Wyrd Designs – Musings on Odin’s Ravens and Wolves

Among the many descriptions of Odin, we see that he is described as having a pair of ravens, and a pair of wolves.

Thanks to some nature specials I watched recently when I couldn’t sleep, I discovered that ravens tend to mate for life. While pre-adult ravens may live and work together in groups with other ravens, when they hit adult status about 4 years into their 40 year or so life-span they then become extremely territorial. The only time adult ravens will be seen together (peaceably) out in nature (be it the woodlands or the urban jungle) is when they are a mated pair.

This makes me wonder if Odin’s ravens Hugin (Thought) and Munin (memory) may in fact be a mated pair.

Another interesting tidbit, is that while wolves may exist in packs, they (like ravens) also tend to mate for life. And the only animal besides a fellow pack-mate that they would share their food with is a raven. Could Odin’s wolves, Geri and Freki, also be a mated pair? Or are they just packmates?

These are some of the musigns that come upon me when after 4 hours sleep I am awaken by a hail storm and unable to go back to sleep.  While most of this is speculation, it does prove to my mind one point: that these ancient peoples were far more aware of the natural order of the world and observations of those items, than we are today.

Pallanoph's Thought & Memory

Pallanoph's Thought & Memory

So, what do you think about these possibilities? Are Odin’s ravens and wolves, mated pairs or not? And if so, which is the male and female in the pair? Please share your thoughts below!

  • Morgan

    I’m not sure about the wolves, but I can see the logic of the ravens. It would make sense to me that Huginn and Muninn would be a mated pair, in the same way that “thought” and “memory” themselves could be seen as such. They are connected in a much deeper way than just two seperate birds, or two seperate concepts.  

  • Morgan

    I’m not sure about the wolves, but I can see the logic of the ravens. It would make sense to me that Huginn and Muninn would be a mated pair, in the same way that “thought” and “memory” themselves could be seen as such. They are connected in a much deeper way than just two seperate birds, or two seperate concepts.  

  • Lifencompass

    Though these are things I know about these beautiful animals, and I know some things about Odin, I hadn’t drawn connecting lines between the two. Thank you for that, it’s an expansive thought.

  • http://lifencompass.com Scott @ Lifencompass

    Though these are things I know about these beautiful animals, and I know some things about Odin, I hadn’t drawn connecting lines between the two. Thank you for that, it’s an expansive thought.

  • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

     While this isn’t an answer to the question, I wonder:  what are the grammatical genders of the nouns hugin and munin?  That might help…but it might not.

    I seem to recall that Geri and Freki are both understood to be male, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything either (even if I am recalling this correctly; what little scholarship I’ve read on them has certainly not ever had any comment on their gender/s)…Finn mac Cumhaill’s hounds Bran and Sceólang are sometimes said to be two dogs, sometimes two bitches, and sometimes a dog and a bitch, and there are various reasons why each one makes sense.  But anyway…

  • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

     While this isn’t an answer to the question, I wonder:  what are the grammatical genders of the nouns hugin and munin?  That might help…but it might not.

    I seem to recall that Geri and Freki are both understood to be male, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything either (even if I am recalling this correctly; what little scholarship I’ve read on them has certainly not ever had any comment on their gender/s)…Finn mac Cumhaill’s hounds Bran and Sceólang are sometimes said to be two dogs, sometimes two bitches, and sometimes a dog and a bitch, and there are various reasons why each one makes sense.  But anyway…

  • Rua Lupa

    We all know that the females have the memories, otherwise we wouldn’t bring up things that happened 5 years ago. So Munin is a female, while Hugin is left to think of the best way our of this situation with Munin ^_^

    The wolves I picture more as pack mates, as the alpha pairs are the head of the pack, which would of left Odin in a position below them. Naturally Odin would be the alpha and the two wolves his pack mates.

  • Rua Lupa

    We all know that the females have the memories, otherwise we wouldn’t bring up things that happened 5 years ago. So Munin is a female, while Hugin is left to think of the best way our of this situation with Munin ^_^

    The wolves I picture more as pack mates, as the alpha pairs are the head of the pack, which would of left Odin in a position below them. Naturally Odin would be the alpha and the two wolves his pack mates.

  • Jpcroyle

    I think that they are both mated pairs.  And that the Ravens and Wolves also share a bond in that thought (Hugin) leads to action (Freki-ravenous), and memory (Munin) can consume ones mind (Geri-greedy)…

  • Jpcroyle

    I think that they are both mated pairs.  And that the Ravens and Wolves also share a bond in that thought (Hugin) leads to action (Freki-ravenous), and memory (Munin) can consume ones mind (Geri-greedy)…


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X