(In alphabetical order):
Freyja, a Vanir hostage
Freyr, a Vanir hostage
Njord, a Vanir hostage
(In alphabetical order):
Hoenir, an Ćsir hostage
Mimir, an Ćsir hostage
(In alphabetical order):
(In alphabetical order):
Singular - Ás, Plural - Ases.
Old High Germanic - Os Modern English - Ase,
The Aesir are one of the two principal pantheons of Gods and Goddesses in the native Germanic religion. They include many of the major deities, such as Odin, Frigga, Thor, Balder and Tyr. The Goddesses of the Aesir are known as the Asynjur, and although the term Aesir is used as the general name for all of the gods and goddesses, a second clan of Gods, known as the Vanir are also greatly honoured; Freyr and Freyja are the foremost of the Vanir and they reside amongst the Aesir in Asgard. The Aesir are generally the deities of consciousness and are more associated with fire, air, war, power and the passionate mechanical aspects of being; whereas the Vanir are associated with earth, water, the natural and organic and are mainly connected with fertility, joy and peace, although these are by no means firmly set boundaries.
The Aesir stayed forever young by eating the golden apples kept by Idunna ,the Goddess governing the regenerative powers of eternal youth and spring fertility. Unlike the gods of some other religions, the Aesir and Vanir are not immortal; many will die at Ragnarok with some very few exceptions who will survive and rebuild the glory of the Asgard.
Our religious teachings tell us that the Ćsir and the Vanir once held a war, which, since their battle-might was equal, their great battles ended in a draw. The truce was settled by the creation of the being Kvasir and the trading of hostages: Odin's brother Hoenir and the giant Mimir went to the Vanir, and Njord and Frey were sent among the Ćsir (Freyja seems to have come along of her own choice), where, according to Ynglinga saga, they held the role of "priests".
It is interesting to speculate if the interactions described as occurring between Aesir and Vanir reflect the types of interaction common to various Germanic clans at the time. According to another theory, the cult of the Vanir (who are mainly connected with fertility and relatively peaceful) may be of an older date, and that of the more warlike Aesir of later origin, so the mythical war may perhaps mirror a historic religious conflict.
Old Norse: Óđinn, Odínn. Pronunciation: Oh-din
Other names: Othinn. Anglo-Saxon: Woden, Old High German: Wotan, Wothan
Lombardic: Godan Alemannic: Wuodan Proto-Germanic: Wođanaz. "The Furious (or raging) God".
Wednesday is named after him (Woden's day).
Odin is the chief divinity of the Germanic pantheon, the foremost of the Aesir, and unequivocally the most complex of all the Germanic Gods. Odin is a son of the Giants Bor and Bestla. He is called the Alfadir (Allfather), for he is the creator of the Germanic Peoples and the father of many important, powerful Gods and human heroes. With his wife Frigga, he is the father of Balder, Hod, and Hermod. He fathered Thor with the Earth goddess Jord, and with him the giantess Grid became the mother of Vidar.
He is seen as especially a god of wisdom, a patron of poets, thinkers, and artists. Of all the gods, Odin is the one who seems to take the most active part in the affairs of humans, and the one who appears most often in the writings of the Germanic peoples.
Odin is also a God of magic, war and death. He is the founder and an expert in rune magic and the giver of spiritual ecstasy and magical arts to the mystics and Shamans. He hung for nine days, pierced by his own spear, on the world tree. Here he learned nine powerful songs, and the Twenty-four runes that comprise the Elder Futhark. Odin won the runes by ritually sacrificing himself on the world tree for nine days and nights, wounded with his own spear. Odin has only one eye, which blazes like the sun. His other eye he traded for a drink from the Well of Wisdom, and gained immense knowledge.
Odin has only one eye, which blazes like the sun. Always searching for more knowledge and power, Odin sacrificed his other eye for a drink from the Well of Mímir ("Memory"). He won the mead of divine inspiration and poetry by seducing the giant-maid Gunnlod who had been guarding it. To his chosen ones, Odin gives knowledge, victory, divine inspiration, magic, the fury of the berserk-warrior, and death when he sees fit, in order to bring them to him.
Odin is also skilled in the arts of necromancy and can make the dead speak to gain in wisdom and insight. His hall in Asgard is called Valaskjalf ("shelf of the slain") where his throne Hlidskjalf ( Gate tower) is located. From this throne he observes all that happens in the nine worlds. The tidings are brought to him by his two ravens named Huginn (thought) and Muninn (memory). He also resides in Valhalla, where his chosen heroes reside once their earthly life is over.
Odin is master of Wode - that which constitutes the ‘greater’ or ‘higher passions’, governing heightened states of personal awareness and self such as agony, ecstasy, and rage. It is the very source of that which feeds and drives ‘divine madness’ or ‘divine inspiration’. The wode can be experienced through altered states, such as in certain trance and ‘active’ meditation workings or ordeal, and once stimulated, is utilized in shamanic functions and in bringing on the berserker’s rage -though doing so requires refined skills of control and a well-disciplined will.
Odin's attributes are the mighty spear Gungnir, which never misses its target, and with which he dooms his chosen ones to die in battle. He also possesses the ring Draupnir, from which every ninth night eight new rings appear, and his eight-footed horse Sleipnir (slippery hoof). He is often accompanied by his two wolves Freki and Geri (both names mean "Greedy") who serve as his watchdogs, and to whom he gives his food, for he himself consumes nothing but wine.
At the dawning of time, Odin and his brothers Villi ( Will) and Ve ( Sacred Enclosure ) shaped the universe and created the Germanic peoples.
In his physical incarnation, Odin usually appears as a gray bearded man, tall and thin, with a dark blue cloak and an eye patch or wide-brimmed hat tilted to hide his missing eye.
Odin is assisted by the Valkyries ("Choosers of the Slain") who work his will, bringing the bravest warriors to the various halls of the Gods where they prepare themselves and ready their strength against the coming of the end of the world: Ragnarok.
Odin is indeed a stern tester of his children, and is sometimes considered a capricious God who would betray his chosen champions and gave them a glorious death defeat instead of the victory and life that they deserved. But to those that are wise in their perception will know that Odin is a god of foresight, careful weaving of plots, and long-term agendas and that his purpose is always clear: "For the great gray Wolf ever gapes at the realm of the gods and man." He calls those he loves the best first to his side and thus swell the number of his valiant legions to strengthen the hosts of the gods for the last battle so that life and knowledge can be preserved and the new world born after the old is destroyed. To await the end of time and stave off the doom of all.
During Ragnarok, on the day of the final battle, Odin is prophesied to be killed by the wolf giant Fenrir, and be succeeded by his son Baldur.
Old Norse: Frigga Pronunciation: Frih-gah
Anglo-Saxon: Frige Old High German: Frija, Wagnerian: Fricka
Friday is named after her (Frigga's day).
Frigga is the mother goddess and the wife of Odin. With him she is the mother of Baldur, Bragi, Hermod. Eir a goddess of healing was one of her constant companions. Many of the goddesses listed in Snorri's Prose Edda are considered to be among her handmaidens, including Sága, Eir, Gefjon, Fulla, Sjofn, Lofn, Vár, Vor, Syn, Hlin, Snotra, and Gná.
Frigga's hall in Asgard is Fensalir (“marsh-halls”).
Frigga is the matron goddess of the home and of the mysteries of the married woman. She is seen as Odin's match (and sometimes his better) in wisdom; she shares his high-seat, from which they look out over the worlds together, and she participated in the Asgardreid along with her husband.
Frigga is considered queen-goddess of the heavens, and the female embodiment of sovereignty.
She is the goddess of motherhood, fertility, love, marriage and housework. Particularly concerned with keeping social order. She is called on for blessings when women are giving birth and for help in matters of traditional women's crafts (spinning, weaving, cooking, sewing) and the magic worked thereby. Mothers who want to protect their children can also call on Frigga. In olden days, this was especially the case with sons going out to battle, for whom their mothers would weave or sew special protective items. Thus, she is also called Hlin (protectress).
Matron of good, strong marriage, childbirth and child rearing, as well as the various necessary crafts of the home- spinning is especially attributed to her care, hence the distaff / spindle are long-held symbols of the beloved Goddess from Heathen times.
She is also a seeress, who knows the destiny and fate of all, although she seldom reveals it.
While Freyja seems to enjoy the greatest popularity within preserved mythological sources, it is undoubtedly Frigga who is highest of all Goddesses. And despite the likeness of names and a somewhat similar relationship to Odin, Frigga should not be confused with Freyja, who shares none of her essential traits.
Old Norse: Thor / Ţórr Pronunciation: Thoar
Anglo-Saxon: Thunar Old High German: Donnar / Thonnar, Proto-Germanic: Thuraz
Thursday is named after him ( Thor's day).
Thor is a son of Odin and the Earth Goddess Jord, and is one of the most powerful of the gods. He is married to Sif, a fertility goddess, and together they have a daughter named Thrud (Strength). His mistress is the giantess Jarnsaxa ("iron cutlass"), and their sons are Modi (Courage) and Magni (Main-strength). Thor is helped by Thialfi, his servant and the messenger of the gods.
Thor's hall in Asgard is named Bilskinir ("lightning crackle") Which is located in the region of Thrudheim ("place of might")
Thor is the God of Strength and Storm who governs the weather, sending the life giving rain to the farmers fields
Unrivalled in strength, Thor is the embodiment of pure, raw might and power which can be felt upon the intense air of thunderstorms, and seen with each flash of lightning. He is the supporter of society, and protector of Gods and Men alike.
One of the most beloved god of the Germanic peoples, and often known as "god of the common man", Thor was worshipped most by the free farmers (who were also warriors at need) and by those who "trusted in their own might and main". Today, he is also seen as the warder of his mother Earth against those who would harm her for their own gain. He is able to raise great rages in himself, in which he summons up more strength than any being in the worlds can match.
