The number of Gods given by the Edda is twelve, as are the
number of Goddesses; twelve is three perfected by four, shape given to matter and endowed with energy having a place in time.69 The Gods and Goddesses are the embodiment of the conscious principle
and order in the universe. They may be divide in two camps; (two perfected by two perfected by three) the Aesir and
The Aesir are described as the Gods of Sky and Civilization,
they represent the nature of transcendental divinity, forming and directing the course of existence. The were initially
adversarial to the Vanir, but after a war between them (a macrocosm of the war within the Self) they amalgamated. This
synthesis is that Divine Union sought by all mystics and spiritualists; it is the acceptance of the Whole.
The Aesir reside in the realm of Asgard, mythically located at one
of the three roots of the World Tree, where the Well of Wyrd springs forth. This well encompasses the actions of the
other two, and expresses the totality of the Nine Worlds; it is "That Which Should Become". It is symbolically located
atop the tree in the North-West, however not in the absolute sense of the terrestrial direction, it simply means "up" in the
sense of "higher".
Asgard my be seen as the realm of higher consciousness and inspiration,
it also can be described as the seat of the driving force of life. It is also the home of divine judgment, for the 12
Judgment Seats of the Gods and 8 High Chairs of the Goddesses are beside the Well.
Chief of all the Gods is Odin [Woden, Wotan, Odhinn], the Allfather,
creator of the Universe and rider (and therefore director of...) of the World Tree (Ygg -Drasil can also mean the "Steed of
Ygg", a kenning for Odin). As the Chief of the Aesir, he rules over all the Nine Worlds, and fosters all humanity, through
his gift of life-force. He is also the God of Death (in the martial/adversarial sense) in War, and Magick. He
is cognate to Mercury in the Hellenic traditions, with the understanding that he has taken on the Jupiterian aspect of Chiefdom.
This God is often described as sneaky and fickle, for He seemingly
turns on His own heroes; but to place human attributes on His divine purposes limits Him. In His role of Allfather,
He travels the Nine Worlds relentlessly, seeking all the Wisdom there is to be had. He does this so as to ensure life
will continue after the Ragnarok [ON-Destruction of the World]. His motives and decisions may seem arbitrary, unfair,
or even immoral, but as the driver of life-force, He does what must be done. As a God of Battle, His symbols include
Spear and Sword. His own spear, Gungnir, is symbolically hurled over enemies, dedicating their deaths to the God.
He frequently gives a sword to His heroes, like Sigurd.
Odin is frequently accompanied by His two wolves, Geri and Freki.
They represent the martial aspects of Him. They are terrible and cunning hunters, and relentless "dogs of war".
Also in His keep are two ravens, Hugin and Munin. They are "Thoughtful" and "Mindful" respectively, and are the traveling
eyes and ears of the Allfather, scouring the Nine Worlds for wisdom and information daily.
He sends forth a legion
of female warriors, called Valkyries, to collect the noble dead on the battlefields of Midgard. There they take the
bravest and boldest to His hall,Valhalla
, where every day they will
practice the art of war in actual to the death combat, being reborn each evening for the feast. At this feast the Valkyrie
attend the soldiers, and keep the Mead-horns full.
As Chief of the Gods he is patron of the Royalty, specifically the
War Band Leader, the Drighten. He is depicted as an old man, wearing a grey or black-blue cloak, having one eye, and
white hair. The Valknot is His Holy symbol, as well as the Rune Ansuz. Also the patron of writing, poetry and
song; his form of magick, Galdur, involves chanting and the use of Runes. It is reputed that Odin revealed the Runes
to man in the year 250 BE. The Old Norse Havamal, part of the Poetic Edda , is a poem describing how Odin won
I know that hung on that windswept Tree,
hung there Nine
Pierced by Mine own spear, Myself a gift to Myself.
I Hung on that tree, the roots of which,
knows whither they run.
None gave me food, non gave me drink.
But I looked down, and saw the Runes.
I grasped at
them, snatching them up, as I screamed.
And I fell down deep, into their depths.
Odin, as Alfather has had to make some sort of sacrifice, (to transcend
the need for death and rebirth) to win deeper spiritual knowledge. This he does, but he also shares this knowledge with
his children, by giving it to them in the Runes. As Chief God, he sits on the "High Seat", Hlidskialf, symbol of his
authority, however it also allows him to look out over all the Nine Worlds, knowing all that transpires therein. Here
the High Seat is a means to gaining Wisdom in the Second Function, that of "Wyrd Which Is Becoming"; the present tense.
He also possesses the ring Draupnir, and each ninth night it replicated itself eight times. This was Odin's gift to
Baldur's funeral pyre.
