Norse Gods

The Norse pantheon included Norway, Denmark and Sweden. The Vikings who were Swedes travelled mostly eastwards, and the Danes and Norwegians travelled mostly westwards. (The Swedes also ventured into Finland, which was not too impressed and mostly preferred its own Gods.) And Iceland came into the equation and did its own Viking things from 800 AD.  Something which helped enormously was that all these people spoke the same Norse language, and would have known their own Kingdoms under the names of Danmark, Vastergotland, Ostergotland and Svealand.  Colonies and footholds were established all over the place, from Greenland to England - where their heritage includes Norfolk and Humberside with many Norse-named villages in between. So Norse mythology went everywhere within reach. 

Teutonic and especially Norse cosmology claimed that the universe consisted of nine different worlds or realms. Each formed a sector defined by the roots of Yggdrasil, the Ash tree that provides the framework of all reality. Each world could be accessed by any of the others with attendant difficulties; most indwellers tended their own concerns and left the wandering to heroes, wizards, and Gods. 

Alfheim - The Realm of the Alfar in English the Elves. It was sometimes called Ljossalfheim the home of the bright elves. This was a region of forest and meadow, sea and islands; a pleasant and sunny place where dwelt the Elven peoples. They don't seem to have been drastically different than Humans; perhaps somewhat taller, much more nobly proportioned and fair to look upon, certainly longer lived. Jotunheim lies in the East, Muspellheim is South, Niflheim is North, and Alfheim is in the West beyond the seas. 

Asgarð - The home and realm of the Æsir Gods located high up in the branches of the World-Tree, and not unexpectedly the most difficult of access - the only entry seems to have been across Bifrost the rainbow and one had to get past Heimdall the sentry as well. Within this divine region were many halls and bright dwellings, usually roofed in precious metals. The geography and nature of the region was not much otherwise specified beyond off-hand suggestions that it comprised a Nordic style paradise: tall mountains, bright sunlight, crisp and bracing air, green forests and meadows. 

Hel - An underworld region; black, frigid, fetid, dreary and toxic. It is both the name of the land and the name of it's ruler the Goddess Hel, Queen of the Dead. This region seems to have been the final destination of most of humanity; only heroes gained admittance to Valhalla, in Asgarð. About the best that can be said of the place is that the dead seem not to have been tortured and tormented but rather they seem to have been assigned to drag out their destinies until Ragnarok, when they would be freed (in a sense) to fight with Hel's legions against the Gods and heroes. 

Jotunheim - The Realm of the Giants or more particularly the Frost-Giants. The Jotunar were an archaic race of humanoids arising out of the primeval Ice at the beginning of days. They are portrayed in Nordic poetry and religious writing as being almost wholly evil and dedicated to the destruction of the Aesir Gods and mankind. Giant seems to be used to describe everything from beings larger than worlds (such as Ymir), down to Trolls and Ogres not much larger than men. Nevertheless it should be noted that there is Giant blood among the Aesir, some Giantesses being considered quite attractive and marriageable. Jotunheim itself seems to have been a land much like its inhabitants; a vast and frigid reach of taiga forest, fen, glacier, and lifeless, stony mountains. 

Midgarð - The world of mankind within a Nordic context, Northern Europe and the surrounding seas. A varied landscape of oceans, fjords, mountains, forests, meadows, and islands. 

Muspellheim - A southern land of fire, desert, and dryness, the Realm of the Fire-Giants. Like their close cousins the Frost-Giants, Surt's Folk were huge humanoids who were inimicable enemies of Mankind and the Gods. They do not loom large in Nordic tales, it being suggested that they bide their time in their distant land until the day of Ragnarok when their King, Surt, will lead them in final battle. 

Niflheim - A northern land of fog, pack ice, glacier, and tundra. Inhabited by demons, spirits of the dead, and dragons, it is closely connected to Hel containing within its borders the entrance into that underground abode. 

Svartalfheim - Another underground Realm, this was inhabited by the Svartalfar, the Dark Elves (English Drow), a euphemism used to refer to the Dwarven race. They burrowed underground, and most dwell there still. Regarded as being generally hostile to mankind and the Gods, and despised as being of grotesque and vile appearance it was nevertheless conceded that they had no peers in the working of metal, crafting of devices, and cutting of stone and gems. The Dwarves are responsible for any number of fabulous creations usually obtained at great cost. 

