Old Norse religion
Norse paganism known as Old Norse religion, is the most common name for a branch of Germanic religion which developed during the Proto-Norse period, when the North Germanic peoples separated into a distinct branch of the Germanic peoples. It was displaced by Christianity during the Christianization of Scandinavia. Scholars reconstruct aspects of North Germanic religion by historical linguistics, archaeology and records left by North Germanic peoples, such as runic inscriptions in the Younger Futhark, a distinctly North Germanic extension of the runic alphabet. Numerous Old Norse works dated to the 13th century record Norse mythology, a component of North Germanic religion. Old Norse religion was polytheistic, entailing a belief in various goddesses. Norse mythology divided these deities into two groups, the Æsir and the Vanir, who engaged in an ancient war until realizing that they were powerful. Among the most widespread deities were the gods Odin and Thor; this world was inhabited by various other mythological races, including giants, dwarfs and land-spirits.
Norse cosmology revolved around a world tree known as Yggdrasil, with various realms existing alongside that of humans, named Midgard. These include multiple afterlife realms. Transmitted through oral culture rather than through codified texts, Old Norse religion focused on ritual practice, with kings and chiefs playing a central role in carrying out public acts of sacrifice. Various cultic spaces were used. Norse society contained practitioners of Seiðr, a form of sorcery which some scholars describe as shamanistic. Various forms of burial were conducted, including both inhumation and cremation accompanied by a variety of grave goods. Throughout its history, varying levels of trans-cultural diffusion occurred among neighbouring peoples, such as the Sami and Finns. By the twelfth century Old Norse religion had succumbed to Christianity, with elements continuing into Scandinavian folklore. A revival of interest in Old Norse religion occurred amid the romanticist movement of the nineteenth century, during which it inspired a range of artworks.
It attracted the interest of political figures, was used by a range of right-wing and nationalist groups. Academic research into the subject began in the early nineteenth century influenced by the pervasive romanticist sentiment; the archaeologist Anders Andrén noted that "Old Norse religion" is "the conventional name" applied to the pre-Christian religions of Scandinavia. See for instance Other terms used by scholarly sources include "pre-Christian Norse religion", "Norse religion", "Norse paganism", "Nordic paganism", "Scandinavian paganism", "Scandinavian heathenism", "Scandinavian religion", "Northern paganism", "Northern heathenism", "North Germanic religion", or "North Germanic paganism"; this Old Norse religion can be seen as part of a broader Germanic religion found across linguistically Germanic Europe. Rooted in ritual practice and oral tradition, Old Norse religion was integrated with other aspects of Norse life, including subsistence and social interactions. Open codifications of Old Norse beliefs were either non-existent.
The practitioners of this belief system themselves had no term meaning "religion", only introduced with Christianity. Following Christianity's arrival, Old Norse terms that were used for the pre-Christian systems were forn sið or heiðinn sið, terms which suggest an emphasis on rituals and behaviours rather than belief itself; the earliest known usage of the Old Norse term heiðinn is in the poem Hákonarmál. Old Norse religion has been classed as an ethnic religion, as a "non-doctrinal community religion", it varied across time, in different regions and locales, according to social differences. This variation is due to its transmission through oral culture rather than codified texts. For this reason, the archaeologists Andrén, Kristina Jennbert, Catharina Raudvere stated that "pre-Christian Norse religion is not a uniform or stable category", while the scholar Karen Bek-Pedersen noted that the "Old Norse belief system should be conceived of in the plural, as several systems"; the historian of religion Hilda Ellis Davidson stated that it would have ranged from manifestations of "complex symbolism" to "the simple folk-beliefs of the less sophisticated".
