List of the Norse Gods & Viking Pantheon of the Aesir & Vanes.
Vikings and Norse pagan mythology is a little-known subject, yet one that has had a major influence on our present day.
We know their stories through religious tales and myths. It should be noted that Norse mythology comes from Scandinavian tradition and is therefore transmitted orally.
It was not until the 12th and 13th centuries that these cults and ritual practices were written down by Christian historians.
We cannot therefore be sure of the truthfulness of the statements, which have most certainly been influenced by the Christian religion.
1. Odin / All Father & King of Norse Gods
the Viking God Odin armed with Gungnir, the spear and sleipnir his honorable horse
Attributes and Functions of the norse god Odin
He's the most important god in Norse mythology. He is the god of gods and is part of the pantheon of the Aesir. He is often depicted as an old, bearded, one-eyed man. He also has the ability to transform himself.
He is the god of the dead, of victory, of knowledge, of magic, of poetry, of prophecies, of war, of hunting, patron saint of scalds and god of the hanged.
He is often depicted with his Gungnir spear which has the ability to never miss its target and to return to its launcher. He also wears his ring called Draupnir. Odin moves on his eight-legged horse Sleipnir. He is accompanied by his ravens Hugin (thought) and Munin (memory) who come to tell him what is happening in the nine worlds. At his feet are two wolves, Geri and Freki.
Family of the viking god Odin
Odin is the son of Bor and the giant Bestla. His brothers are Vili and Ve. He and his wife Frigg will have many sons. Among them are:
House of the god odin, and where he live
His residence is called Valaskjálf. It is a pure silver building. Inside is his Hlidskjalf throne, which allows him to observe the nine worlds.
There is also his palace, the Valhöll, more commonly known as the Valhalla. This is where the Valkyries bring the Viking warriors who have died in battle while attacking. They feast and train for battle in preparation for Ragnarok.
Different names of Odin
Odin can be found under many names. Here is a list of them:
Mythology and Genesis of the World in norse mythology
As you know, Odin is the creator god of the cosmos.
It was after killing the giant Ymir that he decided to create the universe with his corpse. Later, he will also create life in the different worlds.
2. Thor, God Of Thunder
(And we don't forget his Hammer called Mjolnir!)
Attributes and functions of thor
Thor is the most powerful Ase god in the pantheon. He is the god of thunder, storm, strength, valour, agility, victory, fertility, warrior and protector of men in the face of chaos.
He uses lightning and has the power to calm or irritate storms. His colossal strength makes him a powerful warrior. And it is notably thanks to his attributes.
Thor carries a magic belt with him called Megingjord. It increases his strength when he uses his short-handled war hammer, the Mjöllnir. It has the ability to return to its launcher and create lightning bolts. To hold it, Thor needs his Járngreipr glove, which is of great importance in Viking culture. Many Nordic people wear it as a pendant.
Thor is also accompanied by two goats, Tanngrisnir and Tanngnjóstr, who pull his chariot. He can eat his goats and then raise them with their bones.
Thor is the defender of the Midgard and the humans against the forces of chaos and the giants, his main enemies.
Thor is the son of Odin and Jörd. His wife is Sif, with whom he has a daughter named Thrud. He also has a maid, the giant Járnsaxe, with whom he had a son named Magni. He has a second son, Modi, but his origin is unknown.
In common Germanic, the names þonaroz or þunraz mean "thunder".
His home is called Bilskirnir. It is a gigantic mansion with hundreds of rooms.
3. Loki the Trickster God
Attributes and functions
God of discord, he is accepted in the Aesir's house even though he is not related to them. He is considered a negative, treacherous, malicious, cunning and jealous being. He is Thor's main companion and he can transform himself. It should also be noted that he is very often at the origin of the gods' problems and many myths and legends revolve around him.
He is the son of the giant Farbauti and Laufey. He will sire several monsters. These are the wolf Fenrir, the serpent Jörmungand and the goddess Hel from the world of the dead. He is also the sire of Odin's horse Sleipnir, which he will have with Svadilfari, a stallion.
In Old Norse, we find the word lúka which means "close". While in Old English, logþor or logþer means malicious. We are not sure of the origin of its name and there is a lot of debate.
Loki can be found under two other names: Loptr & Hveðrungr
How can we talk about Loki without talking about Ragnarok?
Indeed, it is he who will be at the origin of this legendary battle between the gods of Asgard and the forces of evil and giants. Loki will die during the Ragnarok at the hand of Heimdall as explained above.
4. Heimdall, Guardian of the Bifrost
Viking God Heimdall, Also Called Heimdallr / Hallinskidi
Attributes and functions
Heimdall is a Viking Ase god of light and the moon. He is the guardian of the Bifröst Bridge. The rainbow that connects the kingdom of men, Midgard, with the kingdom of gods, Asgard. He is often accompanied by his horse Gulltopp.
