ALPHABET [ A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z | FAMILY TREE ]
He caused storms with his anger and the skalds said a ship went into "Aegir's wide jaws" when it wrecked. Sailors feared Aegir, and thought he would sometimes surface to destroy ships. According to Sidonius, early Saxons made human sacrifices to a god of the sea, possibly connected with Aegir.
Aegir was one of the Vanir and a giant. His father was Mistarblindi [Mist-Blind], and his brothers, Logi [Fire] (identified by Guerber as Loki), and Kari [Air]. Aegir's wife (and sister) was Ran and they lived under the sea by the island Hlesey. Ran and Aegir had nine daughters who were the waves -- all of their names are poetic names for waves.
Aegir brewed ale for the gods after Thor brought him a big enough kettle. Every winter the gods would drink beer at Aegir's home. He was, therefore, famed for his hospitality. Instead of having a fire, gold was put onto the floor of the hall to provide light. Gold is therefore called Aegir's fire. The cups in Aegir's hall were always full, magically refilling themselves. Aegir had two servants in his hall, Fimafeng [Handy] and Eldir [Fire-Kindler]. According to Lee Hollander, Aegir's function as the gods' ale brewer was suggested by the ocean's foam.
After the death of Balder, the gods gathered for a feast in Aegir's hall. Loki showed up and insulted everyone (this is told in Lokasenna in the Poetic Edda). The gods couldn't do Loki harm in the hall since it was a sanctuary where no violence could be committed.
It is interesting to note that in Snorri's Gylfaginning [see Edda] Aegir is not mentioned as one of the gods, and in part of his Skaldskaparmal Aegir, also referred to as Hler, was a man "very skilled in magic" living on the island Hlesey who went to visit the gods in Asgard. During his visit he listened as Bragi told him of the gods' adventures.
In Egil's Saga, after the death by drowning of Egil's second son
Bothvar, Egil composed the poem Sonatorrek which mentions Aegir:
Sure, if sword could venge Such cruel wrong, Evil times would wait Aegir, ocean-god. That wind-giant's brother Were I strong to slay, 'Gainst him and his sea-brood Battling would I go. But I in no wise Boast, as I ween Strength that may strive With the stout ships' bane.(Leach, A Pageant of Old Scandinavia, p. 321.)
Aegir is considered a proto-god, but he is also the God of the Sea -- an ancient god who is God of the Sea. He dwells in the sea and is old. He makes great storms and tempests and hurricanes in the ocean as he pleases. He takes great pleasure in sinking shiips. He sees sailors as intruders. His major epithet is "The Concealer." He hides ships forever. The ocean is called "Aegir's Brewing Vat." Like the sea gods of other cultures, he has sway over whatever goes on in the ocean.
One of the three sea divinities, the other two being Njord and Mimir. He is said to belong to an older dynasty of gods, for he is not ranked among the Ăsir, the Vanir, the giants, dwarfs, or elves, but is considered omnipotent within his realm.
One of two races of gods in Norse mythology, the other being the Vanir. The Ăsir reside in Asgard under the leadership of Odin. Listed among the Ăsir are Balder, Bragi, Forseti, Frigg, Heimdall, Idunn, Sif, Thor, Ull, Vali, and Vidar.
The home of the Ăsir, one of the nine worlds of norse mythology. Asgard was the topmost level of the nine worlds. The Ăsir gods and goddesses had their mansions and palaces here. Asgard was connected to Midgard by the rainbow bridge, Bifrost. Asgard is surrounded by a strong wall built by a giant.
Snorri and Saxo Grammaticus give very different views of Balder and his death. In Saxo's version of this story, Hod (Hother) is alone responsible for Balder's death. Balder's name rarely occurs in place names, therefore, it is thought that not many people worshipped him. It has been suggested that Balder was an ancient hero who was elevated to divinity. The poets used his name to mean warrior.
Balder is also mentioned in the Merseburg charm. The most beautiful of the gods. He is worshipped as the pure and radiant god of innocence and light. His snowy brow and golden locks seem to radiate beams of sunshine which gladdens the hearts of gods and men, by whom he is equally beloved. The god of light is well versed in the science of runes, which are carved on his tongue. The only thing hidden from Balder's radiant eyes is the perception of his own ultimate fate.
Bil is also called the goddess of weaving by Gisli in Gisla saga Surssonar. After Gisli has a prophetic dream regarding his death, he speaks the verse containing the reference to Bil. The tone makes it seem that weaving refers to weaving destiny.
In The Lay of Hakon, Bragi is in Valhalla with Odin who tells Bragi to go out and greet Hakon as he arrives. Bragi is also in Valhalla alongside Odin in The Lay of Eirik, and Odin refers to Bragi as one who "knowest everything well". During the feast in Asgard attended by Aegir, it is Bragi who relates to Aegir the tales of the gods. There was a 9th century skald named Bragi Boddason and some believe he may have been raised to a god by later writers. Others believe Bragi was an aspect of Odin. Bragi, the poet and musician of the Gods (the Aesir)
Bragi is not featured in many of the surviving Norse myths, but it is believed that he is revered by all save Loki. Because of Odin's knowledge of poetry and his adventures with the Mead of Poetry some scholars see Bragi as another facet of Odin's personality and not a separate god. According to other sources Bragi was a poet that was elevated to the rank of god due to the respect that was given to poets.
There is a giant named Billing and his daughter Rinda. Many suitors came for Rinda. She is not pleased with any of them. Billing knows that he will soon be invaded by a nearby hostile army. Odin sees how beautiful Rinda is and becomes the leader of Billing's army. He leads them to a resounding victory. Odin decides then to woo Rinda. How can she refuse? But she rejects him, too. Odin has a real eye for beautiful women, no matter what kind, and never fails -- until now. Odin returns as a jewelry maker. He makes magnificent jewelry for Rinda, and she still refuses him. He returns as a handsome young man. She refuses a third time. He takes out his rune staff and reads a spell. She is in a trance. Odin leaves. Billing is devastated. Odin shows up as an old woman who says she knows what to do. She ties Rinda to a chair. After Odin rapes her, a child is born. The child is called Vali. He is sort of a personification of the returning sun (Jul). He is an archer god (representative of the sun's long rays). It only took him one day to reach manhood. Vali may be the source of the image of a cupid with bow and arrow -> "Valentine."
