His name is connected with the word for water. He is also called Hler. Aegir was the god of the seashore or ocean, and called the ruler of the sea by Snorri. He was a personification of the ocean, be it good or evil. He caused storms with his anger and the skalds said a ship went into "Aegir's wide jaws" when it wrecked. Guerber states that Aegir was crowned with seaweed and always surrounded by nixies and mermaids while in his hall. He was one of the Vanir and a giant. His father was Mistarblindi [Mist-Blind], and his brother, Logi [Fire]. 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. Gold was put onto the floor of the hall to provide light, instead of having a fire. 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. Aegir was also referred to by the name of Gymir [the Blinder] (the name of Gerd's father -- it is not known if they are one and the same). Sailors feared Aegir, and thought he would sometimes surface to destroy ships. Early Saxons made human sacrifices to a god of the sea, possibly connected with Aegir.
One of the Aesir, his name means
"The Glorious". He was also called the "god of tears" and
the "white as". Balder, the son of Odin and Frigg, was described as
a very handsome and wise god. Some consider him to be a god of light since he
was so bright, light shined from him.
Balder's wife was Nanna and they had a son named Forseti. Balder and Nanna lived in Breidablik [The Broad-Gleaming], where nothing unclean could be and there were "fewest baneful runes". Breidablik had a silver roof on golden pillars.
At one point Balder had a foreboding dream. Odin rode to Hel's realm to wake a volva from the dead to find out the meaning of Balder's dream. She foretold Balder's death by Hod (Hodur), his fraternal twin. Frigg asked all things to swear not to hurt Balder but didn't ask the mistletoe because it was so young. Loki, diguised as an old woman, visited Frigg and found out Balder was invunerable to everything but mistletoe. Loki made a dart out of mistletoe and tricked the blind god Hod into throwing it at Balder -- all the other gods were playing games by throwing various items at Balder --, thus killing him. Hermod rode to Hel's realm and got her to agree to let Balder return to the living if all things would weep for him. One giantess named Thokk, Loki in disguise, refused to weep for Balder, so he remained dead and was cremated on his funeral boat, hringhorni. He is supposed to come back to life after the Ragnarok.
Snorri and Saxo Grammaticus give very different views of Balder and his death. In Saxo's version of this story, Hod is alone responsible for Balder's death. Snorri's account is available online. Saxo gave a very different picture of Balder: he was a vicious god who fought with Hod to marry Nanna. Balder's name rarely occurs in place names, therefore, it is thought that not many people worshipped him. The poets used his name to mean warrior.
Son of Buri. His wife was Bestla, daughter of the frost giant Bolthorn. Bor was the father of Odin, Vili, and Ve.
God of poetry, (adopted?) son of
Odin and the giantess Gunlod. He was the chief poet of Odin. He was married
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 a pseudonym of Odin.
__Bragi was the god of poets and the skald of Valhalla, welcoming the honoured dead into the hall. Runes is said to be carved
on his tongue. According to myth, Odhinn got Bragi on Gunnlodh when he stole the mead of poetry. The minne-cup is also
called bragar-full when drunk to dead heroes or to seal an oath. Folk etymology connects it with Bragi, but it is actually
derived from bragR, meaning hte "foremost" or "the best". Bragi is called upon for poetic skill and eloquence; the harp is
traditionally associated with him. He is shown as old and long-bearded, in spite of the fact that his wife keeps the apples of
The first god. The cow Audumla formed him by licking ice. He was the father of Bor.
A goddess of healing, considered the best doctor. She taught her art to women who were the only physicians in ancient Scandinavia.
God of justice. He is the son of
Balder and Nanna. His name means "presiding one" and in The
Poetic Edda, it says he is "the god that stills all strife."
His home is Glitnir [shining]. Forseti is said to reconcile legal strife between
men. He was mainly
worshiped by the Frisians. The Greatest seat of his cult was the temple on the island Helgoland, near a sacred spring wich
the god brought forth when he gave the Frisians their code of laws. He hear oaths and keeps the peace between men, his
justice being fair and reasonable to all.
