|“||Thus Odin graved ere the world began;
Then he rose from the deep, and came again''
|~ Poetic edda "Odin's Quest"|
Odin, also known as Godan, Wōtan, The Wednesday Man, The Raven God, or The All Father, is the central character of ancient Norse and Germanic theology. Odin is the king of Asgard, realm of the gods. He empathizes fore-thought for leaders, honor in battle and promises glory for warriors who die as heroes.
Norse folklore posits that there are nine-levels to the world, and Odin conquered all of them and then made his home on Asgard of the uppermost of these realms. Odin is the eldest of the Norse pantheon due to his work in it's foundation. He defeated the primordial Jötunn, giant rulers of the nine-realms. The planet is said to be the corpse of the giant, Ymir, who Odin killed. As the Jötunn represent wild-elemental chaos, Odin's defeat of them symbolizes/ushers in, order over the cold heartless chaos of the world in it's natural state. Odin's defeat of the Jötunn established Odin as ruler of the nine-realms and kept the fierce giants in check for a long time. While solidifying his power, Odin met the Norns, overseers of the nine-realms and keepers of fate, the Norns offered Odin a chance to share in their vision if he gave-up his own. In response to the Norns' offer, Odin removed his left-eye as an offering to fate. Though visually half-blind, his empty socket actually does view the world all at once.
Odin has five animal familiars, two of them are the ravens, Huginn and Muninn (Thought and Memory) scout the world, whatever they see, Odin sees, whatever rumors they hear, they tell Odin; Another set of familiars are Geri and Freki, Greed and Hunger - two wolves which are hungry for knowledge and collect poetry and stories daily, with Odin to pick the greatest for himself to keep before they devour the rest; The final familiar of Odin is Sleipnir an eight-legged horse, son of Odin's son Loki. Sleipnir is hailed as the greatest of all horses. Between his ability to gaze into fate's plans, his visions of far-away places, his stock-pile of stories and his majestic war-horse, Odin is portrayed flooded in boons as recognition of his greatness.
Odin frequently engaged wild hunts and raids against monsters, in this pursuit he recruit mortal souls to join him. Mortals who died in battle were recruited by Odin's handmaidens, the Valkyries (angel like warrior woman). The Valkyries would escort mortals who left their bodies upon death to Asgard if they died as heroes/warriors and to the halls of Valhalla, Odin's mead-hall. In Valhalla Odin insisted all mortals were friends and any rivalries they had when alive were meaningless in death. This lead to the viking mind-set that all warriors were to be admired as warriors regardless whose side they were on. In-between feasting, Odin lead the heroes of Valhalla in wild-hunts raiding the other realms for monsters, as mortals could not die a second-time their defeat in these raids simply meant they returned to Valhalla and seeing how many monsters they could kill before returning was seen as something of a game while simultaneously keeping monster populations down. Regardless of who well a hunt went, Odin threw a great feast for the souls of mortals every night. Many of Odin's peers and children joined in these great hunts and though gods were seen as the guests of honor at Valhalla, Odin treated all equally resplendently.
Odin saw though he would eventually die in the fated Ragnarök- Twilight of the Gods, and so Odin had his gods train daily for this fated end. Though Odin saw fate could never be changed he also was of the mind-set that even unavoidable fates should be fought against, applying the same level of heroism to himself as he did to mortals, that dying well meant fighting to the bitter-end, regardless of out-outcome.
- The Romans compared Odin to their own god Mercury, who was the messenger of the the Roman pantheon. He is also similar to the Finnish god Väinämöinen.
Folklore, Religions, and Myths