The ancient Germanic tribes believed that during a thunderstorm, Thor rode through the heavens on his chariot pulled by the goats Tanngrisni ("tooth gnasher") and Tanngnost ("tooth grinder") and that lightning flashed whenever he threw his hammer Mjollnir and the thunder roared when it struck its target.
Thor wears a magical belt Megingjard which doubles his already considerable strength..
Thor's weapon is the mighty hammer Mjöllnir ("the crusher"), small amulets of which are worn by true folk as a sign of troth. Thor not only used his hammer for fighting giants, but also for hallowing both brides and funeral pyres, and several runic inscriptions from the Viking Age in Scandinavia call on him for protection and to hallow the runes.
Thor was usually portrayed as a large, powerful man with fair hair and a red beard who possessed fiery eyes of lighting. But despite his ferocious appearance, he is very popular as the protector of both gods and humans against the forces of evil.
The extraordinary distribution of place-names attributed to Thor attest to his popularity - the frequency is second only to those named for Odin / Wodan.
Although Thor is sometimes shown as being slow-witted in comparison with Odin or Loki, he is a practical god whose solutions to problems are usually swift, effective, and show the common sense the other two sometimes lack. He is also called the "Deep-Thinker," and in one Eddic poem, outwits the clever dwarf Alviss ("All-Wise") by engaging him in a riddle contest until dawn turns the dwarf to stone.
Thor is best-known for his ceaseless battle against the giants. He is not a bloody-minded reaver, however, but a warder who protects the folk of Midgard and Asgard against the menacing beings who seek destroy our world; unlike Odin, he never involves himself in the battles of men, but the gods often seem to rely on his protection.
When he travels to Jotunheim, Loki often goes with him; as Thor is the only god that Loki really seems to respect.
His greatest enemy is Jormungand, the Midgard Serpent. At the day of Ragnarok, Thor will kill this serpent but will die from its poison. His sons will inherit his hammer after his death.
THOR - Thunder
Vingthor - Winged Thor
Vingner - Winged
Vior - Hallower
Hlordi - Heat
Trudgälmer - Song of strength
Thor Karl - Man Thor
Födhr Thor - Father Thor
Akathor - Driver Thor
Hild tundr gudh - Thunder war god
Vagntyr - Chariot god
Asabrag - Aesir Chief
Ennilang - Desired
Eindridi - One-rider
Bjorn - Bear
Hardveur - Door hallower
Sonnung - Child of the sun
Asathor - Thor the Aesir
Vigithuner - Thor the Killer
Tundrtyr - Thunder god
Old Norse: Týr Pronunciation: Teer
Anglo-Saxon: Tue / Tiw Continental Saxon: Seaxnet Old High German: Ziu
Gothic: Tyz Old Scandinavian: Ti, Ty Proto-Germanic: TIWAZ
Tuesday is named after him (Tue's day). Deutschland (Germany) is also named after him (Tue's Land).
Tyr (generic word meaning "God") is the God of oaths, justice, law, courage, and warfare in Germanic Mythology, portrayed as a one handed man. He is a son of the giant Hymir, and the husband to Zisa.
He is renown for his great wisdom, is unrivalled in his sense of duty and nerve, and it is said; "Tyr will help you if - and only if - your cause is just".
Tyr is most often equated with Mars in Latin chronicles. Many ancient Germanic tribes sacrificed to him (and Zisa, his wife) for victory in battle, yielding the first spoils, captives, and the weaponry taken in the conflict. In keeping with his patronage over justice and legal affairs, we find his hand in the settings of the AlThing (the judgment-assembly of the Germanic peoples) which included ordeals and trial-by-combat as a measure of inducing Tyr to shown his judgment.
Tyr's justice, however, is not that of calm Solomonic legislation, but that of the often lively wrangling of the Germanic legal process, which was effectively a battle sublimated into a form where the process of working out the problem could help, rather than harm, the community.
Entomologically his name is derived from the Indo-European generic root word for God (DIU) that is also found in the Greek Zeus. He was the "Sky-Father" and the original chief god. who was later overtaken in authority and power by Odin, when Odin discovered the Runes.
He was known for his courage: at one stage the gods decided to shackle the giant wolf Fenrir, but the beast broke every chain they put upon him. Eventually they had the dwarfs make them a magical ribbon Gleipnir ("fooler") But Fenrir sensed the gods' deceit and refused to be bound with it unless one of them put his hand in the wolf's mouth. None, save Tyr had the courage for such unflinching self sacrifice to bind the Wolf of Chaos and stave off the end of the world until the day of Ragnarok.
His symbol is the sword.
During Ragnarok, Tyr is destined to kill and be killed by Garm, the guard dog of Helheim.
Tyr/Tiwaz/Ziu - God
Saxnot - Sword god
Er/Heru/Cheru - Warrior
Bardagityr - Battle god
Old Norse: Loki Pronunciation: Low-key
Other names: Loke, Lopt, Loptr, Logaţore Anglo-Saxon: Lôgna Old High German: Logi Proto-Germanic: Laugaz ("Blazing God") or Laugatjanaz("Blazing One")
Common Danish, Swedish and Norwegian form: Loke
Loki Laufeyiarson is really not a God at all but rather the full blooded Giant Lord of mischief who resides with the Gods of the Aesir. He is a son of Farbauti and Laufey, and is described as the "contriver of all fraud". Loki is Blood brother to Odin. With his first wife, Glut he was the father of Einmyria ("embers") and Eisa ("spurt")
Loki had three children with the giantess Angerboda: Jormungand the sea-serpent, Fenrir the giant wolf who is preordained to slay Odin at the time of Ragnarok, and Hella the goddess of the realm of the dead. Loki's third wife is Sigyn, one of the Asynjur.
Loki is also an adept shape-shifter, with the ability to change both his sex and form. As such, Loki represents a random factor, an unpredictable element that, combined with all the other (more stable) forces of nature, produce unknown results that no one, save the Norns themselves can quite foresee. Once while in the form of a mare Loki accidentally became impregnated with Odin's eight-legged horse Sleipnir by the giant horse Svadilfari ("unlucky traveler")
Historically, Loki never enjoyed a votive following or cult, nor was he ever offered sacrifice. While he would be given a token drink of recognition (as Odin swore that he would not drink unless Loki was also served) no horn or cup was lifted to him, and there are no place-names which recall centers of his worship or reverence in any region of Europe.
Loki is a complex and cunning Giant- he is said to be quite fair in appearance, but capricious in manner, with a heart full of chaos. In the earlier myths, he is presented as being less-than-malicious in his tomfoolery, and even helpful in some situations. In the instances when he would get the Gods in trouble, he would get them back out of trouble and in many cases he would put them in an even better situation than they were before: If Loki hadn’t been up to his mischief then Sleipnir would never have been born, Hella would not exist, Thor wouldn’t have his hammer Mjöllnir, the magic belt, or his gauntlets, Síf her golden hair, Odin his spear or ring, Freyr his magical ship Skidbladnir.
More typically though, he remains true to his anarchic nature, and at times can be outright sinister in his motives, dealing grave evil and hardship to the Gods.
The Trickster god is a complex character, a master of guile and deception, who usually has a lesson hiding behind his actions. Sometimes Loki shows a sageliness, even a kind wisdom in the things he does. One of the main lessons that he gives us is that order is defined by chaos, and sometimes we need chaos to bring us the opportunity and the will to change for the better.
He is also perceived as a fire spirit, with all the potential for good and ill associated with Fire. Like most everything else in this universe, Loki isn't all-"good" or all-"bad". This would be a necessary combination in our version of the Trickster figure that is found in so many traditions around the world. All the same, he is Lord of Chaos, Chance and Change, which makes him an interesting but dangerous influence.
Lokasenna is one piece of ancient lore that shows Loki in a darker side, and there are a few references elsewhere in the lore (including Loki leading the Jötunar and others on Naglfar against the gods); however, Lokasenna is well known to contain a huge Christian influence and there may have been attempting to turn Loki into a "Devil" type figure. In this, Loki arranged the murder of Baldur and when the Gods discovered Loki's involvement, they hunted him down and bound him to three rocks. Then they tied a serpent above him, the venom of which dripped onto his face. His wife Sigyn (a goddess, not the giantess who was the mother of Loki's monster brood) gathered the venom in a bowl, but from time to time she had to turn away to empty it, at which point the poison would drip onto Loki, who writhed in pain, thus causing earthquakes. Eventually he will free himself, and lead the attack on the Gods at the end of the world: Ragnarok.
Other names :
Lopt - Lofty
Byleist - Wildfire
Hvedhrungr - Roarer
Gammeleidh - Leader of Amusement
Slćgurtyr - Sly god
Rógur - Slanderer
Old Norse: Baldr Pronunciation: Baul-dur
Anglo-Saxon: Bealdor, Old High German: Baldur, Baldar Western Germanic: Balder, Baldur, Fol, Phol, Palter, Paltar Proto-Germanic: Balţraz (Brave One)
Baldur is Odin and Frigga's second son. His wife is called Nanna and his son was Brono who is likewise famed for his goodness.
Baldur’s hall is named Breidablik ("Broadly Gleaming"), where nothing impure is allowed.
Baldur is the god of light, innocence, beauty, joy, purity and peace. He is the shining young hero who embodies the hope of an age.
Baldur is treasured as the ‘best’, ‘brightest’, and most beautiful of all Gods. He is the God of joy and peace and the very epitome of all that is good and hale, of all that which is pure, holy and uncorrupted.
Baldur is the God of the beneficial forces of the rays of the Sun, thus Baldur is greatly honoured in the Sacred rite of the Midsummer festival which corresponds to the Summer Solstice, when it is the longest day of the year and also when the days start to get shorter and the season begins its slow descent into winter. This celebration is marked with much feasting and Bonfires that represent Baldur’s funeral pyre.
Baldur, is known primarily for the myth surrounding his death which is seen as the first in the chain of events which will ultimately lead to the destruction of the gods at Ragnarok. However, as foretold in the Voluspa, Baldur will be reborn in the new world and will rule the Gods.
