Here you will find a list of Norse Gods and Goddesses:
“Alebrewer.” So called because Aegir loves to give feasts for the gods. God of the sea. Saxon pirates gave to Aegir a tenth of their captives, who were thrown into the sea. Besides Njord and Mimir, who were both ocean divinities, the one representing the sea near the coast and the other the primæval ocean whence all things were supposed to have sprung, the Northern races recognised another sea-ruler, called Aegir or Hler, who dwelt either in the cool depths of his liquid realm or had his abode on the Island of Lessoe, in the Cattegat, or Hlesey. Aegir (the sea), like his brothers Kari (the air) and Loki (fire), is supposed to have belonged to an older dynasty of the gods, for he ranked neither with the Æsir, the Vanas, the giants, dwarfs, or elves, but was considered omnipotent within his realm. He was supposed to occasion and quiet the great tempests which swept over the deep, and was generally represented as a gaunt old man, with long white beard and hair, and clawlike fingers ever clutching convulsively, as though he longed to have all things within his grasp. Whenever he appeared above the waves, it was only to pursue and overturn vessels, and to greedily drag them to the bottom of the sea, a vocation in which he was thought to take fiendish delight. Aegir was mated with his sister, the goddess Ran, whose name means “robber,” and who was as cruel, greedy, and insatiable as her husband. Her favourite pastime was to lurk near dangerous rocks, whither she enticed mariners, and there spread her net, her most prized possession, when, having entangled the men in its meshes and broken their vessels on the jagged cliffs, she would calmly draw them down into her cheerless realm.
The giantess who mated with Loki to create Hel, Fenrir and the Midgard Serpent.
A hero god, the god who dies and rises again. Fair skinned, fair haired, wise and merciful, beloved of all. Loke tricked Hoder into killing Balder, who had to be rescued from the underworld. According to the epic poem VOLUSKA, Balder will come to rule again after Ragnarok. To Odin and Frigga, we are told, were born twin sons as dissimilar in character and physical appearance as it was possible for two children to be. Hodur, god of darkness, was sombre, taciturn, and blind, like the obscurity of sin, which he was supposed to symbolise, while his brother Balder, the beautiful, was worshipped as the pure and radiant god of innocence and light. From his snowy brow and golden locks seemed to radiate beams of sunshine which gladdened the hearts of gods and men, by whom he was equally beloved. The youthful Balder attained his full growth with marvellous rapidity, and was early admitted to the council of the gods. He took up his abode in the palace of Breidablik, whose silver roof rested upon golden pillars, and whose purity was such that nothing common or unclean was ever allowed within its precincts, and here he lived in perfect unity with his young wife Nanna (blossom), the daughter of Nip (bud), a beautiful and charming goddess. The god of light was well versed in the science of runes, which were carved on his tongue; he knew the various virtues of simples, one of which, the camomile, was called “Balder’s brow,” because its flower was as immaculately pure as his forehead. The only thing hidden from Balder’s radiant eyes was the perception of his own ultimate fate.
God of poetry and eloquence, husband of Iduun. It is Bragi’s duty to prepare Valhalla for new arrivals. At the time of the dispute between the Æsir and Vanas, when peace had been agreed upon, a vase was brought into the assembly into which both parties solemnly spat. From this saliva the gods created Kvasir, a being renowned for his wisdom and goodness, who went about the world answering all questions asked him, thus teaching and benefiting mankind. The dwarfs, hearing about Kvasir’s great wisdom, coveted it, and finding him asleep one day, two of their number, Fialar and Galar, treacherously slew him, and drained every drop of his blood into three vessels—the kettle Od-hroerir (inspiration) and the bowls Son (expiation) and Boden (offering). After duly mixing this blood with honey, they manufactured from it a sort of beverage so inspiring that any one who tasted it immediately became a poet, and could sing with a charm which was certain to win all hearts. Now, although the dwarfs had brewed this marvellous mead for their own consumption, they did not even taste it, but hid it away in a secret place, while they went in search of further adventures. They had not gone very far ere they found the giant Gilling also sound asleep, lying on a steep bank, and they maliciously rolled him into the water, where he perished. Then hastening to his dwelling, some climbed on the roof, carrying a huge millstone, while the others, entering, told the giantess that her husband was dead. This news caused the poor creature great grief, and she rushed out of the house to view Gilling’s remains. As she passed through the door, the wicked dwarfs rolled the millstone down upon her head, and killed her. According to another account, the dwarfs invited the giant to go fishing with them, and succeeded in slaying him by sending him out in a leaky vessel, which sank beneath his weight. The double crime thus committed did not long remain unpunished, for Gilling’s brother, Suttung, quickly went in search of the dwarfs, determined to avenge him. Seizing them in his mighty grasp, the giant conveyed them to a shoal far out at sea, where they would surely have perished at the next high tide had they not succeeded in redeeming their lives by promising to deliver to the giant their recently brewed mead. As soon as Suttung set them ashore, they therefore gave him the precious compound, which he entrusted to his daughter Gunlod, bidding her guard it night and day, and allow neither gods nor mortals to have so much as a taste. The better to fulfil this command, Gunlod carried the three vessels into the hollow mountain, where she kept watch over them with the most scrupulous care, nor did she suspect that Odin had discovered their place of concealment, thanks to the sharp eyes of his ever-vigilant ravens Hugin and Munin.
