Odin - the Allfather and Ruler of Asgard

artistic representation of Norse god Odin the Allfather, ruler of Asgard.

Name(s):

Odin, the Allfather

Rules over:

Asgard and the nine realms

God of

Wisdom, poetry, creation

Gender:

Male

Symbols:

Valknut

Parents:

Borr and Bestla

Siblings:

Vili and Vé

Greek Similar:

Cronos, Gaea

Roman Similar:

Saturn

 

The almighty Allfather of Asgard

Odin is the Norse king of Asgard, and the king of the Aesir race of gods. He was regarded as the father of all of the gods, hence the term All-father, and was mainly associated with magic, war, wisdom, poetry, and the runic alphabet.

Appearance

In Nordic texts, he is depicted as a one-eyed, long-bearded man wearing a cloak and broad hat. He lost his eye in the pursuit of wisdom from the well Mímisbrunnr, possessed by the wise god Mimir. The well contained a colossal amount of knowledge and wisdom, which Odin gained by drinking from it, but at the cost of an eye, which is why he is traditionally depicted as having a patch over one of his eyes.

Such was Odin’s desire for wisdom, that he took possession of Mimir’s head, after he was decapitated by a rival tribe, the Vanir. Allegedly Mimir’s severed head told Odin secrets and gave him counsel.

Family

According to legend, Odin created the universe by killing the primal hermaphroditic frost giant, Ymir, with the help of his brothers; Vili and Ve. The three brothers then created the first man and woman: Askr and Embla from an ash tree and elm tree, respectively.

Odin married the Aesir goddess Frigg, with whom he fathered three sons: Baldur, Hod and Hermod. He fathered his most famous son, Thor with Jord, an obscure and rarely mentioned goddess and giantess in Norse mythology. It is thought that had many more sons by other wives.

Symbols

The symbol most often associated with Odin is the Valknut, which consists of 3 interlocked triangles. There are several interpretations regarding the meaning of the Valknut.

Some mythologists believe it to represent slain warriors, many of whom chose to stay with Odin in the hall of Valhalla. Others believe it to symbolise the heart of Hrungnir, the mightiest of all the giants in Jotunheim, who Thor slayed in mortal combat.

Another symbol often associated with Odin is his spear, Gungnir, which he obtained from Loki, the god of mischief, after he stole it from the dwarves who crafted it.

Odin is often sometimes represented by images of his two ravens, Hugin (thought) and Munin (memory). These birds were his eyes in the skies of all the nine realms in Norse cosmology and reported to their master all the tales that they saw.

In addition to two ravens, Odin also had two pet wolves, Geri and Freki. Their functions were two-fold, they kept Odin company when he felt lonely, in addition to haunting battlefields and feasting upon the dead.

More about Odin

In Valhalla, which is within Asgard, Odin sat on the throne Hlidskjalf, from where he kept his eye on the nine realms.

As previously mentioned, Odin was had a burning desire for knowledge and wisdom. He often sought both in the letters of the runic alphabet. One time, he hung from the world tree Yggdrasil for nine straight days and nights, until he was blessed with the knowledge of the runic alphabet.

Together with Freya (one of his wives) the goddess of love and war, Odin claimed half of the souls of fallen brave warriors, granting them a resting place in Valhalla, the Norse equivalent of heaven. The souls were transported to Valhalla by the Valkyries, Odin’s daughters, who collected the souls from the battlefield.

You can go into even more depth on Odin over on Norse Mythology.org