Odin in Norse mythology was the father of many famous and mighty gods. He was the chief god ruling over Asgard the stronghold of Aesir gods. Odin’s sparkling hall in Asgard was Valhalla where Odin welcomed the bravest human warriors who fell in battle. Odin always appeared as an old man with white bear wearing dark cloak. Behind the image of such an old man was the infinite source of power and wisdom. The question is how powerful Odin the Allfather actually was in Norse mythology.
Titles for Odin worth mentioning include: God of War and God of Wisdom
In Norse mythology, the Powerful Odin was the god of war and the god of wisdom. Besides these two names, many people regard Odin as the god of persuasion and poetry, god of raven, god of wolves, etc.
God of War
The reason why Odin became the God of War was that he ruled over a great army in Asgard. The warriors in Odin’s army were the Einherjar who joined Odin in the hall of Valhalla. The Einherjar would take the side of Odin and fight along the gods when Ragnarok broke in the sky.
Though Odin did not take part in the battle himself, he embodied the wisdom and tactics in war. Before the battle started, the two parties were standing facing each other, Odin would throw his spear toward the enemies’ lines. With the yell “Odin own you all”, this pre-war ritual became a part of Viking tradition. The Vikings were famous for their throwing spear into the enemies’ lines before the battle took place.
God of Wisdom
While the trait of a war lord was somewhat vague to us, that of a wisdom lord was extremely obvious. Odin was obsessed with knowledge and wisdom. He was willing to venture anything he had to gain more knowledge.
One golden example was his trade with the Well of Mimir. Odin long knew the magical water in the Well of Mimir so one day he set out to visit it and ask for the holy water. But the guardian of the well, Mimir, didn’t immediately give Odin a single drop. He required Odin to make a sacrifice for it because nothing was free. The sacrifice that Mimir wanted was one eye of Odin.
Odin who was famous for his burning desire for knowledge. And without a second of hesitation, Odin devoted one eye to the Well. As Odin had made his sacrifice, Mimir gave the Allfather a try of the holy water. From that moment on, Odin lived his life with infinite fountain of wisdom. Though he lost one eye symbolising the external knowledge, he gained a wonderful source of internal insight.
There was one time that Odin made a physical sacrifice to gain the knowledge of runes – Viking magical alphabet. Legends had it that the Norns (Norse fate creators) carved the runes on the trunks of Yggdrasil. But only the figure that could pay a price could read. Odin did pay the price they demanded. He hang himself on the trunk of Yggdrasil for nine days and nine nights without food and water. Many gods asked to help him but he refused them all.
Enduring the challenge for 9 days, Odin finally gained the power to decipher the runes. The Powerful Odin became the first man to introduce these magical and mysterious letters to the world.
Overall, no one in the cosmos could deserve the title god of war more than Odin the Allfather. The lesson from Odin’s sacrifice for knowledge is never to become old-fashioned. In order to gain the knowledge, challenge must be accepted. Sacrifice must be made and one must welcome the knowledge whatever type it might take.
Other titles for the Powerful Odin
Odin was the God of poetry and persuasion. Because in Norse mythology, Odin was the man that drank the most of the Mead of Poetry. The Mead of Poetry was also a famous tale in Norse myth. The Mead was brewed from the blood of the wisest creature in the myth, Kvasir. Odin went to great lengths to bring back the Mead of Poetry to Asgard. He drank it only to possess the power of speaking with poems and the power of persuading other people with his words.
God of ravens also referred to Odin. Odin had two constant bird companions: a pair of ravens. Their names were Huginn and Muninn. They were the Mind and the Thought of Odin as their names indicated. In the daylight, Huginn and Muninn would fly the Nine Worlds and come back at dusk. Both perching on the shoulders of Odin told him what they had seen during the day. This was also a way Odin kept himself informative of the Nine Worlds. Ravens have become the symbols of Odin by far. In the Viking Age, the Vikings respected ravens because wherever ravens appeared, Odin was there either to endow them with knowledge or to bring them to Valhalla.
The Powerful Odin was also the god of wolves. Because in the mythology, the fate of Odin seemed to revolve around wolves. Odin had a pair of wolves, Geri and Freki, as his constant companions. The wolves always lay beneath Odin’s feet when he sat on the High Throne. Another wolf that Odin’s life revolved around was Fenrir – Odin’s sworn enemy. Fenrir was prophesied in the beginning that he would swallow Odin in Ragnarok. Because of this, the Powerful Odin found many ways to rid of Fenrir but everything was in vain.