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Odin: The Allfather

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Odin: The Allfather

Odin, the most powerful of the gods in Nordic mythology; he rides his stallion "Sleipner" and carries the spear Gungne (Gungnir); the two crows, Hugin (thought) and Munin's fly (memory) glide near him to guide him through the twilight of the forest.

Odin the father of the gods of the group "Ases"; the god of the War of Wisdom and Poetry:


Voden, Woden, Wotan, Wotan, Votan, Wuotan, Bileygr (with a fleeting look), Glapsvidir (quick to deceive), Ygg, Valfodr (the father of the Dead in battle), Alfodr (the father of the gods), Fjolsvidr (with vast wisdom), Oski (the one who gives hope).

Odin probably means "angry".

Genealogy of Odin

Odin is the first of the gods in the pantheon of Scandinavian deities; he is the head of the gods of the "Ases" group; son of Bor (or Burr) and the giant Bestla; brother of Vili and Vé.

Odin is also the father of the main deities of the group "Ases": of his wife "Grid", he is the father of "Vidar, the one who will kill the wolf Fenrir"; of his wife "Jörd", he is the father of "Thor, the god of thunder" and finally, of his wife Frigg, he is the father of Baldr (god of joy and kindness); of Hod (the blind god); of Skadi; of Hermod (or Hermodr, the messenger of the gods, the equivalent of herms of the Greeks); of Bragi (god of poetry and eloquence, husband of Idun who guarded the golden apples of youth); and of Tyre (one-armed god of battle and heroic glory).

Heimdal (or Heimdallr) the god of the Dawn "the one who throws the light" and the guardian of Bifrost (the rainbow) who leads to the city of the gods (the Ases) of Asgard: according to legend, he was born on the horizon; son of nine giant sisters and Odin.

Odin - one of the three creator gods

At the beginning there were two regions: Niflheimr, the ice mode and "Muspellheimr", the kingdom of fire.
Audumla (the nurse), the sacred cow that was born from the melting of the ice under the effect of the "Muspellheimr" fire.

By licking the ice (or the salt deposited on the frozen rocks), Audumla releases a giant called Buri (the one who was born), this birth is done in three days: the first day the hair appears; the second day the head appears and the third day the whole god. Buri in turn generates Bor (or Burr); Bor marries Bestla, the daughter of the giant Bölthorn (Bolthor); she gives him three children : Odin, Vili (creator god and war god) and Vé (creator god and war god).

Ymir who was the first giant to appear after the melting of the ice in the "Ginnungagap = the original void; or = the sea formed by the meeting of the hot air blowing from Muspelheim, the land of the fire giants, and the cold air from Niflheim, the land of mists".

Ymir was an evil and cruel being towards all and also towards Bor's children (Odin, Vili and Vé) who decided to fight him and kill him and then throw his body into the depths of "Ginnungagap" which is located between Muspelheim and Niflheim.

From the body of Ymir, Odin, Vili and Vé create the world: from his skull they create the sky; from his brain they create the clouds; from his bones they create the mountains; from his teeth and jaws they create the rocks and stones; from his flesh they form the ground; from his flesh they form the earth; from the small worms, born from his flesh they create dwarfs endowed with intelligence; from his blood they create the rivers and seas.

The seas drowned all the ice giants, except two, Bergelmir and his wife, saved by a boat made of a hollowed-out tree trunk; this couple founded the second race of giants.

After creating the earth, seas and sky, Odin, Vili and Vé offered the country called "Utgardr or Utgard" to the remaining ice giants, Bergelmir, his wife and their children; it is a very remote region in the east.

For them and their descendants, the three creator gods, Odin, Vili and Ve, build a house, it is "Asgardr or Asgard", it was protected from the giants' attacks by solid fortifications; to build them, they use the eyebrows of the first giant "Ymir".

Exploring the world they had created, Odin, Vili and Vé found two tree trunks stranded on the shore, so they decided to give them a new life by creating the first human couple: "Embla" was the first woman, and "Ask" was the first man. Odin breathed life into them; Ve gave them sight and hearing (and for some, facial expressions and speech); and finally, Veil gave them intelligence and emotions.

For the first humans, the three creative gods, Odin, Vili and Vé, build a kingdom in which they can live, it is "Midgardr or Mitagard - the Middle Land" which is halfway between Asgardr, the land of the gods, and "Niflheimr", the land of the ice, the land of the dead.
Odin and his two brothers built the Bifrost Bridge, or the rainbow that connects Asgardr to Midgardr.

The gods charged Embla and Ask, the first humans to settle in the Midgard kingdom, to form families to populate their country, and to care for animals, plants and all other beings living in their kingdom.


