The legend of Odin, Master of the Secret of Runes


Who is Odin ?

Son of the god Bor and the goddess Bestia, Odin is the head of the gods and the king of the universe, the boss of Death, the war, the freedom and the poetry. He is the husband of Frigg, goddess of the marriage, love, family and fertility.

Odin is the Scandinavian version of the Germanic god Wodan or Wotan. Mercury for the Roman, Thot for Egyptians and Hermes (*) for Greeks.

In the Scandinavian mythology, Odin discovered the Futhark alphabet and the secrets of runes.

Description of Odin

He is shown like an old man wearing a greying beard and a wide-brimmed hat hiding his one-eyed face. Dressed in a coat, Odin holds in his hand a wooden stick of hazel tree and he is always accompanied with his familiar spirits : Two ravens, or according to the version with two wolves named Freki and Geri. Sometimes he is also depicted riding a black horse, named Sleipnir, which can walk in the airs and in the darkness.

Odin sit on his throne, illustration taken in the "Manual of mythology" of Alexander Murray's published in 1865

source wikipedia.org

A depiction of Odin riding Sleipnir from an eighteenth-century Icelandic manuscript.

source wikipedia.org

Legends around Odin

It is by sacrificing one eye, to the goddess Mimir, to drink at the source of the Wisdom, that Odin partially obtained then his knowledge.

The legend tells also that Odin hung himself to the Yggdrasil (**), and that he stayed, such as the Hanged-man of the divinatory Tarot, during nine days and nine nights before reaching the Illumination.

This experience allowed him to uncover the Secret of the Runes. He found the sixteen first runes in the roots of the Sacred Tree. Odin is also a shaman-warrior having gifts of healer. Some tell that he can bring the dead back to life.

(*) Hermes is also depicted in the Tarot The Hermit arcana

(**) The sacred Tree