The Song Odin by the Band Faun

Here is the song called Odin being performed live by the band Faun, featuring Einar Selvik/Wardruna and Martin Seeberg.

Since I’ve just made a video about Odin, I thought I’d share it.

It’s sung in German. The song lyrics include a lot of mythology about Odin, and also a particular verse from a text called the Hávamál (meaning “Sayings of the High One”), which is a collection of Norse poems from the Viking Age, in which Odin speaking in first person recounts his self-sacrifice on the world tree. The Hávamál is sung in Icelandic, which is the language that much of the surviving mythology about Odin is written in.

I know that I hung on a windy tree
nine long nights,
wounded with a spear, dedicated to Odin,
myself to myself,
on that tree of which no man knows
from where its roots run.
No bread did they give me nor a drink from a horn,
downwards I peered;
I took up the runes, screaming I took them,then I fell back from there.1

His sacrifice shares many similarities with the crucifixion and self-sacrifice of Jesus on a cross. Both Odin and Jesus hang for a time associated with the number nine, both are pierced with a spear, and both descend the underworld after their self-sacrifices.

The self-sacrifice of Odin (and Jesus) represents a stage on the path of the spiritual sun in which someone psychologically dies, sacrifices themselves inwardly, and then descends into the darkness of the underworld within their psyche, before spiritually resurrecting. In Odin’s case, he descended into the darkness of the underworld in order to obtain knowledge, which is one of the purposes descending into darkness serves. The number nine represents the nine regions of the underworld. The tree and cross represent the world tree, axis mundi, and the crossing of the sun across the equator at the spring equinox. The screaming in the excerpt above represents the agonizing pain it takes to obtain knowledge (which is symbolized by the runes), and falling back is what happens at this stage, when the pain is so great one ceases any wish to “be someone” in a profound way. How did these esoteric events get recorded in the Hávamál, and from what source, I wonder…?

This stage is tied to the time of spring equinox, when the days start to become longer than the nights, and therefore the light can be seen to overcome the forces of darkness. It’s why many deities in the ancient religion of the sun were said to die and resurrect at the spring equinox.

What I like about this song is the atmosphere and feeling it conveys about the event. Many songs on spiritual themes are very nice to listen to, but on the path of the spiritual sun, there are not only times of light, but also of darkness, just as there are in the year and the sun’s annual cycle. This song captures in some way the epic psychological struggle someone goes through, and the darkness of the underworld they need to face. I think this song helps in some way to understand this stage on the path of the spiritual sun, which both Odin and Jesus represented.

Thank you to Faun, Wardruna, Einar, Martin, and everyone involved in making this song. You have really conveyed something spiritually powerful and timeless, and breathed life into one of the great heroes of our age – Odin.

Related Posts

  1. Odin in the Hávamál translated by Carolyne Larrington 

By |2018-06-30T05:22:26+00:00August 3rd, 2017|odin-wotan|48 Comments

About the Author:

I am a researcher and practitioner of the indigenous Indo-European religion of my ancient ancestors, which is a branch of the ancient Religion of the Sun. I am author of the book 'The Ancient Religion of the Sun.' I run the YouTube channel SakroSawel and the website ("sakro sawel" means "sacred sun" in the Proto-Indo European language). Writing alongside my husband Mark, I helped co-author the book 'The Path of the Spiritual Sun.'


  1. Ella July 23, 2018 at 11:02 am - Reply

    I’ve felt the return to this song again today – maybe it’s because we’re shifting towards the autumn equinox in the Northern Hemisphere or maybe it’s something more personal for me. Either way, listening to it again seemed to help me to tap into a kind of courage. Like Lara says, it “captures in someway the epic psychological struggle somebody goes through, and the darkness of the underworld they need to face.”

    I also read the translated lyrics – (taken from the ‘Sayings of the High One’ – (if I were more of a musician I’d try to compose something of a song for the season!) but something I’m confused by is the mention of the ‘sixteen magical signs’ in the refrain. At first I thought this might be the runes, but it seems there were 24 of these. Any insights or ideas on what this means would be greatly appreciated!