God of weather and fertility. He ruled over the land of the light elves, Alfheim. He was the son of Njord and Njord's sister, 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.
Goddess of love, fertility, war, and wealth. Originally one of the Vanir. She was the daughter of Njord, and the sister of Frey. Her daughter, by Od, is named Hnoss who is so beautiful that whatever is valuable and lovely is named "treasure", after her. 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 cats and she owned the precious Brisings' necklace, which she slept with four dwarves to acquire. She also owned a feather coat which she could use to fly between the worlds. After she went to live with the Aesir as a hostage, she taught them -- including Odin -- seiğr. Some sources say Friday is named after her.
Goddess of marriage. She is the wife of Odin, and Friday is named for her (according to some). Her abode was called Fensalir [The Ocean Halls]. She weaved the clouds.
Listed by Snorri as one of the twelve divine goddesses, she appears mainly to function as Frigg's maid, taking care of the goddess's shoes. She also, sometimes, functions as Frigg's messenger. Some believe she is Frigg's sister. Snorri stated she was a virgin with long golden hair who wore a gold band around her head. It has been suggested that this band represents the binding around a sheaf of grain.
A prophetic virgin goddess and a member of the Aesir and Vanir. 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".
Listed by Snorri as one of the divine goddesses but appears only to be a handmaiden of Frigg who sends her on errands. She has a swift horse named Hoof-flourisher which can run in the air and over water.
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.
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.
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.
Messenger of the gods. He rode to Hel's realm after the death of Balder to try and convince her to let Balder come back from the dead.
Snorri lists Hlin as a goddess charged with protecting those men who Frigg wants kept safe. Called by others a goddess of consolation who was supposed to "kiss away the tears of mourners". In most sources, Hlin is just another name for Frigg.
Son of Odin. He is the blind god of winter, who is tricked by Loki into killing Balder. His name means "war". Vali, a son of Odin, avenged Balder's death by killing Hod.
After the war between the Aesir and the Vanir, he was sent as a hostage to the Vanir. He gave sense to the first humans. He possibly was Vili, a brother of Odin who helped create the world.
A goddess who was attended by wood nymphs. They had cow tails which could be seen hanging out from beneath their white robes. They were the protectors of cattle, and sang beautifully. She is an aspect of Frigg.
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".
Earth goddess. Mother of Thor and Frigg.
His function depends on which source you read, like many of the Norse god/goddesses. 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.
He gave appearance and speech to the first humans. He is identified with Ve by some and Loki by others.
Goddess concerned with sparking passionate love. She had permission from Odin and Frigg to do so even for those who were forbidden to marry.
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. There are quite a few sites dealing with Loki including a wonderful on-line essay by Johannes Persson, an article by Eric A. Anderson regarding Loki's offspring, and the Loki Cult Web Page.
A son of Thor, he will survive the Ragnarok. His name means "strong".
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 son of Thor, he will survive the Ragnarok. His name means "courage".
Moon goddess according to Bulfinch. Wife of Balder and mother of Forseti. She dies of heartache after Balder's death and is burned with him on his funeral boat -- along with his chopped up horse and an unfortunate dwarf who Thor kicked in at the last minute.
Possibly an older version of Njord (as the opposite sex) or his sister with whom he has Frey and Freya. She was a fertility goddess whose worship was centered in Denmark.
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.
Leader of the Aesir. Odin had a myriad of names including Allfather, Ygg, Bolverk [evil doer], and Grimnir. He also had many functions including being a god of war, poetry, wisdom, and death. His halls were called Gladsheim Valaskjalf and Valhalla. Odin's high seat, Hlidskialf, was in Valaskjalf. It was from this throne that he could see over all the world. Valhalla is where he gathered his portion of the slain warriors, Einheriar, whom the valkyries had chosen.