During the Viking Age, the Norse regarded themselves as a more or less unified entity through their shared Germanic language, Old Norse. The scholar of Scandinavian studies Thomas A. DuBois said Old Norse religion and other pre-Christian belief systems in Northern Europe must be viewed as "not as isolated, mutually exclusive language-bound entities, but as broad concepts shared across cultural and linguistic lines, conditioned by similar ecological factors and protracted economic and cultural ties". During this period, the Norse interacted with other ethno-cultural and linguistic groups, such as the Sámi, Balto-Finns, Anglo-Saxons, Greenlandic Inuit, various speakers of Celtic and Slavic languages. Economic and religious exchange occurred between the Norse and many of these other groups. Enslaved individuals from the British Isles were common throughout the Nordic world during the Viking Age. Different elements of Old Norse religion had different origins and his
Baldr is a god in Norse mythology, a son of the god Odin and the goddess Frigg. He has numerous brothers, such as Váli. In the 12th century, Danish accounts by Saxo Grammaticus and other Danish Latin chroniclers recorded a euhemerized account of his story. Compiled in Iceland in the 13th century, but based on much older Old Norse poetry, the Poetic Edda and the Prose Edda contain numerous references to the death of Baldr as both a great tragedy to the Æsir and a harbinger of Ragnarök. According to Gylfaginning, a book of Snorri Sturluson's Prose Edda, Baldr's wife is Nanna and their son is Forseti. In Gylfaginning, Snorri relates that Baldr had the greatest ship built and that there is no place more beautiful than his hall, Breidablik. Jacob Grimm in his Teutonic Mythology identifies Old Norse Baldr with the Old High German Baldere, Palter and with Old English bealdor, baldor "lord, king". Old Norse shows this usage of the word as an honorific in a few cases, as in baldur î brynju and herbaldr, both epithets of heroes in general.
Grimm traces the etymology of the name to *balþaz, whence Gothic balþs, Old English bald, Old High German pald, all meaning "bold, brave". But the interpretation of Baldr as "the brave god" may be secondary. Baltic has a word meaning "the white, the good", Grimm speculates that the name may originate as a Baltic loan into Proto-Germanic. In continental Saxon and Anglo-Saxon tradition, the son of Woden is called not Bealdor but Baldag and Bældæg, which shows association with "day" with Day personified as a deity. This, as Grimm points out, would agree with the meaning "shining one, white one, a god" derived from the meaning of Baltic baltas, further adducing Slavic Belobog and German Berhta. Grimm's etymology is endorsed by modern research. According to Rudolf Simek, the original name for Baldr must be understood as'shining day'. One of the two Merseburg Incantations names Baldere, but mentions a figure named Phol, considered to be a byname for Baldr. In the Poetic Edda the tale of Baldr's death is referred to rather than recounted at length.
Among the visions which the Völva sees and describes in the prophecy known as the Völuspá is one of the fatal mistletoe, the birth of Váli and the weeping of Frigg. Yet looking far into the future the Völva sees a brighter vision of a new world, when both Höðr and Baldr will come back; the Eddic poem Baldr's Dreams mentions that Baldr has bad dreams which the gods discuss. Odin rides to Hel and awakens a seeress, who tells him Höðr will kill Baldr but Vali will avenge him. In Gylfaginning, Baldur is described as follows: Apart from this description, Baldr is known for the story of his death, his death is seen as the first in the chain of events which will lead to the destruction of the gods at Ragnarök. Baldr will be reborn in the new world, according to Völuspá, he had a dream of his own death and his mother had the same dreams. Since dreams were prophetic, this depressed him, so his mother Frigg made every object on earth vow never to hurt Baldr. All objects made this vow except mistletoe—a detail which has traditionally been explained with the idea that it was too unimportant and nonthreatening to bother asking it to make the vow, but which Merrill Kaplan has instead argued echoes the fact that young people were not eligible to swear legal oaths, which could make them a threat in life.
