Art Spotlight: Huginn and Muninn


Odin accompanied by his ravens Huginn and Muninn. Hulton Archive/Getty

Here we see a 1900 Valentine Cameron Prinsep illustration of Odin, the Norse god of war and king of the gods, accompanied by his raven companions Huginn and Muninn. As Joe and I discuss in the podcast episode "The Unsettling Depths of Bird Intelligence," Norse myth-makers were ahead of the curve on bird cognition -- at least as far as symbolism goes.

For Huginn and Muninn are also part of Odin. They are his thoughts and memories, respectively. It makes the following Odin-attributed lines all the more potent:

"Hugin and Munin Fly every day Over all the world; I worry for Hugin That he might not return, But I worry more for Munin."

You can read more about the myth over at NorseMythology.org.


About the Author: Robert Lamb spent his childhood reading books and staring into the woods — first in Newfoundland, Canada and then in rural Tennessee. There was also a long stretch in which he was terrified of alien abduction. He earned a degree in creative writing. He taught high school and then attended journalism school. He wrote for the smallest of small-town newspapers before finally becoming a full-time science writer and podcaster. He’s currently a senior writer at HowStuffWorks and has co-hosted the science podcast Stuff to Blow Your Mind since its inception in 2010. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling with his wife Bonnie, discussing dinosaurs with his son Bastian and crafting the occasional work of fiction.