Wondrous animals abound in the tales of northern Europe: Fenrir, a malevolent wolf who devours the hand of one of the gods; Sleipnir, Odin’s eight-legged horse; and Jörmungand, the serpent that encircles the world and that ultimately kills Thor in the battle of Ragnarök, the defeat and death of the gods.
Perhaps because I have been studying crows and ravens for nearly forty years and feel they perch deservedly on the top branches of avian evolution, my favorite animals in the northern stories are two ravens, Hugin and Munin, Thought and Memory. Odin taught them how to speak and so every morning, they soar out into the world, returning at dusk to perch on his shoulders and advise him on what they have learned.
In my painting they appear to travel into both the past and the future. The knowledge they bring back to Odin gives him Awareness, but not, unfortunately, the power to change the course of events. In the universe of the northern gods, as well in our own world, nothing– not even our gods– is more powerful than Fate.