Who are Huginn and Muninn in Norse Mythology?

20/08/2021

     Huginn and Muninn, are, in Norse Mythology, the Ravens of the God Odin. Both have the meaning of Thought and Memory! They are the ones who bring information to God. Learn more about these crows below.

Huginn and Muninn in Norse Mythology:

     In Norse Mythology, Huginn (thought) and Muninn (memory or mind) are two ravens that fly all over the world of Midgard and bring information to the god Odin. Hugin and Munin are attested in Edda Poetics, compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources: the Edda Prose and Heimskringla.

     In the Poetic Edda, Odin in disguise expresses that he fears they will not return from their daily flights. The Edda in Prose explains that Odin is known as the raven god due to his association with Huginn and Muninn. The two crows are depicted as perched on Odin's shoulders. Heimskringla details that Odin gave Hugin and Muninn the ability to speak.

     Examples of artifacts that might represent Odin with one of the ravens include golden bracteates from the migration period, Vendel-era helmet plates, a pair of identical bird-shaped brooches from the Germanic Iron Age, Viking Age objects depicting a mustached man wearing a helmet and a part of Thorwald's cross from the 10th or 11th century. The role of Hugin and Munin as messengers of Odin has been linked to practical shamanic and general symbolism...

Poetic Edda:

     In the Poetic Edda poem Grímnismál, the god Odin (disguised as Grímnir) provides the young Agnarr with information about Odin's companions. He tells the prince about the wolves of Odin, Geri and Freki and, in the next stanza of the poem, states that Hugin and Munin fly daily all over the world, Midgard. Grimnir says he fears Huginn won't come back, even more fears for Muninn:

Hugin and Munin fly every day over the spacious land.

I fear for Hugin he won't come back, even more anxious am I for Munin.


Archeology:

     The golden bracteates of the migration period (5th and 6th centuries AD) (types A, B and C) show a representation of a human figure above a horse, holding a spear and flanked by one or more often two birds. The presence of birds led to the iconographic identification of the human figure as the god Odin, flanked by Huginn and Muninn. Like Snorri's Prose Edda description of crows, a bird is sometimes depicted in the ear of a human or horse.

     Bracteates have been found in Denmark, Sweden, Norway and, to a lesser extent, England and areas south of Denmark. Austrian Germanist Rudolf Simeka claims that these bracteates may represent Odin and his crows healing a horse and may indicate that the birds originally were not simply his battlefield companions but also "Odin's helpers in his veterinary role."

     Vendel era (6th or 7th century) helmet plates found in a tomb in Sweden show a figure in a helmet holding a spear and shield as he rode, flanked by two birds. The dish was interpreted as Odin accompanied by two birds: his crows.

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