    In icy past you once guarded
    You threw Gungnir, you were a spear in the battle
    You wandered the nine worlds as a wanderer at night
    You found Mimir’s well again

    Nine days you hang
    From Yggrasil’s twigs
    Nine long nights
    For 16 magical signs

    Magical sings to invoke death
    To heal the ill and disturb the enemies
    To hold flames, to control the swords
    To catch ghosts and to lower the spears

    Hávamál, verse 138, 139, 144

    I know that I hung
    On a windy tree
    Nine long nights,
    Wounded with a spear,
    Dedicated to Odin,
    Myself to myself,
    On that tree
    Of which no man knows
    From where its roots run.

    No bread did they give me
    Nor a drink from a horn,
    Downwards I peered;
    I took up the runes,
    Screaming I took them,
    Then I fell back from there.

    Do you know how to write?
    Do you know how to interpret?
    Do you know how to color them?
    Do you know how to consider?
    Do you know how to consult?
    Do you know how to sacrifice?
    Do you know how to send?
    Do you know how to kill?

    I know that I hung
    On a windy tree
    Nine long nights,
    Wounded with a spear,
    Dedicated to Odin,
    Myself to myself,
    On that tree
    Of which no man knows
    From where its roots run.

    No bread did they give me
    Nor a drink from a horn,
    Downwards I peered;
    I took up the runes,
    Screaming I took them,
    Then I fell back from there.

    Do you know how to write?
    Do you know how to interpret?
    Do you know how to color them?
    Do you know how to consider?
    Do you know how to consult?
    Do you know how to sacrifice?
    Do you know how to send?
    Do you know how to kill?

    • Martin July 31, 2018 at 11:42 am - Reply

      Thank you Ella,

      I love those questions they ask; although I ‘m not sure why they ask: do you know how to colour them?

      • Jon August 1, 2018 at 9:00 am - Reply

        Another translation is “Do you know how paint them?” (translation by Jackson Crawford). All of verse 144 seems to be referring to runes, and in Crawford’s translation he has each line as “Do you know how to ___ them?” So it makes sense in the context of runes (the previous two verses, 142-143 lead into 144 regarding Odin and runes).

        Also note Crawford’s translation is somewhat different, e.g. “sacrifice” is instead “bless” and “kill” is “offer.”

        • Michael August 4, 2018 at 7:11 am - Reply

          Thanks for those clarifications Jon. As has been mentioned in other comments, it’s a real pity that Norse figures are being used out of context in violent computer games, which distorts the public’s perception of the spiritual principles these ancient people sought to portray in their own lives.

          As the public perception of the Norse Vikings is already of violent invaders, I think Crawford’s translation removes the possibility of confusing an internal battle against darkness with external physical battles against enemies, in the same way the term “holy war” has become distorted in people’s perception.

          I think the choice of “bless” and “offer” puts Odin’s life into a more spiritual context of battling the enemies within that take away peace.

        • Martin August 4, 2018 at 8:13 am - Reply

          Thanks Jon,

          That’s very helpful.

        • Ella August 4, 2018 at 8:31 pm - Reply

          Thanks Jon, it sounds like the runes contain a lot of esoteric wisdom – I’m drawn to understanding more about what the symbols mean.

        • Ella August 7, 2018 at 9:49 am - Reply

          It seems that all these questions refer to the runes as tools for divination, rather than as their use as a simple alphabet. This makes me think of other ancient tools of ‘consulting the gods’, such as the I-Ching and the Tarot. I wonder what emphasis ancient people put on omen-reading and using physical tools like this for communication with the divine. In my experience, though I’ve had clear omen-messages in the physical, it often feels like they’re harder to perceive because the senses can be more dampened here, compared to receiving messages in dreams where feelings can be much clearer and symbols are accompanied by a stronger internal intuition.

          I wonder if anyone has come across evidence of how the runes were originally used or would like to share their experience or understanding of using similar tools for ‘consulting the gods’. Though it seems secondary to receiving a clear message in a mystical experience it also appears it was such common practice in ancient cultures that it’s worth considering as another way to develop the communication between us and the divine intelligence that’s always ready to respond to our prayers, thoughts and feelings.

      • Michael August 2, 2018 at 7:58 am - Reply

        I was also curious about some of the questions asked in that part of the song Martin, including “Do you know how to colour them?” I also wondered about the significance of “Do you know how to send/ kill?” In an esoteric context, to kill would refer to destroying the darkness within, which I’m assuming is the case here, rather than an external physical battle.