German god of thunder, forerunner of Thor. His symbol is the swastika. Oak trees are sacred to Donar, as they are to Jove.
Also FENRIS WOLF. A monstrous wolf conceived by Loki. Fenrir was raised in Asgard, the home of the gods, until he became so immense and feroucious that only the god Tyr was brave enough to feed him. Tyr bound Fenrir until the day of Ragnarok, when Fenrir will break loose to slay Odin.
God of justice, the great arbiter, the god who “stills all strife.” Forseti dwells in a hall of gold and silver called Giltnir. Son of Balder, god of light, and of Nanna, goddess ofimmaculate purity, Forseti was the wisest, most eloquent, and most gentle of all the gods. When his presence in Asgardbecameknown, the gods awarded him a seat in the council hall, decreed that he should be patron of justice and righteousness, and gave him as abode the radiant palace Glitnir. This dwelling had a silver roof, supported on pillars of gold, and it shone so brightly that it could be seen from a great distance.
Goddess of magic and death, goddess of sex, daughter of Njord, a shape-shifter who often took the form of a falcon. When her husband Od disappeared, Freyja wept golden tears. Donning a magical garment,Freyja could fly long distances. Patroness of seithr, a practice in which a sorceress would enter a trance to foretell the future. The women who practiced siethr, who were know as Volva, wandered freely about the country casting spells and foretelling the future. Freyja’s worshippers involved orgiastic rites which horrified and outraged the Christians. Half of all those slain in battle belonged to Freyja, the other half belonging to Odin.
“The god of the world,” son of Njord, husband of Freyja. God of fertility, sunlight and rain, peace, joy and contentment. Freyr was worshipped with human sacrifices and a kind of religious playin which men dressed as women mimed and danced to the sound of chimes and bells. Freyr had some association with the horse cult aswell,and horses sacred to his service were kept near his shrines. Freyr and his sister/wife FREYJA were of the Vanir, a family or race of gods which originally competed with the Aesir and later became allies. The Vanir may have been the gods of an earlier Scandinavian race who were adopted into the pantheon of later conquerors.
Wife of Odin, mother of Balder, queen of Asgard. A fertility goddess. Frigga, or Frigg, daughter of Fiorgyn and sister of Jörd, according to some mythologists, is considered by othersas a daughter of Jörd and Odin, whom she eventually married. Frigga was goddess of the atmosphere, or rather of the clouds, and as such was represented as wearing either snow-white or dark garments, according to her somewhat variable moods. She was queen of the gods, and she alone had the privilege of sitting on the throne Hlidskialf, beside her august husband.
The god who guards the Bifrost Bridge which is the entrance to Asgard. Heimdall can see for immense distances, and his ear is so sensitive that he can hear the grass grow. On the day of Ragnarok, Heimdallwill blow the great horn Gjallarhorn, and in the ensuing battle he will slay Loki. Heimdal was the son of Odin and nine beautiful giantesses, the wave maidens, Gialp, Greip, Egia, Augeia, Ulfrun, Aurgiafa, Sindur, Atla, and Iarnsaxa. The god of the sky was so charmed with these beautiful creatures that, as the Eddas relate, he wedded all nine of them, and they combined, at the same moment, to bring forth a son, who received the name of Heimdall. Heimdall was appointed by the gods to watch the rainbow bridge Bifröst, which they had just constructed out of fire, air, and water, the three materials which can still plainly be seen in its long arch, where glow the three primary colours: the red representing the fire, the blue the air, and the green the cool depths of the sea.
Goddess of death. Daughter of Loki. Ruler of Niflheim, the land of mists. Heroic souls go to Valhalla. Those who die of disease or old age come to Niflheim. Surrounded by high walls and strong gates,Niflheim is impregnable; not even Balder could return from there without Hel’s permission. Hel, goddess of death, was the daughter of Loki, god of evil, and of the giantess Angurboda, the portender of ill. She came into the world in a dark cave in Jötun-heim together with the serpent Iörmungandr and the terrible Fenris wolf, the trio being considered as the emblems of pain, sin, and death.
