Odin, Ruler of the Norse Gods, Wednesday’s Name Sake

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Odin, Ruler of the Norse Gods, Wednesday’s Name Sake

In the Norse pantheon, Asgard was the home of the gods, and it was the place where one could find Odin, the supreme deity of them all. Connected to his Germanic ancestor Woden or Wodan, Odin was the god of kings and the mentor of young heroes, to whom he often gave magical gifts.

In addition to being a king himself, Odin was a shapeshifter, and frequently roamed the world in disguise. One of his favorite manifestations was that of a one-eyed old man; in the Norse Eddas, the one-eyed man appears regularly as a bringer of wisdom and knowledge to heroes.

He pops up in everything from the saga of the Volsungs to Neil Gaiman’s American Gods. He was typically accompanied by a pack of wolves and ravens, and rode on a magic horse named Sleipnir. Odin is associated with the concept of the wild hunt, and leads a noisy hoarde of fallen warriors across the sky.

Odin was said to summon dead heroes and kings to Valhalla, which they entered accompanied by the host of Valkyries. Once in Valhalla, the fallen engaged in feasting and combat, always ready to defend Asgard from its enemies. Odin’s warrior followers, the Berserkers, wore the pelts of a wolf or bear in battle, and worked themselves up into an ecstatic frenzy that made them oblivious to the pain of their wounds.

As a young man Odin hung on the world tree, Yggdrasil, for nine days while pierced by his own javelin, in order to obtain the wisdom of the nine worlds. This enabled him to learn the magic of the runes. Nine is a significant number in the Norse sagas, and appears frequently.

Odin continues to maintain a strong following, particularly amongst members of the Asatru community.

Author

Patti Wigington, Paganism/Wicca Expert
Article published on & owned by About.com

Deity of the Day for March 29th – FREYA

FREYA

Also known as FREYJA

 

Goddess of Love, Fertility and Sexual Desire. She’s also a feisty warrior and Queen of the VALKYRIES.

The daughter of NJORD, and the beautiful twin sister of FREYR, she is — to put it in modern vernacular — a bit of a goer. She did marry a God called OD, causing much confusion amongst academics and historians who have confused him with ODIN leading to further confusion by confusing her with FRIGG. (This is why you need Godchecker.) But OD was a bit of a goer himself and nipped out one day for pastures new.

 

This caused much weeping of golden tears, but as usual FREYA made the best of a bad job and really went off the rails. She ran wild with Gods, mortals, giants and dwarves.

The stories and allegations of how she gained possession of Brisingamen, the golden amber necklace of desire, are scandalous. Especially the one about her bedding four dwarves in turn before they would give it to her. But this sort of thing is just titillation. In any case, the necklace was stolen by LOKI and — although it was rescued by HEIMDALL — we don’t think she got it back.

Being a strong-willed warrior maiden, she joined and then led the VALKYRIES — so that she could have first pick of the slain battlefield warriors. Most of the slain go to VALHALLA, but the good-looking heroes go straight to her palace for rest and recuperation.

But FREYA does have a softer side — she loves romantic music and bunches of flowers. Her daughters are the beautiful HNOSS and the equally beautiful GERSEMI.