In frustration, he hanged himself from Yggdrasill for nine days and nights. At the very last of his endurance, Odin saw the runes written clearly and understood them.
Elsewhere we learn that he gave up one eye to drink the egg-white mead of the Fountain of Mimir, thus gaining knowledge, and becoming worthy of ruling the Asa-Gods. Both of these incidents may be symbolic of shamanistic initiation experiences.
In Asgard and Vanaheim each deity has a magnificent hall. Odin chief of the Gods, has two halls: Valhalla (Hall of the Slain) where he revels with fallen heroes and his Valkyries, and Valaskjalf (Seat of the Slain) where he can sit on his throne Hildskjalf and see all the nine worlds.
Odin's ultimate purpose is to try to delay the terrible destiny awaiting both the Gods and humankind. Therefore, his actions and thoughts are beyond the normal concept of good and evil.
He was made aware of this future fate when he called up a dead seeress in Hel. In Voluspa (The Sibyl's Prophecy) this seeress tells him of an "Axe Age," a "Sword Age," and a "Wolf Age" when brother will turn against bother. This will herald the beginning of Ragnarok.