His holy day is Wednesday, which means, Woden's day. He is married,
in the traditional domestic sense, to Frigga. However, he also has concubines and other "relationships", the most prominent
of these is his close tie to Freya. As the Chieftains of their respective clans (Aesir and Vanir) They are symbolically
united in the merging of these clans into one God-Tribe. But there is a sexual relationship and exchange as Odin learns
Seith from Freya, and in turn teaches Her Galdr magick. Freya is but one of His partners, several giants and humans
have also been "Handmaidens" of Odin.
Odin is descendant of the first God, Bor, who emerged from the Primeval
Ice, thanks to Audhumbla, the proto-zoomorphic cow. She is in essence primal creation, appearing from nowhere and disappearing
into nowhere. As a God, born of Buri's son Bor and the Giantess Bestula, Odin in the triune hypostase of Woden,
Wille, and We enters into creation and shapes it from within (immanent). The implication is that Odin has always been
shaping the universe from without (transcendent). His steed Slepnir is an eight legged animal, representative of a carried
coffin, and able to journey anywhere in creation (all of Yggdrasil... Odin's Steed...). He is the son of Loki and the
Giant's horse Svadlfari. Faster, stronger, and braver than any steed, it carries Odin or his chosen servants around
the Nine Worlds. In the final Battle, The Alfather will fight Fenrir, first falling to him, and then being avenged/retrieved
by his son Vidar, child of a giantess.
An oral tradition handed down in Norway maintains that the reason Viddar pries open Fenrir's jaws is to free the gravely
wounded Odin. In this oral tale, Odin must recuperate 9 seasons, afterwards. He then returns
to his Hall, alive and well, and takes charge back from Baldur and his sons Vali and Viddar.
It makes sense when one realizes that Vidarr, "...tears open the wolf...", slaying Fenrir would
harm the trapped Odin.
The Queen of Asgard and lawful wife of Odin is Frigga, matron of marriage
and the household. Like her husband, she sits in the High Seat, and has wisdom beyond limit... though she keeps silent
and does not speak of dire things. Daughter of Fjorgynn and sister of Jord, her matronage of loyal couples extended
into the afterworld, in Fensalir the faithful would be united forever.
As a matron of domestic arts, the Spindle and
Distaff were her symbols. She presided over matters of health and hearth, and all the skills
needed to maintain them. When in the role of protector of the aett, she can be a fearsome
opponent. She also held such sway over Odin, that the fate of Battle could be changed by her intervention. The Vandal and Lombard war in the Migration
Era is the greatest example of this. Frigga tricked Odin by turning his bed to face the Lombards, thus granting them the victory.
As mother of Thor, she also assists mankind by directing Her son to
mortals in need. She is waited on by Eir, Hlin, Gna, and Fulla. Fulla, her sister can be equated with Hulda, and
is the shadowy side of the Allmother. Hlin and Gna are Her messengers to Midgard, and Eir was a goddess of healing
and rest, who acted in the best interests of family. The nature of Norse hospitality left it in the more capable (through
their subtle and skillful influence) hands of the Head of the Home (the Wife), the Key bearer, to take care of guests.
The symbolic bringing of mead to the guests was designed to show a guest the highest degree of respect, and also to allow
the hostesses feminine charms to work for the good of the household. She also helps women in child birth and brings
Frigga may be equated with Saga, the Seereress in the Voluspa.
This makes sense as she shares Odin's complete understanding of Wyrd, and is the female pole of the transcendent force of
Creator. As Allmother She has shared in the process of creation, and is the personification of the Feminine Depths.
She thus also equates to a very Vanic trait, that of the Ocean. Perhaps this is because of her Giant heritage, as many
of the Vanir are married to the Giants, and share a deep understanding of the force of Wyrd ... a logical outcome of being
a part of the process. In Her connection to the Ocean, Aegir and Ran may be seen as an internal polarity within Frigga,
imposed by Transcendent Creation on an external couple. Ager is a Brewer and "homebody", contrary to the male stereotype,
and His huge cauldron is similar to that of the Gaelic Cerridwen's, or even the Cornucopia. Ran with her Net takes the
hunter-gather role, decidedly un-feminine, and is a hypostase of Death from below. Can we not posit Ran as Crone, Frigga
as Mother, and although somewhat transexualized, Aegir as Maid? Thus a Norse "triplicity", also akin to the Norns, emerges
in the common Indo-European tradition. And if this is true, do not the frequent attempts to transsexualize Mani make
some degree of sense? If the Sun is named Sunna (a feminine noun) and Mani (a masculine noun) the Moon, could not the
polar aspects evident throughout manifest in these divine symbols too? [More on this in the Sunna/Manni entry].
