Among the many descriptions of Odin, we see that he is described as having a pair of ravens, and a pair of wolves.
Thanks to some nature specials I watched recently when I couldn’t sleep, I discovered that ravens tend to mate for life. While pre-adult ravens may live and work together in groups with other ravens, when they hit adult status about 4 years into their 40 year or so life-span they then become extremely territorial. The only time adult ravens will be seen together (peaceably) out in nature (be it the woodlands or the urban jungle) is when they are a mated pair.
This makes me wonder if Odin’s ravens Hugin (Thought) and Munin (memory) may in fact be a mated pair.
Another interesting tidbit, is that while wolves may exist in packs, they (like ravens) also tend to mate for life. And the only animal besides a fellow pack-mate that they would share their food with is a raven. Could Odin’s wolves, Geri and Freki, also be a mated pair? Or are they just packmates?
In the wild wolves and ravens have long been coexisting together by feasting from the same prey. But more than that they have been cooperating: “noted raven researcher Bernd Heinrich has suggested that ravens evolved with wolves, with ravens possibly leading wolves to moose or caribou, and then later feeding upon the carcasses torn open by wolves.“
In Dr. L. David Mech’s ‘The Wolf: The Ecology and Behaviour of an Endangered Species’ he states: “It appears that the wolf and the raven have reached an adjustment in their relationships such that each creature is rewarded in some way by the presence of the other and that each is fully aware of the other’s capabilities.”
Even beyond just cooperating for food, wolves and ravens are known to play together too.
While most of my musings in regard to heathen cosmology is speculation, it does prove to my mind one point: that these ancient peoples were far more aware of the natural order of the world and observations of those items, than we tend to be today.
So, what do you think about these possibilities? Are Odin’s ravens and wolves, mated pairs or not? Please share your thoughts below!