Vanaheim - The elder home of the Vanir, the other race of Divinities; located like Asgarð, high up in the World-Tree. The Vanir seem to have been more concerned with fertility, land-use, magic and craft, as opposed to the Æsir obsession with warfare and personal heroism. Originally the two fell into early and calamitous conflict; a series of devastating wars is hinted at. Eventually, though, the two groups seem to have reached an accord, and hostages were exchanged to insure fidelity. Freyr, Freyja, Njord, and possibly Uller were Vanir among the Aesir. Gullveig was an important Vanir opponent. The Realm of Vanaheim seems to have not been much described, beyond suggestions of a lovely, rather bright Elven sort of region. 

The Nine Heavens - As an additional bit of lore, the Norse also recognized nine skies, or heavens, in a parallel to the Nine Worlds discussed above. From the nearest to the earth, to the highest and most inaccessible, they are described thusly: 1). Vindblain, Heidthornir, or Hregg-Mimir (Wind-Dark, Cloudy-Bright, or Storm-Mimir). 2).Andlang (Extended). 3).Vidblain (Wide-Dark). 4).Vidfedmir (Wide-Embracer) 5).Hriod (Coverer). 6).Hlyrnir (Twin-Lit). 7).Gimir (Fiery, or Dazzling). 8).Vet-Mimir (Winter-Mimir). 9).Skatyrnir (Rich-Wetter). 


Some Norse Gods;

Aarvak - horse of sun

Aege - sea god that was enemy of aesir, then became their ally and holds feasts for them

Alfadur - Supreme Being; creates new heaven after Ragnarok; possibly same as Odin

Alfhild - goddess that dressed as man to avoid marrying King Alf

Alsvider - moon horse

Alsvin - Sun horse

Andrimnir/Andrimne - Cook of gods

Angeyja - water goddess; personification of waves

Annar/Anar - husband Nott; father Jord

Arvakr - Sun horse

Askafroa - wife of ash tree, its spirit, malicious

Audhumla - Cow that nursed Ymir

Baldr/Balder/Baldur - Son Odin, god of light; killed by Hodur

Beyggvir - Attendant Frey

Beyla - elf Attendant Frey

Bil - Child Mani; waning moon

Bragi - God of poetry

Brock - Boastful dwarf, brother Sindri

Brunhild - Leader of valkyries

Dag - Day

Dellinger - husband Nott, father Dag

Einmyria - Daughter Loki & Glut

Eira/Eir - Physician goddess

Eisa - Daughter Loki & Glut

Elde - Servant of Aegir

Elli - Wrestled Thor

Farbuti - father of Loki

Fasolt - Fafnir’s brother; killed by him

Fenrir - Offspring Loki, wolf, bit off Tyr’s hand

Fialar - Cock that sounds Ragnarok

Fiorgyn - Mother Frigga

Flosshilda - In Wagner, a guardian of Nibelung hoard

Forseti - Justice god

Freki - Wolf at Odin’s feet

Frey - Brother of Freya

Freya//FreyjaVanadis - love/beauty, magic goddess; sister of Frey; owns shapeshifting cloak, turns Ottar into boar

Frigg/Frigga - Supreme goddess; wife of Odin; served by huldra-folk (nymphs)

Fulla/Abundia - Attendant of Frigga (possibly her sister)

Funfeng - Servant Aegir

Garm - Blood-dog of underworld

Gefjon/Gefion - Maid in Frigga’s palace, cares for unwed dead

Gerda - Wife of Frey, for whom he gave up his sword

Geri - One of Odin’s wolves

Glaur - wife of the moon or the mother of moon and sun by Mundilfari

Gna - Messenger of Frigga; travels through fire & air

Gullinbursti - Boar of Frey

Gulltopp - Heimdall’s horse

Gunlod - Wife Odin, mother Bragi & Skadi

Hagen - Son mortal & sea goblin, kills Sigurd

Hati - Wolf that pursues sun and moon

Haugbonde - nature spirit, guardian of farms

Heidrun - She-goat giving milk in Valhalla

Heimdall - God guardian against giants; watches Bifrost with trumpet Giallar-horn to announce Ragnarok