Another of Odin's sons was born to Grid. He is Vidar the Silent. He is the God of Resurrection and Renewal (like spring). He is silent because he represents the Primeval Forest. He is a very strong eternal force of nature either way. He is tall and handsome and armored. On his right foot is a THICK leather shoe made up of scraps of leather. [Scandinavians throw all scraps away for Vidar's shoe.]
Balder and Hoder are twin brother gods, the sons of Odin and Frigga. Balder is the most glorious and beautiful of all the Gods. He is very even-tempered, compassionate, and pleasant. Hoder is short, dark, almost ugly, and blind. The two brothers possibly represent day and night. Balder has a nightmare which depresses him badly. He prophesies his own death. He sees himself dead in the near future. Odin knows the truth already and says nothing. Frigga also knows but refuses to accept it. She goes throughout the universe and extracts promises from everyone and everything not to harm Balder. And when she returns, she tells the Gods, who are skeptical at first. But in trying, they see that rocks REFUSE to hit him, as do arrows and spears. Nothing can harm him. Frigga still can't watch the "fun" without being disturbed. She goes to rest in her hall and an old, old woman visits her. Frigga cheers up the seemingly sad stranger with the story of how she is protecting her son. The woman questions her, "Everything?" But there was one thing that was too insignificant for Frigga to bother with: mistletoe. The old woman leaves and goes around the corner where she turns back into Loki the Trickster. Loki slips out to the edge of the Gods having their fun with Balder. He sits beside Hoder and asks why he isn't joining in. Loki picks up some mistletoe and magically turns it into a hardened dart (a short javelin). He offers it to the blind Hoder to throw. Hoder hesitates, but Loki says he will guide his throw. Hoder throws, piercing Balder straight through the heart. Balder falls down dead. Loki slips away. The Gods see Hoder as a murderer. Hoder doesn't even know what has happened. When he finds out, he too is stunned. The Gods realize that Loki is guilty. Some of them set out to find him. Frigga is heart-broken. She should have known better because she can see the future. She begs anyone for help, refusing to give up. A god named Hermod offers to help by taking Sleipnir to the Underworld and requesting that Hela release Balder. It takes him nine days and nights at top speed to get there. Hela says if they can get EVERYONE to shed a tear for him, she will release Balder. The Gods go throughout all the nine worlds -- everyone is weeping. But in Jotunheim, a giantess named Thokk refuses to weep. Later they realize that Thokk was Loki. They put the corpse on Balder's ship. Odin puts Draupnir on Balder's chest. He leans down and whispers something to the corpse. No one can hear. The ship, loaded with gold, is too heavy to push out to sea. They send for a giantess renowned for her strength to push the ship. She arrives, riding in on a wild-eyed timberwolf with a bridle of poisonous snakes. Hyrokkin is her name. Odin sets four berserkers in charge of the wolf and snakes. Hyrokkin goes and gives the ship a heavy kick. The ship rolls out so fast it sets the roller logs on fire. Thor arrives and almost bashes her head in, but the Gods stop him. The ship burns and Balder is lost to them. Thor and Kvassir (personified spit) and several others go out to find Loki, who is hiding in a fisherman's cottage near a river, idly weaving a fishing net. He hears them coming. He burns the net and turns himself into a fish (a salmon) in the river. Kvassir, God of Ultimate Wisdom, sees the ashes of the net and immediately discerns the situation. The Gods immediately set to work making another net. When they are finished, Thor stands on one side of the river, and all the other Gods stand on the other side. The salmon swims under the net. They sew rocks to the bottom of the net to drag the river. Loki jumps over the net. Now the Gods split up -- some on each side of the river with Thor wading behind the net. He is miffed. Loki panics. He swims with all his speed and leaps up but Thor catches him by the tail. (From that time forward, the salmon has had a crimped tail.) Loki doesn't bother pleading for mercy. They must give him a kind of eternal punishment. They must tie him in one place forever but the bonds must be magical. Loki's other wife Sygin has two sons Narvi and Vali. The Gods turn Vali into a wild wolf who immediately attacks and rips apart Narvi. They use Narvi's intestines to make bonds to tie up Loki. They take him into a cave and tie him to a rock. He cannot move. Skadi comes along. Loke made her laugh and she hates him for it. Her vengeance is to bring in a gigantic venomous serpent. The Gods place it on a ledge directly above his face. The poison constantly drips on to his face (causing a burning, searing pain). They leave him like that. Sygin decides to help him. She sits beside him with a bowl in her hands over his face to keep the poison from hurting him. But of course the bowl fills up once in a while. At those times, his pain is so horrible that his entire body shakes and quivers (earthquakes).
Magni and Modi are the sons of Thor and Jarnsaxa, a giantess. [A "sax(a)" is a heavy knife or short sword, hand axe. "Jarn" = "iron."] Magni is the personification of strength. Modi is the personification of courage. In one story, Thor has just killed a giant. He has a stone embedded in his forehead. The giant's leg falls on top of Thor, who is injured and can't lift it. Magni, when only three hours old, lifts the leg when none of the Gods could.
The third husband of Night, their son was Day. Delling was related to the sons of Bor, the gods Odin, Vili, Ve.