        • Martin August 4, 2018 at 8:19 am - Reply

          Hello Michael,

          I thought of dying within as well with the ‘Kill’ question; ‘Send’ got me thinking of telepathy although taking the Runes and sending them could obviously have other meanings.

          • Michael August 5, 2018 at 6:20 am

            Yes, I think there can be multiple interpretations to those questions Martin. Thinking about their meaning reminded me of how open to interpretation ancient texts and oral histories are. It’s little wonder that the meaning behind many traditions has become obscure over time, due to differences in interpretation, or vital fragments becoming lost in time or deliberately surpressed by those in power.

            I’m so grateful that this and other websites are available to fit together the many pieces of the puzzle and make a coherent picture. They really provide a vital service in giving a clear picture of humanity’s shared spiritual history.

      • Ella August 3, 2018 at 8:28 pm - Reply

        I’m not sure Martin, though all the questions make me think of how there are higher ways to perceive meaning within life and to communicate with hidden forces of light. Many of these questions seem to elude to their being a deeper significance to things that we might only understand very superficially usually – for example, writing. Do you know how to write? makes me remember that there can be spiritual power in writing, in yielding words, as well as it being useful for creating shopping lists 🙂

        Colour is interesting though – I recently listened to a lecture about the meaning of colour in Vedic astrology and how each colour is linked to a certain house (section) of the zodiac and that planets either energized or pacified by certain colours.One example that stood out was orange, which is said to placate Mars and is the sign of Scorpio. It was explained as the colour of the life force withdrawing from the physical world to another dimension (the astral?) and that this is why Sadus in India wear saffron robes – to signify their identification with the non-material. It occurred to me that orange is the colour of dying leaves and then a friend pointed out it’s the colour of fire too. I remember reading in The Path of the Spiritual Sun how fire is actually the life force leaving a living thing, rather than the process of that thing being consumed by it.

        • Martin August 4, 2018 at 8:28 am - Reply

          Thanks for your insights Ella,

          I’ve always associated orange with the astral from personal experience.

          It’s a bit off topic but colour does seem to be important with the fourth dimension as well. Particularly with individuals auras and vitality.

      • Anne Linn August 6, 2018 at 5:52 pm - Reply

        I love listening to this song as well Ella. Especially around the Equinoxes. To me, it also inspires strength and courage and being able to face the darkness.

        I’m not sure what those sixteen magical signs would be. I did a quick google search though, and it seems that there are two runic systems. The younger variation has 16 characters, and the older 24.

        I visited a stone circle in Norway a few years back that had sixteen stones. I was wondering if that number had any special significance.

        Thanks, Ella and Jon for the translation 🙂

    • Karim July 31, 2018 at 3:44 pm - Reply

      Interesting coincidence Ella, as I also felt drawn to listen to this song a few days ago. I’d gone to a countryside park, initially I felt very weighed down but through persevering there for a long time with meditation practices I managed to break through. Afterwards in the evening sun in the forest, I felt like listening to this song.

      Following that afternoon my state of inner energy was good, and I noticed I had to be very careful not to let the sounds of the song drain that energy by allowing the emotions to go ‘over the edge in the emotional centre, neither allow a ‘fall’ of energies to happen released on the upper back— by pride’s goosebumps.
      Yet I find the song, especially Einar’s part, has a great deeper emotive strength to it. I tried to wield this and feel its meaning within me in the right ways.

      I was thinking of the autumn and dark half of the year ahead, with all it’s possible personal hardships. The song helped to bring about an insight that ‘going down into darkness to extract light’ is really such a (or even ‘the’) prominent theme of life. Those lines that are sung about, and explained more in this post, of the spiritual sun’s descend into darkness to extract the light (and this for the benefit of others too). Although this happens in a great way on a specific point along the path of the spiritual sun, I think its principle is something each person can apply.

      The song somehow reminded me that a descent of this type, so very tough as it may be, and during hardship you’d virtually forget it— is voluntary. Remembering this brought a strength and resolve.

      Thanks again Lara btw, I would’ve never known about this song if you hadn’t brought it up.

