabited by the ancient Germanic peoples, and the day of the week Wednesday bears his name in many Germanic languages. In Anglo-Saxon England Odin held a particular place as a euhemerized ancestral figure among royalty, and he is frequently referred to as a founding figure among various other Germanic peoples, including the Langobards and in most of Scandinavia. While forms of his name appear frequently throughout the Germanic record, narratives regarding Odin are primarily found in Old Norse works recorded in Iceland, primarily around the 13th century, texts which make up the bulk of modern understanding of Norse mythology. In Old Norse texts, Odin is depicted as one-eyed and long-bearded, frequently wielding a spear, Gungnir, and wearing a black or blue cloak and a broad hat. He is often accompanied by his animal companions— the wolves Geri and Freki and the ravens Huginn and Muninn, who bring him information from all over Midgard—and Odin rides the flying, eight-legged steed Sleipnir across the sky and into the underworld. Odin is attested as having many sons, most famously the god Baldr with Frigg, and is known by hundreds of names. In these texts, Odin frequently seeks knowledge in some manner and in disguise (most famously the Mead of Poetry), at times makes wagers with his wife Frigg over the outcome of exploits, and takes part in both the creation of the world by way of the slaying of the primordial being Ymir and the gift of life to the first two humans, Ask and Embla. Odin has a particular association with Yule, and mankind’s knowledge of both the runes and poetry is also attributed to Odin. In Old Norse texts, Odin is given primacy over female beings associated with the battlefield—the valkyries—and himself oversees the afterlife location Valhalla, where he receives as einherjar, or chosen warriors, half of those who die in battle, while the other half are chosen by the goddess Freyja for her afterlife location, Fólkvangr. Odin consults the disembodied, herb-embalmed head of the wise being Mímir for advice, and during the foretold events of Ragnarök, will lead the einherjar into battle before being consumed by the monstrous wolf Fenrir. In later folklore, Odin appears as a leader of the Wild Hunt, a ghostly procession of the dead through the winter sky. In the surviving South Germanic and Anglo-Saxon pagan texts, Wóden/Wodan is also particularly associated with magic. Odin has been a frequent subject of study in Germanic studies and numerous theories surround the god. Some of these focus on Odin’s particular relation to other figures, such as that Freyja’s husband Óðr appears to be something of an etymological doublet of the god, whereas the goddess Frigg, Odin’s wife, is in many ways similar to Freyja, and that Odin has a particular relation to the figure of Loki. Other theories focus on Odin’s place in the historical record, a frequent question being whether Odin derives from Proto-Indo-European religion, or whether he developed later in Germanic society. In the modern period, Odin has inspired numerous works of poetry, music, and other forms of media. Together with other gods venerated by the ancient Germanic peoples, he is venerated in most forms of Germanic Neopaganism; some focus particularly on him.
by Travis Brandon | Aug 9, 2021 | Uncategorized