He is the most colorful of the Gods. He almost always travels with Loki. Loki is a shape-shifter, as is Odin. Thor is a size-shifter. He is terribly heavy and hot, and he cannot cross the Bifrost bridge. He must wade through the North Sea and come around the long way. He is a storm god, so he has fiery red hair and a bright red bristling beard (lightning). He has a red nose -- he is an enormous drinker (lightning). His eyes are always bloodshot (same reason). His voice is low, gruff and loud (thunder). he rides in a chariot pulled by two goats (rams), one of which travels with a limp. Hung on his chariot are pots and pans which, make the noise of thunder. The serious limp suggests the jagged path of lightning. Thor always has (1) a belt, which is heavy, powerful, and wide -- the tighter he pulls it the stronger he gets, and (2) a steel gauntlet (battle glove -- leather with steel plates sewn on) which is used with his (3) hammer called Mjollnir, "The Destroyer." The hammer is a lightning bolt -- Thor's Hammer. Thos ir not a mental wizard. He is not a deep thinker, not a contemplator. His philosophy is blast with the hammer and then ask what's going on. He has a terrible temper (flash storms). He is a man of action, the strongest of the Gods. But he is also gentle at times (like a rainstorm). Loki is unpredictable as fire would be. Thor is married to Sif, a beautiful goddess with LONG, gold-blond hair. She is not very active, but gorgeous. Another feature of Thor's Hammer is that when he turns it around and taps with the other end, it can bring the dead to life. Whatever he hits is killed. He is the Gods' chief protection against the Giants. Everyone is afraid of Thor's wrath. He is unstoppable.
A giant, the father of Loki. According to some sources, his wife was Laufey the mother of Loki. Laufey was supposed to have given birth after being struck by a lightning bolt unleashed by Farbauti.
The wolf who was one of the monstrous children of Loki and Angerboda. Brother of Hel and Jormungand. Fenris was so large that when he opened his mouth his jaws stretched from earth to heaven. He was bound by the gods and is doomed to remain chained until the time of Ragnarok
God of justice and conciliation. The son of Balder and Nanna. Forseti sits day after day settling the differences of gods and men, patiently listening to both sides of every question and finally pronouncing sentences so equitable that none ever find fault with his decrees. It is said that his eloquence and powers of persuasion are such that he always succeeds in touching the hearts of his listeners and that he has never failed to reconcile even the most bitter of foes.
Freya, the twin sister of Frey. She is considered the Goddess of Love. She is strikingly gorgeous. Ans she is made even more beautiful when she wears her Brising necklace which was made by dwarves out of the twinkling of the stars. This is how she got it: The dwarves made it and went to her and showed it to her. She is very egocentric (archetypal trait of love goddesses) and wants it very badly. The three ugly dwarves demand that she has to have sex with all three of these ugly dwarves. She says, "What?! -- All right." And she does it. (Having seduced every male god in Asgard and Vanaheim, Loki accuses her of leaping like a nannygoat from bed to bed.) Freya is also the Goddess of War, because love and hate were seen as basically the same emotion just redirected. After a battle, she comes down and leads the Valkyries (beautiful women flying through the air on horses), and they take the spirits back to Valhalla and splits them with Odin. Freya and come and go from the Underworld without any problem. For a while she was married to Odur (a traveler), but he left her and never returned. She was devastated and wept copiously. Some say she still weeps and the tears fall to Earth where they land they sometimes turn stones soft or turn them to gold. If her tears land in the sea, they turn stones to amber. She has the falcon cloak (or "cape" or "garb"). It is made of falcon feathers. The cloak enables the wearer to fly. She rides in a chariot drawn by cats (an interesting symbol). ALL the Frost Giants lust after her.
The goddess of love and fertility, she came to Asgard with her brother, Freyr, and her father, Njord. Freya was exceedingly beautiful and many fell in love with her, including giants, dwarfs and men. Freya is said to have a talent for witchcraft and it is said that when she came to Asgard she instructed the gods about magic charms and potions. Freya also has a warlike side and shares Odin's love of battle. She and Odin share the slain heroes between them, so that some go to Valhalla and others are chosen by Freya to be entertained at her hall, Sessrumnir. Freya's boar, the gold-bristled Hildisvini, was a symbol of war. As well as a boar chariot, Freya had a chariot pulled by two gray or black cats. She had a falcon skin that she sometimes donned to fly away. She lent the falcon skin to Loki in the stories of Idunn's Apples and The Theft of Thor's Hammer. Her most precious possession is the Brisings' Necklace.
Goddess of sex, fertility, war, and wealth. Originally one of the Vanir. She was the daughter of Njord, and the sister of Frey. Her daughters, by Od, are named Hnoss, who is so beautiful that whatever is valuable and lovely is named "treasure" after her, and Gersemi. She lived in Folkvang [battlefield] and each day chose half of the slain warriors to split with Odin. She had a husband named Od, whom she somehow lost and cried golden tears for. Many believe Od is Odin. Her chariot was drawn by male cats (their names are never stated) and she owned the precious Brisings' necklace, which she slept with four dwarves to acquire. She also owned a feather coat wh
ich she could use to fly between the worlds. After she went to live with the Aesir as a hostage, she taught them -- including Odin -- seidr. Some sources say Friday is named after her.
He is the lord of the sun, rain and harvests. He is a shining god, bringing fertility and prosperity to all. Freyr was one of the Vanir gods that went to live in Asgard after theWar between the Ăsir and Vanir. His home is Alfheim and he is sometimes known as lord of the Alfs (elves). The ship Skidbladnir was given to him as was Gullinbrusti. He also possessed a magic sword that struck out at Jotuns of its own accord. He gave his sword to Skirnir as a price for his wooing of Gerda.
He ruled over the land of the light elves, Alfheim. He was the son of Njord and Njord's sister (mayhaps Ingun), and the brother of Freya. His step-mother was Skadi. To make peace, the Aesir and Vanir exchanged hostages. He, along with Njord and Freya, were sent by the Vanir to dwell with the Aesir. He owned the ship Skidbladnir which was made for him by dwarves. It could sail on the land, sea, or through the air. It was large enough to hold all the gods, yet could be folded up and fit into a pocket. He also owned a chariot drawn by two boars, Gullinbursti and Slidrugtanni. He could ride Gullinbursti [golden-bristled] through the sky. It was made by dwarfs for Loki to give to Frey. His name means "Lord" and it is thought that he was at one time the consort of his sister Freya [Lady]. His wife was Gerd, a beautiful giantess who he fell in love with when he espied her from Odin's throne. He sent his servant, Skirnir, to win her for him. For this task, Frey lent Skirnir his sword which "swings itself if wise he who wields it" and his horse. After Skirnir's threatening of her, Gerd agreed to give herself to Frey in nine nights at the forest Barri. At the Ragnarok, Frey will be killed by the fire giant Surt.