As a presiding aspect of the Moon and Stars, the stars in Orion's
Belt are called Frigga's Spindle, a part of her weaving loom and an aspect of her artistic matronage. She watches over
the heavens in a steadfast and motherly fashion, seeking to maintain the health and well being of all the stars in the Sky.
She shares Friday with Freya, as their Holy day.
More than once, Tyr was the Chief Aes, however at the time of the
Eddas He has devolved into a God of War, and Martial Justice. In this he shares a place with Odin, but unlike the Alfather,
Tyr is less interested in the cause of war, and more interested in the Just Resolution of War. He is a wise Aes, and
the Guardian of Order.
He is also the patron of self-sacrifice for the greater good.
He alone of the Gods, willingly gave up His hand and His Cosmic Order so that the Wolf Fenrir could be bound, and Ragnarok
delayed. Knowing that Fenrir was the catalyst of change, Tyr willingly fed him, but to the other Gods, Fenrir posed
a threat to order, so Tyr placed the Clan's welfare above His own and allowed the wolf to be bound. The One-Handed God
is a servant of His fellows, and thus of all His fellows, greatest. He is the Patron of all those who serve the community
in dire circumstance (Military, Police, Fire, Rescue...) and upholder the highest tenant of the spirit of "clan". He
is the "Wolf's Leavings", "Wolf Chain", and the "Binder of Fenrir" and "Glepnir's Guardian".
As the God of the Thing, His decisions are absolutely just, but not
necessarily fair; mercy is not something to be shown on the battlefields nor in matters of obligations. He is concerned
with rapid resolution, honest action, and the thew [OE-Custom]. He is a God of Oaths, and upholds the higher elements
of "Natural Law". Political Correctness has no place before this God, the truth must be told no matter what the
consequences. Herein lies the first major dichotomy between Odin and Tyr, Odin will seek the amicable resolution, or
use deception and guile to reach His ends, Tyr will stand for nothing less than what is absolutely right, achieved in the
most straightforward manner. Politicians and diplomats must be Odin's followers, for they do what is desired by the
majority in a manner that is least distasteful to the minority, ruffling as few feathers as possible. Tyr would simply
do what must be done, and let all others cry in their own pots, and have done with it. This absolutism means one must
be careful when approaching this God, as the truth often hurts; cutting both ways (The old adage, the Truth is a double edged
sword...). But be aware, Tyr is the Truth, and anything He does is in this vein; He will never deceive nor hide behind
ambiguity, what you see is what you get. Das ist das, und das ist Alles. (That is that, and That is All)
His day is Tuesday,
and in the final Battle, Tyr
is pitted against Garm, the trothful Hel Hound. The Dog, as man's loyal companion symbolizes
this God, as do swords and spears. Here He is "Garm's Bane", the keeper of Right Order.
It should always be remembered that symbolically, the Irminsul, His
symbol, transcends creation, existing before and after the Nine Worlds. In true transcendent manner, Tyr fed the young
wolf-pup Fenrir. Order sustaining Chaos, knowing its end result. Tyr's sacrifice, not to Himself, but to everyone,
was part of the cycle of universal being. He is the first Alfather.
The Polestar, Tyr's Nail, is the airy height of this God, whereas
the chasm of the Mound, and the Dragon of Darkness are his depths. The Fymbultyr as harbringer of doom is an apt application
of the Dagaz cyclicity found within this God. Though few understand his trancendant nature, the bright image maintained
by this God of the Skies has a mirror of shadow that fires the will and drives Him to endless cyclicity.
A recently expounded theory holds that Teiwaz (Saxnote-OE) is in fact
the Proto-God, Bor, who was licked from the Brine Ice by the Great Cow. In this Heiti, He can be placed outside the
creation of "tangibles", but still parents Odin the "creator" of the Nine Worlds. The pairing of Tyr and Zisa is likely a
mistranslation or femminization of the Zio/Ziu Heiti that this God bore early on in Germany. It cognates here with the
other Indo-European Sky father titles (Zupater, Zeus). A far more likely theory holds he is mated with Vara, the Oath
Hearer of the Temple.
Thor and Sif
Torr, Donar, Thunor, Thorr; the Thunderer had many names, and as many
followers. He is the Hallowing friend of humanity. As God of the Freeman (Carl) He was the patron of the majority
of the folk. Farmers looked to Him, as did those conscripted to war. He is also God of Storms (thunder and Lightening)
and of Warriors. This son of Frigga and foster son of Odin is the Warder of Midgard and Asgard, and is constantly at war with
Like Tyr, Thor hates deception and deceit. The Thunderer expects
that a pact made is a pact kept. However, unlike Tyr, the spirit of the agreement is far more important to Thor than
the letter of that contract. He is concerned with the overall beneficial nature of interrelationships, and sees oaths
as the means to this end.