Hela - Mistress of Hel

Hermod - Son Odin, recalled Balder from Hel

Hiuki - Child Mani; waxing moon

Hlin - Attendant Frigga; goddess consolation

Hlora - Heat god that cares for Thor

Hodur - Blind man that killed Balder

Hoenir - Odin’s brother; sent to Vanaheim

Hordeshyrde - dragon

Hraesvelg - giant eagle or winter god in eagle plumes

Hugi - Man of Utgard-Loki, won footrace; Thought

Hugin - One of Odin’s ravens

Huld - troll woman

Ithunn/Idun/Iðunn - Wife of Bragi, kept apples of youth

Jord/Jörð - Earth goddess

Jormundgand/Jörmungandr - sea monster; the Midgard Serpent; encircles the world, living in the ocean depths; will die killing Thor

Karl - god of peasants; son of Amma &Heimdall; husband of Snor

Kvasir - wisdom god, teaches mankind

Lofn - Attendant of Frigga, mild, love goddess

Logi - Man of Utgard-Loki, cook

Lorelei - Siren maiden/water nymph

Lorride - daughter Thor & Sif

Mani - moon god; daughter of Mundilfari; marries Glaur

Margygr - ugly mermaid

Menglad - goddess of healing; Freya?

Modgud - woman that guards bridge of Hel

Munin - One of Odin’s ravens

Naglfari - husband of Nott; father of Aud

Nanna - Wife of Balder

Narve - Son Sigyn & Loki

Nehallennia - goddess of plenty; possibly sea goddess

Nerthus - sea/fertility/peace goddess; sister of Njord

Nidhogg - Serpent of Niflheim feeding on Yggdrasil

Niord - God of sailors

Nip - Mother Nanna

Odin - King of gods; called Allfather; personification of air or spirit of the universe; god of wisdom and victory; appears as tall man in his fifties; gives up eye to drink from Mimir's Well

Odur - Sunshine; Husband of Freya

Rán - Mermaid, sea goddess, wife Aegir

Ratatosk - Squirrel of Yggdrasil

Rinda - Goddess of frozen earth, wife Odin, mother Vali; possibly a giantess

Saehrimnir - Boar gods feast on

Saeming - Son Niord & Skadi, first king Norway

Saga - Goddess of history

Schrimnir - Boar cooked nightly in Valhalla

Sif - Wife Thor

Sjøorm - sea serpent

Skadi - Wife of Niord, winter goddess

Skirnir - Frey’s messenger, won the god’s sword

Skoll - Wolf that pursues sun and moon

Skrimsl - sea serpent

Skuld - Norn of future

Sleipnir - Odin’s horse, 8-legged

Smiera-Gatto - household spirit; Butter Cat

Snorta - Virtue goddess

Sol - Sun

Suttung - Brother Gilling, tosses dwarves to sea

Svadilfari - Horse helps mountain giants

Svanhit - Valkyr

Svasud - ancestor of summer

Syn - Attendant Frigga, truth

Tharapita - war god, servant Thor

Thor - Thunder god; son of Jord and Odin; great size and strength; loses temper; left in care of Vingnir and Hlora

Thora - Daughter king Hakon; wife Helfrat

Thrud - daughter Sif, wooed by dwarf Alvis

Tyr - God of battle (from earlier Tiwaz)

Uller/Vulder - Winter god, son Sif

Urd - Norn of past

Vali - God of eternal light, son Odin & Rinda

Vali - Son Sigyn & Loki (diff from Odin’s son)

Valtam - Father Vegtam

Vara - Oath goddess

Ve - Brother Odin (holy)

Vedfolnir - Falcon that sits on Yggdrasil

Verdandi - Norn of present

Vidar/Víðarr - Silent god, son Odin, survives Ragnarok

Vili - Brother Odin, helped slay Ymir (will)

Vindsual - son of Vasud; father of winter

Vingnir - Winged god that cares for Thor

Vithafnir - giant cockerel

Vjofn - Attendant Frigga, creates love

Vor - Faith goddess

Wingi - Messenger of Gudron

Wyrd - Mother of Norns; personification of fate


Pantheons Index