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.
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|