Alternative: Brage Pronunciation: Bray-gee
Bragi is the son of Odin and Frigga, the husband of Idunna. Bragi is the God of poetry and eloquence, and is revered as a patron God of poets and musicians.
Bragi is the bard of the Gods who is celebrated for his skills as a harpsman. The verb 'to brag' is derived from his name. He had runes carved on his tongue and he could inspire creativity in people by giving them a drink of the mead of divine inspiration: Odroerir.
Old Norse: Heimdall Pronunciation: Highm-dahl
Anglo-Saxon: Heimo Other names: Heimdallr, Hallinskidhi
Heimdall ("pole of the world") is the son of Odin and the Nine Waves; the daughters of Aegir and Ran. His hall is called Himinbjörg ("Heavens' Mountain"). He owns the Gjallarhorn ("Horn Resounding") which he shall blow at the beginning of Ragnarok to gather the mighty host of the Gods and their chosen warriors to battle the forces of evil.
Heimdall is the guardian of the Bifrost bridge (which connects the shining realm of the Gods to the world of man) and Asgard. His senses are so acute that he can hear the grass grow and he can see to the end of the world, he also requires little to no sleep.
Using the name "Rig" ("ruler"), Heimdal walked among our ancient ancestors, and laid the foundations for the various tribal cultures, who gifted mankind with social order, civilization, and runes.
On his journeys, Rig fathered and gave wisdom to the three classes of humankind - slaves, freemen, and the warrior ruling class.
Heimdall is described as very fair, with golden teeth. His horse is called Gulltoppr ("Golden-Mane").
Heimdall is sometimes seen as a rather aloof god and lacking in humor; however, he is a great teacher, and an especially good god to call on for those who work in subjects calling for cool intellect rather than the furious inspiration given by Odin.
He is a great foe of Loki and during Ragnarok, Heimdall is destined to kill and be killed by Loki.
Other names :
Rig - King
Gullintani - Golden toothed
Vindler - Turner, winder
Hallinskidhi - Slippery skis
Hvíturas - White God
Old Norse: Idunna Pronunciation: Eye-dune-ah
Alternative: Iduna, Idunn, Ithun, Idunnor,Ostare, Ostern, Estre, Eostre, Eoster, Eostra, Eastre, Eostur, Eastra, Eastur
Anglo-Saxon: Eostre, Old High German: Ostara, Proto-Germanic: Austrôn ("Eastern One")
Austria is named after Idunna by her alternate name of OSTARA
Idunna ("Rejuvenator") is the Goddess of the radiant dawn, eternal youth, and rebirth, and so is a fitting matron of Springs' regeneration of fertility, and life which comes with the return of the growing season.
Idunna is the custodian of the golden apples which allowed the Aesir gods to maintain their youthfulness, and was the only one among the Gods who was allowed to gather them, which she safely kept in a golden chest.
Apples and Eggs are one of the oldest and holiest symbols of life and rebirth among the Germanic folk, appearing as grave-gifts from the Bronze Age onward. Her life renewing Apples and Eggs are merely a symbolic representation of the primordial seeds of life and generative and regenerative ability, the source of life and ‘life germination’ which Idunna bears within her very being.
Idunnas' (Ostara, to the continental Germans and Anglo Saxons) totem animal is the Rabbit, (which is known as the Easter Bunny) due to its tendency for quick and numerous reproduction. Another of her symbols is the Egg, symbolizing eternal life and fertility. Her memory proved so enduring in Saxon England that the springtime feast was eventually called by her Saxon name; Easter.
Idunna / Ostara is celebrated with a feast day on the Spring Equinox.
Old Norse: Forseti, Pronunciation: Fore-set-ee
Frisian: Fosite, Foseti.Anglo Saxon: Forsyte Old High German: forsite
Proto-Germanic: Furasatijan ("For-Sitter" = Chairman)
Forseti ("presiding one") is the Germanic god of justice through arbitration and also a settler of lawsuits and quarrels.
He is the son of Baldur and Nanna. His home is called Glitnir ("shining") which has a silver roof upheld by golden pillars.
Patron god of the Frisians and giver of their laws. Beasts on his island could not be harmed and silence had to be kept while drinking from the spring on his holy island, which he had brought forth from the rock with his axe.
It is interesting to note that in even today's Iceland, the president is still called a "Forseti"
After the war of the Ćsir and Vanir, the two godly tribes sealed peace by spitting into a bowl and creating Kvasir from the mingled spittle. He was said to be the wisest of all beings.
Kvasir was murdered by two dwarven brothers: Fjalar ("hider") and Galar ("chanter"). They then mixed, preserved and fermented Kvasirs' blood into a powerful magical mead that inspired poets, shamans and magicians.
Odin now gives the mead of poetry: Odroerir (""Stirrer of inspiration"") to the Aesir, to the Valkyries for reviving dead heroes upon their arrival in Valhalla, and to all who have the ability to compose poetic verse.
Sigyn was the wife of Loki, who bore him two sons, Narfi and Nari. She sits by the bound Loki with a cup, protecting him from the venom dripping onto his face.
Mimir is a primal god who is renowned for his knowledge and wisdom. Mimir is the giant brother of Odin's Jotun mother Bestla and he is the guardian of the Well of Mimir, in which all wisdom lies. Odin sacraficed one of his eyes in exchange for drinking from Mimir's magical well, to acquire Mimir's omniscient wisdom and knowledge for himself.
Mimir was sent to the Vanir as a hostage with Hoenir, but when Hoenir's slowness of speech was discovered, the Vanir became angry. Unwilling to harm Odin's brother, they lopped off Mimir's head instead and sent it back to the Aesir. Odin preserved it with herbs and spells, and gains much wisdom from consulting with the head. In this manner Mímir is known to have taught Odin great and mystical wisdoms and magical formulae, furthering his own immense store of knowledge by drinking daily from the timeless spring which still remains in his charge.
Pronunciation: Fool-ah Alternate: Fylla
Fulla is one of the Asynjur. Her name is related to the adjective fullr, meaning "full." By Snorri Sturluson in Gylfaginning, she is described as follows:
"she wears her hair flowing and has a golden ribbon about her head; she carries Frigg's chest, takes care of her shoes and knows her secrets".
From this description, she appears to be something of a handmaiden to Frigg – which is also true for Gná and Hlín, two other ásynjur. Later in the same work – when Hermóđr unsuccessfully tries to retrieve the murdered god Baldr and his wife Nanna from Hel, it is related that "Nanna sent Frigga a kerchief and other gifts, and to Fulla she sent a golden finger ring." Fulla also appear in some kennings (metaphores). According to Skáldskaparmál, höfuđband Fullu (ribbon of Fulla) is a kenning for gold. Another example is found in Gísla saga: "Fulla of rain of spear-shafts hall", which translates as simply meaning woman.
The Old High German Merseburg Incantations mentions Volla, and calls her the sister of Friia or Frija. That Fulla is the sister of Frigg does not appear in the Norse literature.
Pronunciation: Geef-yawn Alternate: Gefjun, Gefyon, Gebjun
Gefjon ("giver") was a seeress and goddess, a member of both the Vanir and the Ćsir. She was associated with the plow, virgins and good luck. All women who die virgin are sent to her hall to become her servants in the afterlife, and thus she is characterized as a goddess of virtue, yet she was also a fertility goddess.
Her husband was King Skjöld, son of Óđinn. Many legendary Danish kings claimed to be descended from her. Having been promised by the Swedish king Gylfi as much land as she could plow in one night, she transformed her four sons into oxen and took enough land to create the Danish island of Zealand, leaving the Swedish lake Mälaren. This legend is commemorated by the bronze Gefjun fountain in Copenhagen sculpted by Anders Bundgaard in 1908. The goddess' name is shared with a Norse term meaning "marriage", represented by the English language as "give", meaning "wife".
Alternative: Nanda Pronunciation: Naa-naa
Nanna is a Goddess of Asynjur, daughter of Nep and the wife of Baldur, mother of Brono. They are both Aesir and live together in Briedablik ("Broadly Gleaming") in Asgard. With Baldur, she was the mother of Forseti.
Nannas' name may mean "the daring one". According to the Prose Edda version of the story, she dies of grief when her husband Balder is slain, and is burned on the pyre with him. Her name indicates boldness and a willingness to dare or strive, and true to her character, there is a heart of strength and courage which underlies the gentleness of her subtle disposition. Nanna’s fortitude demands a resolve to strive forward, to continue despite loss and hardship- so too, we might expect such a Bold Goddess to willingly walk alongside her husband, even into the darkest of shadows - to remain with him in death as she had done so in life. Nanna shines as the epitome of feminine courageousness, unwavering loyalty, and nobility of heart
Old Norse: Hod, Alternative:Höđr, Hoth, Hodur Pronunciation: Hawd, Hawder
Hod is the God of darkness and winter, the blind son of Odin and Frigga, as well as the brother of Baldur. It was Hod who threw the mistletoe (guided by Loki) which was to slay the otherwise invulnerable Baldur. For this crime, Odin and Rind gave birth to Vali specifically so he could kill Hod.
Hod is a mighty warrior and the blind God of war, a God of brute strength and force. His blindness is often equated with the non-judgment or the blind wrath of battle. Such a comparison truly reflects the character of the God in mythological sources that do in fact depict him as being free of particular malice or evil mindset.
Saga's name means the "seeing one" and she is the Asynjur goddess of poetry and history.
Saga is one of Frigga's handmaidens. Saga is known to teach men the skills necessary to effectively utilize it in weaving the crafty spells which preserve the holy and living accounts of our Gods and folk. Her name is related to the Norse word saga, though not the same. She is mentioned in the poem Grímnismál and, briefly, in the Prose Edda. According to the poem, her hall is called Sökkvabekk, ("Sunken Benches") and she and Odin drink out of golden cups there retelling old stories of glory. She, together with Odin, cares for writers. It has also been suggested that she might also be seen as the patron Goddess of Iceland, she certainly was the only one to bless that country for many years. It is fitting then that Saga has come to be the name of the ancient Icelandic prose work written in the period (roughly) between 1150 and 1400. The source of many of our stories of heroes, and most of our knowledge of Icelandic and Norwegian history.
