Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Huginn and Muninn

I have a thing for the corvids. The Corvidae family of birds that is. You probably know the most famous member of the family, the crow. I've written about my love for crows here. Ravens, crows, rooks, magpies, and jays make up the most well known species of birds in the family. And they are all pretty cool birds.

Mythology has used crows and ravens in the past to symbolize intelligence, resourcefulness, tricksters, and sometimes death. The birds occasionally get a bad rap just because they can be scavengers. But my favorite corvid reference comes from Norse mythology. Odin was claimed to have two ravens: Huginn (Thought) and Muninn (Memory) which he sent out everyday all over Midgard (earth) to gather intelligence and collect memories. Odin is often pictured with the birds and since ravens are one of the cleverest of the birds this spy-like ability seems perfect for them.

I love the images and the idea of Huginn and Muninn. While reading some of the Norse stories I was instantly drawn to the two birds, much like I was drawn to the story of Fenrir, the wolf. But as a writer the birds have even more significance. I live in my thoughts and memories most of the time. These two concepts are central to writing. So the birds mean a lot to me. The moment I learned of them I wanted to get a tattoo of them. I'm thinking about putting them on my shoulders, one to a side. I too want to be like Odin, sending out my thoughts and memories into the world and seeing what comes back. Of course it doesn't hurt that they are corvids. Cool birds, and a cool mythology.


Keith said...

Love corvids. I always enjoy it when a crow comes in for a landing near the bird feeder and all the other birds scatter. It's like a 747 touching down.

Here's one of my favorite videos.

Cat B said...

They are such massive birds. And the way they walk. You can practically see the raptor in them. So cool!

Thanks for the video. I can't believe how close they were able to get. I think it might have realized what they were doing. Smart birds.