All-Father, Father of the Slain, Wise One, Hooded One, Evil-Worker, Shifty-Eyed, Father of Hosts, Sage, Father of Victory, etc.

If the gods are a family, Odin is the man of the house. He is the father of many a deity, and is the ruler of Asgard, the realm of the gods. Beyond this, however, Odin becomes much harder to define.

Despite his regal bearings and position of divine authority, Odin is at least as much a wanderer in search of knowledge. The stories tell of how Odin pawned his eye for a drink from Mimir’s Well; how he hung himself from Yggdrasil, the World Tree, for nine days, pierced by a spear, to gain knowledge of magic runes; how he seduced the giant Gunnlod to drink the mead of poetry, thereby gaining wisdom and mastery of poetry. Through his many adventures and journeys, Odin has become more or less all-knowing, and it is said that from his seat in Asgard, he can see all things in the multiverse. But Odin is far from a benevolent deity. He is often a deceitful trickster, and has shown himself more than willing to mislead and deceive if it serves his purposes. His wisdom is often applied in the field of warfare, where he is said to be the (somewhat arbitrary) dispenser of victory. And when the battle is met, Odin is the one who receives the souls of fallen warriors to Valhalla.

Odin is, in short, a god of kings, poets, strategy, wisdom, travel, commerce, war, and deceit. Despite his diverse portfolio, Odin is primarily worshipped by the upper classes, poets, and leaders. Those lower on the social ladder tend to worship more straightforward and reliable gods. His clerics often bear a spear, grey cloaks, and the mark of an eye or a spear to commemorate their patron, and his temples are widespread. Odin’s alignment is best described as Neutral, although a better description might be Inscrutable.


That Way Madness Lies Wednesday