A female deity named Zisa (Upper German feminine form of the name Tyr) is also recorded near Augsburg, but we know even less of her, though it has been suggested in modern times that she may be paired with Tyr in some way, perhaps as either a twin with similar functions or as an Earth-Mother complementing the Sky-Father.
Anglo Saxon: Wara Pronunciation: Varr
Var ("Beloved") is an Asynjur, a goddess of the Aesir.
She is the Goddess of love contracts and marriage, she listens to oaths and agreements between men and women, and she takes vengeance on those who break them.
Var is a patroness of the faithfulness of marriage, a keeper of plighted troth and vows and of the honesty, or lack thereof, and true heart of such words of binding.
Old Norse Víđarr Alternate: Vitharr, Vithar
Vidar ("the Silent God,") is the son of Odin and the Goddess Grid. god of silence, stealth and revenge. In the reborn world that arises after Ragnarok (in which Vidar kills the giant wolf Fenris), Vidar is preordained to rule in Odin's stead.
At Ragnarok, Vidar will tear Fenrir's jaws apart, avenging Odin and freeing him (or at least some important part of his spirit) from the Wolf's belly. His name may mean "the Wide-Ruling One". He is renowned for his unwavering sense of duty and dependability, especially in times of trial or need- even the Gods themselves will often turn to his assistance in difficult or trying situations! According to the myths, Vidar possesses an exceptional shoe made from the leather trimmings that are cut from each pair of new shoes as the cobbler fashions the heel and toe. Craftsmen who wish to aid the Gods in their Doom must discard these scraps, as it has been done since ancient times. He will avenge his father's death at the end of the worlds: Ragnarok.
The Vanir are one of the two mighty pantheons of Gods and Goddesses in the native Germanic religion: together with Aesir they are collectively known as the Asa. They include Njord, Freyr and Freyja, who live among the Aesir since the end of the conflict between the two clans of gods (traded for Mímir and Honir)
The Vanir live in Vanaheim, also called Vanaland, Vanakvísl,and Tanakvísl. They are Gods and Goddesses of fertility and prosperity, and they are seen as belonging to the earth, while the Aesir ruled the sky. The Vanir have a deep knowledge of magical arts, so that they also know the future. It was Freyja who taught the Shamanic magical arts known as Seidr to the Aesir.
After a war which ended in a truce between equally matched forces, the two tribes were reconciled, and the Vanic Njord and Frey came to live with the Ćsir. Since Frey and Njord are often called on for peace and good harvest, the
Vanir are often seen as peaceful fertility deities and contrasted to the warlike Ćsir in this respect, but since Frey is one of the most stalwart warriors and called "leader of the hosts of the gods," and his twin Freyja is well known as a patron goddess of warriors and stirrer of strife, this can hardly be the wholeness of their being. The Vanir are especially known for their wisdom and ability to see into the future through the shamanic magical technique called seidhr.
The rock carvings of the Bronze Age seem to show a great deal of Vanic symbolism, though Aesic images (the god with the spear, the god with the double-headed axe or Hammer) are also often present.
Old Norse: Freyja Pronunciation: Fray-ya
Anglo-Saxon: Frouwa, Old High German: Frau, Proto-Germanic: Fru Wagnerian: Freia, Alternate: Friia, Froya, Freja, Frřya, Freya, Friia
Freyja is the best-known and best-loved of the goddesses. Her title simply means "Lady," her original name is not known. Freyja is the daughter of Njord and Nerthus, as well as the sister of Freyr. She was once married to Odr, but he disappeared. She is the principle female fertility Goddess of the native Germanic religion, and a goddess of riches, her tears are gold and whose "daughters," in the riddle-poetry of the skalds, are precious objects. she is the embodiment of the holy life-force on several levels.
She was the most beautiful and desirable of all goddesses, who possessed the worlds most beautiful piece of jewelry: the Brisingamen ("Bright necklace") necklace which embodies her power over the material world; the necklace has been the emblem of the earth-goddess since the earliest times.
Along with the necklace, she owned a cloak of feathers which gave her the ability to change her shape into a falcon and fly across the worlds.
Like Odin, Freyja is often a stirrer of strife. As a Goddess of war and death, she rides a golden boar named Hildisvini ("battle swine"). The boar has special associations within Germanic Mythology, both relative to the notion of fertility and also as a protective talisman in war.
Her palace was in Folkvang ( "field of the host" and her hall was Sessrumnir ("Seat room")
She is also a chooser of half the dead on the battlefield while Odin gets the other half, according to Grimnismál:
Freyja is the "wild woman" among the deities of the North: free with her
sexual favors (though furious when an attempt is made to marry her off against her will);
mistress of Odin and several men; She is also skilled at the shamanic form of ecstatic, consciousness altering magic called seidhr, thus it is
of no surprise to find her as the matrons of female magicians.
This goddess drives a wagon drawn by two large cats, which are sacred to her as her totem animal - the popular image of a witch accompanied by a (black) cat originates from the association of the felines to Freyja. She is seen today as the matron goddesses of cats and those who keep them.
Vanadis - Goddess of the Vanir
Menglad - Jewel glad
Mardöll - Sea-dale
Hörn - Flax
Gefn - Giver
Gullveig – Gold lust
Heidhr - Heath
Sýr - Sow
Skialf - Trembler
vanabride - Vanic bride
Grér - Grey
Blidh - Blissful
Ljostara – Fair tears
Old Norse: Freyr or Yngvi-Freyr, Ingu, ar-Freyr Pronunciation: Fray-er
Anglo-Saxon: Ing or Frea, Old High German: Fro
Alternate:Yng, Ingui, Ingvi, Yngvi, Fro Ing (Lord Ing), Frej, Frö, Fröj Wagnerian: Froh
Ing is better known by his title; Freyr meaning "Lord". He is the twin brother of Freyja, son to Njord and Nerthus. Along with Odin and Thor he was one of the most popular gods, and received many offerings. His wife is the bright and beautiful Giantess Gerda.
Freyr is a leading member of the Vanir, the Lord of the Earth, and a God of fertility, peace and prosperity. Like Odin, Freyr is strongly associated with the institution of Sacred Kingship and he fathered the royal line of Sweden.
Freyr was given the Relm of the Elves, Alfheim, as a gift for having his first tooth, and he presides over the Elves as their King.
Freyr is a very important and popular God in the native Germanic religion; He is a giver of riches, called on for success and growth in all fields of endeavor. He controls the fertility of the earth: good weather, gentle rains and sunshine,
Prayers are also offered to Freyr for frith (fruitful peace), prosperity, and protection in battle. He is especially connected with the blessings and worship given to the ancestral and land spirits.
Freyr is described as being very handsome, powerful, merciful and kind, and is called the "God of the World". As a fertility God of love and pleasure, Freyr was often depicted with an enlarged phallus.
Animals sacred to Freyr include the stag and the boar. Like these animals, he could be very peaceful and gentle, and also very fierce when provoked. These reflect two sides of Freyr: Freyr the Gentle Lord of Mirth and Harvests, and Freyr the Liberator, who can be quite fierce in the defense of freedom. The formation known as the "battle boar" was dedicated to this fighting spirit of his. He has a boar named Gullinborsti ("Golden Bristles") on which he can ride over air and water. He once had a horse named Bloody Hooved, having to do with his role as battle-god and a sword which could fight of its own accord., but these he gave to his servant Skírnir (the Shining One) for winning the giant-maiden Gerd for him.
A considerable remnant of Freyr's cultic practices survived under the guise of Christian saints whose domain was patron saint of plowmen, seeding time, fertility, and fecundity, Saint Leonard in Germany, who was the patron of freeing prisoners and of farm animals, who were openly phallic saints and even had wooden phalluses attached to their statues, which people would rub to increase their fertility.
Freyr gives up his sword for love. and at the battle at the end of the world: Ragnarok, Freyr will fight Surtur with a stag's antler.
Vaningi - Ing of the Vanir
Frodhi - Fruitful
Veraldergod - God of the world
Atridi - Out rider
Uppridi - Up rider
Skeratyr - Harvest god
Audhurtyr - Wealth god
Old Norse: Nerthus Pronunciation: Nearth-os Alternative: Hertha
Nerthus is Njord's sister and mother of Freyr and Freyja. Like her brother, she is strongly associated with frith (peace), fertility and fertility rites. Together, Nerthus and Njord govern the prosperity and wealth of men, fertility of the land and good harvests. The "Mother Earth" worshipped by the North Sea Germans, according to the Roman historian Tacitus (writing in the first century of the Christian era). Her worship included the springtime procession of a wagon in which her image was kept, which ended on a holy island. Still, it is said that Njord fathered Frey and Freyja on his sister, who is not named but presumed to be Nerthus ; it is most likely that the feminine and masculine Nerthus/Njord could have been a similar pair of mixed twins.
Old Norse: Sif Pronunciation: Sif
Anglo-Saxon: Sibba Old High German: Sippe (tribe) Gothic sibja
Sif ("relative") is a goddess of the Aesir.
Sif is the wife of Thor, and together they are the parents of Thrud ("strength"). With her former husband, she is the mother of Uller, the God of winter and hunting.
Sif’s name is translated as "blood relation", "kindred", "tribe" and "clan". Thus while Thor protects and supports society, Sif is responsible for the unity of the families and tribes within that society. She ensures their prosperity and well-being, blessing them and binding them together with the true realization of frith: the peace, comfort and security which lies at the root of each, and that which provides a firm foundation for the joy, strength, and advancement which can only come from a healthy, stable and prosperous Family.