As Protector of Midgard, He wages war on the Giants (as archetypes
of entropy and chaos) and Jormundganger, the Midgard Serpent; symbols of the forces at work to undermine the stability of
nature. He is pulled about on a Chariot, his goats are Tooth Nasher and Gap Tooth. He wages this war with the
Hammer, Mjolnir, the skull crusher. This weapon is so difficult to use that even Thor requires the Gloves, Jarngreipr
(Iron Hand), and a Belt, Meginjord, gives him tremendous strength. The handle is too short, because Loki interfered
with its forging, and has a ring at the end. This ring was later identified as the Oath Ring, a specially holy means
of heit making.
He is the vital electrical force; thunderbolts issue from His Hammer.
Always a protector, a Hammersign hallows any area, repelling evil. The Hakenkreutz, or Crooked cross, the Swastika,
is symbol of His hammer, and glaring-staring eyes are His symbols. His red beard is remembered in a kenning, Red Thor.
Thor is fond of food and drink, and His appetite is legendary.
At symbel He can fondly remembered for the many adventures He has had, and the jovial nature that surrounds Him. He
truly acts as a friend to mankind. He fathers two sons on Jarnsaxa (a Giantess), Modi, and Magni, and a daughter Thrund,
with Sif. In Uppsala it was Thor, Odin, and Frey who were given high honors...in that order. Oak is his favorite
tree, and a hammer handle made from the oak of a lightening struck tree is considered to be a powerful tool. His Holy day
is Thursday, and the wearing of His pendant Hammers denote a belief in any of the Northern European Heathen-Folk practices,
not just those dedicated to this Aes.
His wife, Sif, is a Goddess of Excellence and the Golden Haired Goddess
of the Harvest. Her beautiful blond hair was cut off by Loki, and Her Golden Locks were crafted by the Dwarves.
Her symbolic attachment includes that of the flax and yarn spinning, as well as chief knotmaker. It is Sif who checks
the bindings of the Wolf Fenrir, so she presides over bindings and knot magicks.
Baldur and Nanna
The bright and beautiful son of Odin is the embodiment of a Solar
Deity. He is loved by everything in creation, and mourned by all but Loki, in Death. Integral to the Ragnarok
Myth, He is reborn with the new world, released from Hel's grasp by the cosmic cataclysm. Called the "White God" in
some myths (a title He shared with Heimdall) for His fair complexion and hallowed brilliance, Baldur embodies the energy of
the nurturing process. Here He relates to Sunna (a feminine form...) and to the sky aspect of the Aesir.
Baldur's own brother is the instrument of His death, however Loki
is the agent provocateur. Hod is a Blind War God, an apt metaphor for war, Who's dart of mistletoe kills Baldur during
a "mock" battle. Frigga had secured protection from everything in Nature (except mistletoe), thus Baldur was thought
to be invulnerable. But since mistletoe was overlooked, it became the source material for Loki's trap. But in
keeping with the almost Odinically hypostasic nature of the Trickster, Baldur's death serves as a means for the Gods to maintain
some Heavenly order in the wake of Ragnarok.
He is wed to Nanna, who dies from her grief at His death. She
is another of the female Fertility Goddesses. She pines for Baldur, as the Nine Worlds do, reflective of Nature's understanding
of the loss. While in Hel, the God Hermod receives gifts from Baldur and Nanna. He takes back Odin's ring, Draupnir,
brings Frigga a linen headdress, and has a golden ring for Fulla. The initiatory process in the life of a shaman continues...
Freya will release Baldur from Helheim; thus
we may conjecture that Odin whispered the reason Baldur couldn't go to Valhalla: He had to remain safe in Hel throughout Ragnarok, so as
to be able to rule in Odin's place while the Old Aes recuperated from His wounds.
Bragi and Idunna
Bragi, God of Poetry and Inspiration is the foster son of Odin, and
music maker of the Aesir. Idunna is a Golden Goddess, Giver of Renewal to the Earth and Gods alike. Her apples
keep the Gods young, and Her festival marks the return of the Green Earth from it's slumber of Winter.
