Tag: norse god (Page 2 of 3)

Njord

njordNjord is the God of the wind and fertility as well as the sea and merchants at sea and therefore was invoked before setting out to sea on hunting and fishing expeditions. He is also known to have the ability to calm the waters as well as fire.

Njord, one of the Vanir gods, was first married to his sister Nerthus and had two children with her, Frey and Freyja. His second wife was Skadi (Skade), a Giantess. When Skadi’s father was killed by the Aesir she was granted three “acts” of reparation one of which was to let her choose a husband from among the gods. She was allowed to pick her new husband but the choice had to be made by looking only at the feet. She picked Njord by mistake, assuming his feet belonged to Balder.

Njord and Skadi could not agree on where to live. She didn’t like his home Noatun at the Sea, and he didn’t like hers Trymheim, in the mountain with large woods and wolves, so they lived the first half of the year in Noatun and the other half in Trymheim.

Njord is said to be a future survivor of Ragnarök in stanza 39 of the poetic Edda:

“In Vanaheim the wise Powers made him and gave him as hostage to the gods; at the doom of men he will come back home among the wise Vanir.”

Balder

balderBalder, son of Odin and Frigga, the god of Love and Light, is sacrificed at Midsummer by the dart of the mistletoe, and is reborn at Jul (Yule). Supposedly his return will not occur until after the onslaught of the Ragnarok, which I see as a cleansing and enlightenment more than wanton, purposeless destruction. Balder’s blind brother Hodur was his slayer, whose hand was guided by the crafty Loki. He is married to the goddess of Joy, Nanna.

Balder’s dreams are the beginning of the end. He dreams of his own death and shows Loki the truly evil god that he is which shows the ultimate limitations and mortality of the gods. The gods capture and punish Loki but they cannot rescue Balder from Hel and the beautiful, passive god who embodies the qualities of mercy and love is lost to them. This is the beginning of the end, the first step towards Ragnarok begins.

There is nothing but good to be told of him. He is the best of them and everyone sings his praises. He is so fair of face and bright that a splendor radiates from him, and there is a flower so white that it is likened to Balder’s brow; it is the whitest of all flowers. From that you can tell how beautiful his body is, and how bright his hair. He is the wisest of gods, and the sweetest-spoken, and the most merciful, but it is a characteristic of his that once he has pronounced a judgement it can never be altered. – Snorri Sturluson

Hel

helThe goddess of the dead and the afterlife was Hel (Holle, Hulda), and was portrayed by the Vikings as being half-dead, half alive herself. The Vikings viewed her with considerable trepidation. The Dutch, Gallic, and German barbarians viewed her with some beneficence, more of a gentler form of death and transformation. She is seen by them as Mother Holle; a being of pure Nature, being helpful in times of need, but vengeful upon those who cross her or transgress natural law.

Check Wikipedia for more information.

Frigga

friggaFrigga (Frigg, Fricka), Odin’s wife, was considered to be the Mother of all; and protector of children. She spins the sacred Distaff of life, and is said to know the future, although she will not speak of it. Some believe that Friday was named for her instead of Freya, and there is considerable confusion as to “who does what” among the two. The Norns (Urd, Verdande, and Skuld), are the Norse equivalent of the greek Fates. It is they who determine the orlogs (destinies) of the Gods and of Man, and who maintain the World Tree, Yggdrasil.

Skadi

skadhiSkadi is the Goddess of Winter and of the Hunt. She is married to Njord, the gloomy Sea God, noted for his beautiful bare feet (which is how Skadi came to choose him for her mate.) Supposedly the bare foot is an ancient Norse symbol of fertility. The marriage wasn’t too happy, though, because she really wanted Balder for her husband. She is the goddess of Justice, Vengeance, and Righteous Anger, and is the deity who delivers the sentence upon Loki to be bound underground with a serpent dripping poison upon his face in payment for his crimes. Skadi’s character is represented in two of Hans Christian Anderson’s tales: “The Snow Queen” and “The Ice Princess.”

Heimdall

heimdallIn Myth 14, The Lay of Thrym, it is Heimdall’s idea to Dress up Thor as a woman, in order to trick Thrym, the king of the frost giants, into thinking it was Freyja. The ploy works and Thor recovers his stolen hammer Mjollnir.

Heimdall was associated with the sea and was the son of nine maidens (9 waves??). In Myth 5 – The Song of Rig he calls himself Rig and travels across the land visiting several households, speaking honeyed words, winning over the woman of the household and creating the three races of men.

His acute senses make him an ideal watchman for the gods. His hall is Himinbjorg (Cliffs of Heaven) which stands near the rainbow Bifrost. He owns the horn Gjall which can be heard throughout the nine worlds.