When Loki, the mischief-maker, heard of this, he made a magical spear from this plant. He hurried to the place where the gods were indulging in their new pastime of hurling objects at Baldr, which would bounce off without harming him. Loki gave the spear to Baldr's brother, the blind god Höðr, who inadvertently killed his brother with it. For this act and the giantess Rindr gave birth to Váli who grew to adulthood within a day and slew Höðr. Baldr was ceremonially burnt upon his ship, the largest of all ships; as he was carried to the ship, Odin whispered in his ear. This was to be a key riddle asked by Odin of the giant Vafthrudnir in the poem Vafthrudnismal; the riddle appears in the riddles of Gestumblindi in Hervarar saga. The dwarf Litr was burnt alive. Nanna, Baldr's wife threw herself on the funeral fire to await Ragnarök when she would be reunited with her husband. Baldr's horse with all its trappings was burned on the pyre; the ship was set to sea by Hyrrokin, a giantess, who came riding on a wolf and gave the ship such a push that fire flashed from the rollers and all the earth shook.
Upon Frigg's entreaties, delivered through the messenger Hermod, Hel promised to release Baldr from the underworld if all objects alive and dead would weep for him. All did, except Þökk, who refused to mourn the slain god, thus Baldr had to remain in the underworld, not to emerge until after Ragnarök, when he and his brother Höðr would be reconciled and rule the new earth together with Thor's sons. Writing during the end of the 12th century, the Danish historian Saxo Grammaticus tells the story of Baldr in a form that professes to be historical. According to him, Balderus and Høtherus were rival suitors fo
In Norse mythology, Heimdallr is a god who possesses the resounding horn Gjallarhorn, owns the golden-maned horse Gulltoppr, is called the shining god and the whitest of the gods, has gold teeth, is the son of Nine Mothers. Heimdallr is attested as possessing foreknowledge, keen eyesight and hearing, keeps watch for invaders and the onset of Ragnarök while drinking fine mead in his dwelling Himinbjörg, located where the burning rainbow bridge Bifröst meets the sky. Heimdallr is said to be the originator of social classes among humanity and once regained Freyja's treasured possession Brísingamen while doing battle in the shape of a seal with Loki. Heimdallr and Loki are foretold to kill one another during the events of Ragnarök. Heimdallr is additionally referred to as Rig, Hallinskiði, Vindlér or Vindhlér. Heimdallr is attested in the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional material. Two lines of an otherwise lost poem about the god, survive. Due to the problematic and enigmatic nature of these attestations, scholars have produced various theories about the nature of the god, including his apparent relation to rams, that he may be a personification of or connected to the world tree Yggdrasil, potential Indo-European cognates.
The etymology of the name is obscure. Heimdallr may be connected to one of Freyja's names. Heimdallr and its variants are sometimes modernly anglicized as Heimdall. Heimdallr is attested as having three other names; the name Hallinskiði has resulted in a series of attempts at deciphering it. Gullintanni means'the one with the golden teeth'. Vindlér translates as either'the one protecting against the wind' or'wind-sea'. All three have resulted in numerous theories about the god. A lead spindle whorl bearing an Old Norse Younger Futhark inscription that mentions Heimdallr was discovered in Saltfleetby, England on September 1, 2010; the spindle whorl itself is dated from the year 1000 to 1100 AD. On the inscription, the god Heimdallr is mentioned alongside the god Odin and Þjálfi, a name of one of the god Thor's servants. Regarding the inscription reading, John Hines of Cardiff University comments that there is "quite an essay to be written over the uncertainties of translation and identification here.
In the Poetic Edda, Heimdallr is attested in six poems. Heimdallr is mentioned thrice in Völuspá. In the first stanza of the poem, the undead völva reciting the poem calls out for listeners to be silent and refers to Heimdallr: This stanza has led to various scholarly interpretations; the "holy races" have been considered variously as the gods. The notion of humanity as "Heimdallr's sons" is otherwise unattested and has resulted in various interpretations; some scholars have pointed to the prose introduction to the poem Rígsþula, where Heimdallr is said to have once gone about people, slept between couples, so doled out classes among them. In Völuspá, the völva foresees the events of Ragnarök and the role in which Heimdallr and Gjallarhorn will play at its onset. Due to manuscript differences, translations of the stanza vary: Regarding this stanza, scholar Andy Orchard comments that the name Gjallarhorn may here mean "horn of the river Gjöll" as "Gjöll is the name of one of the rivers of the Underworld, whence much wisdom is held to derive", but notes that in the poem Grímnismál Heimdallr is said to drink fine mead in his heavenly home Himinbjörg.