It is his responsibility to warn whole worlds about Ragnarok. To do so, he must blow into the Gjallarhorn, a great lute that lies at the foot of the Yggdrasil tree. During Ragnarok, he will be the last to die. He kills himself with the evil god Loki.
Heimdall is considered the son of Odin's nine mothers and adopted son.
In Old Norse, Heimdallr means "benevolent domestic fire" or "pillar of the world".
His home is Himinbjorg and is located next to the Bifröst bridge.
5. Hela/Hel : Norse Goddess of Death
Role and functions
Daughter of Loki and Angrboda, this goddess is also the sister of the wolf Fenrir and the snake Jörmungand. She is the true goddess of the dead.
She accompanies the natural dead to the land of Gimlé.
This goddess lives in Nilfheim because she was banished by the gods of Asgard. Half of her face is dead while the other half is alive. It is his role to bring the living into the realm of the dead.
6. Tyr: Norse God of Law and War
Attributes and functions
Týr is a very ancient Ase god. It is said that he was the first sovereign god before Odin. However, he lost his importance during the barbarian invasions.
He is the god of heaven, just war, justice, victory, strategy, oaths, procedures and rights. He is a very wise and brave god. We can notice him in mythology where it is said that he sacrificed his hand in the mouth of the wolf Fenrir in order to be able to chain him up.
Again, it's a god with many other names. Here's the list:
Regarding the latter name (Tīwaz), it means "day sky" or "bright sky" in common Indo-European language. In Old Norse, the name Týr simply means "god". which reinforces the theory of the sovereign god.
He is the son of Odin or the giant Hymir according to the texts and stories.
During Ragnarok, Týr will fight the guardian dog of the Kingdom of the Dead, Garm. They will both end up killing each other.
7. Sif: Goddess of Earth and Thor's Wife
Who is Sif?
We don't know much about this goddess Asyne. We know that she is the goddess of earth and fertility. She has the power to turn herself into a swan.
In Old Icelandic, "sifjar" means "affinity" or "related by marriage". There is also a derivative "jörð" which means "land".
Sif is Thor's wife with whom she will have a child, Thrud. She will also have another child from an unknown father named Ull.
Do you know the expression Sif's hair? It's simply a second name for gold. Indeed, the god Loki having cut his hair to repair his mistake. So he asked the dwarves Eitri and Brokk to make him a golden hair that could grow back like normal hair.
8. Freyja: Norse Goddess of Love, Witchcraft & War
Functions of Freyja
Freyja is a very important Vane deity in Viking mythology. It is said to be one of the three faces of the mother goddess along with Frigg and Skadi.
Her functions are to be the goddess of love, beauty, land, intimacy, attraction, wealth, magic, prophecy and fertility. She is thus enormously invoked by the Vikings, especially during childbirth.
This Vane is said to be very beautiful. Sometimes she is portrayed as being bungled or redheaded.
It's a jewel made of gold and amber. When she wears it, she exudes an irresistible magical charm.
THE VALSHARM COAT
This garment is made from falcon feathers. When we wear it, we become a bird, which allows us to travel between the different worlds of the Yggdrasil tree.
This one is pulled by giant blue cats. These animals can be associated with the lynx that live in Scandinavia. These cats are known as Thófnir and Högni or Brundr and Kælinn. It depends on the version. They were given as a gift to the goddess by the Viking god Thor.
She's the daughter of Njord and Nerthus, the latter's sister. Her twin is the god Freyr.
She's married to Ód, a great traveller, associated with Odin. After his marriage, Odin left and never returned. With him she had two children, Hnoss and Gersimi.
In Old Norse, the name Freya is associated with the word "Frú", which means woman. Nowadays, we find this connotation in the words Frau in German and Vrouw in Dutch, which both mean "woman".
This goddess knows many other names. Among them are:
His home is the Fólkvangr. It is the equivalent of Odin's Valhalla. The difference between them is that Freya accepts warriors who die in battle defending while Odin accepts those who die attacking.
9. Frigg: Queen of Asgard and Wife of Odin
Who is she?
Frigg is the queen of the Aesir because she is the wife of the god Odin. She is also the mother of Balder and Höd. She is the only woman who can sit on the Hlidskjalf. This is the seat that allows the gods to observe all the worlds. Thus she also advises her husband on decisions to be made.
His house is called "Fensalir". She spends time there spinning clouds with a spinning wheel.
Attributes and functions
Frigg is the patron goddess of sibyls, fortune-tellers and fairies. She is also the goddess of love, marriage, motherhood, household management, healing and can even predict the future. This is called prescience in the religious field.