Also known as Yng, Frey is named as the progenitor of the swedish royal family. There was a statue of Frey in the temple at Uppsala in Sweden, the center of his cult. Frey, God of the Sun (solar deity). Frey and Freya are twins, brother and sister. They are Vanir. Frey is also the god of warm spring and summer showers. He is put in charge of Alfheim (home of the light elves) because of his characteristics. The elves obey him. Frey has a sword. He shines brilliant gold. So does his sword, which will fight by itself and magically defeat any enemy when he draws it. Not only does his gold color represent the sun, it also represents the golden grain which grows because of the sun's rays. Since he is the God of the Sun, at a certain time of the year he is called Jul. The sun is though of as a wheel in the sky. "Jul" means wheel. The wheel would roll away and return beginning on Midwinter's Day. This is called Yuletide -- the season of the wheel. It is a month of rejoicing. The Scandinavians would take wheels of dry wood to hill tops, set them alight with fire, and then roll them down into ponds. This took place at Winter's Solstice.
Frey was Vanir and therefore a foreigner in Asgard. One day, he even went to sit on Odin's throne because he didn't know any better. Frey looked far north and saw the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. She was the daughter of a giant. Her name was Gerda. Frey wanted to marry her but was too shy to ask, so he sat around and moped instead. Finally, his assistant Skyrnir came to him to find out what was bothering him. Skyrnir said, "I'll go in your place and woo her, but it will cost you your magic sword." Frey consented, blinded by love. Skyrnir took Frey's image (i.e., he looked like him) to court Gerda who wasn't interested. Finally he said, "If you don't consent, your body will have no more heat. Your body will wither and dry up and you will be an ugly old woman at whom no one will look." So she agreed. She said she'd be there in nine days. The two were married. The sword was lost. Gerda = Erda which means "earth." The metaphor represents the sun wooing the earth with warmth followed by nine months of winter.
Frigga is a goddess closely associated with Frey and Freya. No one is sure after which of the three "Friday" is named. Frigga and Freya may be alteregos. Frigga is the Goddess of Cloudy Skies (not of Vanir but Aesir). She is always wearing either a black robe or a white robe. Sometimes Odin is displayed in a black robe. Sometimes the robe has stars on it. This could be associated with the current concept of a wizard's robe. The robe is the night sky because Odin is a storm god. Frigga is Odin's wife. She is Queen of the Gods. She has knowledge of the future but WILL NOT tell. She is very beautiful, but she is not thought of the same way as Freya. She has a maternal and wifely kind of beauty. Freya is the Goddess of War and Love. Frigga does love beautiful jewelry and clothing. She wears in her tiara plumes of heron, symbolizing silence (this suggests her refusal to reveal the future). She wears a ring of keys at her belt (like a jailer) symbolizing her role as housewife (a standard Scandinavian symbol). Females ran the household in complete dominance -- Frigga is the patron goddess of housewives and mothers. Because of this, she is almost always alone, as wives tended to be. She sits at a spinning wheel, spinning alone for long hours in the Hall of Mists. (In the night sky, what we know as the Belt of Orion, is known to the Sacndinavians as "Frigga's Spinning Wheel.") It is not a terribly joyful life. And yet she has her own large hall to which the spirits of certain people go when they die. It is the hall which houses the spirits of true lovers, and they are never parted. Frigga has other names: J÷rd /yerd/ = Earth; Bertha or Ertha. She does control some aspects of fertility. Another of her names is Eastra /ay ahs' tra/ = spring (origin of our word "Easter").
Three gods came from Vanir: Frey, Freya, and their father Njord. He bore his children on his sister, and the Aesir did not like that very much. It makes the Vanir look more primitive, thus making the Aesir superior. Njord is associated with the ocean and shores. He is the God of Offshore Waters and the Winds. His palace is on the seashore. (Most temples to him are also on the seashore.) Njord is the patron god of fishermen and commerce/merchants. Under Njord's control are ALL ships entering and leaving port, thus all trade belongs to him. In addition, he is the God of Summer because climates are most temperate near the seashore. He is portrayed as a handsome young man wearing a short green tunic and a crown of seashells and seaweed. The Scandinavians prayed to Njord to stop storms and for a good harvest. Njord eventually marries Skadi. She is the Goddess of Scandinavian Weather.
The chief of Ăsir goddess. She is associated with love, marriage, and motherhood. She is frequently pictured as being very beautiful, wearing a girdle with household keys and weaving clouds on her spinning wheel. According to some sources Frigg is the mother of Thor. Also, some sources depict Frigg as a devoted wife and mother, others as a sorceress who wears a falcon skin and sees into the future, and as a wanton woman who covets gold and jewelry and the love of men. Due to these differing depictions it is difficult to get an accurate picture of what Frigg actually stood for. Some sources believe that Frigg and Freya are just various facets of one deity
When Hermod rode to Hell to ask Hel if Baldr could return to Asgard, Nanna
gave him a gold ring to give to Fulla, among other gifts. Fulla is called a maid
of Frigg in The Lay of Gimnir in the Poetic Edda, and is sent on an
errand by Frigg. We also have mention of Fulla in Gisla saga Surssonar:
My Fulla, fair faced, the goddess of stones Who gladdens me much, shall hear of her friend Standing straight, unafraid in the rain of the spears...He died in combat in the crags soon after uttering these words. He had been fighting off his assailants with stones and sword, and was burried under stones, which was customary.
The howling hound who stands at the gates of Hel's domain. In some tellings he could be quieted only by a piece of cake given to him by those who had given bread to the poor. At Ragnarok Garm will break his chain and run free.
All women who die virgins go to her hall. She was also a fertility goddess. In one myth, Gylfi, king of Sweden, tells Gefjon, who was disguised as a beggar, that she could have as much of Sweden as she could plough with four oxen in one day. She traveled to Jotunheim and found her four oxen sons whom she had by a giant (she isn't a virgin in this myth!). She returned to Sweden in Midgard with her sons and ploughed all of the land now known as Zealand so it became part of Denmark, thereby tricking Gylfi. Her name means "Giver".
