Havi, also known as Odin, is the chief deity in Norse mythology. He is part of the Aesir pantheon. This Pantheon is made up of Norse deities who live in Asgard. Havi rules over death, and war, yet he is also related to wisdom and witchcraft. In folk legends, he’s depicted as an old man, with an eye patch, and plain clothes. However, he can take many forms. One could describe Havi as an explorer, he enjoys traveling and unveiling mysteries. Some people would call him the main deity in Norse culture. He’s very humble and curious.
In Valhalla, when people have died, he takes those who practiced Norse witchcraft. However, he shares this domain with Freyja. Havi acknowledged Freyja’s work and decided to share the fallen ones. He would take the ones who died fighting in Aesir's name. On the other hand, Freyja takes to the Folkvangr the ones who fight on Vaenir’s behalf, and the lovers. Anyhow, both armies would fight together in Ragnarok in their due time. According to Anglo-Saxon beliefs, Havi would die fighting against Fenrir during Ragnarok. Freyja is the one who would survive.
Deities related to Havi
One of their many other names is Odin, which means something like “the furious” or “ecstasy”. Vikings experienced the energies held in his name as the will to live. That familiarity Vikings felt is why they also called him Allfather. And it’s true, he also has a fraternal way to treat the ones he works with.
As mentioned before, Freyja shares the death domain with Havi. However, it’s not the only thing they have in common. Freyja is a völva. A völva is someone who practices the art of Seidr. Seidr is the practice to discern the course of fate, and weave changes into it. Actually, she’s the one who taught him about magic and Seidr. These two became close enough to consider themselves as equals.
Freyr, god of health, wealth, fertility and peace is Freyja’s brother and as they complement each other (as siblings often do). People worship the siblings as a pair. Freyr is called “hated by none” in Lokasenna (an Old Norse poem, part of the Poetic Edda). Freyr and Odin’s relationship is not much elaborated. Yet Freyr, even as a Vanir deity, once had the chance to sit on Odin’s throne in Asgard.
Frigg is the goddess married to Havi. She’s also a völva, and some historians believe she’s a counterpart of Freyja. She rules over marriage, fertility and divination. It’s known that Havi, as a wisdom deity, appreciates Frigg’s advice and admires her intelligence. She has even outwitted her husband many times.
Thor is Havi’s eldest son, and the most known deity in the Norse pantheon. He’s the god of thunder, war and fertility. Thor ruled over justice and law due to his predictable and trustworthy behavior. His personality contrasts with Odin’s puzzling and uncertaining attitude. Their relationship is uneasy, as Thor is more terrestrial and Odin tends to act in the shadows. Yet, their bond holds a strong sense of fraternity and works as an archetypal father-son relationship.
Baldr and Hodr
Baldr and Hodr are Havi and Frigg’s children. Baldr is known for his beauty and cheerfulness. Among some interpretations of his names are bold, fire and lord. Meanwhile Hodr is the blind god of darkness. They’re both dead for different reasons. Baldr remains in Hela’s domains (death domains) as a result of Loki’s mischievous actions. Hodr got killed by Váli, his half-brother. Besides being Havi’s children, they don’t have an important role in Havi’s life. Yet, they’re both important in Norse mythology as they’ll help to create the new world after Ragnarok.
Loki, the deity who rules over trickery, is not actually Havi’s child. Loki’s not precisely a deity itself. In fact they’re the child of Farbauti, a giant, and Laufei, which could be considered a deity (or something else). In some legends, Havi and Loki are blood brothers, yet some people say that Allfather adopted them as a child. Even if Loki is considered to cause many troubles, Havi appreciates them.
It’s interesting to remark that deities in Norse cultures are not considered to be evil nor good. They rule over a variety of life aspects, regardless of how humans may interpret those events.
Symbols related to Havi
The most common symbol related to him is Valknut (the Valkyrie knot). The Valknut is three triangles entangled, sometimes encircled in a rune wheel. This triad depicts death, fate and destiny, as well as the divine power to bind and unbind. Vikings believed that whoever carried the Valknut would become Odin’s devotee. Yet, the price is that their life would belong to him and he could claim it whenever Havi needs them.
Animals Representing Odin
In many of Havi's pictures we can recognize some animals that are important in Norse folk. Sleipnir, who happens to be Loki’s child, is an eight-legged horse Havi usually rides. Sleipnir had the power to travel between the Nine Worlds held in the Yggdrasil. Many cultures associate horses with high status. It denotes Havi’s position among Norse deities. It also represents travel and adventure. Then, we have the wolves Geri and Freki, which are Havi’s companions. Again, wolves are depicted as an ambiguous sign in Norse mythology. Fenrir, which is another wolf, is related to the start of Ragnarok and would cause Havi’s death. Nevertheless, they’re also depicted as great hunting companions. Finally we have Huginn and Muninn, the well-known ravens. They travel around the Nine Worlds to pick information from Havi. Huginn means “thought”, whereas Muninn’s name translates as “memory”.
Each creature represents an important part of Havi’s life. Whether it is his curious mind, his sense of adventure, or even his own death. The Norse celebrated death as part of life. Havi's life is understood as a sacrifice for new life to come up after Ragnarok from a new divine order.
Havi’s the one we should thank for us having access to runes. His wish for knowledge led him to make a self-sacrifice. He bore pain for nine days and nine nights. In return, he received the runes, which are archetypes mostly used in divination rituals. However, they have many uses. You can learn about Algiz, one of the most common runes in our previous article. Havi's bond to runes is so strong that some modern dispositions have a rune to honor him. As runes come from pain and sacrifice they’re to be treated with respect.
In my experience, Havi is not the one to call for answers, but the one you want closer to dig into the unknown. He would always push you further so you can discover something you didn’t even know you wanted. However, Havi is severe and if he avoids giving you an answer, it’s better to stop demanding. You should gratefully take whichever information he offers you.
Havi’s call is never subtle. You might get some hints if he’s interested in working with you. However, once you’ve connected with him, there’s no such thing as trivial signs. Havi is usually attracted to a curious mind, and people who are interested in knowledge. It won’t be like working with any other deity in which you’d get every other answer. It’s most likely that you won’t get any at all. He would guide you to get the ones you need, and won’t tell you what you want to hear.
Do you think Havi is trying to reach out to you? Have you ever worked with any Norse deity? Tell us your experience in the comments!