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.
The wife of Aegir, she was the sea goddess of storms. She collects drowned people in her net.
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.
Goddess of crops and fertility,
married to Thor. At one point, Loki stole her hair and had to replace it. He
went to the dwarves and had them make her a new set of hair out of gold. An
interesting thing to note is that short hair was a sign of a whore or a slave.
Skadhi is not herself one of the Vanir, she is classes among then because of
her marriage to Njord. She is the daughter of the jotun Thajzi. It has been
considered that, like UllR, she was one of the original gods of Scandinavia,
possibly Finnish in origin, and Branston even claims that she was the eponymous
founder of Scandinavia: Skadinauja. Her name may mean "Shadow" or
"Scathe"; she is the goddess of snowshoes and a great huntress with
__Skadhi came armed to the Æsir seeking weregild for her father Thjazi, whom they had slain. She set two conditions: The first was that the gods should make her laugh, the second that she might choose one of then as her husband. To fulfill the first condition, Loki tied one end of a rope to his testicles and the other to a goat, and the grotesque antics performed by the two of them until the rope broke and Loki tumbled into her lap finally made her laugh. Here one may see the formula of ingwaz again: the mock castration and the surrender of the fiery masculine to fertilize the frozen feminine. The husband Skadi wished was BaldR-a solar figure-but she had to choose her husband by his feet alone, and it so happened that the handsomest pair of feet belonged to Njord. This is obviously, part of the ancient fertility ritual symbolized by the bare footprint. They married and lived comfortably for a while, but since Skadhi could not bear to live by the sea and Njord could not bear the howling of the wolves and wind in her mountain home Thrymheim, the two finally separated.
Goddess concerned with causing men and women to think of love. It was her duty to stop fights between married couples.
Wise and gentle goddess. Guerber calls her the goddess of virtue and master of all knowledge. She knew the value of self-discipline.
Goddess who was invoked by defendents at a trial. She was another attendant of Frigg and guarded the door of Frigg's palace.
The son of Odin and a member of
the Aesir, he was the god of thunder and the main enemy of the giants. He would
smash their heads with his mighty hammer Mjollnir. To wield this awesome weapon
he needed iron gloves and a belt of strength. Mjollnir would return to Thor's
hand after being thrown and was symbolic of lightning. Thor would ride around
middle-earth in his wagon drawn by two goats, His abode was Thruthheim [Land
of Strength] and his hall, Bilskinir. His wife was Sif.
The god ThorR was, along with FreyR, the most generally worshipped of the Teutonic gods. In the great temple at Uppsala,
his statue was set in the highest place between and above those of Odhinn and FreyR. ThorR was generally seen as a
faithful warder and provider, a god who would keep faith with his worshipers, as contrasted with Odhinn.
__In myth, ThorR is usually show as the common man writ large: a tireless eater, drinker, and fighter (though none too bright).
The Eddic lay Harbardzljodh gives an interesting picture of the differences between ThorR and Odhinn. The two gods meet.
Odhinn being disguised as a ferryman, and they engage in a contest of boasting. ThorR's list of triunphs deals with his slaying
of giants and bersekers; Odhinn's with seduction, betrayal, and stirring up war. Odhinn then insults ThorR, who can only
reply with the threat of force, and refuses to ferry him over the river, forcing him to walk around the long way. It is interesting
to note that ThorR, who fights against the giants, is very like then in strenght, size, great appetite, and seemingly uncomplicated
character. This is why he is so effective as a warder, being able to beat then at their own game, as it were. ThorR is the foe
of Midgaardhr Wyrm.
__ThorR is the warder of Midgardhr; he is also the warder and hallower of all things holy. The hammer is swung over
something to hallow it. It is put in the lap of the new bride both as a fertility symbol and as a consecration; it is also used to
hallow the funeral pyre. The uses of the hammer symbol have already been described. A flash of lightning at the beginning of
any undertaking was thought of as a very good omen. In this side of his being, ThorR is sometimes called upon in runic
inscriptions to hallow the runes or that upon which they are carved. He is also called VeurR-Hallower
or Holy Warder - and VingThorR, "ThorR the Hallower".
