Who Is the Chief God in Norse Myth?
Who Is the Chief God in Norse Myth? Odin, or Wotan, Woden, etc, is the chief god in Germanic and Norse (Scandinavian) myth. Odin is primarily a war god, though he also became a god of wisdom after giving up one of his eyes for the gift of wisdom. He reigned from Valhalla in Asgard, home of the gods, attended by the Valkyries. His spear, Gungnir, never missed its mark.
From earliest times Odin appeared in heroic literature as the protector of heroes; fallen warriors joined him in Valhalla.
He has two sons, Balder by his first wife Frigg and Thor by Jord. Odin also has several animals. His two ravens Hugin and Munin (thought and memory) fly around the world and report back what they see. The wolf and the raven were dedicated to him. His magical horse, Sleipnir, had eight legs, teeth inscribed with runes, and the ability to gallop through the air and over the sea. Geri and Freki are Odin’s wolves.
He learned the magical art of prophecy from Freyja. Odin has a gold ring called Draupnir that is important to the gods.
Odin was the great magician among the gods and was associated with runes. He was also the god of poets. In outward appearance, he was a tall, old man, with a flowing beard and only one eye (the other he gave in exchange for wisdom). He was usually depicted wearing a cloak and a wide-brimmed hat and carrying a spear.
Odin was also a shapeshifter, meaning that he could change shape. He could fall into an ecstatic trance and send out his soul, allowing him to adopt the form of another person or an animal. While his body lay in a trance, he could travel like a bird or a four-legged animal, a fish or a snake, through all the worlds and to far-off places.
Odin is often portrayed as a charming man who enjoys drinking mead and wine. But he was accused of “unmanly behavior” when he “beat the drum and practiced prophecy”, something that was associated with women. The fact that he was a seer and a man provoked disgust in some quarters.