It is said that eloquent boasting at symbel is bragging, and it is
the skaldic beauty of this wordsmith that inspires the epic Sagas, and lyrical Eddas. Bragi can make song of any topic,
and His gift to mankind, the Bard/Skald, is one kept dear by high prince and low servant. The God of Poetry and
Prose gleans his gift from the wisdom of divine inspiration, and thus is intimately connected with Odin. The Northern
priesthoods (both Celtic and Germanic) had many such poets, and they were the lore-keepers and historians, via these timeless
Idunna, giver of immortality and restorer of vitality, was worshipped
as the embodiment of Earthly renewal. Her festival was held on the first full moon after the Spring Equinox. This
Solar aspect is decidedly feminine, however it relates nicely with Baldur's masculine Sun image. Both offer renewal,
and both overcome the "death" of winter.
Uller and Horn
Though originally a pair of presiding deities, in the later myths
they are reduced in stature. Uller remains God of the Moving Hunt, and of Snow Skills, and Horn retains the Earthly
mother attributes. Uller has become a step son of Thor, and natural son of Sif and a Rime Giant. He is at home
on ski and skate, as well as sled and snowshoe. Archery is the attribute for which He is most revered.
His name inspired a kenning for a shield, Uller's Boat. As anyone
familiar with the snowy slopes knows, a shield inverted and sat upon sails effortlessly down a mountainside covered with snow.
Thus, early hunters closing in on prey could rapidly gain ground and with their bow, kill the prey. If escape needs
be the case, a faster getaway down a mountain couldn't be found than tobogganing down on one's shield. Uller's
boat is a splendid kenning indeed!
Uller is one with His environment, using it to the utmost advantage.
The God is resilient and always in motion. The Bogi, His bow, symbolized by the Yew, never misses, he always hits
the mark. Consider him the archetypal William Tell and Robin Hood!
Horn is a mysterious Goddess, and the remnants of information that
survive liken her to Freya and Jord, Frigga and Hulda. A clear image is impossible, but it may be suggested that she
also resembled the Goddess/Giant Skadi, due to her acclimation to the snowy mountains and winter.
The Warder of the Rainbow Bridge, and progenitor of the races of mankind.
In His horn, Gjallahorn, sits besides him outside Valgrind, the Gate to Asgard. He will blow this horn to warn the Gods
of the approach of Ragnarok. As Watchman of the Nine Worlds, he sees that all things transpire according to divine plan.
Tradition says He is born of Nine Sea Giantesses, though this may
be an illusion to the Germanic understanding of the source of life: the Ocean. (The primeval, life-generating, amino acid
soup...) They believed that the ripples in the tide held a significance, and that every ninth crest represented Heimdall,
and the act of procreation. In his guise as Rig [OC-King] he sleeps with three couples and fathers the three classes of society
(another multiple nine): Slaves, Freemen, and Nobility. First, he sleeps with the couple called Ai and Edda (Great Grandparents),
and the Thrall is born nine months later. Next he sleeps with Afi and Amma (Grandparents) and fathers the race of Carls.
Lastly, he sleeps with Fathir and Mothir (Parents), and begets the Jarls. This is a post creation refinement of mankind,
and designed to give heightened order to the universe. Heimdall does his part to keep the universe running smoothly.
Also called the "White" God, the allusion serves to contrast Him with
Loki, whom he will face at Ragnarok. The purity of purpose of this God (the maintenance of Order) is contrasted with
the polar opposite in Loki's randomness (the attainment of Chaos). These two polar deities literally snuff each other
out in the final battle. Thus the absolutes of Order and Chaos give way to balance and harmony.
Another of the bright Gods, Forseti is the Divine Arbiter. He
is fair and just, settling disputes amicably and reasonably. Forseti is the son of Baldur an Nanna and His name
means Presiding One. The double sided axe is his symbol, and consequently of Justice (balanced and cutting both ways).
There is a relation to Syn, as defender of the accused, and protector of rights.
Also a God of Oaths, he is called the Reconciler of Men. He
helps in the shaping of just laws, legal process, and tempers these with mercy. He can be invoked to settle disputes
and bring peace.
A number of other deities inhabit Asgard, lesser in outward roles,
but no less important. Each region of Northern Europe localized names, and therefore some divine functions seem duplicated.
In some cases however, this was a practical and necessary duplicity, or a refinement.
Among the male children of the Gods, Modi and Magni are reputed to
take up Thor's Hammer after Ragnarok, and silent Viddar His father, Odin's, High Seat.
Of the female Aesir (Asynjur), Vor, is a Goddess of Wisdom and Perception,
and Hnoss the innocent child Goddess of Odin and Freya. Lofn is the Goddess who brings couples together and Var
is the witness of the vows these married couples then make. Jord, the embodiment of Earth, and sister of Frigga, can
be cognate to Hulda or Nerthus, as well as compared to Fjorgyn.
