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Pre-Christian Religions of the North: Sources

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Óðinn ritually hangs himself from the world tree Yggdrasill in order to obtain and gain mastery over the runes.


Hávm ch. 138


Veit eg að eg hékk vindgameiði......

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Hávm ch. 139


Við hleifi mig sældu né við ho......

[status: undefined]



Designed to exemplify human social wisdom and culminating in Óðinn recounting his own quest for knowledge, Hávamál contains four primary stanzas which detail Óðinn’s ritual hanging.


It is unclear whether or not we should suppose that Óðinn was killed during this ritual but it is clear that he travels in some way to the world of the dead and returns with the knoweldge of the runes and their individual uses.

(Contributed by Douglas Robert Dutton.)


Main text: Hávamál

Attributes: Sacrifice Hanging Knots

Named things: Óðinn

Text sections: Hávm 138 Hávm 139


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