Odin discoveredNorth-East Frigg discovered

The Odin name

person by Kristin Øye Gjerde, Norwegian Petroleum Museum
Odin was the principal Norse god and dwelt in Valhall. Married to Frigg, he was also known as the All-Wise.
— Odin riding on Sleipner. Illustration: Equinor/Norwegian Petroleum Museum
© Norsk Oljemuseum

His wisdom derived in part from his two ravens, Hugin (thought) and Munin (memory). They perched on his shoulders and reported the news they saw or heard around the world. Another source of wisdom was Mimir’s well, but Odin had to give an eye for a draught of its waters. He was therefore one-eyed.

Odin was also the god of writing, and learnt the art between the living and the dead. He pierced his side with a spear, and then hanged himself from the World Ash, Yggdrasil, for nine days without food or water. The pain took him on an inner journey to find the ultimate expression of wisdom and knowledge – the runes. This Norse alphabet was not only a form of writing but also a set of magic symbols. Power over the runes meant power over life itself.

The final source of wisdom was the mead of poetry owned by the giant Suttung. When the two families of gods – the Æsir and the Vanir – had tired of fighting each other, they sealed a peace treaty by standing together and spitting into a bowl. From this saliva, they fashioned Kvasir.

He was so wise that he could answer any question put to him, but the dwarves were not happy with this competition. They finally lured him aside, slew him, collected his blood in a bowl and mixed it with honey. Everyone who drank this Kvasir mead became a poet or a scholar.

Highly valued, the mead ended up at Sutting’s home inside the mountains. Odin sneaked his way in, drank all the mead in three draughts and turned himself into an eagle to fly home to Asgard with a full belly.

Source: Gods in Oil, by Asgjerd Taksdal

Odin discoveredNorth-East Frigg discovered
Published October 24, 2017   •   Updated June 15, 2020
© Norsk Oljemuseum
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