ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Norse Mythology: The Eighteen Charms Known by Odin

Updated on February 10, 2020
Odin, der Göttervater, Wilhelm Wägner, 1882.
Odin, der Göttervater, Wilhelm Wägner, 1882. | Source

In Norse myth and legend, an almost obsessive pursuit of knowledge and wisdom is one of the defining characteristics of Odin, the ruler of the group of gods known as the Aesir. It was this obsession, after all, that drove Odin to steal the mead of poetry from the giant, Suttung—an act of blatant theft he was able to commit by seducing Suttung's own daughter, Gunnlod. It was also this same obsession that led Odin to pierce his own side with a spear and hang himself from the branches of the world tree, Yggdrasil, where he hung for nine days and nine nights in an act of ritual sacrifice in which Odin made an offering of himself, to himself.

It was this act of self-sacrifice that allowed Odin to learn the secrets of the runes—though, his pursuit of knowledge also led Odin to learn even greater magic from other sources. As outlined in Hávamál, one of the poems to be found in the The Poetic Edda, Odin also learned nine powerful songs from his maternal uncle, the unnamed son of his grandfather, Bolthor. Odin's pursuits had also led him to acquire knowledge of eighteen charms, or powerful spells, not known by any other man or women.

  • The first is a rather abstract charm simply called "help" which provides aid in any moment of strife or grief. While the exact nature of that aid is not elaborated on, it seems safe to assume that this charm is one which can be used to calm one's mind in moments of emotional turmoil.

  • Odin's second charm is a good counterpart to the first, being one that can be used to heal physical injuries, and provide relief from physical pain.

  • The third is a charm of protection which, if called upon, will allow Odin to blunt the blades of his enemies, so that their weapons become incapable of inflicting serious harm.

  • The fourth is a charm that allows Odin to escape from any attempt to bind him.

  • The fifth charm is one that would allow Odin to stop, or alter, the course of any arrow that he can observe in flight.

  • The sixth is another charm of protection—one that allows Odin to turn any spell, or curse, back against the one who cast it.

  • Seventh is a charm that allows Odin to put out any fire, no matter how large, with a simple chant.

  • The eighth seems to be a variation of the first—though, this one is specifically concerned with soothing feelings of anger and hatred.

  • Ninth is a charm that allows Odin to calm the wind on a stormy sea.

  • The tenth charm is one that is effective against witches and, perhaps, any other supernatural being with an ability to change shape. By uttering the chant, Odin can curse any he may see with an inability to find their way back to their true form, or their true home.

  • Odin's eleventh charm is a blessing given the soldiers about to enter battle, ensuring that they will emerge victorious and unharmed.

  • Twelfth is a charm that allows Odin to raise the dead, allowing him to speak with the recently deceased.

  • The thirteenth charm is another blessing, similar to the eleventh. If Odin were to sprinkle water on the head of a child, that child would be guaranteed to never fall in battle.

  • Odin's fourteenth charm is a gift of knowledge, allowing Odin to know the name of anyone he might meet.

  • The fifteenth is a chant that Odin first heard from the dwarf, Thjodrerir—one that granted strength to the gods, skill to the elves, and wisdom to Odin, himself.

  • Sixteenth is a charm that allows Odin to rouse feelings of love and desire in any woman that attracts his interest.

  • The seventeenth is a counterpart to the sixteenth, ensuring that a woman's love for Odin will never waver, or fade.

  • Finally, the eighteenth charm is something of a mystery—a secret which Odin keeps only for himself.

While Hávamál is a poem written as though narrated by Odin, himself, there still seems to be some variation in the way in which these charms are described, due to the different translations of The Poetic Edda currently available. The seventh charm, for example, can be described as granting Odin the ability to redirect any arrow—but, it has also been interpreted as the slightly more mundane, though still impressive, ability to catch any arrow with his own hands. Also, the tenth charm can be described as useful particularly against witches, though it has also been described as a useful means of banishing ghosts.

© 2019 Dallas Matier


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)