A hero god. Hermod rode through the gates of Niflheim to rescue Balder and found Balder seated on the right hand of Hel. Hel agreed to release Balder on condition that all living things weep for him. Another of Odin’s sons was Hermod, his special attendant, a bright and beautiful young god, who was gifted with great rapidity of motion and was therefore designated as the swift or nimble god. On account of this important attribute Hermod was usually employed by the gods as messenger, and at a mere sign from Odin he was always ready to speed to any part of creation.
Little is known about Hoder, other than that he is blind. Loki tricked Hoder into killing Balder with a sprig of mistletoe. Hoder will join Balder in the new world which will come into being when the present one is destroyed.
Wife of Bragi, keeper of the golden apples of eternal youth. The giant Thiazzi kidnapped her with the aid of Loki. Idun, the personification of spring or immortal youth, who, according to some mythologists, had no birth and was never to taste death, was warmly welcomed by the gods when she made her appearance in Asgard with Bragi. To further win their affections she promised them a daily taste of the marvellous apples which she bore in her casket, and which had the power of conferring immortal youth and loveliness upon all who partook of them.
A trickster. Sly, deceitful, a master thief, not to be trusted. Nevertheless, Loki is charming, witty, quite capable, and possessed of a sardonic sense of humor which he aims at himself no less oftenthan at others. A shape shifter who can change into almost any animal form. Loki was involved in many of the gods’ adventures, usually because one of his tricks had made some kind of a mess. Besides the hideous giant Utgard-Loki, the personification of mischief and evil, whom Thor and his companions visited in Jötun-heim, the ancient Northern nations had another type of sin, whom they also called Loki, and whom we have already seen under many different aspects. In the beginning, Loki was merely the personification of the hearth fire and of the spirit of life. At first a god, he gradually becomes “god and devil combined,” and ends in being held in general detestation as an exact counterpart of the mediæval Lucifer, the prince of lies, “the originator of deceit, and the back-biter” of the Æsir.
The great snake which lies in the ocean and encircles the world, its tail in its mouth. On the day of Ragnarok, the world will disappear under the ocean’s waters when the Midgard Serpent rises from the sea. Thor will kill the Midgard Serpent but will be killed by the Serpent’s poison.
The guardian of a spring of wisdom at the root of Yggdrasill, the world tree which connects the lower and higher worlds and is the source of all life. Odin gave an eye to drink from that spring.
An earth mother worshipped by the German tribe of the Suebi. Her sacred grove stood on an island in the North Sea.
The chief of the Vanir, who warred with the Aesir. Lord of the winds and of the sea, giver of wealth. Particularly revered on the west coast of Sweden. In pagan days, oaths in law courts were swornin his name. Njord may be a masculine form of Nerthus. Njord was the father of Frey and Freya, and ruler of the winds and of the sea near the shore. He was given the palace of Nôatûn, near the seashore, where he stilled the terrible tempests stirred up by Aegir, god of the deep sea. Njord also extended his special protection over commerce and fishing.
Also OTHINN; WODEN; WOTAN. A god of strife and war, magic and death. The chief of the Aesir who lives in his hall Valaskjal in Sagard from which he can look out over all the worlds. In hishall Valhalla, valkyries (female war spirits) serve heros who have fallen in battle and will aid the god in the great battle of Ragnarok. On Odin’s shoulders perch two ravens, Hugin (“Thought”) and Munin (“Memory”) who can fly about all the worlds to bring Odin knowledge. Odin often aids great heros but is quite fickle and can turn against a man for any reason or none. Tales of Odin’s treachery are not merely Christian propaganda. Odin’s worshippers themselves could be quite sharp-tongued about Odin’s unfaithfulness. Odin’s worship involved human sacrifices, who were generally hung from trees or gallows. Odin, Wuotan, or Woden was the highest and holiest god of the Northern races. He was the all-pervading spirit of the universe, the personification of the air, the god of universal wisdom and victory, and the leader and protector of princes and heroes. As all the gods were supposed to be descended from him, he was surnamed Allfather, and as eldest and chief among them he occupied the highest seat in Asgard. Known by the name of Hlidskialf, this chair was not only an exalted throne, but also a mighty watch-tower, from whence he could overlook the whole world and see at a glance all that was happening among gods, giants, elves, dwarfs, and men.
