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Odin, Norse God of Wisdom
Odin is a principal member of the Aesir (Norse Pantheon) and
is associated with wisdom, war, battle and death -- Odin is also associated with magic, poetry, prophecy, victory, and the hunt. Odin, the Norse God of Wisdom, is regarded as a Psychopomps, "guide of souls."
Odin and his wife, Freyja, each take half the those who have died in battle and lead them to their afterlife homes. Freyja's afterlife home for souls is Folkkvangr, and Odin's is Valhalla. They provide a safe passage and a place of peace for deceased souls.
Valhalla is the hall of the fallen, where Odin receives the souls of the warriors killed in battle. The souls of women warriors, and those strong and beautiful women whom Odin favored, became Valkyries, who gather the souls of warriors fallen in battle. These souls Odin would be need to fight for him in the battle of Ragnarok (the Armageddon of the gods of Asgard). Valhalla is extravagantly beautiful, with five hundred and forty gates, and a vast hall of gold, hung around with golden shields, and spears and coats of mail.
The Poetic Edda is a collection of Old Norse poems primarily preserved in the Icelandic medieval manuscript Codex Regius. Along with Snorri Sturluson's Prose Edda, the Poetic Edda is the most important extant source on Norse mythology and Germanic heroic legends, and from the early 19th century onwards has had a powerful influence on later Scandinavian literature, not merely through the stories it contains but through the visionary force and dramatic quality of many of the poems.
In the Voluspa, a poem in the Poetic Edda , a volva (shamanic seeress in Norse paganism) tells Odin of the creation of the world and its eventual end. She tells Odin of events of the distant past and far into the future. She tells of how he and his brothers formed Midgard (one of the Nine Worlds and the home of the humans) from the sea, and the creation of the first humans, Ask and Embla who were created by Hoeir, Loourr and Odin.
The seeress also tells Odin of his own involvement in the Aesir-Vanir War, and the death of Baldr, his son. She further tells how Odin is slain by the wolf Fenrir at Ragnarok, the subsequent avenging of Odin and death of Fenrir by his son Vioarr, how the world disappears into flames and, how the earth again rises from the sea. She then relates how the surviving Aesir remember the deeds of Odin.
For these gifts of seeing, Odin journeys to Mirmir's Well, plucked out one eye and gave it as an offering by dropping it in the well -- in exchange, he then is allowed to drink from the well which gives him the wisdom he seeks. The Prose Edda details that Mirmir's Well is located beneath one of three roots of the world tree Yggdrasil, a root that passes into the land of the frost jotnar where the primordial plane of Ginnungagap once existed. The Prose Edda relates that the water of the well contains much wisdom.
A translation by Benjamin Thorpe, (1782 - 19 July 1870) an English Anglo-Saxon scholar, tells about Odin's eye in the well.
"Of what wouldst thou ask me?
Why temptest thou me?
Odin! I know all,
where thou thine eye didst sink
in the pure well of Mim."
Mim drinks from mead each morn
from Valfather's pledge
Valfather was another name for Odin, one of many. A volva recounts to Odin that she knows that Odin once placed one of his eyes in Mimisbrunnr (Mimir's Well) as a pledge, and that M�mir drinks from the well every morning.
In Norse religion, Asgard is one of the Nine Worlds and is the country or capital city of the Norse Gods. Valhalla is located within Asgard. Odin had two other great halls besides Valhalla. The first residence is Gladsheim, a vast hall where Odin presides over the twelve Judges, whom he had appointed to regulate the affairs of Asgard. Odin and his wife, Freyja, are the rulers of Asgard. The second residence is Valaskjalf, built of solid silver, in which there was an elevated place, Hlidskjalf, from his throne on which he could perceive all that passed throughout the whole earth. Valhalla is the third residence of Odin.
According to the Prose Edda, Odin, the first and most powerful of the Aesir, was a son of Bestla and Borr and brother of Vili and Ve. With these brothers, he cast down the frost giant Ymir and made Earth from Ymir's body.
Odin was the supreme God of the Norse Vikings.
by Johannes Gehrts, 1901
Public Domain, retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Odhin_by_Johannes_Gehrts.jpg
For more reading on Norse Mythology:
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