Norse Mythology

Ever since the release of movies such as Thor and books like Rick Riordan’s new series, Norse mythology has come back in the spotlight.  Mainly known as the religion of the Vikings, the practice actually spanned throughout much of Northern and Central Europe before the spread of Christianity.  Recently it’s also experienced a revitalization through Neopaganism and it was announced in Feburary 2015 that Iceland would be building the first major temple to the Norse Gods since the end of the era of Vikings.  Below is a list of major Norse Gods and terms, however, since this is a widespread religion with many local gods, this is by no means a complete list of all the Norse Gods that ever existed.

Terms

Aesir-The main group of gods in Norse mythology lead by Odin.  They generally represent war and power.

Vanir– Another group of gods, they originally fought the Aesir but reached a truce.  They generally represent fertility and cultivation.  Njord and his children, Freyr and Freya, originally came from this group.

Ragnarock– End of times, the Norse apocalypse.  The majority of the gods will meet their end here.

Yggdrasil– The world tree, it connects all nine realms that exist in Norse mythology.

Gods

Odin– The All-Father and god of war, death, and knowledge.  He is the husband of Frigg and the father of Thor and Balder.  After trading his one eye for knowledge, he sends his two ravens Huginn (“thought”) and Muninn (“memory”) out to gather information for him across the nine realms.

Thor– The god of thunder and battle, he is the son of Odin and Frigg.  Known for his blond hair and red beard, he rode through the sky on a chariot pulled by goats.  His hammer, Mjolnir caused thunderclaps and would always return to the wielder when thrown.

Frigg– Also pronounced Frigga, she is the wife of Odin and goddess of marriage and motherhood.  As the keeper of domestic arts, her attendants are the goddesses of fertility and protection.  While she has the gift of prophecy, she does not openly share her visions, though it was through this power she foresaw the death of her son, Balder.

Freyr-Originally a member of the Vanir, he came over to the Aesir after the war with his sister and father.  The god of fertility and prosperity, he is one of the few gods to have sat on Odin’s throne.  When he did this, he saw a giantess named Gerd and eventually traded his magical sword to marry her.  During Ragnarok, he will be struck down by Surtr, the fire giant, who will be wielding the very sword.

Freya– Like her brother and father, she came over from the Vanir after the war.  As the goddess of fertility, battle, and love, she rides through the skies on a chariot pulled by cats.  Her sacred realm, Folkvang, receives half of the fallen warriors while Odin’s realm, Valhalla, receives the other half.

Loki– The trickster Jotun, he is the blood brother of Odin and due to this is considered a member of the Aesir.  The god of mischief and trickery, he’s also at times shown to be a god of fire as his name means “wild fire”.  The father of Fenrir, Hel, and the World Serpent, he was demonized when Christianity started becoming popular.

Heimdallr– Also known as Heimdall, he is the son of Nine Mothers and is the guardian of the Bifrost bridge.  Supposed to have incredible hearing, he can hear grass grow.  As he doesn’t need any sleep, he is always on guard, ready to blow his horn should trouble be seen.  He has a rivalry with Loki and the two will slay each other during Ragnarok.

Sif– Sif is most famous for her gorgeous golden blonde hair, which Loki shaves off at one point. As part of his punishment, Loki made her new hair out of literal spun gold. Sif is a goddess of fertility, the harvest, wedlock, and the family. She is married to Thor.

Balder– Also known as Baldur or Baldr. He is the second son of Odin and Frigg. His twin brother is the blind god Höðr. He is often considered a god of love, peace, forgiveness, light, and justice. He was killed by Höðr with mistletoe on accident, when Höðr’s hand was guided by Loki.

Tyr– The god the skies and war, he is most famously known for only having one hand.  The reason for this missing limb is while the gods were trying to bind Fenrir, the demon wolf, Tyr agreed that the wolf could hold his hand in his mouth as collateral.  When Fenrir realized he was actually bound, he bit off Tyr’s hand.

Bragi– God of poetry, music, and the harp, he is actually one of the newest gods in the Norse pantheon.  His wife is the keeper of the golden apples and every morning Bragi woke the world with his harp music.

Forseti– He is the god of justice and reconciliation. His name means “the presiding one” and he is the son of Balder and Nanna. His home is called Glitnir, meaning “shining”. It is known for its silver ceiling and golden pillars.

Skadi– She is also known as Skade or Skathi and she is a jotunn and a goddess. She is the wife of Njord and the goddess of bowhunting, skiing, winter, and mountains.  When she came to Asgard demanding compensation for her father’s death, the gods agreed to let her marry one of them, but she could only pick her husband by his knees and down.  She picked Njord because she thought his legs belonged to Baldr instead.

Ran– The goddess of storms and the sea, she is greedy and cruel.  Responsible for those who died at sea, her nine daughters are called the Waves.  She wears a huge net as a skirt which collects all the valuables that fall into the sea.

Njord– The god of the sea, fish, and wealth, he is a much kinder sea god than Ran.  The father of Freyr and Freya, he was originally a member of the Vanir.  While his feelings are not returned, Njord does actually love Skadi, and when she is away, his sadness causes the storms at sea.

~Elyce and Victoria

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s