Seven-headed monsters, one-eyed giants and blood-born winged horses are all shocking representations of the ways in which the well-known creatures of ancient Greek and Roman mythology transcend the borders of the moral world. However, the myths of Northern Europe had equally stunningly intriguing and extraordinary beings made of the gods, but not themselves gods. A primary example of these creations is the stallion Sleipnir.
The issue of the trickster god and the equine called Svaðilfari, the eight-legged Sleipnir survives Norse mythology as the pride of Odin's steeds. Sleipnir is more than Odin's ride, however. He is, in many ways, considered a form of helping spirit—a shamanic guide. This role can be compared to Odin's companions Hugin and Munin, a pair of ravens with the predictive capabilities.
Loki and Svaðilfari (1909) by Dorothy Hardy (Public Domain)
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