The vast chasm where the rivers known as the Elivagar met the heat and sparks from Muspelheim and the creation process began.
The rock through which Gelgia was passed in order to keep Fenris bound until Ragnarok.
A Vanir goddess. The Aesir's attempt to kill her brought about the first war in the world (the Vanir against the Aesir) which the Vanir won. The two tribes exchanged gods and then ruled together. Gullveig [Power of Gold] has been identified by some as the Triple Goddess, which was prevalent throughout the old world. Also called Heid [witch]. According to some she is Freya.
The spear of Odin , it was crafted by the sons of Ilvadi. Gungnir never misses its mark. During the War between the Ăsir and the Vanir Odin hurled Gungnir at the Vanir. Ever after, the Norse imitated this action. It was thought that by hurling a spear over the enemy you would gain Odin's protection and would be assured victory.
Watches the rainbow bridge, >Bifrost, for the coming of the frost giants at the Ragnarok, at which time he will sound his horn Gjallar. In the Ragnarok, he and Loki will kill each other. He never sleeps, can see in the dark, and can hear sheep wool growing. His dwelling place is Himinbjorg [heavenly mountains]. Nine sisters, signifying the waves, gave birth to him. As Rig, he begets Thrall, Carl, and Earl, representing the three classes of man; slave, freeman, and noble.
Heimdall is a god chosen for his talents to be the guard at the gate on Bifrost bridge. He stands at the gate and is brilliant in white armor (steel armor highly polished like a mirror). His teeth are gold. He has a great sword. He is a fierce warrior and very handsome. His talents are that he can see 200 miles in complete darkness and that he can hear the grass growing. Three gods vied for the position, but Heimdall's talents secured it for him. Once a giant made a deal with an air spirit who was to sneak into Asgard to listen to the Gods' plans and tell the giant. Air spirits are invisible. The air spirit succeeded and was listening in to Odin and the Gods. Heimdall came in and said, "I have to resign because I have somehow sensed that something got past me and I di not stop it." So Odin magically freezes the air spirit, who is thus nabbed. They force an oath from the air spirit never to come again. And Heimdall is persuaded to stay at his post. Heimdall carries a sword and the Gjallar horn. When a god comes to the gate, he blows the horm softly. If anyone tries to overwhelm him, he will blast it and get help immediately.
The watchman of the gods. Heimdall is the guardian of Bifrost and he possesses the horn Giallar. His horse is Gulltop and his sword is Hofund. He is a great watchman as his eyesight is so sharp that he can see for 100 miles in all directions as plainly by night as by day, his hearing is such that he can hear the grass pushing up from under the earth and the wool growing on a sheep's back and he requires less sleep than a bird. He is also purported to have "second sight" that allows him to see into the future. Heimdall is also a clever god. It was his idea to send Thor to Jotunheim to retrieve Mjollnir from the giant Thrym. Heimdall was also known as Rig during his journey to Midgard.
Daughter of Loki and the giant Angurboda. She is the sister of Fenrir (Fenris-wolf) and Jormungand (Midgard serpent). She is the goddess of the underworld. Her realm was Niflheim and her hall, Elvidnir [misery]. She was described as half white and half black. Goddess of death and the underworld, daughter of Loki and Angerboda. Sister to Fenris and Jormungand. According to the Prose Edda. Hel was terrible to look at, one-half of her was greenish black and the other a livid white, with flesh that seemed to be rotting like that of a corpse and her face was gloomy, grim and sinister.
According to some sources, Hel is also one of the nine worlds of Norse mythology. It is in this world that the creature known as Hel resides.
Son of Odin and Frigg, Hermod is a bold and brave god. He volunteered to go to Hel's domain to beg for the release of Balder. Hermod stands at Odin's side at the gates of Valhalla to welcome the heroes gathering there.
Daughter of Freya and Odur. Her name means "jewel". According to the Prose Edda she is so beautiful that her name can be given to whatever is precious or lovely.
The blind god, son of Odin and Frigg, brother of Balder. Hodur unwittingly killed Balder with the help of Loki and was in turn killed by Vali.
The god of silence. One of the three original Ăsir gods who along with his brothers Odin and Lother created the world. After the War between the Ăsir and Vanir Hoenir went to live with the Vanir as part of an exchange of gods. Hoenir was accompanied by Mimir. The Vanir became angry when Hoenir appeared to be indecisive and slow-witted, always relying on Mimir to make decisions. As Hoenir was Odin's brother the Vanir did not dare to harm him, but instead killed Mimir and sent his head to Odin. In the Poetic Edda Hoenir is called Vili and his brother Lodur is called Ve.
Goddess who is married to Bragi and is the keeper of the apples which keep the gods eternally young. The storm giant Tjasse abducts her and the gods start to age until Loki kills the giant and retrieves Idun. Goddess of youth, her name means "The Rejuvenating One". Idun, Goddess of Eternal Youth. She has a large basket of apples known as Idun's Apples or the Apples of Immortality. Annually, the Gods eat from her basket to stay young. Her basket is eternally full. The flaxen-haired goddess who supplies the Ăsir with the apples that grant eternal youth. She is the wife of Bragi. She is featured in the story of Idunn's Apples.
The Midgard serpent, offspring of Loki and Angerboda, brother of Fenris and Hel. Jormungand was cast into the sea by Odin and was doomed to encircle the earth, his tail in his mouth. Jormungand was the mortal enemy of Thor.
One of the nine worlds, a freezing, mountainous land, home of the Jotuns. This world was given to the giants by Odin after the creation.
In one myth, he is the wisest of the Vanir and sent to the Aesir as a hostage in a peace making process. In another tradition, he is created when the Aesir and Vanir mix together their spit in a peace making ritual. He is the wisest being. Later on, he is killed by dwarves who make his blood into mead, the mead of poetry.
The wisest man in the world, created from the spittle of the Ăsir and Vanir
after the War between the Ăsir and Vanir. Kvasir was slain by two dwarves who
mixed his blood with honey to create the Mead of Poetry. According to some
stories Kvasir was a Vanir god who came to live in Asgard following the War
between the Ăsir and Vanir.