Sif is best known for her long golden hair. She appears only in one surviving tale: where Loki cuts her hair off in the night and, to save himself from Thor's wrath, gets the dwarfs to forge hair of real gold for her, along with several of the other great treasures of the gods. It has often been suggested that she is also a fertility goddess, whose rippling golden hair may be seen in the ripe grain.
In the prologue to the Prose Edda, she is also called a seeress.
Alternative: Hornir Pronunciation: Ho-en-eer
Honir the Brother of Odin (SEE: VE), is described as being long-legged, handsome, is a very indecisive god and a member of the Aesir. Along with Mimir, he went to the live with the Vanir as a hostage to seal a truce after the war between Ćsir and Vanir.
The Vanir made Hoenir one of their members but he was indecisive and relied on Mimir for all of his decisions, grunting noncommittal answers when Mimir was absent.
Hoenir was one of the few gods that will survive Ragnarok.
After which, he will take the role of priest among the remaining Gods and Goddesses.
Odr is the name of Freyja's beloved husband. He is also known as Svipdag and Erich, and possibly also as Herm-Odr. He is extremely eloquent (but also a bit ill-tempered), thus his name Odr which is the same as the root-word on which Odin's name is based, "fury," or that from which Odroerir is derived, "inspiration".
According to "The Lay of Hyndla", Odr is Swipdag and was part of the team for a long time, until he disobeyed orders and was banished by the Aesir, and was lost at sea. Freyja searched all over the earth for him, and when she found him, he had degenerated into a sea monster. Still, she stayed by his side. One day, Hadding-Dietrich happened upon the sea monster and killed him. Freyja was so upset she told Dietrich he'd better swear to blot the Vanir for the rest of his life lest she kill him on the spot for slaying one of the finest of the gods. Dietrich agrees. Freyja then goes and finds Gullveig, under the name of Hyndla, to get Swipdag-Odr's ("Ottar") genealogy to ensure he gets into Valhall.
Then in Eriksmal we see that Swipdag-Odr-Erik does indeed make it into Valhall, where he can now be with Freyja forever.
Lytir (from the root word for lot, fate, destiny") 'Flateyjarbók records a wagon-borne deity, Lytir, who is consulted as an oracle by a Swedish king. The god’s carriage is led to a particular place, and the king waits; when the wagon becomes heavy, it is taken as a sign that the god has entered it, and the vehicle is led to the king’s hall, where it answers questions. Apart from this tale, Lytir is unknown except for a handful of place-names that are derived from his name (Lytisbergh, Lytislunda)
A lytir priest was then probably a kind of fortune-teller, a seer, hence conducting a well-known practice in prehistoric Scandinavian society. Lytir was certainly consulted before one went away on a long journey, before starting a plundering expedition, to see if it was going to be profitable for example.
Old Norse: Njördhr Pronunciation: N-yoard
Alternative: Njord, Njörd, Njördh, Njörđr, Njorth, Njërđr Anglo-Saxon: Nirdu
NORWAY is named after him (Njord's + way = Land).
Njord is one of the Vanir and the god of seamanship and sailing. He is the father of Freyr and Freyja by his sister Nerthus. (apparently the Vanir, unlike the Ćsir, were allowed to practice sibling incest). His dwelling is said to be Noatun 'Ship Stead'.
Njord and his children joined the Ćsir as Vanir hostages after the Ćsir/Vanic war.
The King of the Vanic Gods, Njord was directly responsible for bringing the primeval war between the Gods to an end, and in establishing peace between the two tribes. Down through the ages, Heathens have remembered him for this monumental feat, and to this day, still call upon him for peace. Njord has sway over the fertility of the land, success of crops and wealth of men, though his main attribute remains the dominion over the prosperity and blessings gotten from the seas. Njord was at one time married to the giantess Skadhi, though after each failed to adjust to life at the homestead of the other, the marriage dissolved. Njord can be found in the genealogy of Swedish Kings - according to some sources, he was their first ruler; in others, he is listed subsequent to Ing Fro. Although he is not very active in the Northern tales, he is still seen as god of the sea and of ships, and also thought of as a giver of riches and also a god closely associated with a good harvest and fertility as are the Vanir in general. He was usually blessed together with his son.
Old Norse Skađi Alternative: Skaoi, Skathi Pronunciation: Skay-dee
Scandinavia is appropriately named after her (Skadi + navia).
Skadi (Old Norvegian/Old Icelandic: Skadhi) ("shadow") is a mountain giantess. She is the present wife of Uller and the former wife of the Vanic god Njord.
When the gods killed her father Thjazi, she journeyed to Asgard in full armor to avenge him. Settling for compensation for her fathers death, Skadi agreed that she would renounced a blood feud if they allowed her to choose a husband among them and if they succeeded in making her laugh.
The gods allowed her to choose a husband, but she had to choose him only by looking at thier feet; she choose Njord because his feet were so beautiful that she though he was Baldur. Then Loki succeeded in making her laugh, so peace was made, and Odin made two stars in the nights sky from Thjazi's eyes.
After a while, she and her husband Njord separated, because she loved the mountains while he wanted to live near the sea. She is the goddess who tied the serpent above Loki's body when he was bounded to the three rocks in the Elder Edda, Lokasenna.
Skadhi later bore a son to Odin: this son fathered the line of the Jarls of Hladhir, who were some of the greatest protectors of Heathenism in Norway during the extremely bloody and brutal process of the conversion of that country to Christianity. Place-names show that she was especially worshipped in eastern Sweden; in the Eddic poem Lokasenna, she speaks of her shrines and holy fields. Skadi is a goddess of skiing, hunting, revenge, protection of the clan, and those women who follow the path of the "Maiden Warrior". This Giantess was elevated to the status of a Goddess at an early date, skalds have long called her the Goddess of the ski and snowshoe, and is a well-known bow-wife and huntress. These characteristics, along with her name - meaning shadow - point to a mistress or Goddess of the darker half of the year: winter.
She is also called "Öndurdis" - "Ski goddess".
While Gerda is often venerated, she isn’t one of the Gods proper. Her name means "giver" and she is a Giantess of immense beauty and radiance. According to the accounts given in the Poetic Edda, Ing Fro’s eventual winning of her hand in marriage was far from easy, and came ultimately as a result of the threat of a powerful curse. This has led scholars to associate her icy demeanor to winter’s hard grip upon the arable land, and the reluctant winning of her ‘affection’ as symbolic of the thaw that accompanies the transition of the seasons- from winter into spring or summer Gefjon. Later mothering the chief dynasty of Danish kings. She is clearly a goddess of fruitfulness in some aspects; however, she is also the protector of maidens and their modesty, and unmarried women are said to go to her hall after death.
Other names:Hler( Sea ), Gýmirr( Sea Engulfer ) Alternatives: Ägir, Ćgir
Old Norse: Ćgir, Old High German: Eger Proto-Germanic: Ć'gwijaz ("Sea")
Aegir is the ruler of the Oceans and seas and the personification of its raw power, life and strength for good or ill in the affairs of men. In Norse poetry, the 'jaws of Aegir' were what sank ships at sea. Aegir is master over the churning waves and weather upon the waters and is famed for his skills in soothing the raging flood and gale.
Aegir is the greatest of brewers, he brews mead and ale for the gods and is renown for the hospitality of his golden hall where he regularly hosts many of the feasts for the Gods and Goddesses.
Like many of the Aesir, Aegir draws his lineage from the frost giants. He is descended from Fornjot and is the brother of Loki (fire) and Kari (wind).
His wife is Ran, a less than friendly Goddess of the sea. Together they have nine daughters, dressed in white robes, who are the waves of the Sea:
Bara ("Wave"), Blodughadda ("Bloody hair"), Bylgia ("Billow"),
Dufa ("Dripping"), Hefring (""Raising), Himinglaeva ("Heaven Bright"),
Hronn ("Wave"), Kolga ("Cool Wave"), and Unn ("Wave")
Aegir had two servants, Fimafeng ("Quick service") who was killed by Loki, and Eldir("Fire stoker").
Pronunciations: Aye-sk, Ehm-blah
Ask and Embla are the first two humans created by the Germanic Gods: Odin, Villi and Ve.
Odin and his brothers, Ve and Vili, created all nine worlds of the Universe. Then, out of two logs they found on a beach they gave human shape; Odin gave them the breath of life, Vili gave them wit and emotions, Ve gave them senses and speech.
These two people, Ask ( Ash tree ) the male, and Embla ( Elm tree ), became the progenitors of the Germanic peoples who lived in Midgard.
Bor is the son of the giant Buri, and is himself the father of Odin, Ve and Vili by the frost giantess Bestla.
His name means "Bear", and is where the words Hyperborea and Borealis derive. His constelation of stars is the "Ursa Major" in the Northern Sky.
Bolthorn ("Evil Thorn") is a Frost giant who is the father of Bestla, and is himself the maternal grandfather of Odin, Villi and Ve. Odin Claims to have learned great magical skills from Bolthorn.
Bestla ("wife) is an ancient frost giantess, a daughter of Bolthorn. With Bor, she is the mother of Odin, Ve and Vili.
Buri ("father") is the god formed by the cow Audumla licking the ice which collected within Ginnungagap. He is the father of Bor, and thus the Grandfather of Odin, Ve and Vili.
Buri is the progenitor of all the Race of Gods. Buri was formed out of the solidification of primal matter, potential and energy.
Eir ("help" or "mercy") is one of Frigga's good friends and handmaidens, as well as a goddess of the Ćsir; she knew the medicinal properties of herbs and is so skilled in the healing arts that she is at times even capable of resurrection.
Eir is the matron Goddess of healing, and health-care workers, she is called on against sickness or injury. In ancient times, only women could learn the art of healing amongst the Germanic tribes. She is one of the goddesses on the mountain called Lyfia ("to heal through magic"), and gives both physical and psychic means of healing; shamanic healing, especially, falls into her realm.
Alternatives: Hela, Hell Pronunciation: Hel-lah Old High German: Hol Proto-Germanic:Haljô (meaning unknown)
Hella was the Germanic Goddess of the two underworlds: Helheim and Niflheim.