Earlier in the same poem, the völva mentions a scenario involving the hearing or horn of the god Heimdallr: Scholar Paul Schach comments that the stanzas in this section of Völuspá are "all mysterious and obscure, as it was meant to be". Schach details that "Heimdallar hljóð has aroused much speculation. Snorri seems to have confused this word with gjallarhorn, but there is otherwise no attestation of the use of hljóð in the sense of'horn' in Icelandic. Various scholars have read this as "hearing" rather than "horn". Scholar Carolyne Larrington comments that if "hearing" rather than "horn" is understood to appear in this stanza, the stanza indicates that Heimdallr, like Odin, has left a body part in the well. Larrington says that "Odin exchanged one of his eyes for wisdom from Mimir, guardian of the well, while Heimdall seems to have forfeited his ear."In the poem Grímnismál, tortured and thirsty, tells the young Agnar of a number of mythological locations. The eighth location he mentions is Himinbjörg, where he says that Heimdallr drinks fine mead: Regarding the above stanza, Henry Adams Bellows comments that "in this stanza the two functions of Heimdall—as father of humanity and as warder of the gods—seem both to be mentioned, but the second line in the manuscripts is in bad shape, in the editions it is more or less conjecture".
In the poem Lokasenna, Loki flyts with various gods. At one point during the exchanges, the god
Mímir or Mimir is a figure in Norse mythology, renowned for his knowledge and wisdom, beheaded during the Æsir-Vanir War. Afterward, the god Odin carries around Mímir's head and it recites secret knowledge and counsel to him. Mímir is attested in the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources, the Prose Edda, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson of Iceland, in euhemerized form as one of the Æsir in Heimskringla written by Snorri Sturluson in the 13th century. Mímir's name appears in the names of the well Mímisbrunnr, the tree Mímameiðr, the wood Hoddmímis holt. Scholars have proposed that Bestla may be Mímir's sister, therefore Mímir Odin's uncle. Mímir is mentioned in Sigrdrífumál. In Völuspá, Mímir is mentioned in two stanzas. Stanza 28 references Odin's sacrifice of his eye to Mímir's Well, states that Mímir drinks mead every morning "from the Father of the Slain's wager." Stanza 46 describes that, in reference to Ragnarök, the "sons" of Mím are at play while "fate burns", that the god Heimdallr blows the Gjallarhorn, that Mímir's severed head gives counsel to Odin.
The single mention in stanza 14 of Sigrdrífumál is a reference to Mímir's speaking, decollated head. Stanzas 20 and 24 of the poem Fjölsvinnsmál refer to Yggdrasil as Mímameiðr. In chapter 15 of the Prose Edda book Gylfaginning, as owner of his namesake well, Mímir himself drinks from it and gains great knowledge. To drink from the well, he uses the Gjallarhorn, a drinking horn which shares its name with the sounding horn used by Heimdallr intended to announce the onset of Ragnarök; the section further relates that the well is located beneath one of the three roots of Yggdrasil, in the realm of the frost jötnar. Chapter 51 relates that, with the onset of Ragnarök, "Heimdall stands up and blows the Gjallarhorn with all his strength, he wakens all the gods who hold an assembly. Odin now rides to Mimir's Well, seeking council for both his followers; the ash Yggdrasil shakes, nothing, whether in heaven or on earth, is without fear."In the Prose Edda book Skáldskaparmál, Mímir's name appears in various kennings.