The Ases and the Vanes

The divinities of northern mythology were divided into two groups: The "Ases" who lived in "Asgardr" (in heaven), led by their leader Odin and then Thor, Vidar, Baldr, Höd, Heimdal and Loki Frigg.

The other race is the "Vanes", the divinities of later generations, who are also gods and goddesses of fertility; they lived in "Vanaheim - the land of the Vanes" and ruled over the sea and the land; their leader was Njörd (the god of the sea and winds) and his twin children Freyr (god of the rain and the products of the fields and the sun) and Freyja (goddess of carnal love and youth and wife of the solar god Odhr for whom she shed tears of amber and gold when he left her.

The dwarves give her the Brisling necklace to thank her for having sex with them. His tank was pulled by cats. She could fly under the guise of a falcon. The day dedicated to his worship was Friday. After the reconciliation of the Aes and the Vanes, it was assimilated to Frigg).

Odin and divine wisdom

One day, a war broke out between the "Ases" and the "Vanes" following the mistreatment suffered by one of the vanes (Freyja or another that has taken on its appearance, or the giant Gullveig) sent on a mission to the Ases. This war without a winner ended in a truce and hostage exchange: the two Ases, Honir and Mimir (who knew all the secrets of wisdom) spent part of the year with the Vanes, and Freyr and Njörd stayed with the Ases.

The Vanes tried to obtain from Mimir the secrets of wisdom, but failing, they cut off his head and sent him to the Aeses; unfortunately for the Vanes, because it was this head that kept the secrets of divine wisdom; so in order to enjoy universal wisdom, Odin kept Mimir's head with herbs, then through incarnations, gave her the ability to speak and made her immortal and installed her under the root of the Yggdrasil world tree which extended to the "Jotunnheim", the land of the ice giants at the source.

Odin, whenever he needs advice, goes to Mimir's source (or well) to question the wise man's head.

The Vanes, without enough power, end up being assimilated to the Ases, their rivals.

Odin and the Mead of Inspiration (Odrerir)

After the war between the Aes and the Vanes, the gods spat in a cauldron (the odrorir, which stirs the heart) to seal peace; from their saliva was born the giant poet "Kvasir". Two dwarves, Fjalar and Galar, having had enough of his instructions, they killed him and distilled his blood, then mixed it with honey in order to obtain a powerful mead (drink obtained by fermenting honey with water) that could give anyone who drinks it, wisdom, poetic inspiration and knowledge of magic formulas.

The two dwarves, Fjalar and Galar, were later forced to give the mead to the giant Suttung who had just killed his father and mother, this was the price for not executing them. Suttung knew the inestimable value of the god mead, so he asked his daughter "Gunnlöd" to hide it in his cave.

Odin decided to take the mead and offer it to the gods, for this he metamorphosed into a man, a snake and an eagle: At first he took the appearance of a man named "Bölverk" and killed nine servants of Baugi, Suttung's brother; he offered to perform the work task of his nine missing servants if he gave him a sip of mead to drink; Baugi accepted, but his brother Suttung refused this request.

Then "Bölverk - Odin", with Baugi's complicity, seized the sacred drink. Baugi dug the side of the mountain; Odin metamorphosed into a snake and slipped through the mountain to the cave of Gunnlöd; seduced by the god, let him take a sip of the mead, but Odin malicious, drank the drink to the last drop, then metamorphosed into an eagle and flew to the home of the gods Asgardr.

Sleipnir, Odin's stallion

The huge fortifications of Asgardr were demolished during the war between the Ases and the Vanes and had to be rebuilt to protect themselves against attacks from the giants. For this enormous task, the Aes called upon a giant, but the latter demanded a very important price: the sun, the moon and Freyja (the sublime goddess of fertility who was able to grant immortality).

Faced with this exorbitant price, Loki (the representation of evil and cunning), asks the Ases to accept the contract under one condition: "To finish the work in one season" knowing that this deadline is largely insufficient; therefore if the giant accepts, the price will be cheaper because the work will not be completed on time.

The giant accepts the contract, and the work of restoring the ramparts begins, and surprisingly they progress very quickly, because, to achieve them, the giant is helped by his magic horse the mare "Svadilfari". Loki, seeing that the restoration of the ramparts will be completed in time, metamorphoses into a fiery and seductive stallion and attracts the mare "Svadilfari".

From this mating was born the stallion "Sleipnir" who was, thanks to his eight legs, the fastest horse in the world; Loki offered him to Odin.