Hel is a daughter of Loki and Angerboda, and she is said to have a body which is half black, half flesh-covered, and appears downcast yet fierce,
Her dwelling place is the hall Eliudnir ("Rain Damp"). Her servants were Ganglati and Ganglot both of whose names translate as "tardy".
Hella welcomes all those who do not die gloriously in battle but of accedents, sickness or of old age, and are hence unworthy of the higher abodes of the Gods.
Hellas realm in itself isn't bad, with older sources make it rather pleasant, and indeed a close
reflection of the idealized god-house seen in descriptions of Valhall (Hel and Odin have much
in common, in fact). The concept of Hella and her kingdom is certainly something that has been immensely twisted by later Christian writers into something more fitting of horror fiction rather
than the ruler of the kingdom of death,
There is no evidence for the worship of the goddess Hel in elder times, but there are some few folk who work with her today. .
Hermod is son of Odin, he is the swift and sure messenger of the Gods. Hermod is famous for his courage and determination, traits which allow him to act boldly and without the slightest bit of hesitation in carrying out his duties, with resolute firmness even in the face of grave danger, harm, or imminent death.
Alternative:Holle, Frau Holle, Hulda Pronunciation: Hool-dah
A goddess known through German folklore, her name means "the Gracious One". She has much in common with Frigga, being the patroness of spinners and the keeper of social order, especially enforcing taboos about working on holy days. She is also said to be the keeper of the souls of young children, and women who want to bear children ask for them at her well. Holda also appears at times as the leader of the Wild Hunt. According to one tale, it was she who taught humans how to plant and process flax. When it snows, Holda is supposed to be shaking out her feather-bed. Hulda - Despite the ill treatment we see of the Goddess in later legends (which often depicts her as cruel, ugly / physically deformed or malicious), Holda is in fact a kindly, gracious and helpful Goddess -as indicated by the root meaning of her name (OHG hold: inclined, devoted, gracious, kind). This name is a later derivative of Holda
Jarnsaxa ("Iron Sax") is a Giantess and one of the nine wave maidens who gave birth to Heimdall. In former times she was the mistress of Thor, with whom she mothered Modi and Magni.
Jord is the great Goddess of the wild, primitive and uncivilized areas on Earth.
Jord is the mother of Thor who was fathered by Odin.
Identified as a giantess, she is often referred to in poetry as "Odin's bride". The traces that have survived of the worship of the personified Earth herself show that she was honoured by the Germanic people, though not active in many tales.
Alternative:Lóđurr, Villi Pronunciation: Low-dur
Lodur is often thought to be another name for the Odins Brother Vili. (SEE: Villi)
He is the third god of the Odin-Honir-Lodurr trio which shaped and gave life to humankind.
One of Frigga's women, who gets permission for folk to marry when it had been forbidden before. Especially the patroness of those whose love is criticized by outsiders.
Magni is a son of Thor and Jarnsaxa. He was the god of strength and was the only thing in existence stronger than his father.
Magni is the only one who could lift Mjollnir besides his father.
Magni and his brother Modi are destined to inherit Mjolnir after Ragnarok.
Mani is the god of the moon and a son of Mundilfari and Glaur. Mani pulled the moon through the sky every night, pursued by the wolf Hati (Hatred). Lunar eclipses were caused by Hati coming close to catching Mani; children banged pots together and made great noise, hoping to scare Hati away from the moon. Monday is named after him (Moon day).
Mani is unusual because lunar deities tend to be female, nearly universally, probably because of the connection between Menstruation and the phases of the moon. See also Vidfinn for a hypothesis about the source of the nursery rhyme called Jack and Jill.
The Moon is always masculine in Germanic language and culture, just as the Sun is always feminine. Traces of this concept survive even today in the English "the Man in the Moon". The Moon is the brother of the Sun: and like her he is seen as driving a wagon drawn by a horse called Hrimfaxi (Ice-Mane) and chased by a troll in wolf-shape who will devour him at Ragnarok. He drives the wagon which carries the Moon across the sky of Night, and is considered to be the embodiment of its Holy might.
Modi is the god of battle-rage and a son of Thor and Jarnsaxa.
Many of his followers used hallucinogenic drugs or other methods to attain a certain level of bloodlust in battle.
Mundilfari is a celestial being who governs the turning of the skies and the wheeling of Heavenly bodies upon their due courses or orbits. His name is relative to such a function, suggesting the movement or revolution of the handle of the mill (Ice möndull)- in this case, the mythical Word-Mill (OHG Weltmulin): the apparatus which gives motion to sea currents and cosmic circuits. Snorri names him as the father of Sunna and Mani.
Alternative:Nornir Pronunciation: Noarns
The Norns of the Norse Mythology are three old crones by the names of Urd (fate), Skuld (necessity) and Verdandi (being).
They live beneath the roots of Yggdrasil, (although some accounts have it that they dwell above the arch of the Bifrost Bridge), where they weave the tapestry of Fates. Each man's (and woman's) life is a string in their loom, and the length of the string is the length of the person's life.
Thus everything is preordained in the Norse Religion: even the gods have their own threads, though the Norns do not let the gods see those. This clear subjection of the gods to a power outside their control and the implication that they, too, will have an End are major themes of the literature surrounding the mythology.
The three Norns guard the Well of Urd from which the Tree of Life - Yggdrasil springs. They reach into the Well's waters (the past) and sprinkle the Tree to shape that which shall happen. They are also said to do their shaping by cutting runes and/or by spinning and weaving.
Ran, also referred to as "the goddess of the drowned", is the moody and sometimes treacherous goddess of the seas and waters. She had nine daughters with Aegir called the billowing maidens.
Ran is the covetous Giant goddess of the sea who collects the corpses of the drowned at sea in her net. She stirs up the tempests that swallow ships beneath the angry waves, or shatters their hulls against the jagged rocks lurking beneath the swells. In stormy or troubled waters, sailors of old would hide gold pieces upon their person as payment for her hospitality in the event that they should be drowned. Nordic customs tell us that when those lost at sea showed themselves at the funeral feast, it was a sign that Ran had indeed given them a happy and welcome reception.
Sjofn is the goddess of marital bliss. She stops fights between husbands and wives.
A goddess of marriage and love; Old Norse Sjöfn. Sjofn is one of Frigga's attendants.
Skirnir "The Shining One" is Frey's servant and messenger.
Snotra is a goddess of the Ćsir. She held domain over virtue, wisdom, self-discipline and justice.
Snotras' name means "wise" or "noble". and she is always ready to let folk know what is fitting at any given time. Often called on by the lady of the house when men are feasting too boisterously. Snotra is one of Frigga's attendants.
Alternative:Sol, Sonna, Sunne and Frau Sunne, Alfrodull - "glory of elves"
Sunday is named after her (Sunna's day).
Sunna is the Goddess of the sun, a daughter of Mundilfari and Glaur, and wife of Glen. Every day, she rode through the heavens sky on her chariot, radiating the sun's light through the manes of her horses, Skinfaxi ("Shining Mane") or two named Arvaki ("Early Awake") and Alsvidr ("All-Swift "). She was chased during the day by Skoll ("treachery"), a wolf that desires to devour her. Solar eclipses signified Skoll had almost caught up to her. It is fated that Skoll will eventually catch Sol and eat her; though she would be replaced by her daughter.
The earth was protected from the full heat of the sun by Svalin, who stood between the earth and Sunna.
The Sun is always feminine in Germanic languages, spirituality and culture, just as the Moon is always masculine. In ancient times Sunna was greatly worshipped by the Germanic tribes.
Alternatives: Surtr, Surt
Surtur ("The Black One") is the leader of the fire giants in the south, and the ruler of Muspelheim, the realm of fire. He was married to Sinmore. His sword is flaming and at the end of the present world - Ragnarok, he is destined to make war against the Gods and triumph over them and burn the whole world with fire. Only Hodmimir's Forest will remain, because that is the only thing his sword can not destroy.
The familiar version of this mythological holocaust is the last scene of Richard Wagner's opera 'Götterdämmerung ('Twilight of the Gods').
In the final battle, Surtur and his Fire-Giants burst forth:” In Surtur's grasp the Sword of Revenge blazes, adding a blood red colour to the twilight of the whole world."
At the end of the gods and the world, as it is said in Völuspá:
Syn "The denier" is a goddess who guards gates and doorways against those who should not enter. Syn is one of Frigga's maidens, a keeper of truth, and is concerned with the furtherance and maintaining of justice. She is particularly known for coming to the aid of defendants at trial or Thing - protecting the wrongfully accused or attacked in such settings. Further, she is a keeper of the door of the Hall, denying access to all those who are unfit, unworthy, or likewise unwelcome to enter.
Servant of Thor. Thjalfi was best known as a remarkably swift runner. The name (Old Norse Ţjálfi) has been interpreted as "serving-elf," but also appears as a personal name. His sister's name, Old Norse Röskva, is related to the verb "to grow, to mature," and may hint at an original role as fertility goddess, fitting to both Thor's role as a god of fruitfulness and to the character of his wife Sif.
Old Norse: Ţrúđr Anglo Saxon - Old High German: Trude.
Thrud ("Strength") is the daughter of Thor and Jarnsaxa.
Her name is sometimes listed among the valkyries; it is a common element in Germanic women's names (such as Gertrude "spear-strength").
Thrud was promised to Alvis, a dwarf, in exchange for which Alvis made weapons for the gods. Thor devised a plan to stop Alvis from marrying his daughter. He told Alvis that, because of his small height, he had to prove his wisdom. Alvis agreed and Thor made the tests last until after the sun had risen--all dwarves turned to stone when exposed to sunlight, so Alvis was petrified and Thrud remained unmarried.
Old Norse: Ullr, Ulr Pronunciation: Ool-ler
Anglo-Saxon: Wuldor, Old High German: Holler, Proto-Germanic:Wulţur
Other names:Vuldr, Wulder
Uller ("glory") is a son of Sif and Egil, before Sif married Thor.