A giant. He became a member of the Aesir when Odin made Loki his blood brother. He is the god of mischief, a trickster, and very cunning. After causing the death of Balder, he was bound by the gods until the Ragnarok, at which time, he will be freed.
Loki is the Trickster of the Gods. He doesn't get along with Heimdall. Originally, he was the God of Fire. He has fiery red hair and is extremely funny and witty. He would do anything to make people laugh. He is half giant but has been approved by Odin. Eventually, his pranks devolved into practical jokes with a streak of viciousness. He devolved further into a trickster, a figure found in many cultures . The trickster amuses himself at the expense of others. His jokes often backfire. He is arrogant, funny, but not usually popular. For example, the American Indian Trickster is the coyote (as in Wile E. Coyote). He steals and is always caught and has to make restitution. Odin or Thor can always make Loki tell the truth. He has several wives and children. Loki is always aiming at the destruction of the Gods. Heimdall aims to protect the Gods.
Loki is known as the trickster god, the mischief maker, the father of lies and deceit. Loki is counted among the Ăsir gods, but he is not one of them. Some say that he and Odin were blood brothers, which is why none of the gods dared to harm Loki, no matter how mischievous and malevolent he becomes. Loki is associated with the hearth fires and over time came to be associated with evil. It was due to Loki that the gods received the gifts of Ilvadi's sons and of Brokk and Sindri. It was due to Loki's words at Ăgir's feast and his hand in the death of Balder that the gods finally set out to capture and punish Loki.
Son of Thor and Jarnsaxa, brother of Modi. After Thor's duel with Hrungnir Magni rescued Thor and was rewarded with Gullfaxi. Magni and his brother will survive Ragnarok.
A wise being. Possibly the son of Bolthorn. In some myths a god and in others a giant. He was sent as a hostage by the aesir to the vanir. The vanir became mad and cut his head off. Odin preserved his head so he could seek wisdom from it and placed it next to Mimir's well. A wise god sent by the Ăsir to the Vanir following the War between the Ăsir and Vanir. Mimir was accompanied by Hoenir who was a brother of Odin. The Vanir became upset with Hoenir but dared not harm him. Instead they killed Mimir and sent his head back to Odin. Odin used his magic to preserve the head of Mimir which ever after imparted wisdom when Odin came seeking counsel. It was to Mimir that Odin sacrificed his right eye for a drink from Mimir's well.
The hammer of Thor. Crafted by Brokk and Sindri it is a symbol of Thor's strength and of the thunderbolt he personified. The gods considered Mjollnir to be their greatest treasure because it alone could be used to defend Asgard against the giants. When hurled by Thor the hammer will always strike its mark and instantly return to his hand. Mjollnir was not only a weapon, but is also a symbol of fertility. During wedding ceremonies the hammer is always placed in the lap of the bride.
Son of Thor and Jarnsaxa, brother of Magni. He and his brother will survive Ragnarok.
One of Odin's two ravens. The two fly about the nine worlds every day and then return to Odin and tell him what they have seen.
One of the Ăsir goddesses, wife of Balder, mother of Forseti. After Balder's death, Nanna died of grief and was placed on the funeral pyre next to him.
Tacitus in 98 CE describes the worship of Nerthus by the Danish. He calls her Mother Earth and relates the ritual surrounding her. According to Tacitus, Nerthus' sanctuary was in a sacred grove on an island and within the copse was a cart under a covering. When the goddess came to her sanctuary the priest was aware of it and would walk alongside her cart pulled by cows as Nerthus visited places. While the goddess was among people no war was allowed and all weapons were put away. Once the goddess was brought back to her shrine, she, her cart, and its covering, were all washed in a lake by slaves. The slaves were supposedly swallowed by the lake afterwards.
A goddess of fertility, also known as Mother Earth. Some sources say she is the sister-wife of Njord and mother of Freyr and Freya.
God of the wind and sea, father of Frey and Freya. He is a member of the vanir and his home is Noatun. His wife was the giantess Skadi. As compensation for the death of her father Thjatsi, the gods decided to let her pick a husband from among them -- one catch, she had to pick her new husband based only on the appearance of his 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, and he didn't like her's, so they split up. She was associated with skiing and hunting. Snorri associated Njord with Saturn.
One of the Vanir gods, he was a god of the sea and of fertility. He was the father of Freyr and Freya. He came to live in Asgard following the War between the Ăsir and Vanir. Njord was wedded to Skadi following the death of her father at the hands of the gods.
The fates. Three spirits who spin the thread of life for all living beings,
gods, men, giants and dwarves. They are three sisters who live near the Well of
Urd at the foot of Yggdrasil.
The names of the three sisters are Urd, Verdande, and Skuld. Urd is the oldest of the sisters, and is associated with the past. Verdande is associated with the present and Skuld is associated with possible futures. More often in Norse mythology they are associated with what was, what is and what could come to be.
The valkyries would serve mead which forever flowed from the udder of Odin's goat, Heidrun. They also served the warriors meat that came from the boar Saehrimnir, which the cook Andhrimnir would prepare for eating by boiling it in the cauldron Eldhrimnir. The boar magically came back to life before the next meal. After eating, the warriors would go outside the hall and fight each other to the death. They were, of course, brought back to life before the next feast. All of this fighting was practice for when Odin would lead the Einheriar in the final battle, Ragnarok.
Odin had a spear named Grungir which never missed its mark and a bow which unleashed ten arrows with every pull. He also owned a magic ring called Draupnir which created nine of itself every night. It was this ring that Odin laid on his son Balder's funeral pyre and which Balder returned to Odin from the underworld. Another one of Odin's prized possesions was his wonderful steed named Sleipnir which had eight legs.
The horse was the offspring of Loki, who in mare form seduced a giant's horse named Svadilfari. Sleipnir could travel to the underworld and through the air. Odin also had two wolves, Geri and Freki, and two ravens, Hugin [thought] and Munin [memory]. He sent his ravens out every day to gather knowledge for him.
