Odin and his Brothers: Common Threads of the Odinic Tradition
Timothy J. Stephany
Rochester Institute of Technology (2006)
Abstract: Within the Poetic Edda Odin, Lodur (Loki) and Haenir are responsible for the creation of humanity in Nordic mythology. Odin can be seen in an early form as a god of the sky, Loki as a god of fire, and Haenir as a god of water. These gods of creation can be connected to Syrian myth in the case of Vili and Ve (Eilli and Ea) and to Indian myth in the case of Loki and Haenir (Agni and Soma). These associations are reinforced through parallels relating specifically to similarities of the myth of the mead of poetry with that of the soma in the case of the Indian and in the Baldric tradition in the case of the Syrian. There is some potential of establishing a latest possible date for the origin of the myth, as well as an original form of the myth, when common details are identified.
The mythological descriptions of Odin come out of the Eddas and Sagas, where he is established as father of the gods, god of the hanged, god of prisoners, god of cargoes, god of runes and poetry (od), and most importantly as god of battle and death. Odin might have been associated with battle through his association with the horse, and thus this god became the god of warriors, or through his association with death and the underworld.
Like the goddess Hel “Wode also and the wild hunter ride on a three-legged horse; Wode catches the subterraneans, ties them together by their hairs, and lets them hang on each side of his horse.” Sometimes the Devil is described as a hunter in green or goes by the name Greencoat, just as Odin was to have worn a green hat. In Ostgotland the name Oden was used to mean Devil. Huntsmen in Germany dressed in green, so Odin’s green hat is a hunting hat: green to blend into the greenery and wide-brimmed to disguise the face from prey.