He needs less sleep than a bird and can see a hundred leagues in front of him as well by night as by day. He can hear the grass growing on the earth and the wool on sheep, and everything that makes more noise – Snorri Sturluson

Loki

Loki, the Trickster, challenges the structure and order of the Gods which is necessary in bringing about needed change. In the Prose Edda Snorri Sturluson writes that Loki:

is handsome and fair of face, but has an evil disposition and is very changeable of mood. He excelled all men in the art of cunning, and he always cheats. He was continually involving the Aesir in great difficulties and he often helped them out again by guile.

loki

Neither an Aesir or a Vanir, he is the son of two giants and yet the foster-brother of Odin. Loki embodies the ambiguous and darkening relationship between the gods and the giants. He is dynamic and unpredictable and because of that he is both the catalyst in many of the myths and the most fascinating character in the entire mythology. Without the exciting, unstable, flawed figure Loki, there would be no change in the fixed order of things, no quickening pulse, and no Ragnarok.

He is responsible for a wager with a giant which puts Freyja into peril (Myth 3) but by changing both shape and sex (characteristics he has in common with Odin) he bails her out. In Myth 10 he shears Sif’s hair which is more mischievous than evil, but he makes amends in the end. In Myth 8 his deceit leads to the loss of the golden apples of youth… but he retrieves them again. He helps the Gods and gets them out of predicaments, but spawns the worst monsters ever seen on the face of the Earth: Fenrir, Jormungand, the Midgard Wyrm. His other children include the goddess Hel (Hella, Holle), and Sleipnir, Odin’s 8-legged horse.

It is now generally accepted that he is not a late invention of the Norse poets but an ancient figure descended from a common Indo-European prototype and as such, Loki’s origins are particularly complex. He has been compared to a number of European and other mythological figures, most notably the Trickster of Native American mythology.

Loki

As the myths play out, the playful Loki gives way to a cruel predator, hostile to the gods. He not only guides the mistletoe dart that kills Balder but stands in his way on his return from Hel (the citadel of Niflheim). His accusations against the gods at Aegir’s feast (Myth 30) are vicious. He is an agent of destruction causing earthquakes. And when he breaks loose at Ragnarok, Loki reveals his true colors; he is no less evil than his three appalling children, the serpent Jormungand, the wolf Fenrir and the half-dead, half-alive Hel (Myth 7), and he leads the giants and monsters into battle against the gods and heros.

Tyr

TyrTyr is the ancient god of War and the Lawgiver of the gods. The bravest of the gods, it is Tyr who makes the binding of Fenrir (Myth 7) possible by sacrificing his right hand. At one time he was the leader of the Norse Pantheon, but was supplanted by Odin much later.

Tyr also seems to be a god of justice. His name is derived from Tiw or Tiwaz an Tacticus and other Roman writers have equated this character to Mars, the receiver of human sacrifice. His day is Tuesday.

Tyr was the son of Odin though in Myth 17 he is made out to be the son of the giant Hymir. Like Odin, he has many characteristics of the earlier Germanic gods of battle. Parallels in other mythologies along with archaeological discoveries relating to a one-handed god, suggest that this character is very old and was known in Northern Europe somewhere between one and two thousand years before Snorri Sturluson included it in his Prose Edda. Similarities can be found in the one-handed Naudu in Irish mythology and in Mitra, just god of the day, of Indian mythology.

Freyja

freyjaFreyja (modern forms of the name include Freya, Freja, Freyia, Frøya, and Freia) is considered to be the goddess of Love and Beauty, but is also a warrior goddess and one of great wisdom and magick. She and her twin brother Freyr are of a different “race” of gods known as the Vanir. Many of the tribes venerated her higher than the Aesir, calling her “the Frowe” or “The Lady.” She is known as Queen of the Valkyries, choosers of those slain in battle to bear them to Valhalla (the Norse heaven). She, therefore, is a psychopomp like Odhinn and it is said that she gets the “first pick” of the battle slain. She wears the sacred necklace Brisingamen, which she paid for by spending the night with the dwarves who wrought it from the bowels of the earth. The cat is her sacred symbol. There seems to be some confusion between herself and Frigga, Odin’s wife, as they share similar functions; but Frigga seems to be strictly of the Aesir, while Freyja is of the Vanic race. The day Friday (Frejyasdaeg) was named for her (some claim it was for Frigga).

Thor

thorThor, also known as the Thunderer, was considered to be a son of Fjorgyn (Jord) and Odin by some, but among many tribes Thor actually supplanted Odin as the favorite god. He is considered to be the protector of all Midgard, and he wields the mighty hammer Mjollnir. Thor is strength personified. His battle chariot is drawn by two goats, and his hammer Mjollnir causes the lightning that flashes across the sky. Of all the deities, Thor is the most “barbarian” of the lot; rugged, powerful, and lives by his own rules, although he is faithful to the rest of the Aesir. The day Thursday (Thorsdaeg) is sacred to him.

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