Odin: Complex And Enigmatic God In Norse Mythology

Odin: Complex And Enigmatic God In Norse Mythology

- in Tattoo History, Tattoo Meanings
Odin Norse God

There are many gods in Norse mythology, but Odin is one of the principal, and his name in the Norse language is pronounced “OH-din.”  Also, he was known as Óðinn, in Old English, and Old Saxon recognized him as Woden, according to Old High German he was called WuotanWotan, or Wodan. Besides the many names he is known for, he is one of the most complex and enigmatic characters in the whole Norse mythology, and possibly in all of world literature. He is also recognized as the Father of all the other gods and men. This god is described as an immensely intelligent, one-eyed old man. Unlike any other god, Odin has the most varied characteristics, and he is not only recognized as the man to call upon when war was being prepared, but he was also known as the god of poetry, of the dead, of runes, and magic.

The meaning of his name:

The name of Odin can be translated as “Master of Ecstasy.” The name is known in the Old Norse, Óðinn consists of two parts: first, the noun óðr, which means ecstasy, fury, inspiration, and the suffix -inn, the masculine definite article, which in this kind of use, means something like “the master of” or “a perfect example of.”



In modern literature, Odin is often portrayed as being a highly honorable ruler and skillful battlefield commander, but according to the ancient Norse, he was completely different. There are more straightforwardly noble war gods than him like Tyr or Thor.

He had particularly close connections with the berserkers and other “warrior-shamans” whose fighting skills and associated spiritual practices revolve around reaching a state of ecstatic union with certain fierce totem animals, in most of the cases wolves or bears, and, additionally, Odin was recognized as the master of such beasts.

As a war-god, Odin’s principal concern was the reasons behind any given disagreement or even its result, but instead with the raw, messy battle-frenzy that permeates any such struggle.


The preference that Odin had for the elite extends to all realms of society. As one of the principals of the Aesir gods, he’s described as the divine archetype of a ruler. In history, he is famous for the discovery of numerous royal lines, and kings who are as shamanistic warriors to declare him as their beneficiary.

Together with Tyr, Odin is recognized as the first ruler. The key distinction between Tyr and Odin in this regard comes from the fact that Tyr is more associated with rule by law and justice, whereas Odin was more connected to the rule by magic and cunning. On the one hand, Tyr is the sober and virtuous ruler, and the other Odin is the devious, mysterious, and inspired ruler.

Very often, Odin was considered as a favorite god and helper of outlaws, people who had been banished from society due to a number of, particularly heinous crimes. Just like Odin, lots of such men were outstandingly strong-willed warrior-poets who were apathetic to established societal norms. Besides their social stature, the men and women favored by Odin are recognized by their intelligence, creativity, and capability in the proverbial “war of all against all.” Their destiny or whether they are going to become kings or criminals is mostly a matter of luck.

Wisdom, Magic, and Shamanism

Odin believed that any kind should be overcome by any means necessary, and the actions he took were carried out within the context of a persistent and brutal quest for more wisdom, more knowledge, and more power, usually of a magical sort.

He is mostly recognized by his single, piercing eye. His other eye socket is empty due to the fact that he sacrificed his other eye for wisdom.

Together with Freya, he’s known as one of the two greatest practitioners of shamanism amongst the gods.

The Dead

Odin is known to be a frequent recipient of human sacrifice, particularly of royalty, nobles, and enemy armies. This sacrifice was usually accomplished through a spear, a noose, or both, which is the same way Odin “sacrificed himself to himself” in order to obtain knowledge of the runes. His mastery of necromancy, the magical art of communicating with and raising the dead, is frequently noted.


Odin is often portrayed wearing a hat and cloak, having a long beard, and only one eye. One of his main attributes is his spear Gungnir, which has been present in the Viking Age belief, as hinted at by miniature spearheads found throughout south and central Sweden.Odin Norse God

There are other attributes that are connected with him like his ring Draupnir, which drips to form eight new rings every nine nights. His horse was called Sleipnir that is set apart by a somehow efficient total of eight legs. Odin also owned two ravens, Huginn (meaning ‘thought’) and Muninn (meaning ‘wisdom’) recognized as very old mythical elements already well-established – proven by their appearance on ornaments and rune stones – before c. 800 CE. They used to fly around the world collecting news, and after they’ve returned, they sit on Odin’s shoulder and whisper their tidings into his ear. This is the reason why he is known as ‘the raven-god.’

Other attributes are the Valkyries or tiny, female figurines often represented by holding a drinking horn, suggesting worship of Odin – and his wolves Geri and Freki. It is also possible for him to be associated with the eagle and the snake, and his potential function as shaman means the staff is highlighted, too.


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