Geri And Freki: Two Wolves ‘Greedy’ And ‘Ravenous’ Were Loyal Companions Of Odin In Norse Beliefs
In Norse mythology, we often encounter Odin who is sitting on his high seat, Hlidskjalf that allows him to see into all realms.
At his feet, Odin had two loyal wolves Geri (‘greedy’) and Freki (‘ravenous’) that keep him company, guarding the border against the giants, who were sworn enemies of men and of the Aesir gods.
The wolves Geri and Freki attended Odin at his high throne and also at Valhalla, the residence of Odin, which was the most beautiful of all the Asgard’s palaces and dwellings of the gods.
While one of the wolves slept, the other was awake and watched; therefore, it was impossible to surprise their master and the most powerful of the Aesir.
Geri and Freki were the god’s personal guardians.
Odin also owns Sleipnir (or Sleipner), an amazing, eight-legged horse of supernatural strength that could Odin through the sky, over lands and seas. His other two companions were the two ravens - Huginn (‘thought’) and Muninn (‘memory’).
Perched one on each of the god’s shoulders, these two amazing magic birds travel long distances across the universe every morning and gather all important events, news and even gossips. Then they return at supper to report all that they had seen and heard.
Geri And Freki Attested In Snorri’s ‘Prose Edda’
From the 13th century Prose Edda book, “Gylfaginning” we learn that Odin fed his wolves, Geri and Freki, with hunks of the best meat. He did not need to eat and wine alone was enough for his own needs.
In Norse mythology, wolves were both friends and enemies of the gods. As mentioned earlier, the two wolves were companions of Odin, but it does not mean they were friends of others in Asgard, the home of the gods.
The god Odin enthroned and flanked by the wolves Geri and Freki and the ravens Huginn and Muninn as illustrated (1882) by Carl Emil Doepler. Credit: Public Domain
Geri and Freki wandered throughout the great hall, walking among the souls of human warriors. Humans in battle, therefore, considered Geri and Freki to be signs of Odin’s presence. Generally, a gray wolf seen on the battlefield was a positive sign to warriors, because they believed the animal would guide their spirits all the way to Valhalla if they died in the battle.
In Norse mythology, the wolves of Odin were not only his ‘home pets’, they were very brave and loyal and joined his divine master in battles.
Ancient Norse people believed the wolves were creatures who assisted the Valkyries transporting the fallen warriors to Valhalla and to the afterlife hall of the slain.
Written by – A. Sutherland - AncientPages.com Senior Staff Writer
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19:26 Mar 04 2023
What an enjoyable read