These kennings include "Mím's friend" in three places, "mischief-Mímir", among a list of names for jötunn. Mímir is mentioned in chapters 7 of the saga Ynglinga Saga, as collected in Heimskringla. In chapter 4, Snorri presents a euhemerized account of the Æsir-Vanir War. Snorri states that the two sides tired of the war and both agree to meet to establish a truce; the two sides exchanged hostages. Vanaheimr are described as having sent to Asgard their best men: Njörðr—described as wealthy—and his son Freyr in exchange for Asaland's Hœnir—described here as large and thought of by the people of Vanaheimr well suited to be a chieftain. Additionally, the Æsir send Mímir—described as a man of great understanding—in exchange for Kvasir, who Snorri describes as the wisest man of Vanaheimr. Snorri continues that, upon arrival in Vanaheimr, Hœnir was made chief and Mímir gave him good counsel. However, when Hœnir was at meetings and at the Thing without Mímir by his side, he would always answer the same way: "Let others decide."
Subsequently, the Vanir suspected they had been cheated in the exchange by the Æsir, so they seized Mimir and beheaded him and sent the head to Asgard. Odin took the head of Mímir, embalmed it with herbs so that it would not rot, spoke charms over it, which gave it the power to speak to him and reveal to him secrets; the head of Mímir is again mentioned in chapter 7 in connection with Odin, where Odin is described as keeping Mímir's head with him and that it divulged information from other worlds. On the basis of Hávamál 140 – where Odin learns nine magic songs from the unnamed brother of his mother Bestla – some scholars have theorized that Bestla's brother may in fact be Mímir, Odin's maternal uncle; this means that Mimir's father would be Bölþorn. In the theories of Viktor Rydberg, Mímir's wife is Sinmara, named in the poem Fjölsvinnsmal. According to Rydberg, the byname Sinmara refers to "Mímir-Niðhad"'s "queen ordering Völund's hamstrings to be cut". Mimir, a 1980 bronze and concrete sculpture in Portland, Oregon Nine Herbs Charm, an Anglo-Saxon charm featuring Woden and herbs.
In Norse religion, Asgard is one of the Nine Worlds and home to the Æsir tribe of gods. It is surrounded by an incomplete wall attributed to a Hrimthurs riding the stallion Svaðilfari, according to Gylfaginning. Odin and his wife, are the rulers of Asgard. Asgard is home to many named locations; the primary sources regarding Asgard come from the Prose Edda, written in the 13th century by Icelandic historian Snorri Sturluson, the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from a basis of much older Skaldic poetry. Völuspá, the first poem of the work, mentions many of the features and characters of Asgard portrayed by Snorri, such as Yggdrasil and Iðavöllr. Asgard is composed of 12 realms including Valhalla, Breidablik that are ruled by Odin and Baldr respectively; the Prose Edda presents two views regarding Asgard. In the Prologue Snorri offers a euhemerized and Christian-influenced interpretation of the myths and tales of his forefathers. Asgard, he conjectures, is the home of the Æsir in As-ia, making a folk etymological connection between the three "As-".
Snorri's interpretation of the 13th century foreshadows 20th-century views of Indo-European migration from the east. Snorri further writes that Asgard is a land more fertile than any other, blessed with a great abundance of gold and jewels. Correspondingly, the Æsir excelled beyond all other people in strength and talent. Snorri proposes the location of Asgard as the center of the earth. About it were 12 chiefs. One of them, Múnón, married Priam's daughter, Tróán, had by her a son, Trór, pronounced Thor in Old Norse; the latter was raised in Thrace. At age 12 he was whiter than ivory, had hair lighter than gold, could lift 10 bear skins at once, he explored wide. His father, led a migration to the northern lands, where they took wives and had many children, populating the entire north with Aesir. One of the sons of Odin was founder of the Ynglingar, an early royal family of Sweden; these accounts were written 200 years after the Christianization of Iceland. In Gylfaginning, Snorri presents the mythological version, taken no doubt from his sources.