The private giant of his stallion "Svadilfari" did not complete the work on time, did not get the expected price; furious, he was taken by an outburst of rage, so to finish with this madness. Thor, the god of thunder, kills him by hitting him on the head with his coat." Mjöllnir"

Odin is the one-eyed god

Odin, a god curious about everything and thirsty for knowledge: he sought to become omniscient by assimilating all the knowledge and wisdom of the world, then for a simple sip at the source of wisdom; he accepts to lose one of his eyes by offering it to the giant Mimir in exchange for a drink from the well that contained the sacred water of fate and that commanded happiness or misfortune of men (Mimir's well) that was under the root of the tree of the world (or the tree of knowledge) Yggdrasil that extended to the "Jotunheim", the land of the ice giants.

Odin on Yggdrasil (The World Tree)

Odin hung himself from the Yggdrasil tree, abstaining from food and drink for nine days and nights. With an arrow piercing (or his spear Gungnir depending on the saga) his body, he suspended himself from the tree like a corpse. After this self-sacrifice, he fell from the tree while clutching the runes and their knowledge. This represents his unwavering dedication to gaining wisdom.

By possessing the runes (the characters of the ancient alphabet of the Germanic and Scandinavian peoples), he gained the ability to write and became the wisest and most educated of the gods, able to master magic and explore the secrets of the universe.

The name "Yggdrasil" refers to this episode of Odin's biography, because "Ygg" is another name of Odin; and "Drasil" means horse, therefore, Yggdrasil means (Odin's Horse).

Odin - God of War

A fierce fighter on the battlefield, and with his ability to metamorphose and divert his enemies, blind them, deafen them and destroy their weapons. He was assisted for this task by two formidable wolves "Geri or Gjere" and "Freki or Freke".

Odin observes the warriors during the battles, judges and decides what must be taken to Valhall (Walhalla; the Living Room of the Dead), located near Odin's palace in Asgard, in order to find eternal life. Walhalla's walls were covered with shields, her ceiling with spearhead forests; to access them, you have to go through "Valgrind", the death gate.

Indeed, when Odin decided that a warrior should die gloriously, he sent the Valkyries, three goddesses related to the Norns, to the battlefield; they recovered the warrior who had fallen gloriously in battle, then took him to Valhall (Walhalla) to join the troop of brave warriors who fought and banked until the end of the time when they fought with Odin at the battle of the end of the gods' world (Ragnarok).

These called warriors (Einherjar) fed on the flesh of the "Sæhrimnir" boar, which was constantly being replenished, and they drank the wine from an inexhaustible barrel.

The Valkyries travelled on horseback, and the light reflected from their shields produced the northern lights. They could metamorphose at will into crows or wolves.

The goddess of carnal love, Freyja was closely associated with Odin in the care of the glorious warriors who died in battle.

Odin was represented in his warrior appearance as a vigorous man in his fifties, with long hair and a large grey beard. He wore a large blue coat and a hat with a wide brim to hide his lost eye.

He was armed with his spear (Gungnir), the weapon that never misses its target, it was made by the dwarves. On this spear, Odin swore his subjects under oath.

Odin - God of Peace

To ensure peace, power and strength are needed, but knowledge is also needed to unlock the secrets of the world; Odin was endowed with all these characteristics, helped for this task by the runes (writing), then two intelligence officers, the two ravens: Huginn or Hugin (thought) and Muninn or Munin (memory); these two ravens, every day, flew over the whole world and came back to whisper daily in Odin's ears, everything they had seen or heard in the world of the gods, giants, dwarves and men.

Odin's death

The battlefield of the end of the world of the gods (Ragnarok) was already determined, it was "Vigrid" (the largest in the world; it was square, extending in front of Valhall and measuring a thousand leagues aside) or "Oskopne" (the one that has not yet been created).

Odin presents himself on the battlefield wearing a gold helmet and adorned with huge eagle wings; he holds in his left hand his famous spear "Gungnir" which never misses his target. Odin was riding his eight-legged stallion "Sleipnir" who flies like a hurricane to lead his army.

The great battle began, the Aes succumbed to the onslaught of their enemies: the wolf Fenrir with his immense mouth swallowed, from the beginning of the battle, the father of the gods "Odin" who was the first victim of this war.

To avenge him, Vidar his son, moves towards Fenrir, and with skill and strength, fixes the lower jaw of the wolf monster to the ground by introducing, in his mouth, his foot protected by a shoe made of high-strength leather making him able to prevent the wolf's teeth from crossing it; then with his left hand, Vidar lifts the beast's upper jaw towards the sky, then through his largely gaping mouth, with his left hand, Vidar pushes his sword in and pierces Fenrir's heart and ends his life.

May the Old Gods bless you.


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