Njörd : Norse God of Wind and Sea
Njörd : Viking God of the Sea
Njörd is the Nordic God of the sea and the wind. In this sense, he is also associated with navigation, fishing, as well as wealth and fertility of crops. In the Nordic countries, the god Njörd is venerated for a long time. He is often represented next to the sea, with long brown hair. A seagull is sometimes placed on his hand. For the god of the sea, this bird is sacred and symbolic. Equivalent of the Greek God Poseidon, who is really the Nordic God Njörd?
Who is the god Njörd?
In Old Norse, his name means "power" or "strength". And more commonly "life force". Njörd is the son of Natt and Nagelfare, and is the half-brother of Frigg. He is the father of ten children, including the god Frey and the goddess Freya. The latter two are not the offspring of his wife Skadi, but are said to be the offspring of his own sister, Nerthus.
Njörd is a master of magic and has superhuman powers. Legend has it that the god controls the waters of the seas and oceans, as well as the air and the wind. Snorri Sturluson's Edda states that he "is so rich and so fortunate that he can give, to those who invoke him for it, abundance of land and goods".
The God of the Sea is also the leader of the Vanirs (Vanes) and lives in Vanaheim. When war breaks out between the two sides - Vanir and Aesir (Aesir) - he of course stays by the side of his family and his Men. However, at the end of the war, he is sent as a peace hostage to the Aesir with his children Freyr and Freya, and thus becomes an honorary member. Njörd now lives in Asgard. His residence is called Noatun, a place where many ships are built right by the sea.
During the Ragnarök, Njörd is one of the few to survive. The god returns to Vanaheim when gods and monsters clash, and would not have participated in the great battle. In the Poetic Edda it is written that in Vanaheim, "the wise Powers have made him and given him as a hostage to the gods; when the men die, he will return to the wise Vanir".
The marriage of Njörd and Skadi
Not much is finally told about the god Njörd. Except for his very short marriage with the giantess Skadi. The stories tell that the latter had gone to the kingdom of the Aesir in order to ask for reparation following the murder of her father. They agreed to let her choose among the gods the one she wanted as husband. To choose him, she had to look only at their feet. Skadi chose Njörd. He had the most beautiful feet of all and the giantess was then convinced that they were those of Baldur, the most beautiful of the gods.
The god of the sea and the giantess never managed to get along, being perfect opposites. He could not tolerate living in Skadi's house, in the snowy mountains of Jotunheim. And she couldn't stand Njörd's house on the beach. The Edda tells that Njörd would have assured: "The mountains are hateful to me; I was not there long, only nine nights. The howling of the wolves seemed ugly to me after the singing of the swans. As for Skadi, she would have confessed this: "Sleeping, I could not on the sea bed for the howling of the bird. This seagull wakes me up when from the big sea it comes every morning".
So they choose to live half of the year at one, the other half of the year at the other. But Njörd and Skadi finally separate.
Njörd, venerated by the Vikings
Njörd was undoubtedly one of the most venerated gods by the Vikings. When they went to sea and the waves were raging, they prayed to the god not to perish under the swell. Not to remain in the hands of the god Aegir - or Gymir -, god of the ocean who took with him the ships. The Scandinavian peoples erected many temples and sanctuaries in honor of the god Njörd. Sacred ceremonies and offerings are dedicated to him. Notably because he could grant them an extreme fertility of their crops and an abundant fishing. And still today, some places in Sweden, Norway or Iceland bear his name.
Viking God of the sea and true king?
In the Middle Ages, Goth kings ruled over Denmark, and all of them at that time claimed to be from the lineage of the God Odin. They were called the Skjoldungians, after the first king Skjiold. According to Snorre Sturluson, Skjiold is the son of Odin and the father of Njörd.
Njörd is also said to be one of the ancestors of the Ynglingar dynasty, which rules Sweden. He would have been king of Sweden, after Odin. Snorre Sturluson wrote a saga about him, and a poem called Ynglingatal tells the story. So pure fiction or reality ...