The Vanir were a tribe of Gods immanent in Nature, part of the very
fabric of the universe, but in some way constrained to it. Frequently They bred with Giants, and more often they married
them. They are Gods connected to the Sea, as it is the wellspring of life. The war between the Aesir and Vanir
forged the Frith that later united Them.
Despite being Gods of the Earth and Nature, they lacked the order
and social structure of the Aesir. Interestingly, They permitted brother and sister to marry (or engage in sex) and
frequently practiced magick that, during the Viking Age, could be considered homosexual at worst, highly erotic quasi-bisexualism
at best. These traits were toned down and almost submerged when they joined the Aesir, as the practices were thought
to be "unnatural" by the Aesir. However their practices continued as Seith magick, practiced by Freya and her followers
They are Gods of Plenty and Fertility, givers of food, drink, and
sex (three of the most sought after things in Norse society). They are sensual and pleasure seeking Gods, but no strangers
to struggle and War. While seemingly Fertility Gods, their magick shattered the Walls of Asgard, and their battle-victories
were numerous. There is more than meets the eye to the Vanes.
Queen of the Vanir, and Goddess of Passion and Fertility, Freya embodies
the Natural World. Her name means "Lady" in the royal sense, and she fits this title well. However she is also
a powerful magician, the archetypal Witch.
Her magick, Seith, was so powerful that even Odin wished to learn
it. She is the "sister" with whom He shares His last Rune Secret. This magick involves an altered state of consciousness,
attained through a variety of stimuli. One can deduce that this included everything from sexual stimulation to hallucinogenic
In the Voluspa, Freya first enters Asgard as the witch, Gullveig.
She undergoes a ritual initiation, being speared and burned three times by Odin. The Vanir taking offense start the
Divine War. However, Freya survives the initiation, and willing lives among the Aesir afterwards.
Half of the Battle dead are sent to Her hall, Folkvangr, and she is
a Goddess of Death in this regard. The Disir attend the Vanir, and the Valkyrie seem to be select Disir, given as gifts
to Odin in His mission to stave off Ragnarok.
She can shape change, and has a Falcon Coat, that allows Her to roam
the Nine Worlds. Her animal is the cat, further likening Her to the Archetypal Witch. Two cats pull Her chariot
across the Heavens.
As a Sex Goddess, She also encompasses Love and Commitment, however
their seems to be a discernible difference between Her role in "responsible fun" and Frigga's "marital commitment".
Nothing is wrong with either, as long as they are approached in an intelligent manner by two consenting partners.
Her symbol is the Heart and Necklace. The connection to love
in the Heart is as the center of life (though reputable anthropologists submit it is not a "heart", but rather a representation
of the female genetalia), but the Necklace refers to Her own gem, Brisingamen. This necklace was crafted by the dwarves,
and is both a magickal tool and regal sign of Her station in life. Her day is Friday, which she freely shares with Odin's
first wife, Frigga. Her father is Njord and a Giantess, and with her brother Frey, she rules over the Vanir with might
Known as Ing, Ingvar, Freyr, and Frey, the God who's name means "Lord",
was first among the male Vanir. His sister dominated Their tribe, and shared the throne with Him. He is a God
of Fertility and Harvest, a Solar Figure. He watches over livestock and blesses agriculture, constantly maintaining
the natural rhythm of the cycle of the year.
Frey is concerned with Hearth and Home in the male sense, and is thus
a homebody akin to Frigga, a dealer in the practical aspects of life. Their respective "mates" Odin and Freya, are wanderers,
and mystics. He is a bringer of good and the giver of Frith.
In his Frithful aspect it is said that no man may enter a Hof dedicated
to Him bearing weapons. Bloodletting in His groves will bring down an uncharacteristically terrible wrath from this
God. He is a skilled warrior, and His blade is to be feared and respected.
Associated with animal cults, Frey presides over the horse and boar.
The horse is a particularly phallic animal, expressing the male potency, and the boar represents the strength and courage
of a battle-hunt. These animals further symbolized royalty, or royal lineage throughout the North. The horse drawn
wagon (Godcart) was taken from town to town by His Priests. His ship, Skidbladnir can be folded up and carried in His pocket.
In addition to his phallic role, Frey was also Chief of the Alfs,
the male equivalent to the Disir. These were usually the spirits of the deceased males of a family. Here he can
be seen as a God of the Dead.
takes a giantess as a wife after unwisely sitting atop Odin's High Seat. He falls in love with the beautiful Giantess,
named Gerd and all nature suffers as He pines for her. Threats and gifts are offered by His servant Skirnir, but the
Giantess refuses. As a wedding gift the servant is forced to surrender Frey's magick sword, that fights on it's own.
