I painted this image of the Norse God Odhin during Yule, based on a vision I’d had over a year ago. It’s a companion to my other painting of Ingvi-Freyr as the Yule King, and is the man the youth became.
In Heathenry / Asatru, Odhin is both a god of joy and sacrifice. He is the gift-giver and wish-bringer of the Yule season, but also a god of war, ecstasy, knowledge, death, fatherhood, poetry, storytelling and magic.
While his traditional horse, Sleipnir (“Slipper”), can ride through both the lands of the living and the dead, it’s Freyr’s horse, Bloody Hooves, who seemed far more appropriate to be striding across his bronze breastplate.
The tree behind him is the ash, Yggdrasil (“Odhin’s Horse”)– as the World Tree of Norse myth, from which Odhin hung nine days pierced by a spear (presumedly his own lance, Gungnir “The Swaying One”) in search of knowledge, thus winning the runes, keys to both written language and magic. His role as the leader of The Wild Hunt is often associated with the night time during the late fall– and thus, the full moon.
Yule is the time of the Winter Solstice– its first day, the 21st, is the shortest day of the year– and it’s a time for joyfully welcoming the returning sunlight as the days lengthen. So I painted the golden sun whirling through the blue sky on the boss of his gorget, which is Celtic styled. Golden collars were worn by chieftains and given out to their retainers and warriors in both Norse and Celtic societies (the torque may have helped you run faster in battle, which is why some baseball players wear them now; the collars themselves are obviously signs of rank).
The bronze armor and lance references the sun again (and the bronze age, which I love artifacts from).
The Celtic God Lugh Llamfada (The “Long Armed”) shares many remarkably similar traits and myths with Odin. He’s a solar God, also armed with a sacred spear– a young king, bard, warrior and skilled craftsman in many fields.
The holly crown is simply for Yule.
You can find the story of what inspired this painting on my blog at PaganSquare, One-Eyed Cat, here.