The Tale of Two Birds
In Norse mythology Huginn and Muninn (from Old Norse meaning “thought” and “memeroies/mind”) are a pair of ravens that fly all over the world, Midgard, and bring information to the god Odin, Huginn and Muninn are attested in the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources. The names of the ravens are sometimes modernly anglicized as Hugin and Munin.
In the Poetic Edda, a disguised Odin expresses that he fears that they may not return from their daily flights. The Prose Edda explains that Odin is referred to as “raven-god” due to his association with Huginn and Muninn. In the Prose Edda and the Third Grammatical Treatise, the two ravens are described as perching on Odin’s shoulders. Heimskringla details that Odin gave Huginn and Muninn the ability to speak.
Examples of artifacts that may depict Odin with one of the ravens include Migration Period golden bracteates, Vendel era helmet plates, a pair of identical Germanic Iron Age bird-shaped brooches, Viking Age objects depicting a moustached man wearing a helmet, and a portion of the 10th or 11th century Thorwald’s Cross. Huginn and Muninn’s role as Odin’s messengers has been linked to shamanic practices, the Norse raven banner, general raven symbolism among the Germanic peoples, and the Norse concepts of the fylgja and the hamingja.