In the final Battle, Frey will fight Surt, the Fire Giant, and lose because he has given up this sword. He is usually
depicted with a large erect penis.
Njord and Skadi
Father of the Twins Frey and Freya, Njord is a God of the Sea and
Fjords. He presides over Fishermen and Sailors. His weapons is the trident. Njord resides in Noatun, and
married the Giantess Skadi. Although His wife, Skadi rarely resides with Her husband. As a Rime Giantess, she
prefers her home atop the mountains, far from the Sea. In fact, legend says they spend but nine days a year together.
Skadi married Him because of his feet; which She thought belonged to Baldur, because they were so beautiful.
Njord is also a God of Wealth and Bringer of Good Luck; his breeze
the Wind of Good Fortune, and his ship, allegorically "Your ship [that] has come in ! ". He is a simple God to understand,
given to the simple life of the coast. Survival based on pragmatics.
Skadi is a Giantess of slope and tundra, at home in the rocky summit
of the Northern mountains. She is a Goddess by marriage, and plays the role of the ideal "independent wife". While
more often apart from Her husband than with Him, She loves Him dearly, and is faithful to Him. She can get along without,
but prefers to be with Him, though natural habitats make that difficult.
Aegir and Ran
Two other Sea Vanes play a major role in Vanaheim, Aegir, the Brewer
of the Gods, and His wife, Ran. Aegir is a homebody, cooking and brewing constantly. He prepares the feasts and
serves them as well. He is elementally transsexualized, as is His wife. Ran is the Hunter-Gather of the Seas,
She acts as the male provider. While She is feared by sailor and fisherman alike, a suitable offering to Her will ensure
a good catch or fair winds. Her huge net can swallow up the largest fleet and carry it to the bottom. Here She
echoes Hel as a Goddess of Death.
Sunna and Manni
Gender confusion (or intentional ambiguity) seems part and parcel
of Vanic traits, the Goddess Sunna, and Her male counterpart, Manni, illustrate this point nicely. While grammatically
feminine, the sun is often described in masculine terms, and personified throughout Indo-European culture as the Male, Sky-God,
Solar Hero. The moon is likewise polarized, as feminine mysteries, like the Menstrual Cycle, and the Fates (as they
relate to the months and the passage of time), despite it's masculine grammar-form.
While often a sore spot of debate, the understanding of polarities
quickly throws "light" on the darkness. Each is bipolar (has two poles) and manifest them separately, and distinctly,
depending on the situation. Like all the Vanir, the situation at hand and it's needs are far more important than a simple
thing like natural tendency, so Manni and Sunna show themselves in different lights. They are children of Mundliferi.
It should be noted, that in the Voluspa, the translation of 5:3 and
5:5 transsexualizes this pair, "The Sun knew not what stead He held... The Moon knew not what stead She held...". The
Snorri translation may have been due to Roman influences, however, since he frequently pointed out these contrasts, it seems
unlikely he would have reversed them unless there was a preexisting ambiguity.
Assorted other Vanir, including the Disir and some of the Alfs, frequent
Vanheim. Sjofn and Snorta are consorts of Freya, matchmaking people and giving the gifts of etiquette and grace to women
in Midgard. Gefjn the strong willed Goddess who stole land from the King of Sweden is frequently counted among the Vanes,
as is dark, Lunar Hulda...at home nowhere.
Several deities fall outside the realm of definition, and need to
be explored. First and foremost of these is Loki. He is married to the Goddess Sigyn, presumably an Aesir, but
one should never presume with Loki. It appears that Loki, also called Lodurr, is an Etin, made blood brother to Odin
at the beginning of time. He apparently helps Woden shape the Worlds, and gave the gift of form to mankind.
Thusly he may represent the darkest side of the Alfather. At any rate, the child of Farbauti and the Giantess Laufey,
is the only chaotic and random factor in Asgard.
Despite the problems He causes the Gods, He is allowed to remain.
Among the great gifts He provides the Gods with are: Slepnir, Odin's eight legged steed, Gungnir, His spear, Thor's Hammer,
Frey's ship, Skidbladnir, and the Wall of Asgard. He brings Form and Fire to mankind and thus is called the "Fire Wight"
and "Wise Etin". In contrast to the Good, he also creates much evil.
Loki fathers Hel, the World Serpent and the Wolf Fenrir. The
Giantess Angrboda, is His mistress and the mother of these Evils. As a fire giant, he is brother of Surt, who will kill
Frey and scorch the whole Earth. These creatures play an integral role in the doom of the world.
