Odin Allfather - A Brief History

Odin Allfather - A Brief History

Head of the tribe of Aesir gods which include Thor, Frigg and Loki who live in Asgard. Like many gods from the pre-Christian era, Odin was associated with multiple talents and functions; he was  a war god (although not part of the battles themselves, his role was that of a pre-war advisor), a god of poetry, of runes and magic and a god of the dead. This last ties in with both his role in wars as well as his Valkyrie warriors, collecting souls of the dead from battle fields to join him in Valhalla. It was said that these souls would also become his own army in fighting the powers of the Underworld at Ragnarök (the end of the world).

Odin is often depicted with his 2 ravens, Huginn and Muninn (Thought and Wisdom) said to be the source of his knowledge of the goings on in the world. Huggin and Muninn would gather news from over the world and come back to sit on Odin’s shoulders and whisper to him the tidings they’d discovered.

This and the head of a wiseman called Mimir are said to be the sources of Odin’s immense wisdom and knowledge. This story tells us about Odin’s missing eye, as the price he had to pay for the head of Mimir was to sacrifice an eye.

Odin and his two brothers, Vili and Ve were sired by Buri, the forefather of the gods. The three brother created the earth when they slew a proto-giant called Ymir. They used his flesh for the ground, his skull as the sky, his bones to form the mountains and for the seas, his blood.

After which they created the first humans, Ask and Embla, from two trees.

Odin is one of the few gods to sacrifice himself to himself. As mentioned earlier, he is the god of runes (these were seen as secret letters for casting spells and magic) and in his effort to gain this power he had to spend nine nights hanging from the world tree, Yggdrasil with a spear wound that left him close to death. Only after this ordeal was the secret of the runes revealed to him.

He took part in many travels and exploits, many of which were self serving and there was plenty of womanising and siring of children along the way. Odin’s story culminates in Ragnarök, the end of world. Battle takes place between the gods and the forces of the Underworld; there are natural catastrophes and the great wolf Fenrir devours the sun and fights Odin who ultimately suffers death and defeat in his jaws.

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