A meeting with Huginn and Muninn, Odin's ravens

A couple of days ago I met Odin's ravens.

I was hiking in the mountains, around a small lake called Dalevatnet, when I first heard their hoarse cries. Looking up and around I saw no birds, but I knew a pair of ravens were living in the area, so I kept on walking and listening, watching my steps in the wet bogs around the lake. The autumn had turned the marches into a reddish brown; up the hillside the birches were loosing their yellow leaves.

The weather was grey and the wind cold, and I was halfway around the lake when I heard the ravens croak again, and now two birds came gliding over the mountan ridge; riding the wind, they followed the hill, only occationally flapping their wings.



Watching the black birds and their finger-formed wings-ends, I wondered what they saw up there and down here: how do ravens experience the world? I remembered once in the summer I had been walking with some friends on Rennesey, an island further north. There we came across a sheep that had landed on its back, unable to get on its feet. We all looked around, but saw no ravens, very well knowing that several pairs had their nests nearby.

Having emptied itself, we could see the sheep had been lying on its back for some time, and had we not come by, the ravens would have started picking out the sheep's eyes while the sheep was still alive. Afterwards they had continued feasting on her soft body parts.

Luckily - for the sheep - she could walk away when we lifted her up and turned her around.

Odin riding Sleipnir
Odin riding Sleipnir with his ravens

When I climbed down from Dalevatnet, I kept thinking of the two ravens I had met. I had seen them disappear in the mist over the next ridge at the other end of the lake. Had they been Huginn and Muninn, Odin's "thought" and "mind"? And what would they say of me when they sat down on his shoulders?

Huginn and Muninn
Odin's ravens Huginn and Muninn

Hugin and Munin fly every day
over the wide world;
I fear for Hugin that he will not come back,
yet I tremble more for Munin

(from The Poetic Edda,


Follow John Snow on Facebook!