3989 Odin

This minor planet is named after the chief god of Norse mythology. He is said to be the ruler of many things: battle, wisdom, poetry, runes, and more. He defeated the giant Ymir whose body became the world, and created the first humans, [Ask and Embla. He has many sons, including Thor and Baldr. He lived with the other Æsir in Asgard, led the Valkyries, and oversaw the afterlife realm of Valhalla.

Many of the stories featuring him involve the trials and quests he endures in order to gain wisdom and knowledge. For example, he famously sacrificed one of his eyes for greater wisdom. Two such stories feature prominently: in one myth, he stole the Mead of Poetry from the jotunn Suttungr, and went on to pass the knowledge that it conferred onto humanity. In his most prominent myth, he strung himself up on the world tree Yggdrasil, as a sacrifice of himself to himself, and gained the knowledge of magic and runes.

The symbol of this minor planet is the futhark rune ós, with the vertical stem forming a downward arrow. This symbol was carefully chosen, and is composed of two references to Odin. When Christianity came to the old Germanic people, the Norse gods became heathen idols. But the ós rune was a way of referring to the old gods indirectly, as it was cognate with the Norse word As, meaning one of the Æsir, particularly the heathen god Odin as opposed to the Christian god. Thus, this rune is a representation of not only the runic magicks that Odin was a master of, but also a symbol of the god's survival into the modern day. The downward arrow represents the spear Gungnir that Odin wielded. It is said to be the Dwarf-forged weapon with which he would do battle against Fenrir at the beginning of Ragnarök, the end of the World in Norse mythology.

Of course, this symbol only draws on two of the many extant symbols for Odin. See also his raven familiars Huginn and Muninn, the single eye, the staff and cloak, and the valknut.

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