      • Ella August 3, 2018 at 4:13 pm - Reply

        Ha that’s funny Karim, maybe there has been a certain shift in the seasons to make us think about the autumn equinox. But it’s a good point that the symbolism of the time of year when we descend into the darkness is actually also the dominant theme of the struggle of life itself!

        I’m curious about the specific identification of the ‘fall’ of energies to happen released on the upper back – by pride’s goosebumps; can you elaborate more on this physical sensation of the egos?

    • john perez August 1, 2018 at 12:02 pm - Reply

      I was also drawn back to this song today, as mentioned by Karim I’m especially touched by Einar’s part.

  2. carmel August 13, 2017 at 11:29 am - Reply

    Thanks for sharing this song, it was very power full and it felt meaningful.

  3. Paty August 12, 2017 at 4:00 am - Reply

    I looked up the lyrics to the song and discovered that they first start singing in German then change to Icelandic when the singer does the solo at the back.

    The translation is very interesting and mentions the number 9 several times in Odin hung for 9 nights.

    The link is below:

    The more I listen to it, the more I like it. It is so refreshing to see very skilled musicians sing about important themes such as these instead of simply
    playing and singing in worship of our emotions.

    thanks again 🙂

  4. Jon Alswinn August 11, 2017 at 3:20 pm - Reply

    Faun has recently become one of my favorite new bands (since the song Alswinn was posted on The Spiritual Sun website). They have a lot of great music, and I think their efforts to revive more ancient sounding pagan music should be appreciated.

    I had also come across their Odin song but hadn’t saved it as I thought it was a bit too dark. But with the explanation by Lara now, I can see how it does fit the subject quite well. And really, spirituality isn’t all nice and rosy, there are extremely difficult aspects, so in that sense music should reflect that too.

    Note it seems the middle parts sung by Einar Selvik (from Norway, of the band Wardruna) are in Icelandic (from the text Hávamál), while the rest of the song is in German sung by Oliver s. Tyr, the leading member of Faun (the band is from Germany).

    The full original lyrics and translation are here:

    • Fotis August 31, 2017 at 11:38 am - Reply

      Thanks Jon

      I checked the band Wardruna you said and found this song
      which talks about Yggdrasil the mythical tree from the Norse cosmology. It sounds like a call for strength and protection against what is threatening this tree. The music is epic again like this one for Odin, but with such lyrics, I think matches very well.

    • Craig September 27, 2017 at 12:31 pm - Reply

      I recall meeting Oliver a few years back in Crete as he was picking up a Cretian Lute. He was very sincere about using traditional instruments, as you can see in the various Faun videos.

      Small world, eh.
      Thanks for bringing his music to this website Lara.

  5. john perez August 9, 2017 at 10:26 am - Reply

    When Einar began to sing I felt very connected to this music. Even though I didn’t understand the words I felt the song from within.

    Very powerful, loved it. Thanks Lara

  6. Christos August 8, 2017 at 1:10 pm - Reply

    Very beautiful song. The lyrics are very meaningful.

    The image you posted Lara with odin crucified is very interesting. It really is very close to the crucifixion of Jesus. And the context is similar if not the same.

    I saw this image recently that I found very interesting. It is a crucified person which could be Jesus but the inscription on the bottom says “OΡΦEOC BAKKIKOC” which means something like “Orpheus Dionysian”. The item was in the Bode museum in Berlin but is now mysteriously lost and there is a lot of controversy around it. I wonder how many other such images of pagan or other ancient gods being crucified have been lost in (maybe) an effort to not question mainstream beliefs.
    and more clear in this picture:

  7. Slawek August 8, 2017 at 7:48 am - Reply

    Thank you Lara for sharing this song and explaining the meaning behind it. When listening attentively, I pick up a similar drama representing spiritual struggle and facing darkness face on in some of Beethoven’s music.

  8. Jordan August 6, 2017 at 12:12 pm - Reply

    Thanks for that explanation Lara. I had come across this song earlier but skimmed right past it – I had no idea there was this meaning behind it!

  9. Paty August 6, 2017 at 11:36 am - Reply

    Thanks David and Layla,

    two very interesting version of the same song.