She is portrayed as a very beautiful woman, majestic and imposing. She often wears long bright or dark dresses according to her desires. Frigga is often associated with mistletoe and yellow bedstraw (a flower called Frigg's grass)
She is also often represented accompanied by her twelve maidservants. Together, they weave the golden threads of destiny. Among her handmaidens are:
To travel, Frigga can be transformed into a falcon, a crow or a sparrowhawk depending on the version.
Etymology of the name "Frigg"
A derivative of his name is "Frijo" which means "beloved". She is also found, like other gods, under other names:
10. Vidar: The Silent God & The Fenrir Killer
Attributes and functions
Vidar is the Ase god of vengeance and silence. It is quite recent as there is no mention of this deity before the 10th century. Vidar is quiet and solitary. It is said to be the strongest god after Thor.
He wears a magic shoe at his feet. He is often accompanied by his horse and sword.
Vidar is the son of Odin and the giant Gridr.
In old Icelandic, the word "Víðarr" means "He who rules in the distance".
As explained earlier, Vidar is a lonely god. He lives in a forest in Asgard in his palace in the name of Vidi.
In this final battle, Odin will be killed by the wolf Fenrir. It's Vidar who will avenge his father and kill the beast. He'll be part of the generation of renewal.
11. Balder / Baldr: God of Light and Beauty
Attributes and functions of the viking god "Balder/baldr"
The god Baldr is the god Ase of light, youth, love and beauty. There are flowers in Iceland that bear his name. Indeed, the plants Matricaria maritimas or Matricaria perforatas are more commonly called "Baldr's eyelashes", in reference to their charming appearance.
Characteristics of the norse god "balder"
It is said of this god that he is blond, eloquent, kind and wise. This already tells us a lot about the ideal of beauty as seen by the Vikings of the time.
Family of the norse god balder
In his genealogy, we find Odin and Frigg as his parents. Baldr will have a wife, Nanna, with whom he will sire a son named Forseti.
House of the viking god "balder", and where he live.
They say he lives on the Breidablik estate. It's a place where evil is banished. Others say his residence is in Sweden.
The death of the god Baldr
Balder was immune to everything by order of his parents Odin and Frigg. They had ordered nature and the elements that no one should harm him. However, it turns out that they had forgotten to forbid the mistletoe to harm their child. The god Loki, god of cunning and discord, noticed this.
It is out of jealousy that he will cause Baldr's death. To do so, he asks the god Hör, blind god and brother of Balder, to throw a mistletoe stick at him. Thus Baldr met his death and went to Hel, the realm of the dead. In Viking mythology, death did not mean the end of everything. It was simply a passage to another life form.
12. Forseti: God of justice and truth.
Attributes and functions
Forseti is an Ase god of Justice and Reconciliation.
As presented above, he is the son of the gods Baldr and Nanna.
Forseti lives in his house the "Glitnir" that is in the heavens. It is a large hall with red pillars and a silver roof. It is here that he presides over the court and renders justice in all disputes. It is important to note that Forseti is a mediating god, he is there above all to ease tensions. It is said that whoever comes to find justice with him always leaves happy and at peace. He is the best judge in the world.
13. Gefjon: Goddess of unmarried women
Attributes and functions
Gefjon is the goddess Ase of virgins and fertility. It is said that she is served by all women who died as virgins. She is also known as the creator of the Danish island Seeland.
The myth of the island Seeland
There are two versions of this myth, but we will tell you the most famous and best-known of them all.
It takes place in Sweden. A king decides to give land to a wanderer who had made him laugh. He promised him that his land would be as big as four oxen can plough for one day and one night. What he did not know, however, was that this wanderer was in fact the goddesssyne Gefn.
So she used her chariot and asked four of her sons, whom she had had with a giant, to serve as cattle. Thus, in the time allotted, she tore up the land she had been promised. She did this so deeply that the land broke away from the rest of Sweden and went west. That is how the island of Seeland came into being.
14. Njörd: God of the Sea and the Wind
Attributes and functions of Njord God
Njörd is a Viking god, his name means "life force". His function is to be the guardian of the sea, wind, fire, fertility, wealth and abundance.
He brings good fortune and good fishing and is recognized as a great builder of boats and Drakkars.
Officially, he is married to the giant Skadi, who is his perfect opposite, living in the middle of the icy mountains of Jotunheim.
It is thus with Nerthus that the god will have two children, Freyr and Freyja.
His residence is in Asgard, the kingdom of the gods and is called Noatun.
15. Freyr: God of Fertility and Prosperity
Attributes and functions of Freyr
Freyr is a Vane god of prosperity and fertility. He commands the rain and the sun.
