In the pre-Christian beliefs and legends of the peoples of the north, not only do gods and goddesses appear, but they are also filled with many other creatures such as giants, dwarves, elves, monsters, fantastic beasts … but, this time, we will focus on the gods.
The Vikings worshiped many different deities, each ruling over different aspects of human life: love, warfare, fertility, harvests… The deities had different characteristics and attributes, as well as strengths and weaknesses. They had many characteristics in common with humans and, on many occasions, behaved as such and were even mortal. The gods protected and gave strength to men and these, in return, regularly celebrated feasts and sacrifices in honor of their pagan divinities.
Two different clans of gods appear in Norse mythology
According to some sources, the goddess or giantess Gullveig, belonging to the Vanir clan, was the culprit of the beginning of the war between the two sides. This witch continually went to Asgard where the sir could no longer bear her greed and her unrestrained love for gold. On one of these visits she was killed and burned at the stake. The witch was resurrected again and continued with her annoying visits, so the gods Æsir repeated the same operation three times always with the same result, so the gods left her alone and started calling her Heid (“brilliant”). When the Vanir gods learned of Gullveig’s outrageous treatment, a dispute began between the two thrips that broke out in the first war in history.
The most important gods for the Scandinavian peoples belong to the Æsir race. They lived in Asgard (one of the nine worlds of Norse mythology ) and were mostly tied to power and war. For their part, the Vanir lived in Vanaheim (another of the nine worlds ) and are mainly related to crops, fertility or love.
The list of the most important and popular Viking gods you should know
The pantheon of Norse gods is made up of a multitude of gods, these are the most important:
Odin belongs to the Æsir race and is the supreme god, the king of all gods, in the Viking religion. He is considered, along with his brothers Ve and Vili, the creator of Midgard (the world of men) and the creation of humans themselves. It represents wisdom, which he obtained by drinking from the source of wisdom, even if, for this, he had to sacrifice one of his eyes. He is often portrayed as an old walker who tirelessly seeks wisdom. But one-eyed Odin also has his left side, as he is the god of war and the dead. He is in charge of Valhalla, the room where all Viking warriors killed in battle go and who are led there by the Valkyries and prepared for the great battle at the end of the world, Ragnarök.
Frigg was Odin’s wife and the most important goddess in Norse mythology. She was considered the queen of the Æsir and the sky goddess of the Vikings. It is also related to fertility, motherhood, marriage, home affairs, and ultimately the goddess of the house.
It also belongs to the race of the Æsir. He is the youngest son of Odin and Frigg. It is related to light and purity. Balder was the epitome of perfection. He was a righteous, wise and kind divine being of incomparable beauty. Even so, he began to have dark dreams that his mother, who could read dreams, interpreted that he was destined to be murdered. Since the goddess Frigg could not accept this prediction, she traveled to Asward and Midgard asking all the animals, plants and things that did not harm her son. He succeeded, but forgot to ask the mistletoe.The cunning god Loki used the mistletoe to make a dart and subsequently tricked the god Höðr, Balder’s blind brother, into throwing the dart at his brother. The dart hit Balder’s heart causing death,
The god of valor, war and heroic glory. In ancient Germanic mythology, he was probably the main god until he was replaced by Odin in Viking legends. Tyr is depicted without a hand, as he was snatched away by the evil wolf Fenrir as he tried to bind him aided by other gods.
He was one of the wisest Æsir and personal poet of the god Odin. There are contradictory versions of who the parents of this Viking god were. While some sources attribute Odin and the giantess Gunlod as parents, in other works he is the son of Odin and Frigg. Bragi’s mission is to welcome newcomers to Valhalla by offering them a drink and enlivening Valhalla with its verses. For something he is the god of poetry and bards (those in charge of orally transmitting stories, legends and poems to preserve the history of peoples). He is married to the goddess Idun, the owner of the apples of youth.
Without doubt, the most famous and revered of the Viking gods. Its areas of influence are war and fertility. He was assigned the task of defending Asgard by battling giants and monsters. For this he had his inseparable hammer baptized as Mjöllnir and his extraordinary strength. He is also the god of thunder and lightning and was a defender of law and order. He was the son of Odin and Fjörgyn and his wife was the goddess Sif. The hammer of Thor , represented in a pendant is a very important symbol for the pagans.
Loki is not actually a god. He is the son of two giants, but had a close relationship with the god Odin, who considered him his brother (until the death of his son Balder due to the tricks of this character) and lived long in Ásgard as one more god. Loki is not someone to be trusted, he is a liar, cunning and unpredictable. He is able to change shape, transforming himself into different animals at will. He is not entirely evil, but he is capricious and, on many occasions, cruel. He draws other gods into his entanglements but, in many cases, it is also thanks to him that they manage to get out of various complicated situations. The misdeeds that the gods endure from Loki have their limit in the death, caused by him, of the god Balder, son of Odin and Frigg.
She was the daughter of Loki and the queen of the world named Hel or Helheim. This world was, more or less, like the hell of Christians, but men went there who died of old age or disease, which could be good or bad alike. Hel was tasked with judging the souls who entered her kingdom and deciding their fate. Hel is depicted in Viking mythological tales, with half her body and face looking really beautiful and the other half like a decaying corpse. Some said she was the most powerful goddess, even more so than Odin himself.
Freyr belongs to the Vanir tribe of Viking gods. He is one of the most revered gods. He is the most important god related to fertility, sexuality and ecology. He was the god worshiped when it came to wedding themes and harvest-related celebrations. The symbol with which it is associated is the boar, so this animal was the one usually used to dedicate sacrifices to it. He had a ship, the Skíðblaðnir, capable of always having a favorable wind and of being folded up to take up less space than a handkerchief.
She is Freyr’s twin sister, so she also belongs to the Vanir tribe. However, she married a god of the Æsir tribe and remained to live in Asgard. She is considered the goddess of love, beauty and fertility, but she is also linked to war, death and wealth. Freya personified the volva , a kind of witch in the Norse religion, so she also mastered magic and prophecies.
The Viking gods age and can die like any mortal. By eating the apples that the goddess Ásynjur Idun guards, they always remain young and can cheat death. Idun is the wife of the god Bragi.