Icelanders were still being converted at that time. He could not present the myths as part of any current belief. Instead he resorts to a debunking device: Gylfi, king of Sweden before the Æsir, travels to Asgard and finds there a large hall in Section 2. Within are three officials, whom Gylfi in the guise of Gangleri is allowed to question about the Asgard and the Æsir. A revelation of the ancient myths follows, but at the end the palace and the people disappear in a clap of thunder and Gylfi finds himself alone on the plain, having been deluded. In Gylfi's delusion, ancient Asgard was ruled by the senior god, the all-father, who had twelve names, he was the creator of heaven and earth. During a complex creation myth in which the cosmic cow Audhumbla licked Búri free from the ice, the sons of Buri's son, who were Odin, Vili and Vé, constructed the universe and put Midgard in it as a residence for the first human couple and Embla, whom they created from driftwood trees in Section 9; the sons of Bor constructed Asgard as a home for the Æsir, who were divinities.
Odin is identified as the all-father. Asgard is conceived as being on the earth. A rainbow bridge, Bifröst, connects it to heaven. In Asgard is a temple for the 12 gods and another for the 12 goddesses, Vingólf; the plain of Idavoll is the centre of Asgard. The gods hold court there every day at the Well of Urd, beneath an ash tree, debating the fates of men and gods; the more immediate destinies of men are assigned by the Norns. It states Thor is a god as well. Long descriptions of the gods follow. Among the more memorable details are the Valkyries, the battle maidens whom Odin sends to allot death or victory to soldiers. Section 37 names 13 states that the source as the Poetic Edda poem Grímnismál. Odin's residence is Valhalla, to which he takes those slain in the Einherjar. Snorri quips: "There is a huge crowd there, there will be many more still....". They amuse themselves every day by fighting each other and going to drink in the big hall. Toward the end of the chapter Snorri becomes prophetic, describing Ragnarök, the twilight of the gods.
It will begin with no summers in between. Wars will follow earthquakes and tidal waves; the sky out will ride the sons of Muspell intent on universal destruction. They will try to enter heaven but Bifröst will break. Heimdall will blow his mighty horn Gjöll and the Æsir and Einherjar will ride out to battle. Most of the Æsir will Asgard be destroyed. Snorri quotes his own source saying: "The sun will go black, earth sink in the sea, heaven be stripped of its bright stars. Afterwards, the earth rises again from the sea, is fairer than before, where Asgard used to be a remnant of the Æsir gather, some coming up from Hel, talk and play chess all day with the golden chessmen of the ancient Æsir, which they find in the grass; the 10th century Skald Þorbjörn dísarskáld is quoted in Skáldskaparmál as stating: Thor has defended Asgard and Ygg's people with strength. B
Hyndluljóð or Lay of Hyndla is an Old Norse poem considered a part of the Poetic Edda. It is preserved in its entirety only in Flateyjarbók but some stanzas are quoted in the Prose Edda where they are said to come from Völuspá hin skamma. In the poem, the goddess Freyja meets the völva Hyndla and they ride together towards Valhalla. Freyja rides on her boar Hildisvíni and Hyndla on a wolf, their mission is to find out the pedigree of Óttarr so that he can touch his inheritance, the lay consists of Hyndla reciting a number of names from Óttarr's ancestry. The poem may be a twelfth-century work, through Bellows believed the material of which the poem was compounded must have been older. Hyndluljoth Translation and commentary by Henry Adams Bellows Hyndluljóð Translation by W. H. Auden and P. B. Taylor Hyndluljóð Sophus Bugge's edition of the manuscript text Hyndluljóð Guðni Jónsson's edition with normalized spelling
In Germanic mythology, Odin is a revered Germanic god. In Norse mythology, from which stems most surviving information about the god, Odin is associated with wisdom, death, the gallows, war, victory, poetry and the runic alphabet, is the husband of the goddess Frigg. In wider Germanic mythology and paganism, the god was known in Old English as Wōden, in Old Saxon as Wōdan, in Old High German as Wuotan or Wōtan, all stemming from the reconstructed Proto-Germanic theonym *wōđanaz. Odin is a prominently mentioned god throughout the recorded history of the Germanic peoples, from the Roman occupation of regions of Germania through the tribal expansions of the Migration Period and the Viking Age. In the modern period, Odin continued to be acknowledged in the rural folklore of Germanic Europe. References to Odin appear in place names throughout regions inhabited by the ancient Germanic peoples, the day of the week Wednesday bears his name in many Germanic languages, including English. In Old English texts, Odin holds a particular place as a euhemerized ancestral figure among royalty, he is referred to as a founding figure among various other Germanic peoples, such as the Langobards.