Odin sacrificed himself for knowledge by hanging on the world tree, Yggdrasil, which means Ygg's horse. Ygg is a name for Odin and horse is a metaphor for the gallows. He thereby learns the runes. Another sacrifice he made for wisdom was his eye. He gave it up in order to drink from the Well of Mimir which bestowed great knowledge. Because of this, he is typically depicted as having one eye. He is also depicted as wearing a cloak, being old, having a long grey beard, and wearing a wide brimmed hat down low over his face to conceal his one-eyed visage.
Odin was destined to die at Ragnarok; Fenris-Wolf swallowed him. Knowing his fate, he still chose to embrace it and do battle. Showing the true warrior ethic. He was the god of warriors and kings, not the common man. Many heroes genealogies start with Odin, including Sigurd. His name is not found in many place names and therefore it is believed that not many people worshipped him. He was thought to be a traitorous god, as shown in the sagas, who would strike down a warrior at his whim.
Odin is wild, furious, angry, almost mad with a wild kind of unleashed fury. The All Father, the Val Father (God or Father of the Valiant Dead). He knew he was king of the gods and must rule wisely and with foreknowledge. He first went to Mimir to ask for a drink from the well so he would have foreknowledge. Mimir refused at first. He finally relented but for a heavy price: one of Odin's eyes. So Odin took out a dagger and pried an eye out and threw it into the well. Thus, Odin knows the long-range future. His right eye is missing and he doesn't wear a patch over the socket. Odin also knew that he needed ultimate wisdom. So he took a spear and stabbed himself and hung himself on a tree for nine days as a corpse. At the end of that time, he turned himself back into a god again and had attained the wisdom which he sought. (A possible manifestation of the crucifixion of Christ? The enlightenment also parallels Buddha.) The tree is called the Hanging Tree or the Gallows Tree. From this event comes the phrase "riding the Gallows Tree" which refers to hanging -- sometimes as a sacrifice to Odin. These are the two forms of self-sacrifice Odin had to go through in order to rule well. Annually, toward mid-winter (December), Odin goes out on a hunt with friends (other gods) and dogs. He makes a tremendous amount of noise as he rides across the sky. This is called the Wild Hunt or the Wild Ride. If you see it, you will die. It is good luck to hear it, but a human is never to look upon it. Odin is a vigorous man with a long, grey beard (50-60 years old). He is powerful, with armor and a long cloak. When on Earth, he wears a floppy hat which covers his missing eye. He is a sky god, so the cloak is blue or black. He carries a spear, called the Invincible Spear. He has, as does each god, his own hall with a throne only for him. From there, he can see almost everything, yet he has information brought back to him constantly by the eagle and hawk who sit high in the branches of the World Tree and by two ravens who perch either on his shoulder or on the back of his throne. The ravens are Thought and Memory. At his feet sit two wolves or dogs. They do not have names. Both wolves and ravens are associated with warfare and death. No mild beings are associated with Odin. He is a fearsome battle god.
The highest and holiest god of the Northern races. He is the god of universal wisdom and victory. According to some sources he has the Valkyries collect half of the slain following any battle, according to other sources the Valkyries only collect heros. These warriors are then brought across Bifrost and into Valhalla. These warriors are known as the Einherjar. Odin's symbols include the raven, the wolf, and the spear. Odin is said to have two ravens, Hugin (thought) and Munin (memory) that he sends forth into the world every day to gather information for him. He is also said to have two wolves Geri (greedy) and Freki (fierce). He is said to feed the wolves the meat from his plate in Valhalla as all he needs for sustenance is Mead. Odin's spear, Gungnir, crafted by the sons of Ilvadi, is said to have the power to determine victory in battle. Another of Odhinn's symbols is the valknut, three triangles interlaced.
Odhinn was the giver of runes to mankind and was also responsible for the rescue of the poetic mead of inspiration
Ran is Aegir's wife and sister. Her names means "robber." She is not quite as "nice" as Aegir. She likes to entice mariners and then snares them with her net. She then slowly draws them down to the bottom of the sea and drowns them, robbing their families. When someone dies at sea, Ran is considered a Goddess of Death (at sea). She has a weakness: she LOVES gold. Many mariners in a storm would throw gold overboard to appease her. She is called "Mother of the Nine Waves" (which are thought of as daughters). It was popular to believe that waves came in groups of nine. Nine is thought to be a magic number in many cultures.
Wife of Ăgir, possibly also his sister. She is a sea divinity, she is said to gather up the drowned in her net. It was from her that Loki borrowed the net used to gather up the ransom to cover Otter's skin.
Goddess who drinks with Odin in her hall Sokkvabekk. Her name means "seeress" and is connected with the norse word for history -- thus, some call her the goddess of history. Some consider her just an aspect of Frigg.
Loki was confounded with Saturn, who had also been shorn of his divine attributes, and both were considered the prototypes of Satan. The last day of the week, which was held sacred to Loki, was known in the Norse as Laugardag, or wash-day, but in English it was changed to Saturday, and was said to owe its name not to Saturn but to Sataere, the thief in ambush, and the Teutonic god of agriculture, who is supposed to be merely another personification of Loki.Of course, Guerber does not provide us with a source. If we look at the Norse sources there are no references to Sataere or Saturn. Jan De Vries lists the Old English word Sataere as being derived from the word Saturn, thus not a separate diety, and it seems that Njord not Loki is the Norse god that more closely resembles Saturn. Could an association between Njord and Saturn be the cause of Scandinavians using Laugurdag -- bath or wash day -- in place of Saturday?
Grimm in his Teutonic Mythology reasons that Saturn was originally a Germanic deity and this is probably Guerber's source. Prof. E.G. Stanley in The Search for Anglo-Saxon Paganism states that Saturn is erroneously included among the gods of the Anglo-Saxons by some scholars (Grimm included) because of his appearence in an early Old English poem Solomon and Saturn. Moreover, Stanley relates the opinion of other scholars that the Saturn appearing in the poem represents the Chaldean god Saturn and not some Germanic deity.
Wife of Thor, the golden- haired goddess of grain and of fertility. She was the mother of Ull.
One of the three Norns. She is associated with the future or what could be.
Odin's eight legged horse, the offspring of Svadilfari and Loki. Sleipnir was no ordinary horse. He was capable of galloping over the sea and through the air and could outrun any horse in all the nine worlds.