  10. Layla August 5, 2017 at 3:49 pm - Reply

    Lara, I wouldn’t have come to understand that song without your dear hearted explanation and I think it gives this song a more powerful meaning than just the amazing piece of music it is.

  11. Geraldine August 5, 2017 at 6:33 am - Reply

    Thanks Lara for sharing this music – this was in many ways a very powerful song and while I don’t speak the language, the way the words were sung, it gave me a sense of feeling of the struggle, the pain, the difficulties, the loneliness and at times despair that Odin must have gone through, yet without giving me this heaviness or negative feeling about it. The man with the lyre, his singing definitely felt like a plea to the light to be rescued. The setting of the whole show was really good too, portraying that darkness around him as he sang.. What a wonderful way to portray and interpret this stage in Odin’s life. Nice to see modern music like this, and I like the more traditional clothing they were wearing as well as the flowers in the women’s hair. It all had a really mystical feel to it.

  12. David August 5, 2017 at 1:58 am - Reply

    Thanks for sharing that Lara, it’s a very powerful song. There’s something really special about the types of harmonies they are using.

    I came across this song which I also really like, a Song to Odin:

    I was looking up some of the references from the mythology and was amazed to find that info about Odin entering the underworld and then emerging 3 days later. Interestingly it talks about how he enters as a serpent and leaves as an eagle, I wonder if that’s a veiled reference to the feathered serpent!

    • Lara Atwood August 5, 2017 at 3:54 am - Reply

      Great song David, thanks for sharing. I really like how the singer was able to create it just with his own voice. It shows it is possible to create songs even without needing to know how to play an instrument.

      That’s a fantastic reference you found about Odin; there must be so much more to discover. It is yet another connection between Odin and the Central/South American wisdom bringers like Quetzalcoatl. The Norse also believed there were nine layers of hell, just like the Maya did, and had nine chambers in their esoteric rites. Both Odin and Quetzalcoatl were said to have descended into the black sun (which is the dark sun in the center of the earth that is the antithesis of the sun in the sky). There’s obviously a lot to research and uncover here.

    • Jenny August 5, 2017 at 12:27 pm - Reply

      That was really beautiful, David. Thanks for sharing!

    • Sue August 5, 2017 at 1:24 pm - Reply

      Yes, great song David, and very clever harmony.

      It’s so wonderful to hear the similarities among these great Beings. It’s also quite amazing that information related to them is still out there to be found, rather than lost to time.

      Thanks Lara and David.

    • Layla August 5, 2017 at 3:46 pm - Reply

      Thanks for sharing that, it was beautiful and the words are amazing. Here is another version of it –

    • Ella August 6, 2017 at 8:04 pm - Reply

      Thanks David, that’s a powerful song.

    • Martin August 10, 2017 at 11:24 am - Reply

      Love that song Dave, thanks for passing it on.

    • Karim August 16, 2017 at 10:27 am - Reply

      Nice to see people writing and creating music today based on that knowledge of the past and try to connect to it now. This song was also cleverly and well done.

  13. Ella August 4, 2017 at 5:44 pm - Reply

    Powerful song and performance – it’s rare to be pointed towards something like this to connect with the spiritual, but really valuable. Really valuable to realise something of the pain and struggle that is needed on a true spiritual journey. Thank you Lara. You and Mark continue to expand my horizons in unpredictable ways!

  14. Fotis August 4, 2017 at 5:35 pm - Reply

    It’s an epic tune indeed! Thank you for your review Lara, I would be confused between the dark and shining part of this video/song but what you said make sense to me.
    The band uses medieval instruments, the singer wears the sun wheel, the band’s name is Faun and they have this song dedicated to Odin… It sounds interesting.

  15. Karim August 4, 2017 at 1:41 pm - Reply

    I was a bit wary at first seeing the youtube image of the song, knowing there’s a lot of dark music with unpleasant vibes in scenes that appear similar.

    But as I listened on I didn’t detect what I would’ve perhaps expected. Although it seemed a bit dark, the staging and some of the appearances, it become clear or I felt that the intention behind their expression and song was in fact not. Rather, like the description on this page says, it seemed to convey that message found in the lyrics/ancient text. And a sort of persevering and holding on through the suffering.

