Draupnir: The Golden (Arm) Ring

A little over a week ago I decided to use my Pagan Blog Project posts to learning more about Odin. I’ve been reading a lot of Norse myths lately in an attempt to do this as well, but I thought I’d make this week’s post about Draupnir–Odin’s golden (arm) ring.

So far I’m really having trouble seeing the significance of Draupnir, other than that it was made by dwarf brothers in a wager that Loki made with them to see who made better “products”–Brokkr and Eitr or the Sons of Ivaldi. Brokkr and Eitr won, though not because of Draupnir, but because of Mjollnir–Thor’s hammer. So I can’t say that it saved Loki’s head–in the end, Loki wound up saving His own head. (The wager was that if Brokkr and Eitr could make better “products” than the Sons of Ivaldi, then they could have His head. Loki pointed out that His head was the thing Brokkr and Eitr had won the ability to claim, but not part of His neck. In order to get His head, they’d have to hurt His neck. Therefore, Loki got to keep His own head.)

I’m only about half way through the reading of the Norse Myths, but I have compiled a page long list of different names that Odin has gone by, or is well known by–like One Eyed, or The Terrible One, Gangleri, The Wanderer. None of them so far hint at a reference to Draupnir.

Draupnir’s ability is that it is a golden ring that every nine nights drips eight new rings from it that are identical to the original. That could have a few different metaphorical meanings to it–like that of fertility, or abundance. It’s hard to imagine Odin being a God of Fertility though. However, I can imagine Him being one of Abundance. At least Abundance meaning “an abundance of thirst and hunger for knowledge” or “an abundance of inspiration”. After all, Odin is always trying to learn everything He can about everything He can. “All the gods know I know,” He says to Vafthrudnir when Odin challenges Him to see who is the wiser of the two. (Of course Odin wins that one.)

I have yet to come across the myth in which Baldr (Odin’s son) dies, but I’ve seen reference several times to Draupnir being tossed onto Baldr’s funeral pyre. Could this maybe be a way in which Odin gives Baldr what He thinks will help Him in the after life? The Egyptians filled the tombs of their Pharoahs with riches and precious things. Perhaps Odin giving Baldr Draupnir was an echo of this practice. Or perhaps it was just a father giving His son something precious.

The one thing I can say that Draupnir definitely did was give Odin riches. (Like a god really needs them, but okay.) Draupnir is gold, and with it always duplicating itself in a never ending cycle, there would be plenty of them. Odin has all the gold He could ever need. There is even enough that if He wanted to, He could hand out gold rings to those He has claimed as His, though most people (me included) choose to wear the Valknut. I think that’s what He prefers.

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One Response to Draupnir: The Golden (Arm) Ring

  1. I have always interpreted Draupnir as one of Odin’s primary signs of kingship. In Beowulf, one of the kennings for a king is “beah-gifa”, the giver of rings; and it is my understanding that Germanic kings were expected to regularly give gifts to their closest followers (not unlike the chiefs of the tribes in the Pacific Northwest). Thus, when Odin gives Draupnir to Balder, he may symbolically be renouncing his kingship, or at least be indicating that Balder is to be king beyond his death.

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