Forms of his name appear throughout the Germanic record, though narratives regarding Odin are found in Old Norse works recorded in Iceland around the 13th century. These texts make up the bulk of modern understanding of Norse mythology. In Old Norse texts, Odin is depicted as one-eyed and long-bearded wielding a spear named Gungnir, wearing a cloak and a broad hat, he is accompanied by his animal companions and familiars—the wolves Geri and Freki and the ravens Huginn and Muninn, who bring him information from all over Midgard—and rides the flying, eight-legged steed Sleipnir across the sky and into the underworld. Odin is the son of Bestla and Borr and has two brothers, Vili and Vé. Odin is attested as having many sons, most famously the gods Thor and Baldr, is known by hundreds of names. In these texts, he seeks greater knowledge, at times in disguise, makes wagers with his wife Frigg over the outcome of exploits, takes part in both the creation of the world by way of slaying the primordial being Ymir and giving the gift of life to the first two humans Ask and Embla.
Odin has a particular association with Yule, mankind's knowledge of both the runes and poetry is attributed to him, giving Odin aspects of the culture hero. In Old Norse texts, female beings associated with the battlefield—the valkyries—are associated with the god and Odin oversees Valhalla, where he receives half of those who die in battle, the einherjar; the other half are chosen by the goddess Freyja for Fólkvangr. Odin consults the disembodied, herb-embalmed head of the wise being Mímir for advice, during the foretold events of Ragnarök, Odin is told to lead the einherjar into battle before being consumed by the monstrous wolf Fenrir. In folklore, Odin appears as a leader of the Wild Hunt, a ghostly procession of the dead through the winter sky, he is associated with charms and other forms of magic in Old English and Old Norse texts. Odin is a frequent subject of study in Germanic studies, numerous theories have been put forward regarding his development; some of these focus on Odin's particular relation to other figures.
Other approaches focus on Odin's place in the historical record, a frequent question being whether the figure of Odin derives from Proto-Indo-European religion, or whether he developed in Germanic society. In the modern period, Odin has inspired numerous works of poetry and other forms of media, he is venerated in most forms of the new religious movement Heathenry, together with other gods venerated by the ancient Germanic peoples. The Old Norse theonym Óðinn and its cognates, including Old English Wōden, Old Saxon Wōden, Old High German Wuotan, derive from the reconstructed Proto-Germanic theonym *wōđanaz; the masculine noun *wōđanaz developed from the Proto-Germanic adjective *wōđaz, related to Latin vātēs and Old Irish fáith, both meaning'seer, prophet'. Adjectives stemming from *wōđaz include Gothic woþs'possessed', Old Norse óðr,'mad, furious', Old English wōd'mad'; the adjective *wōđaz was further substantivised, leading to Old Norse óðr'mind, soul, sense', Old English ellen-wōd'zeal', Middle Dutch woet'madness', Old High German wuot'thrill, violent agitation'.
Additionally the Old Norse noun æði'rage, fury' and Old High German wuotī'madness' derive from the feminine noun *wōđīn, from *wōđaz. The weak verb *wōđjanan derived from *wōđaz, gave rise to Old Norse æða'to rage', Old English wēdan'to be mad, furious', Old Saxon wōdian'to rage', Old High German wuoten'to be insane, to rage'. Over 170 names are recorded for Odin; these names are variously descriptive of attributes of the god, refer to myths involving him, or refer to religious practices associated with the god. This multitude of names makes Odin the god with the most names known among the Germanic peoples; the modern English weekday name Wednesday derives from Old English wōdnesdæg. Cognate terms are found in other Germanic languages, such as Middle Low German wōdensdach, Old Norse Óðinsdagr (Danish, Nor