The fire giant who watches at the borders of Muspelheim. His flaming sword will set fire to the world at Ragnarok. At Ragnarok, Surt and Freyr will battle and Freyr will be killed, because he gave up his sword to win Gerda.
He was foremost of the gods to the common man, who would call on him to ensure fertility, and widely worshiped. Hammer shaped amulets, a symbol of Thor because it was his weapon, were worn about the neck well into the christianization of Scandinavia. There are molds from that time which contain both cross and hammer shapes, side by side. His name occurs in numerous place names, and it was his statue which was central in the great temple at Uppsala. Thursday is named for him and he was associated by the Romans with Jupiter. Donar was an early version of Thor among the early Germans. The anglo-saxons worshiped a thunder god named Thunor.
Thor is the wielder of Mjollnir and the defender of Asgard. He is described as a massive red-bearded champion wearing iron gloves and a belt/girdle of might, Megingjardir. He is the only god forbidden to cross Bifrost, for fear that his lightnings could destroy the bridge or that he would set it aflame by the heat of his presence. Thor rides in a chariot drawn by two goats, Tanngniost (Toothgnasher) and Tanngrisnir (Toothgrinder). The rolling of the wheels of this chariot is said to create the thunder that rolls across the heavens
God of war. He was the only god brave enough to put his hand in the Fenris- wolf's mouth so the gods could bind it. The wolf bit off his right hand. There is much debate about his lefthandedness. In the norse culture the right hand was given for a pledge, which could be why the right hand was placed in the wolf's mouth. It has also been noted, however, that the offering of the right hand is to show that it is free of weapons. A left handed person was sometimes considered evil because he could use a weapon with his left hand even though he shook with his right hand. Tuesday is named for Tyr who was known as Tiw, or Tiu, by the Anglo-Saxons.
Tyr is the bravest of all the Gods. He is the God of Battle. Once he was King of the Gods, but he was later relegated to a secondary position. He is a very powerful warrior. Anytime something REALLY dangerous has to be done and all the Gods are afraid, Tyr does it. A god of war, the god of martial honor, a sky god, the bravest of the gods. He is concerned with justice and with fair treaties. It is thought that at one time Tyr was even more important than Odin, and more ancient. However, by the time the Norse myths were recorded, Tyr's importance had diminished and not much is known about him now. Tyr is always depicted as the one-handed god, due to the fact that his right hand was bitten off by the Fenris wolf after the gods bound him. Tyr is also known as "the shining one". Tyr was also considered the patron god of the sword.
God of archery and the hunt, according to some he was a god of skiers and the snowshoe. His weapon was a longbow made out of Yew and he lived in Ydal [Yew Dales]. He was called upon for help in duels. He was the son (or step-son) of Thor and Sif (or Ovandrill, depending on the source). His name, which means glorious, is a part of many place names, therefore, he is considered to be an ancient god who was widely worshipped. It is believed that at one time he was one of the highest gods.
Son of the goddess Sif, stepson of Thor. Ull is the winter god of skiers and snowshoes, hunting, the bow and the shield.
The hall of the slain, built by Odin in Asgard to receive the heroes slain in battle. The Valkyries brought the heroes, known as Einherjar, across Bifrost and into Valhalla where they fought all day and feasted all night
(1) Son of Odin and Rinda, he was Balder's avenger. After Hodur slew Balder, Vali came to Asgard, drew an arrow from his quiver and fired at Hodur, killing him instantly.
(2) Son of Loki and Sigyn, brother of Narvi. After the gods captured Loki they turned Vali into a wolf who tore out the entrails of Narvi.
The Vanir resided in Vanaheim, one of the nine worlds, until the end of the War between the Ăsir and Vanir. After the war all the gods were referred to as Ăsir. When the Vanir went to Asgard after the war, they took with them their knowledge of magic and witchcraft. Listed among the Vanir are Freya, Freyr and Njord. These were not the only Vanir and this can be shown be looking at the story of Mimir's death.
Son of Bor and Bestla. Together with his brothers Odhinn and Vili he helped create the world.
One of the Norns. She is associated with the present or what is.
Son of Odin and the giantess Grid. Vidar was known for his silence. However, it is Vidar who will avenge his father's death at Ragnarok.
Son of Bor and Bestla. Together with his brothers Odin and Ve he helped create the world
Beneath each of the tree roots is a well. The well of the root of Jotunheim is Jot, or the Well of the Wyrds. It is home to the three Wyrd Sisters. ["Wyrd" = fate, doom] The sisters are also called the Norns. One spins the string of fate, one weaves it, and one cuts it. One faces the past, one the present, and the other the future. The well of Asgard, is Mimir's Well. Mimir is the god who guards the well of knowledge of the future. He won't let anyone drink from it. The well of Niflheim is the spring of Hvergelmir. The only way into Asgard is to go across a bridge called Bifrost (the rainbow). The Aesir don't want Frost Giants in their city. So there is a gate at the end of the bridge made of Ymir's eyebrows. Somewhere near the middle of the tree is the land where the humans live. This land is called Midgard (Middle Earth). Alfheim is the home of the elves. Svartalfheim is the home of the dark elves ["svart" as in "swarthy"]. They are thought to live underground.
In the branches and eating the leaves are various deer. Perched up on a branch is an eagle which can look out over the universe and see everything going on. On the eagle's forehead sits a hawk who reports news to Odin. Wrapped around the roots is a serpent called Nidhug who gnaws at the roots. If he gnaws through and the tree topples, everything will collapse and be destroyed. Running up and down Yggdrasil is a squirrel called Ratatosk, a mischief maker who talks to the eagle and talks to him through the snake, lying to both and telling each what terrible things the other says about him. His name means "rat tooth." The deer are not malevolent, but they could hurt the tree. In Scandinavia, certain animals are looked on with and without favor. The bear is respected. Snakes are despised. Birds of prey are especially popular. Wolves have a checkered career -- mostly evil. Squirrels are looked on with humor. The characters are almost always male.
Page by Eric Hee Song (Brimstone)
Page can be modified and printed for educational purposes.