Uller is said to have taken Skadi as his wife following her divorce from Njord.
His father Egil was the greatest archer in Germanic mythology, and Uller follows in his father's footsteps. He also ruled over the Vanirs when they held Asgard during the Vanic-Aesir War.
Uller is almost unknown in the myths but he has a religious importance far greater than would appear from the scanty surviving textual references, his name is seen in a lot of geographical names, especially in Sweden, so his cult in ancient times was quite wide spread.
Uller is the ancient Germanic Sky God of Winter and Death, hunting, single combat, the snowshoe, bow, and shield. A shield is often called the 'ship of Ullr' in the Iclenadic sagas. Ullers' hall is called Ydalir 'Yew-dales'. Uller is the Lord of northern lakes and mountains, the patron God of warriors, hunters, and magicians, ULLER offered aid and protection to his followers in conflicts and in battle, survival and travel in the harsh winter climates. A popular God with many temples in the North, farmers would make offerings to him to ensure a thick blanket of snow for their fields, to make the land more fruitful when the spring came. Clad in furs and reputed to have knowledge of shape shifting and Rune magic, He would participate in the Wild Hunt, and is said to dwell in a sacred grove of Yew, from where he sends out the brilliant lights of the Aurora Borealis which illuminates the Northern sky during its' long winter nights. Known by the name - HOLLER - by the early Germanic tribes, both names are related to "glory" and "majesty" and has been closely associated with the Vanir. Places named after him are almost always near other places bearing the names of FREYR, FREYJA, NJORD, or SKADI. Since his name often appears twinned with that of Njord or Frey in place-names, it is possible that he may have alternated with one or the other as the Winter half of a Winter King/Summer King pair.
Bow As - Bow God
Hunting As - Hunting God
Skidhi As - Ski God
Skjöldr As -
Sheild As - Shield God
Veidha As -
Vali was a child born of Odin and the giantess Rind. He was birthed for the sole purpose of killing Hod and thus avenge the accidental murder of his brother, Baldur. He succeeded.
Vili ("Will") is one of the Aesir and a son of Bestla and Bor. His brothers are Ve and Odin. He is credited for giving humanity emotion and intelligence.
Old Norse: Vörr Anglo Saxon: "Wih"
Ve ("Sacred Enclosure") is one of the Aesir and a son of Bestla and Bor. His brothers were Vili and Odin, together they slew the proto-giant Ymir and made the worlds out of his body, and later created Humankind. Ve is credited for giving humanity the powers of speech and their external senses.
Vor "The Careful One" is a handmaiden of Frigga. Vor is the goddess of marriage and contracts and faithfulness between man and woman from whom nothing could be hidden because she is so wise. She is wise and alert, and she misses nothing.
Old Norse Völundr; also called Weyland.Pronunciation: Way-land
The greatest of smiths in Germanic legend. A human who was wedded to a swan-maiden; after she left him, he was captured by the king Nidhad, hamstrung, and forced to work at the forge. He slew Nidhad's sons, seduced his daughter and left her pregnant, and flew away on wings he had forged himself. There is a megalithic tomb in England called "Weyland's Smithy".
Pronunciation : Val-oo-berg
"Waluburg" (Wood-Protection), The name of a second-century Heathen Germanic seeress whose name is honoured and used for the holy night May Eve as no Heathen name for this feast survives (Christianized: "Walpurgisnacht").
Alternative: Aurgelmir Pronounced: I-meer
Ymir is the founder of the race of frost giants and an important figure in Germanic cosmology. In the beginning of time he was formed from the primal ice of Niflheim, where it met with the heat from Muspelheim's primal fire and melted (according to the Prose Edda) or from the mists rising from the rivers that flow from Niflheim (according to the Eddic poem Vafthrudnismal). Giants came forth from Ymir's body while he slept. His legs spawned a man and a woman, who came out of his body through the armpits.
The primal cow Audumla had four udders of milk which fed Ymir. Audumla licked hoar frost and salt from ice, eventually revealing Buri, father of Bor and the grandfather of Odin, Vili and Ve.
Odin and his brothers killed Ymir. Only two giants survived the flood of Ymir's blood: Ymir's grandson, Bergelmir (son of Thrudgelmir), and his wife. They made the sky from his skull, the earth from Ymir body; his blood became the sea and the waters of the earth, his bones the rocks, and his hair trees and bushes.
Audhumla is the primeval cosmic cow who came into existence at the beginning of time through shaping of the melted Ginnungagap ice. She lived off the Niflheim ice, licking pieces of salt and hoar frost. The frost giant Ymir lived off of her milk.
While licking the original Ginnungagap Ice, Audhumla formed the shape of a man which became Buri, who later fathered Bor, and the grandfather of Odin, Vili and Ve.
Old Norse: Idesa
The Disir are ancestral spirits of women of great power that often help the families they belong to. Many are of nearly goddess level although even a few living mortal women were counted amongst their number in ancient times. They were afforded worship in ancient times and in the Ynglinga Saga a feast held in their honour is described. The Disir often appear to members of their families to help or punish and are said to appear in dreams. The Idesa of one's family may be called upon in some spell workings particularly those dealing with family matters. They are helpful with childbirth and also attend deaths.
Old Norse: Álfar, singular: álfr Pronunciation: Alf-far
Other names:Ljosalfar ("Light Elves"), Elves Anglo-Saxon: Ćlf,
the Alfar, or Elves, are usually considered to be the height of humans or just above. The Light Elves are supposedly fair to look upon, and they live in Alfheim. The Dark Elves live in the dark, and are slightly more mischievous. They are often associated with Dwarves, which turn to stone in the sun. The Eddas tend to use "Alfar" and "Vanir" interchangeably.
Elves are mythical creatures of Germanic mythology often now pictured in folktales in diminished form as small people with mischievous personalities (see illustration). They are sometimes said to be invisible.
The pre-Christian forest spirits were formerly powerful beings to respect who were popular amongst the ancient folk as is testified by the many Germanic names that bear the cognitive Alf Elf): Alfred - "elf-counsel", )
Norse Germanic mythology knows of light-elves (Liosálfar) who dwell in the third space in heaven, dark-elves (Döckálfar) and black-elves (Svartalfar), the black-elves being identified with dwarfs though in general elves and dwarfs are distinguished in surviving Norse literature. They are often mentioned along with the gods, apparently as lesser spirits of nature.
Alfs varied widely in size, from the very small to human-sized and taller.
The home of the light-elves is Alfheim "elvenhome", which is ruled by the god Freyr. The dwarfs lived in Svartalfheim. They could be seen at night dancing over meadows. The circles they left were called älvdanser (elf dances). The Elven folk are often pictured as living in forests and other natural places or underground or in wells and springs. They were imagined to be long-lived or immortal, and magical powers were attributed to them.
Elf-shot was the name use for found neolithic flint arrowheads, imagined as created and used by the elvish folk and sudden paralysis was sometimes attributed to elf-stroke. Álfar (ON)/Ylfe (AS) The Ylfe are the elves of Northern European mythology. Generally divided into different races, the term elf usually refers to the Ljosalfar (ON), the "Light Elves", beings of great beauty that often associate with the Gods. They are said to be quite powerful and have been known to give aid to men and gods alike. They live in Alfheimr which was given to the god Freyr as a gift for his first tooth and it could be the god is seen as their ruler. They had close associations with the gods and seem to be creatures of light and good. Usually called "alfs" in the Troth to avoid confusion with the elves of Shakespeare or Tolkien. The Elves sometimes appear to be the ghosts of dead ancestors still dwelling in mounds or hills; sometimes they are more similar to land-wights (earth spirits). The Elves are worshipped together with the Disir and often with Frey. Sometimes they are kindly, but when offended, they shoot humans or animals with elf-shot, causing sickness and despair in its victims.
A draugr is a corporeal undead. Draugrs were believed to live in the graves of dead vikings, being the actual body of the dead. Views differed on whether the personality and soul of the dead person lingered in the draugr. As the graves of important men often contained a good amount of wealth, the draugr jealously guarded his treasures, even after death. All draugr were possessed of superhuman strength and some were immune to usual weapons. To defeat a draugr, a hero was often necessary, since only such a man had strength and courage enough to stand up to so formidable an opponent. The hero would often have to wrestle with the draugr and so defeat him, since weapons would do no good.
The draugr were said to be either hel-blar ("as black as death") or, conversely, na-folr ("corpse-pale).
Some draugr were able to leave their dwelling place, the burial mound, and visit the living during the night. Such visits were universally horrible events, and often ended in death for one or more of the living, and warranted the exhumation of the draugrs tomb of a hero.
The Einherjar are the spirits of warriors who had died bravely in battle. The term Einherjar means "the One Harriers" and refers to their devotion to perfecting themselves for the benifit of the Gods. Half of the Einherjar are escorted to the halls of Vallhall from the battlefield after dying by the Valkyries; the other half went to Freyja's hall, Folkvang. The spirits of the Einherger live on in these Halls where every day they are awakened by the rooster Gullinkambi, to hone their battle skills and train all day until they are all cut to pieces. At night, they are reborn and they eat from the Boar Saehrimnir ("Sooty sea beast"). During Ragnarok, Odin will call up the Einherjar to fight the frost giants.
Alternative names: Fenrir, Fenrisulfr (Fenris Wolf), Fenrisúlfr, úlfr Fenris
Fenris is a giant wolf who is the offsping of Loki and the giantess Angerboda.
The Aesir learned that Fenris was prophesied to be responsible (along with his family, the rest of Loki and Angerboda's spawn) for the destruction of the world. Fenris was locked in a cage, fed by Tyr, the only god willing to do so. Once Fenris had become full-grown, the Gods decided to trick him into allowing himself to be chained by insinuating that he wouldn't be able to free himself. Fenris agreed to be chained to prove he could break out; he was correct, he was able to break the chains that bound him. The gods then ordered the dwarves to make a chain that could hold Fenris. Using magical ingredients, the dwarves made Gleipnir ("fooler"), an incredibly strong, yet thin ribbon. Fenris agreed to attempt to break Gleipnir, as long as one of the gods was willing to keep his hand in the wolf's mouth during the experience. Tyr was the only one brave enough to volunteer. Fenris could not escape and Tyr lost a hand. Fenris was chained to a rock called Gioll deep beneath the earth, with a sword between his jaws to keep him from biting.
