Who Are the Norse Gods and Godness?
Norse mythology is the body of myths of the North Germanic peoples, stemming from Norse paganism and continuing after the Christianization of Scandinavia, and into the Scandinavian folklore of the modern period. The northernmost extension of Germanic mythology, Norse mythology consists of tales of various deities, beings, and heroes derived from numerous sources from both before and after the pagan period, including medieval manuscripts, archaeological representations, and folk tradition.
Central to accounts of Norse mythology are the plights of the gods and their interaction with various other beings, such as with the jötnar, who may be friends, lovers, foes, or family members of the gods. Numerous gods are mentioned in the source texts.
The Norse Gods & Goddesses:
The supreme deity of Norse mythology and the greatest among the Norse gods was Odin, the Allfather of the Aesir. He was the awe-inspiring ruler of Asgard, and most revered immortal, who was on an unrelenting quest for knowledge with his two ravens, two wolves, and the Valkyries. He is the god of war and, being delightfully paradoxical, the god of poetry and magic. He is famous for sacrificing one of his eyes in order to be able to see the cosmos more clearly and his thirst for wisdom saw him hang from the World Tree, Yggdrasil, for nine days and nine nights until he was blessed with the knowledge of the runic alphabet. His unyielding nature granted him the opportunity to unlock numerous mysteries of the universe.
Odin’s wife, Frigg, was a paragon of beauty, love, fertility, and fate. She was the mighty queen of Asgard, a venerable Norse goddess, who was gifted with the power of divination, and yet, was surrounded by an air of secrecy. She was the only goddess allowed to sit next to her husband. Frigg was a very protective mother, so she took an oath from the elements, beasts, weapons, and poisons, that they would not injure her brilliant and loving son, Balder. Her trust was betrayed by Loki, a most deceitful god.
Thor was Odin’s most widely-known son. He was the protector of humanity and the powerful god of thunder who wielded a hammer named Mjöllnir. Among the Norse gods, he was known for his bravery, strength, healing powers and righteousness.
Loki was a mischievous god who could shape-shift and can take up animalistic forms. He conceived a scheme to cause the death of Balder. Upon learning that mistletoe was the only thing that could hurt Balder, he placed a branch into the hands of the blind god, Hod, and tricked him into throwing it at Balder, killing him.
Freya was one of the most sensual and passionate goddesses in Norse mythology. She was associated with much of the same qualities as Frigg: love, fertility, and beauty. She was the sister of Freyr.
Freyr was the god of fertility and one of the most respected gods for the Vanir clan. Freyr was a symbol of prosperity and pleasant weather conditions. He was frequently portrayed with a large phallus.
Balder (Old Norse: Balder, Baldr, Baldur) is associated with light, beauty, love, and happiness.
Vidar (Old Norse: Víðarr) is the son of Odin and the giantess Grid, and only beaten by Thor when it comes to strength.
Vale (Old Norse: Váli) is the son of Odin who was bred as the avenger of Balder by raping the giantess Rind.
Brage is very wise and eloquent, and the god of skaldic poetry and prose.
Heimdall is the guardian of Bifrost, the rainbow bridge between Asgard and Midgard, which is the main road into the heavenly kingdom.
Ty, or Tyr, is the god of war – the one who decides who wins battles.
Njord (Old Norse: Njǫrðr) is the god of the sea and seafarers.
Ull (Old Norse: Ullr) is the son of Sif, Thor’s wife. “Ull” means “the honorable,” and he was the best of all archers and skiers.
Forseti is the god of justice.
The richness of the Norse mythology and folklore continues to mesmerize people of all ages and backgrounds. Immersed in the sagas, we let our imagination go wild, as we learn of old worlds and consider new and exciting interpretations.