Sleipnir (Steed of Odin)

Sleipnir (Norse, “gliding one”) is the legendary eight-legged horse belonging to Odin, the Father-God of the Norse pantheon. Sleipnir carries Odin between the world of the Gods and the world of matter. The eight legs symbolize the directions of the compass, and Sleipnir’s ability to travel through both land and air. spacer spacer

The eight legs of Sleipnir were probably symbolic of the eight spokes solar wheel, and probably relate to an earlier form of Odin as a sun-god. There is some evidence that Odin himself was at one time anthropomorphized as a horse; Sleipnir’s ability to travel instantaneously associates him with sunlight.

In Norse mythological tales, Sleipnir is the offspring of the God Loki and Svaldifari, the great horse of the Giants. Sleipnir can be compared to the otherworldly horses of Celtic gods such as Manannan Mac Lir and Im Dagda.


Odin astride his horse
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Claire April 22, 2013 at 2:24 am

Does anyone know where the Sleipnir and Odin design with the spirals come from?

Jennifer May 2, 2013 at 7:57 pm

Hi Claire- If I recall correctly, the image was from a cloak pin or horse buckle, I forget which (this was probably twelve or thirteen years ago). I simply isolated the image and created a b/w graphic from that.

Dave Mowers February 25, 2013 at 5:52 am

The horse represents the nine lunar phases with eight visible and one not as eight legs and the horse itself. The horse is the moon as a god of the underworld or land of the dead. Odin rides the horse because he is represented as the sun and his act of riding the horse shows he is more powerful than the moon for he drives him off every morning. In ancient Britain during winter and summer solstice gatherings and on up to the 17th century or so during the celebrations at night a man would appear dressed as a white horse and everyone would wail and scream and run to get away from him and in ancient times the person caught by the pale rider would then be tossed into a fire as an offering to the sun god so that he will dawn again the next day and renew the world.

This is the source for the Biblical pale rider, it is an Aryan Druid lunar concept and is cognate with Osiris; the pale green god.

matthew prince November 18, 2010 at 10:23 am

long live the vikings tradition. vikings 4eva we sail

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