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picture by Michael Rechlin
ODIN the All Father
Supreme among the gods. He has many functions including being a god of war, poetry, wisdom, and death. Odin is a son of Bor and Bestla. He is called Alfadir, Allfather, for he is indeed father of the gods. With Frigg he is the father of Balder, Hod, and Hermod. He fathered Thor on the goddess Jord; and the giantess Grid became the mother of Vidar.

His halls were called Gladsheim Valaskjalf and Valhalla. Odin's high seat, Hlidskialf, was in Valaskjalf. It was from this throne that he could see over all the world. Valhalla is where he gathered his portion of the slain warriors, Einheriar, whom the valkyries had chosen. Odin had a spear named Grungir which never missed its mark and a bow which unleashed ten arrows with every pull. He also owned a magic ring called Draupnir which created nine of itself every night. It was this ring that Odin laid on his son Balder's funeral pyre and which Balder returned to Odin from the underworld. Another one of Odin's prized possesions was his wonderful steed named Sleipnir which had eight legs. Sleipnir could travel to the underworld and through the air. Odin also had two wolves, Geri and Freki, and two ravens, Hugin [thought] and Munin [memory]. He sent his ravens out every day to gather knowledge for him.

Odin sacrificed himself for knowledge by hanging on the world tree, Yggdrasil, which means Ygg's horse. Ygg is a name for Odin and horse is a metaphor for the gallows. He thereby learns the runes. Another sacrifice he made for wisdom was his eye. He gave it up in order to drink from the Well of Mimir which bestowed great knowledge. Because of this, he is typically depicted as having one eye. He is also depicted as wearing a cloak, being old, having a long grey beard, and wearing a wide brimmed hat down low over his face to conceal his one-eyed visage. Odin can make the dead speak to question the wisest amongst them.

Odin was destined to die at Ragnarok, swallowed by the wolf Fenrir. Knowing his fate, he still chose to embrace it and do battle. Showing the true warrior ethic. He was the god of warriors and kings, not the common man. Many heroes genealogies start with Odin, including Sigurd.

A small copper alloy figure that probably represents Odin. The statue
belongs to the Statens Historiska Museet, Navavagen, Sweden.