Sleipnir, l'incroyable cheval d'Odin

Before reading this article, I strongly advise you to start by reading the one about Odin, the god of gods. Well yes, you don't read an article about a guy's mount without knowing the guy in question!


Odin is a warrior god, so when he goes to war, it's on the back of his eight-legged horse, Sleipnir (The origin of the name "Sleipnir" would come from the old Norse "the one who slides", because of his power allowing him to travel between the 9 worlds that Yggdrasil carries)

Sleipnir is a son of Loki, the prankster god who lived among the Asgardian gods. But, surprisingly, Loki is not the father, but the mother of Sleipnir. Don't worry, I'll explain why!

The birth of Sleipnir

Travelling north to the land of the Vikings, Iceland, we meet this winged horse that belongs not just to a hero, but to the main deity of the Icelandic pantheon, the father of gods and humans, Odin.

The myth says that the Norse gods reside in the sky, in a castle called"Asgard". To build the castle, the gods were looking for a skilled craftsman, which they found in the face of a giant. The gods promised the giant that if he finished the job in three winters, they would give him the Sun, the Moon and the goddess of love Freya.

But the gods, seeing that the giant was using the magic horse Svadilfari, to transport huge volumes of rocks at an incredible speed, changed their minds, so that the giant could not respect the terms of the agreement and therefore did not have to fulfill their promise. So they invented a ruse. The god Loki transformed himself into a beautiful mare, lured the giant's magic horse and led it into a forest. From the meeting of the two horses was born Sleipnir, a winged horse with eight legs. Sleipnir was the famous horse of the god Odin, the father of fathers, with which he descended from heaven to earth and led fallen heroes to Asgard. It seems that for the Nordic peoples, this winged horse embodied the hope that the fallen heroes would finally be led to the residence of the gods

Just like the Valkyries who also come on their winged horse.

I'll let you pause your reading while you watch this video.

Sleipnir's appearance

Sleipnir is theembodiment of a large, powerful and muscular horse. His fur is grey, while his tail and mane are a deep dark grey. According to a myth, his teeth were engraved with runes as requested by the Valkyries.

Sleipnir has each leg doubled, making 8 legs in total. Sometimes he is shown with a division of the hips and shoulders, as two separate and joined legs, while often the focus is on the knee that the leg is divided. It has been used many times in video games such as Final Fantasy, Ragnarok and others.

It seems that Sleipnir also had his own children, because according to a riddle described in a text from the 13th century, Sleipnir is an ancestor of Grani, a horse belonging to the hero Sigurd, and probably given to him by Odin himself.

Sleipnir's particular strength and speed are emphasized in many stories in Norse mythology. In the story of the death of Balder, a son of Odin, Hermodr rides Sleipnir to Helheim to deal with the goddess Hel for his return. Only Sleipnir has the strength to jump over the gates that block the entrance to the realm of the dead.

In another story, Odin rides Sleipnir to Jotunheim, the realm of the giants, where he meets the giant Hrungir, who compliments Odin on thequality of his horse.

This prompts Odin to boast, challenging the giant to find a horse in Jotunheim that is the equal of Sleipnir. Hrungnir's own horse, Gullfaxi, is furious about this, and Hrungnir rides his horse to attack Odin.

Sleipnir, le cheval d'OdinFind these illustrations of Sleipnir on Pinterest.


Magical powers

Sleipnir is"the best of horses". He gallops faster, jumps higher, kicks harder and neighs louder than any other horse, whether he is grazing on the grass of Midgard or feasting in the rich stables of Asgard. His strength knows no equal, and his heart knows no fear.

In addition to running on the ground, Odin's mighty steed can also fly in the air and swim in water. None of the elements slow him down. He is even able to carry Odin safelyin and out of Hel, the realm of the dead.

How did Sleipnir become Odin's horse?

After several months, Sleipnir had grown into a very large and powerful horse, perhaps even the most powerful, enduring and fast horse in the nine worlds.

Gullfaxi, the horse Thor picked up from the giant Hrungnir as a tribe of conquest before giving it to his son Magni, was also an extremely fast and enduring horse, but it did not dethrone Sleipnir.

One day, Loki comes to Asgard to offer Sleipnir to Odin, the chief god of the Aesir. This extraordinary horse will allow him to move through the 9 kingdoms with incomparable speed. The eight-legged horse is at least as fearless as its master and accompanies Odin the grandfather in all his battles.

While the other children of Loki were bound and banished to prevent them from wreaking havoc on the nine worlds of the Norse cosmos, Sleipnir, on the other hand, became not only the steed of Odin, the king of the Aesir gods, but also one of his most recognizable and trusted companions.

Sleipnir was probably born before the other children of Loki, although this is not explicitly mentioned anywhere. Sleipnir dates from the early days of Asgard. Otherwise, it would seem odd that Loki would give his child to Odin as a gift, given the Aesir gods' treatment of his other children.

In one story, Odin is described as riding Sleipnir to the land of the giants, while in another story, Odin lets his son Hermodr ride Sleipnir to Helheim, the realm of the dead. Sleipnir is also believed to have left his mark on the human world, with Icelandic folklore crediting him with the creation of Asbyrgi, a horseshoe-shaped glacial canyon in northern Iceland.

How about some music about Sleipnir?

To finish...

Thank you for reading, it's a pleasure to write for Odin's Hall, the leading brand in accessories from Norse mythology.

You can visit our collections to find a jewel representing the horse of the king of Asgard.

You can continue your reading with other Viking stories, discover the Nordic gods for example.

SKOOOLL ! Hail to Odin!

"Courage is nothing more than the will to fight despite fear."

- Ragnar, Vikings -