His attribute is his magic ship, the Skidbladnir. It was built by the dwarves and has the capacity to hold all the gods of Asgard at the same time. Moreover, it is fast and its sail is always carried by favourable winds.
He will also be known as:
He's Freyja's brother and Njörd's son. Freyr will fall in love with the giant Gerd who lives in the kingdom of Jotunheim.
It is against the giant Surt, during the last mythical and prophetic battle of Ragnarok that he will succumb.
In Old Norse, his name means "lord".
16. Hödr / Höd: Blind god of darkness and winter.
Who is he?
The god Höd is a key figure in Norse mythology. He is the son of Odin but also the murderer of his brother Baldr.
His brother's murder
Höd is said to be blind. It is said that it was the god Loki who physically pushed him to throw a mistletoe spear in the direction of his brother. Since Balder was sensitive to the mistletoe, he would have died from it.
According to some, this is a misinterpretation by the author of the sources. Höd was not blind but was his brother's rival and blindly trusted Loki's advice by killing his brother.
It is the god Vali who will kill Höd. Höd was begotten only to avenge Balder's death.
17. Idunn: Goddess of spring & Rejuvenation
Who is Idun Goddess?
Goddess Asyne of eternal youth, Idunn is also the wife of Bragi, the god of poetry. She's the guardian of the apples of youth. These apples keep the gods young. Indeed, Viking gods are mortal gods. They must stay alive until Ragnarok.
In old Icelandic, Idunn means "the one who is getting younger". Which fits her function well.
Idunn was kidnapped by the god of discord Loki. He had to answer to the giant Thjazi and she was his bargaining chip. Of course, this did not please the gods of Asgard who forced Loki to bring the goddess back. Later, the gods killed the Thjazi giant.
18. Bragi: God of Poetry and Eloquence
Attributes and functions of Bragi
Bragi is the Ase god of poetry and music. He is also considered the patron saint of the Scaldes, the Scandinavian poets.
This deity is often represented with a long beard. He is said to be wise and eloquent. Which is indispensable when one is the god of poetry.
Family of Bragi
Bragi would be the son of Odin and Frigg. Others will say that he is not the child of Frigg but rather the descendant of the giant Gunnlod. Bragi is also the husband of the goddess of youth, Idunn. She is the guardian of the apples of youth. These apples have the power to rejuvenate anyone who eats them.
19. Skadi: Goddess Of Winter And Darkness.
Who is Skadi Goddess?
Skadi is a giant goddess. She represents the mountains, bow hunting, winter and skiing. Her father is Thjazi and her husband is the god Njörd.
Etymology of the name Skadi
Its name is said to be the origin of Scandinavia.
That could mean two things:
- Island of Skadi
- Territory protected by Skadi
The Wife of Njord
His father, Thjazi, had been killed by the Asgard gods. So Skadi decided to go to war against them. To prevent this, the gods offered him compensation. They offered to choose a god in marriage. But she should choose him only by looking at his feet. That's how she came across Njörd.
20. Ullr: God of Hunt and Winter.
Attributes and functions of the God Ullr
This Ase god of hunting and winter is the most important celestial god. He will even replace Odin as ruler for 10 years. Some people think that he is actually the god Týr himself. Ull is a good skier and a brave warrior.
He carries with him a very powerful and precise bow. He also has a shield to protect the warriors. He can also choose to navigate on his shield.
Ull is the son of Sif and is adopted by Thor. He will also marry the giant Skadi.
His residence is in Ydalir, the valley of the yew trees. Indeed, it is thanks to this wood that he makes his bow.
Ull will die in the final battle of Ragnarok.
[BONUS] The Norn the guardians of destiny.
Who are the Norns?
The Nornes (like the Dises, minor deities) make sure that the destiny of the worlds of Yggdrasil unfolds correctly. Rising from the sea, they were born after the Aesir (the gods) in the Volupsa.
The three most important Norns are:
Their residence is located near the Urd well, also called the well of destiny, which is used to water the Yggdrasil abreast of life. Yggdrasil is the bearer of the worlds and the centre of the cosmos.
These Norns engrave the destiny of each child. Everything is inscribed with runes on wood.
[BONUS] The Valkyries: Women and warrior goddesses
Who are the Valkyries?
They are virgin warriors in the service of the god Odin. They wear armor and have wings to fly. Their job is to take the fallen heroes to Valhalla. They will form the army of the Einherjars to fight alongside the gods in Ragnarok.
Some say they ride stallions while others claim they ride fighting wolves.
They are represented by the ravens that fly over the battlefields and are there to choose who will die.
It is also said that these women formed lights in the sky which can be associated with the northern lights.
Etymology of the word "Valkyries"
The words "Val" and "Kyrja" mean "choose" and "shoot" respectively. Thus, we understand their function which is to choose the dead.