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Odin, The All-Father

Odin is one of the most widely attested Norse gods. In many Norse texts, he is portrayed as the son of Bestla and Borr along with his two brothers, Vili and Ve. He has many sons, but the most well known are Thor and Baldr, whom he had with Jord and Frigg respectively.

Many surviving sources associate him with wisdom, knowledge, death, the gallows, sorcery, prophecy, and war, among other things. He is the wife of Frigga.

He oversees the great mead hall of Valhalla ("hall of the slain"), where half of those who fall in battle (see: Einherjar) with the other half going to Fólkvangr (lit. "people-field", or "field of the host"), the realm ruled over by Freya.

He is most often depicted as an old man with a long white beard, one eye and his spear Gungnir. He is sometimes accompanied by two ravens (Huginn and Muninn, thought and memory) and/or two wolves (Geri and Freki). Huginn and Muninn fly around Midgard, bringing back all they've seen and learned to Odin.

Due to their similarities, Odin and Odr are typically considered the same entity. You, of course, are free to disagree with this.

Names and Kennings

Odin has many, many names, so only some will be listed here. Other names can be found here

  • All-Father (Alfǫðr)
  • Fjolnir - wise one/concealer/"the one who is many"
  • Gangari - wanderer
  • Grimnir - hooded/masked one
  • Hanged God - in reference to him hanging from Ygdrassil for nine days and nine nights
  • Hoárr - one-eyed
  • Hrafnaguð - raven god
  • Jǫlfuðr - Yule father
  • Rúnatýr - god of runes
  • Sviðurr - wise one

Odin is also where we get the word "Wednesday" (and Wodenstag, in German).

Regional Variations of "Odin"

  • Óðinn - Old Norse.
  • Wōden - Old English
  • Wōdan - Old Saxon
  • Wuodan - Old Dutch
  • Wuotan - Old High German
  • Wûtan - Old Bavarian
  • *Wōđanaz - Proto-Germanic (reconstructed), meaning "lord of frenzy". All of the other theonyms are derived from this.

Sources & More

  • Havamal
  • The Way of Fire and Ice by Ryan Smith
  • Odin, on the Gods and Spirits Wiki
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