rules over the Aesir, often considered the most powerful of the
Gods. He is the father of many other Nordic Gods and Goddesses,
hence, the epithet "Allfather." Being the ruler of warrior Gods, it
is fitting that he is often depicted with his spear, Gungnir, which
Loki procured from the Dwarves. Unlike the Gods of other
mythologies, the Gods of Asgard are not immortal, and they can be
injured or killed; additionally, the Nordic pantheon shows the Gods
having human desires. Odin is a perfect example of this as he
desired wisdom and knowledge, willing to sacrifice anything for it.
The giant, Mimer, posed a bargain for Odin who wished to drink from the well of wisdom to increase his knowledge. Odin was told he must leave one of his eyes at the bottom of the well, and then and only then would he be allowed to drink. Mimer believed Odin would never sacrifice his eye just for the epistemic pursuit, but he was wrong. The humanistic desire for knowledge took over and Odin agreed, plucking out his eye and throwing it into the well.
also known as Frigga, was wife to Odin and the mother of Baldr, Hodor, and Tyr. She is also the goddess of
marriage, childbirth, motherhood, and weaving and spinning. As the
Goddess of weaving, she was known to weave clouds and threads of
fate, known as Wyrd in the Nordic tradition. She is the Goddess of
Foreknowing, as well, and so can see the future. Seeing the future,
however, does not mean she can change the future, and she thus
cannot save her son, Baldr, from his foreseen death. When she knew
his death was nearing, she asked all beings to swear an oath to
never harm Baldr - all save a young mistletoe whom she thought too
young to carve an oath.
Frigg's day was one of the one days of the week in the olden days of the Nords. This has developed into our Friday.
is the son of Odin and Jord - a Giant. Thor, as
pictured to the left, is often depicted carrying his mighty hammer,
Mjönir, made by the Dwarves of Svarthalfheim. No God but Thor is
strong enough to lift Mjönir. Thor travels with Loki
through many tales, often to help clean up the messes Loki has
caused. Once, Thor awakens to find Mjönir missing. He asks Loki to
help him and Loki finds out that the king of the Frost Giants,
Thrymr, stole Thor's hammer. He demands he will returned if and only
if Freyja marries him. Loki agrees and
returns to Asgard with the news.
furious, gets help from Thor and Loki who dress as women and go in
her place - Thor dresses as Freyja and Loki as a handmaiden. Thor
and Loki join the giants for dinner, where Thor eats and drinks
unlike what the giants would have expected form the 'dainty' Freyja.
Thrymr decides he wishes to kiss Freyja and though Thor looks back
appalled, his disguise holds. Then, Thor is presented the wedding
gift of Mjönir, which he received from the giants. Grasping this
opening and lifting Mjönir, Thor attacks, killing Thrymr and his
family. Thor inevitably
meets his end by the hand of Jörmungandr Because of modern
influences, such as the Marvel
Thor is often one of the most commonly known beings of Norse
Mythology. Additionally, it is interesting to note that the
current Thursday stems from the term Thor's Day.
Baldr was the brother of Hodor. He was loved by all gods, goddesses, and beings of nature. He was extraordinarily handsome, gracious, and wise. He shone with light because of his own cheerfulness and so is often depicted with a halo of light, as seen to the left. Despite being greatly beloved by all, Baldr met an untimely doom, entering into the realm of Hel.
Baldr had had nightmares, which he believed predicted his death, and so, his father, Odin, asked the other gods of Asgard for help. His mother, Frigg, took oaths from all living things that they would not harm Baldr, so that he may continue to live, except mistletoe. Loki, being a malevolent trickster, thought it would be amusing to orchestrate the death of Baldr using this mistletoe plant and his own brother Hodor. Loki tricked Hodor into throwing a spear of mistletoe at Baldr, which killed him where he stood. As he died, Baldr was sent to the realm Hel, which is under the rule Hel (or Hela in some stories) and there he stayed because Loki disguised as the hag Thaukt assured them Baldr would never return to Asgard.
Image from s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com
was the blind, twin brother of Baldr, son of Odin and Frigg. He was
tricked by Loki to bring death to his brother.
There is a second version of this story - Baldr and Hodor were both
fighting over the hand of Nanna. Hodor entered the underworld to
obtain a weapon to kill Baldr. However, this supposed tale is
nowhere near as well supported as the previous, so it is less likely
Hodor is also slain before his time by his half-brother, Vali. Vali
decided Hodor must be slain as sacrifice in honor of Baldr. Once
deceased, Hodor goes to Hel, where his brother
The last of the Aesir portrayed here is Heimdallr. Heimdallr has nine different mothers, and his father is Odin. He is the keeper of Asgard, watching for the approach of Ragnarök. He is often shown holding Gjallarhorn, the horn of yelling. This horn is blown to warn of the coming dangers that may be approaching Asgard. It is foretold that during Ragnarök, Heimdallr will battle Loki and fall at his hand. Though he is the Watcher of Asgard, he is actually blind. He uses his mind's eye extremely accurate hearing instead to see what is going on in the world around him. His hearing is so exceedingly sharp that he is able to hear the sound grass makes as it grows. He stands upon Bifrost, the rainbow bridge, awaiting the attack of the frost giants.
Heimdallr also plays important roles throughout the legends of the gods because he is considered one of the wisest of the Gods, in part due to the power and reach of his mind's eye; he is even able to see into the other nine realms of the world. Heimdallr helps devise many plans to assist his fellow Asgardians; for instance, when Thymyr insists on Freyja's hand in marriage, it is Heimdallr who suggests Thor and Loki go in her stead.
One day, Frey decided to sit upon Odin's throne. From this throne, one can see the world, and Frey spied the most beautiful maiden he had ever seen. He intended to have her to wife. However, to do so, he sent his messenger Skirnir to fetch the promise of Gerda. Skirnir agrees to in exchange for the sword.
Skirnir returns, proclaiming he obtained the maiden's promise, and Frey took Gerda to be his wife. However, Skirnir did keep the sword of destruction for himself. Frey traded power for love.
It is speculated that our day "Friday" actually stems from Freyja rather than Frigg. Some scholars have even proposed that Freyja and Frigg are actually the same goddess. This would mean that Freyja and Odin are married.
image from paintroi.com
Ragnarök is the end of the world and the death of the Gods. Thor is killed by Jörmungandr and Heimdallr by Loki, though he is said to be able to kill Loki. Fenrir, the fearsome wolf-son of Loki, kills both Tyr and Odin in a vicious battle.
It is believed by some that Ragnarök has already taken place. This world we live in is the aftermath of the vicious battle. Others believe it has not yet come to pass. When the mighty Odin falls to Fenrir, the world will be cast in shadow. Perhaps this world is what was meant?
McCoy, D. (2012, 2016). Norse Mythology for Smart People. Retrieved from http://norse-mythology.org/
Bulfinch's Mythology (Public Domain - published 1855)
Public domain images unless otherwise specified
Last Update: 12/10/2016