“Destruction of the powerful ones.” The Twilight of the Gods. The time of fire and ice. The great battle at the end of time between the gods and the Frost Giants in which the world will be destroyed and made anew. Ragnarok will be preceded by three winters of bitter wars followed by the Fimbulvetr, a winter so cold that the usn will give no heat. Then the forces of evil will gather and make war on the gods. One of the distinctive features of Northern mythology is that the people always believed that their gods belonged to a finite race. The Æsir had had a beginning; therefore, it was reasoned, they must have an end; and as they were born from a mixture of the divine and giant elements, being thus imperfect, they bore within them the germ of death, and were, like men, doomed to suffer physical death in order to attain spiritual immortality. The whole scheme of Northern mythology was therefore a drama, every step leading gradually to the climax or tragic end, when, with true poetic justice, punishment and reward were impartially meted out. In the foregoing chapters, the gradual rise and decline of the gods have been carefully traced. We have recounted how the Æsir tolerated the presence of evil, personated by Loki, in their midst; how they weakly followed his advice, allowed him to involve them in all manner of difficulties from which they could be extricated only at the price of part of their virtue or peace, and finally permitted him to gain such ascendency over them that he did not scruple to rob them of their dearest possession, purity, or innocence, as personified by Balder the good. Too late the gods realised how evil was this spirit that had found a home among them, and too late they banished Loki to earth, where men, following the gods’ example, listened to his teachings, and were corrupted by his sinister influence.
God of thunder. Huge, red-bearded, red-eyed, powerful. His weapon is the magic hammer Mjollnir, which is augmented by a magic belt which doubles Thor’s strength, and iron gloves with which Thor grips Mjollnir. In some ways Odin’s rival, Thor is the god of law and order, the champion of the people. Unlike Odin, Thor will keep faith. Oaths were sworn in Thor’s name, which no sane man would ever do with Odin. When Christianity came to Iceland, the other gods surrendered meekly, but Thor fought to the bitter end. The Hammer is Thor’s sacred sign and is the most common image in Nordic art. The worship of Thor survived well into the Christian age; little silver hammers were often made in the smith’s shop along with crosses and crucifixes. According to some mythologists, Thor, or Donar, is the son of Jörd (Erda) and of Odin, but others state that his mother was Frigga, queen of the gods. As he was god of thunder, Thor alone was never allowed to pass over the wonderful bridge Bifröst, lest he should set it aflame by the heat of his presence. Thor was the proud possessor of a magic hammer called Miölnir (the crusher) which he hurled at his enemies, the frost-giants, with destructive power, and which possessed the wonderful property of always returning to his hand, however far away he might hurl it.
The one-handed sky god and war god of the early Germanic peoples. Tiwaz was worshipped with human sacrifices conducted in the deep forest. Tiwaz is god of law and justice, and oaths were swornin his name. His functions were later taken over by Odin and Thor, though unlike Odin Tiwaz is completely without deceit and guile. Tiwaz is also known as Irmin, and his sacred pillar Irminsul symbollically held the universe together.
God of battle, the only god with the strength and courage to bind Fenris. Warriors marked their swords with a T to gain the god’s protection. Tyr was originally was Tiwaz, retained in a later pantheon but overshadowed by Odin and Thor.
Uller, the winter-god, was the son of Sif, and the stepson of Thor. His father, who is never mentioned in the Northern sagas, must have been one of the dreaded frost giants, for Uller loved the coldand delighted in travelling over the country on his broad snowshoes or glittering skates. As god of hunting and archery, he is represented with a quiver full of arrows and a huge bow, and as the yew furnishes the best wood for the manufacture of these weapons, it is said to have been his favourite tree.
Vali was the son of Odin and Rinda. He was the personification of the lengthening days, who grew with such marvellous rapidity that in the course of a single day he attained his full stature. Without waiting even to wash his face or comb his hair, this young god hastened to Asgard, bow and arrow in hand, to avenge the death of Balder upon his murderer, Hodur, the blind god of darkness.
It is related that Odin once loved the beautiful giantess Grid, who dwelt in a cave in the desert, and that, wooing her, he prevailed upon her to become his wife. The offspring of this union between Odin(mind) and Grid (matter) was Vidar, a son as strong as he was taciturn, whom the ancients considered a personification of the primæval forest or of the imperishable forces of Nature.
Also VOLUNDR; WIELAND; WAYLAND. God of smiths and metal workers. Son of the giant Wade. Weland has much in common with smith gods such as Govannon and Hephaistos, which comes as no surprise. Technology and metal working spread slowly in the ancient world, usually on a person to person basis, and highly skilled metalsmiths and other technical workers formed a virtual international brotherhood similar to the Masons.