Yet, Loki even in tricking Hod into killing Baldur, acts in the cycle
of life and death. He kills Baldur, so that Baldur may survive Ragnarok; and Ragnarok is the culmination of the macrocosmic
cycle of death and rebirth, each building upon and improving the other. Fire is a purifying element. Loki
is the refiner, the agent of purification, without which things would grow old and stale. He is bound by his own son,
Nari's entrails, tied by Sif's knots to the Great Rock, and Gefjn hangs a serpent dripping venom - until Ragnarok when he
will lead the armies of death.
Equally hard to place are Kvasir and Mimir, both Gods of incredible
Wisdom and foresight. Kvasir is created from the spittle of the oath made by the Aesir and Vanir, He is said to be All
Wise. Mimir, while given as a hostage by the Aesir to the Vanir, is called the Wise Etin, underlying an ancestry outside
of Asgard. He is mentioned as a Giant, and brother of Odin's mother (the maternal uncle giving the gift of wisdom to
his nephew). Both are symbolized by Mead, the drink of Wisdom, and both guard Wells at the roots of Yggdrasil.
Vali, cannot be an Aesir, for He slays Hod, as Odin's child He is
not of the Vanir. Within the Aes, there are prohibitions against murdering kinsmen, even ones who do wrong (which is
why they do not slay Loki, but bind Him upon the great rock), so His actions indicate other affiliations. Yet He is
said to share Odin's High Seat with Viddar after Ragnarok.
Lastly, Volund, or Weyland, a smith and possibly a Dwarf or Alf, is
worshipped as the patron of metalworkers. He is celebrated as the builder and craftsman, as well as a warrior.
Ambiguity allows those called etins, giants, thurses, trolls, rises,
and jountuns to be lumped together. These beings embody raw, uncontrolled force, in particular manners. They are
essentially neutral, but due to their Chaotic nature work far more woe than weal. Etins and Jountins are primeval beings,
who often marry the Gods, despite their animosity. They may be of extraordinary beauty or wisdom. The Rises are
mountain giants, similar to the lowland trolls. The Thurses are elemental giants and embody the forces of Fire and Ice
directly. The trolls are almost neutral land wights, that may even bear you weal if gifted. Many witches who worked
woe were said to be "half-troll", [More on Trolls in the section on Wights] and the magick of the giants can be incredibly
strong. As a rule, their unstable nature and chaotic bend makes contact with them dangerous, that is why Thor is forever
out hunting them. He seeks to bring all force in the universe under the direction of the Aesir, and thereby eliminate
the danger inherent in randomness.
Chief of the Rime (Frost) Giants is Hyrm, and He will ride forth at Ragnarok, across Nifelheim and into Midgard. Surt,
the Fire Giant Chieftain, will slay Frey, with His brand. They lead the Giant Armies into the final battle.
The Spawn of Loki and Angraboda, who were born in the Iron Woods are
terrible monsters, and the woe workers of the Nine Worlds. First and Foremost is Fenrir, the Wolf.
Although bound by the Gods, he will loose his fetters and swallow
up Odin in the end. His brother is Garm, who sits outside Hel's gate. He too will loose his fetters and attack
His brother's binder, Tyr. Jormundganger, the World Serpent will loose his tail from His mouth, and constrict
Thorr, but will die in the battle with the Warder of Midgard.
Skoll and Hati, another pair of wolves circle the Earth, seeking to devour the Sun and Moon.
At the Ragnarok [ON-Doom of the Gods] Skoll and Hati swallow the Sun
and Moon, three winters pass without a summer, the Fimbulwinter. Odin is felled by the Wolf Fenrir, but is retrieved / avenged
by Vidarr who slays the wolf. Loki sails with legions from Hel in Nafalgar. He and Heimdall slay each other, in
a brilliant flash of light. Tyr and Garm slay each other and Troth dies. Thor fells the Serpent but staggers only
nine paces and dies from its venom. Frey falls to Surt's fire, for he has lost his sword. Freya (or Frigga) slays
Hel, freeing Baldur and Hod. The Einherjar fight Loki's legions of the dead and all fall. The Tree itself
shakes to its foundation, as Midgard is set ablaze by Surt, who is consumed in his own fire. Two humans take refuge
in the tree and survive, they are Lif, and Lifthrasir. Thus the worlds can begin anew, ritually cleansed by fire.
The Norse universe oscillates, waxes and wanes; it is inherently entropic, and the actions of the Gods can only delay, but
never prevent, the end. But that entropy is natural and integral part of the progression that the Universe must have,
in order to be.