    I found that the guy with the traditional type of lyre, that he was singing with great devotion and heart. Very beautiful voice. Wonderful.

    Inspiring to read more about the events of self sacrifice as well. The spring equinox time and its deeper meaning are so powerful and really resonate.

  16. Justin August 4, 2017 at 12:57 pm - Reply

    What an interesting song.

    I also find myself often drawn to music that expresses the difficult and painful aspects of spiritual experience, for the reasons you mentioned Lara. However even with that predisposition and even after reading the preface, I was surprised at the dark feeling this song conveyed in the beginning. The dissonant melody and the orchestration not only evoked the atmosphere of darkness but made me feel a bit unpleasant. I suppose that is part of the point.

    My feeling changed about half-way through when the blond fellow with the harp began to play and sing (I think that is Einar). He has such a powerful voice, and the way his part was presented reminded me of ancient Skaldic/Bardic traditions. Also the music changed at that point and seemed to express not just the darkness but the suffering one of one who is in that darkness and seeking for light and has been brought down to their lowest point. It captured a sense of yearning and a plea for the light.

    The song seemed to take a different turn after this and had a redemptive quality that was very moving. It also put the earlier part of the song in a different perspective for me, as it was clear that it was not celebrating that dark feeling but had created it as a contrast which gave meaning to the yearning and the struggle against it expressed in the second half.

    Taken as a whole I can see how it expresses and captures something spiritually meaningful as you said Lara and evokes something about what it means to fall into darkness.

    • Anne Linn August 7, 2017 at 8:36 am - Reply

      I also love the part when Einar sings. It sounds like a crying out in the darkness, and a longing for the light.

      I’ve been a bit unsure about listening to music like this, but I’ve also been drawn to it. There is something about it is that is strengthening, and inspiring. I’m not sure how to explain it. I suppose it’s how I like darker weather, as well as a sunny sky. Both have their qualities that touch me. Perhaps sometimes we need inspiration to go into the darkness and look for the light.

  17. Dara August 4, 2017 at 3:42 am - Reply

    Thanks for sharing this song, it’s very very nice. They’ve done a beautiful job at framing the story musically, it really does convey that struggle you described. It’s inspiring to hear modern music like this that hearkens back to ancient traditions, especially that conveys messages about the path of the spiritual sun and is also really well put together!

  18. chris scott August 3, 2017 at 8:47 pm - Reply

    Thanks Lara for sharing. I really liked how you have brought light to these similarities between Odin & Jesus, representing a stage of the spiritual path, which is also represented by the sun’s annual stage of the spring equinox.
    We are very fortunate to receive this timeless knowledge.

  19. Daniel M August 3, 2017 at 4:56 pm - Reply

    Beautiful song and presentation!
    Thanks for posting.

  20. Anne Linn August 3, 2017 at 3:04 pm - Reply

    Thank you, Lara. What you write is so interesting to me. It’s putting meaning to something I grew up with, but that was treated as a fairytale. I’m eager to look around me now to find meaning in things that were there the whole time, but that I didn’t know was important.

    The song is also interesting. It feels dark and painful, full of agony. It’s inspiring in a way. I wonder if music like this can help ease our pain, in the way that uplifting music uplifts. I recently discovered Wardruna and they have many songs inspired by Norse mythology.

    For some reason this kind of music makes me think of the cold north, where the landscape can seem very dark. Black mountains, black lakes, stormy skies.

  21. Jenny August 3, 2017 at 2:40 pm - Reply

    What a great song. I agree — the powerful atmosphere it conveys and the significance of the lyrics is quite special. Very nicely interpreted by Faun.
    Thanks for explaining some of these connections too, Lara.

  22. Paty August 3, 2017 at 12:15 pm - Reply

    Lara, you are right. The song is really powerful and its rythym and beat do give a certain atmosphere. I cannot even imagine the pain and sacrifice made by the people that have reached this level of spiritual progress. How fortunate we are to have this guidance.

    thanks so much for sharing this. You are enabling us to learn so many new things, I really appreciate it.

  23. DavidH August 3, 2017 at 10:29 am - Reply

    Will have to check this song out, thanks for the heads up.

    It sounds amazing that that reference to that stage of the path is in that old Viking poem, what an incredible find, thanks for pointing that out as well!

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