Odin Allfather: What Does "Allfather" Mean?

Posted by Ms Elly on

Odin Allfather: What Does "Allfather" Mean?

Norse mythology had it that Odin was called the Allfather. The name is cool as it demonstrated the power of the High One. But have you ever doubted what does "Allfather" mean exactly. This blog post is to explain the meaning of Odin's name "Allfather". Some points in this piece of writing are based on the personal viewpoints of the writer. 

Short answer: Allfather means "father of all". 

Long answer: 

Father of gods

Odin fathered many famous gods. Seemingly, nearly all the Aesir gods were Odin's children. Thor was believed to be the first son of Odin. Thor was the son of Odin and Jord the giantess of earth. The physical strength of Thor was no joke and I bet everyone knows how powerful Thor was. Heimdall the guardsman of Asgard was the son of Odin. Heimdall was not only wise but he had sharp eyes and acute hearing skills. He could observe people coming to Asgard from all directions and he could also hear the sound of grass growing up from the world below. 

Baldur was another son of Odin and Frigg the only Queen of Asgard. Baldur was the Shining God who was loved by all creatures in the world. One more famous son of Odin was Vidar. Although god Vidar was the God of Silence and he remained obscure through the myth, he was the only one who sought revenge for the death of Odin. Vidar stepped one foot in the mouth of Fenrir and tore the jaws of Fenrir apart. 

Vidar God of Revenge in norse mythology and Fenrir the Wolf

Vidar God of Revenge in Norse mythology vs Fenrir the Wolf 

Nearly all important gods in Asgard were the sons of Odin. 

Father of humanity

Odin was the creator of humanity and the world as well. Right from the beginning of the cosmos, Odin and his brothers planned to slay Ymir the first giant in the cosmos. After killing the giant, they used every body part of Ymir to create the world. Blood was for the ocean, teeth and bones for the mountain, brain for the clouds, hair for the forest, etc. And there came the world. But it seemed lifeless as there were no one there.

Ymir the giant was killed and Odin and brothers used his corpse to fashion the world

Ymir the giant was killed and Odin and brothers used his corpse to fashion the world 

One day, Odin and the brothers were walking along the seashore when they came across two wood logs. Picking them up, they turned the logs into two creatures resembling the gods' appearance. Odin gave them the breath of life, thought, mind, and inspiration. And there came the first two humans. 

And then, Odin became the creator of humanity and the world. 

Father of fallen warriors

Some scholars believed that "Allfather" has another way of writing, "Valfather". In Old Norse language, "val" meant "the deceased" or "the fallen". This "Val" is the "val" in "Valhalla" and "Valknut" which mean "Hall of the Fallen" and "the Knot of the Fallen" respectively. 

So defining "Allfather" as the "Valfather" is quite reasonable. Because both Valhalla and Valknut belonged to Odin. Valhalla was the bright hall of Odin where he would welcome the fallen warriors to come and feast with the gods. Valknut was the symbol of Odin's welcome to Valhalla. 

Simply saying, "Allfather" refers to the "Father of the Fallen Warriors" in Valhalla the Bright Hall of the Fallen in Asgard. 

Hail Odin the Allfather

Viking fallen warrior hailing the High One

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