Fenris will remain bound until Ragnarok when he will join forces with those opposing Odin and will devour him. Vidar, Odin's son, will kill Fenris. Until Ragnarok, three chains tie the dread wolf down: Loding, Dromi, and Gleipnir.
HULDRUFOLK - (Norwegian) A group of mischievous woodland spirits that have the fronts of men, but the hollowed out backs of trees. They are basically one and the same as the wood wives of Germany. In Germany they are often linked to the goddess Holda. The Elle of Denmark are a special variety said to guard the Elder Tree. Generally all these beings seem to be the same type. They appear as beautiful children from the front but have a tree trunk for the back. Animal features are common making them appear only half human, they generally shy away from Mankind.
Jormungand ("Great Wand" or the "Great Magic-Beast"), is the giant sea serpent and one of the offspring of Loki and Angerboda. The Aesir knew Jormungand would be dangerous for humanity, so they tossed him into the waters that encircled Midgard. Jormungand grew so big that he was able to encirlce the earth and bite his own tail.(see Ouroboros).
During Ragnarok, Thor will finally kill Jormungand, but not before Jormungand can spray poison on Thor and kill him as well.
Old Norse:Jöttin, Jötunn, plural: jötnar. Also: Thurse
Anglo Saxon:Eoten, Ettins
Jotuns are the race of giants, separated into categories such as frost and storm giants. The first race drowned in Ymir's blood, and were repopulated by Bergelmir("Mountain roarer").
Jotuns are a type of powerful being that are on par with the gods and elves. They dwell in the wild relm of Jötunnheim. Usually they are thought of as giants, though not all of them are so large; they can even be human sized. Many Jotuns are friendly to the Gods such as the sea giant Ćgir who regularly has the Gods and Goddesses as his guests. Other Jotuns seem to oppose the gods at times. Generally they are wise and quite powerful. Mimer, counted as the wisest being of all, numbers among them. "Jotun-kin" is used as a general term for giants of various sorts and trolls. They are usually seen as the foes of the gods, although many of them are quite helpful, and Jotuns and the Gods often interbreed. In fact, at least two of the goddesses, Uller's wife Skađi and Freyrs wife Gerd, are Jotuns; and there are none of the Gods who do not have quite a lot of giant ancestry. Some true folk today see the Jotuns as the largest of the land spirits, who now need to be helped to restore the balance of being rather than battled against; others stick to the traditional view of the giants as generally being the embodiment of destruction. Thurse is another term for a giant, especially used for ill-willing giants. Rime-thurses are the wild spirits of ice and snow and are very dangerous and very malevolent.
Old Norse: Landvćttir Pronunciation: Lands-vayt-teerAnglo Saxon: Landwihta
The Landsvćttir are land spirits, the guardian spirits of the woods, forests, and streams. They are usually friendly but they prefer not to be disturbed by modern man. They do befriend humans though and have been known to give aid to growing crops and in other such agricultural pursuits. The Land Wights dislike blood and violence in general. They do appear in a variety of forms and this may be due to shape shifting abilities. They seem strongest in the untamed wilds and this may be because they shy away from civilized areas. These beings dwell in rocks, springs, and so forth. They are shy and easily driven away (especially by noise or strife); when they have fled, the land will not prosper. In Heathen Iceland, it was illegal to come within sight of the shore with a dragon-prow raised, as that would frightened them. The land-wights are friendly towards humans who treat them well. Gifts of food and drink were often left by their dwelling places.
Myrkalfar ( Murky Elf) are the spirits of great men who live in the ancestral howe burial chamber.
A Nykar is a water spirit usually associated with rivers and believed responsible for drowning and floods. The nixies are generally thought of as malevolent creatures preying on human flesh and they should be avoided. Many areas of Europe once felt these powerful water demons demanded a sacrifice each year, least they flood the fields or drown someone.
Puck is a mischievous nature spirit, leading folk astray with echoes and lights in nighttime woodlands or coming into the farmstead and souring milk in the churn. Significantly for such a place-spirit or genius, the Old English word occurs mainly in place names, which strongly suggests that the Puca was older in the landscape of Britain than the language itself. The origin of the Puki goes back to the the Indo-European origins of the Germanic peoples and cane be found in the Celtic (Welsh pwcca and Irish pooka). Since, if you "speak" of the Devil" he will appear, Puck's euphemistic "disguised" name is "Robin Goodfellow" or "Hobgoblin" in which "Hob" may substitute for "Rob" or may simply refer to the "goblin of the hearth" or hob.
If you had the knack, Puck might do minor housework for you, quick fine needlework or butter-churning, which could be undone in a moment by his knavish tricks, if you fell out of favor with him: "Those that Hob-goblin call you, and sweet Puck, You do their work, and they shall have good luck" said one of Shakespeare's fairies. Shakespeare's characterization of "shrewd and knavish" Puck in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" may have revived flagging interest in Puck.
The Púki survived into the Middle Ages to become the "Puck" familiar to us from Shakespeare and other English writers. In parts of England, they sometimes left out bowls of curds and cream for the puki.
Ratatosk is the name of the squirrel that runs up and down the World-Tree, Yggdrasil, bearing nasty messages between the dragon at its roots and the eagle at its crown. Old Norse Ratatoskr.
Old Norse: Rísi Anglo-Saxon: Hrisi
Risir are benevolent spirits of natural places like lakes, hills, and rivers. They are a type of giant described as fair to look upon and not to be much greater than human stature. They are said to be of low intelligence though and like throwing boulders at each other. Generally, however they seem helpful to Mankind, but due to this low intelligence that usefulness isn't much good.
Berg-risir is the specific name for mountain spirits
Old Norse:Svartalfs Pronunciation: Svart-alfs
Other names:Svartalfar ("Black Elves")
the svartálfar ("black elves") or dökkálfar ("dark elves") are supernatural beings that are said to reside in the underground world of Svartálfheim.
No valid distinction though can be drawn between the dark elves, dwarfs and trolls; they appear to have been interchangeable." Svartálfar have acquired their name because they were seen as the light-avoiding counterparts to the common elf, living in Álfheim. The term black/dark elf might rather be suggestive of their place of residence than of their presumed nature, although they are described as greedy and troublesome for humans, in contrast to the benevolent light elves. Besides their underground lives, svartálfar had many of the same traits attributed to them as the dwarves. These include growing from the maggots of Ymir's flesh, turning to stone when exposed to daylight, and being human-like, but ugly and misshapen.
Like many mythological elves, regardless of morality (though much closer to the dire varieties in particular), dark elves are often said to be responsible for many of the maladies befalling humanity. In particular, bad dreams are said to be within the domain of the dökkálfar, as indicated by the German word for nightmare, "Albtraum" (Elf Dream). It is said that the dark elves will sit upon the dreamer's chest and/or whisper the bad dreams into the sleeper's ears.
Alternatives: Walkyries, Alaisiagae, Anglo Saxon:Wćlcyrgie
The Valkyries ("choosers of the slain"), are held to be the adopted daughters of Odin, they appear as the beautiful warrior-maidens on winged horses, armed with helmets, armor and spears. Their purpose is to visit battlefields and chose the most heroic of those who have died in battle (called Einherjar), and carry them off to the halls Valhalla and Folkvang. This was necessary because Odin needed warriors to fight by his side at the preordained battle at the end of the world, Ragnarok.
The Valkyries were originally seen as frightful battle-spirits accompanying Odin in his work of marking men for death in war. They appear in a more pleasant aspect in Valhall, where they carry out the traditional womanly duty of bearing drink to the Einherjar. The most famous of the valkyries, known chiefly through Wagner's Ring Cycle, is Brunnhilde, demoted from her position for defending a hero against Odin's will and punished by being forced to fall in love with Siegfried the Dragon-Slayer.
The Valkries are said to protect his heroes through life and to choose amongst the dead who goes to Valhalla. They serve as purveyors of wisdom, protection, and at death to help the fallen hero make the difficult journey to Valhalla. The Valkyries are often associated with the Norns and this may be due to their role at death. In myth they have been seen as both very fierce ugly hags relishing in blood shed and as beautiful young women living to serve the hero to which they are assigned. Both aspects are most likely true. The former view seems to go back to an earlier time when they were seen, like their god, as beings of rage and wind, the fury of battle. However, this does not stop them from taking on other aspects of Wóden which are much gentler. Odin was also seen as a agricultural God in Germany, known for the giving of gifts and even a great degree of kindness. His advice in the Hávamál reveal Odin to be much more concerned with common sense than with uncontrolled rage. It could be that the Valkyries who also imbued wisdom carried these kinder qualiites as well, and that the separate views of their personalities are only a reflection of a more complex figure.
The Valkyries also acted as Odin's messengers. Their armor, which shone while doing his bidding, were once thought to have caused Aurora Borealis.
Richard Wagner adapted one of the Valkyrie myths, dealing with the Valkyrie Brunhilde and her love for the warrior Siegfried, into his opera: Die Walkure.
List of the Valkyries:
Brunhilde - Bright Battle
Geirolul - Spear waver
Göll - Tumult
Göndul - Wand wielder
Gudrun - Battle Rune
Gunn - War
Herfjoturr - Host fetter
Hildr - Battle
Hlokk - Noise
Hrist - Shaker
Mist - Cloud
Randgrid - Sheild truce
Radgrid - Counsil truce
Reginleif - Power trace
Skeggjold - Axe age
Skogul - Shaker
Skuld - Debt
Sigrdrifa - Victory urger
Sigrún - Victory Rune
Svafa - Sleep maker