© 2013 Jonathan Peder Pedersen, artbyjpp.com
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Odin’s name means “fury, excitation”, besides “mind”, or “poetry”. He is associated with war, battle, victory, death, but also wisdom, shamanism, magic, shape shifting into animal shapes, poetry, prophecy, trickery, deception, cunning, and the hunt. Shape shifting he taught to his mortal children (the volsungs) by having them adorn the skin of a wolf. Odin hung himself for nine days, pierced by his own spear, on the world tree. Here he learned nine powerful songs, and eighteen runes. Odin can make the dead speak to question the wisest amongst them. His hall in Asgard is Valaskjalf (“shelf of the slain”) where his throne Hlidskjalf is located. From this throne he observes all that happens in the nine worlds. The tidings are brought to him by his two raven Huginn and Muninn. He also resides in Valhalla, where the slain warriors are taken. It is said that Valhalla resides in a beautiful valley of green. Where the slain warriors will battle with each other and kill each other all day. But at night are brought back to life and will feast, drink mead, and make merriment.
Odin’s attributes are the golden spear Gungnir, which never misses its target and always comes back to odin after he throws it. It is said that when he pulled up the power of the runes the were placed on the tip of his spear. Gungnir has its own special rune which looks like a diamond shape with an x going through it. He has the ring Draupnir, from which every ninth night eight new rings appear. A magic sword of victory. His eight-legged steed Sleipnir. He carries with him the severed head of Mimir, which he brought back to life for counsel. He is accompanied by the wolves Freki and Geri, to whom he gives his food for he himself consumes nothing but mead/wine. Odin has only one eye, which blazes like the sun. His other eye he traded for a drink from Mimir’s Well of Wisdom, and gained immense knowledge. He gained knowledge of the past, present, and future. As he drank he saw all of the sorrows and troubles that would fall upon men and the gods, and why they come to being. Odin carries a drinking horn and gives the mead of inspiration to worthy poets and artists. On the day of the final battle (Ragnarok), Odin will ride out wearing a golden “eagled” helmet, and a fair coat of mail. It is said he will be killed by the wolf Fenrir.
The Valknut (three interlocking triangles) is a symbol which is often associated with Odin. It is found on rune stones depicting Odin gathering slain warriors and bringing them to Valhalla. I placed this symbol upon Odins brow on his helmet. Another common symbol found in association with odin is three interlocking horns. This is a symbol of the three vessels that odin drained in order to steal the skald’s mead from the dwarves. This symbol I placed on the fog which hold the horn. There is one recorded picture of Odin stealing the mead of inspiration. It was found on a rune stone which is now mostly destroyed by erosion. This depiction of the story is what I used to decorate the mead of inspiration.
When I first started the painting I held an idea that I wanted to depict to the viewer. A almost paradoxical idea in the mind of modern society. The all too human god. The norse gods always seemed to act like and think like any human does. They are not perfect, all powerful, or all knowing. Even Odin had to learn, he had to sacrifice to give up his eye. Odin travels around the world disguised as an old poor wanderer. Seeking and giving aid and wisdom to mankind.
As you can see I wanted to depict a scene where you are a slain warrior who has climbed his way up from the fields of Valhalla and to the top of the mountain where Odin resides. Standing face to face with him, his piercing, blazing, and knowing eye pulls you deep into the painting. His other eye as a true sacrifice looks very painful but is not hidden in shame but shown proudly. In his hand you can see the Golden spear Gungnir and the golden ring. At his hip resides the severed head of Mimir. Just as odin does not regenerate his eye, Mimir does not look alive. It is said Odin placed herbs in his head to stop him from rotting. So the head still looks dead. Odin is draped in wolf skin, a necklace of totems and powerful shamanic magic (Made from a bear’s claw, raven talons/feather, wolf jaw and bones on which are blooded with the runes of the first three lines of the SATOR square), a fine coat of mail, and his iconic grey tunic and the tattered blue cloak.
In order to better understand the Odin I found it most helpful to read through his 200+ names. Here are a few which were the most helpful. Alfodr/All Father. Arnhofdi/Eagle Head. Adun/Friend of wealth. Bagi ulfs/ Enemy of the wolf. Bileygr/Flashing eye. Bruni/Brown Bear. Drougadrottinn/Lord of the undead. Ennibrattr/Straight Forehead. Fadr Galdr/Father of Magical Songs. Farmagud/God of Burdens. Fimbultyr/Mighty God. Fjolnir/Wise One, concealer. Foldardrottinn/Lord of the Earth. Forni/Ancient One. Harbardr/Hoary Beard, Grey Beard. Hengikeptr/Hang jaw. Hjaldrgod/God of battle. Hoarr/One Eyed. Hrafnagud/Raven God. Langbardr/Long Beard. Londungr/Shaggy Cloak Wearer. Runatyr/God of runes. Thriggi/Triple. Thudr/Lean, Pale. Yjungr/Stormy.