__Like Oddhinn, ThorR seems to have usurped certain aspects of the Sky-Father's position. He is often compared to Jupiter,
as the benevolent sky-god who can also hurl thunder and lightning and who is the greatest of gods. ThorR's aid was called
upon in bringing ships safely out of storms. He is also the god of pilars which support the roof of a house or temple. His image
was sometimes carved into these, and some of the early settlers in Iceland called upon his aid in finding their seats by throwing
their house-pillars overboard and building where the god sent them.
__As the god ruling thunder, lightning and rain, ThorR is something of a fertility god. The hammer is, of course, a phallic
symbol, and the success of a harvest is as dependent on the sky as it is on the earth. He was thus invoked for prosperity and
for a good harvest.
__ThorR can always be seen to embody the powers of order, protection, and holiness. He, rather than Odhinn, was the
defender of Norse heathenism against Christianity; the battle of the faiths was the struggle between Red ThorR and the
White Christ. The most beloved of theTeutonic heroes were those such as Beowulf who, like ThorR, fought only against the
woe-working chaos embodied by the out-dwellers. If one should be unable to restrain a need to call upon Loki, or if that
wight's presence should at once call upon ThorR, "whose strength keeps Loki in line" (Ingvar Solve Ingvisson, conversation).
__ThorR is always show as large, burly, and red-bearded; flame flashes from his eyes. He walks or rides in a chariot drawn
by the two he-goats Tanngnjost (Tooth-gnasher) and Tanngrisnir (Tooth-gritter). It is interesting that in parts of Germany,
Santa Claus also rides in a chariot draw by the two goats Donner and Blitzen (Thunder and Lightning). ThorR can slay and eat
his goats, and when he hallows their hides and bodes with his hammer Mjollnir, they come to life again. This Hammer, which
always returns to his hand after it has been Thrown, is the lightning he wields. His name, ThorR, girdle of strength, and iron
gloves, as Mjollnir's handle is a little short. He is the son of JordR (earth) and father of a daughter named ThrudhR (mighty),
and two sons named Magni (The Strong) and Modhi (the Courageous).
__The holy animal of ThorR is the goat.
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.
Daughter of Thor. The dwarf Alvis wanted to marry her but Thor tricked him into being above ground when the sun came up, turning him into stone.
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.
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.
In some sources, the twin brother of Vidar. In other sources, he is the youngest of Odin's sons. His mother is the giantess Rind and he was born for the express purpose of avenging Balder's death since the gods could not kill one of their own. When he was only one night old, he killed Hod. He will be one of the seven Aesir to survive the ragnarok.
Goddess who punishes those who do not keep their marriage vows. Probably the same as Vor, and just a part of Frigg.
Son of Bor and Bestla, brother of Vili and Odin. He is identified with Lodur by some. Killed the giant Ymir and created the world out of its carcass along with his brothers. He gave the first humans feeling, appearance, and speech. His name means "Holiness".
He was a son of Odin and Grid (a giantess), and had a twin brother named Vali. He dwelled in Vidi. He was one of the strongest of the gods and can be considered a god of vengance. In the ragnarok he will avenge his father by killing Fenris. He is one of the Aesir who will survive the final battle.
Son of Bor and Bestla, brother of Odin and Ve. Along with Odin and Ve, he killed the giant Ymir and created the cosmos out of Ymir's carcass. He made the first man and woman, along with Odin and Ve. He gave the humans thought and motion. He is identified with Hoenir by some and only as a part of Odin by others. His name means "Will".
A godess whose name means "vow". Nothing can be hidden from her because she is so wise. She is considered by some to be a goddess of marriage and contracts. She is probably an aspect of Frigg.