Top Famous Norse Goddesses

The veneration of Goddesses in Norse mythology is not a new aspect. Much like the Egyptians, the Greeks, and the Romans, Nordic tales and godly pantheons include a plethora of female deities.

These Norse Goddesses were also associated with a broad range of natural phenomenons and human conduct. 

Likewise, while the Norse goddesses are minor characters in the Norse epics, they are clearly an important aspect of Norse mythology.

Unfortunately, Viking lore was an oral rather than written tradition. People had lost a lot of it by the time anyone wrote these stories down (beginning in the 12th century). 

Snorri Sturluson is our most significant source for answers because he was a brilliant loremaster who wrote only a hundred years after the Vikings.

Snorri composed the Prose Edda, a sort of how-to guide for preserving Norse poetry. 

In addition to the prominent Goddesses such as Freya and Frigg, the names of 17 other Norse goddesses are documented in a syllabic list retained in the Prose Edda, and even more, are referenced in passing.

Both the male and female gods are divided into the Æsir and the Vanir. However, in the case of female deities, the dividing line between these groups is less than obvious.

Sometimes, female Nordic deities also include the jötnar (giants). 

Here are some prominent Nordic Goddesses.   

Who is the evilest of the Norse gods?

There aren’t any Norse gods considered pure evil. However, when it comes to notoriety, Loki is perhaps the one most associated with the unraveling of the Gods’ environs. He is considered a trickster god and is known for being neither fully good nor evil since his main aim always points towards creating chaos.

What are the signs of Ragnarok?

The four signs that indicated Ragnarok was the death of Baldur, the great winter of Fimbulwinter, the disappearance of Sun and Moon, and the rising of the Naglfar ship by the shake of Yggdrasil.

10. Fulla (Maiden Goddes of Secrets and Sister of Frigg) 

A depiction of Fulla kneeling beside her mistress, Frigg, by Ludwig Pietsch
A depiction of Fulla kneeling beside her mistress, Frigg, by Ludwig Pietsch

Fulla is a lesser-known Norse deity who is identified as Frigga’s confidante in the Prose Edda. Her name means “plenty,” and in Old High German, she is also often referred to as Volla. 

She appears in only one myth, although we know a few facts about her, thanks largely to Snorri Sturluson’s endeavors to safeguard pagan heritage for poets.

Fulla appears in the Poetic Edda and plays a minor role in the preface to the poem Grimnismal. 

In mythology, Fulla is often portrayed as donning on a golden band. She looks after the goddess Frigg’s ashen box and footwear, and Frigg also confesses in Fulla her secrets. 

In the poem Grimnismal, Frigg attempts to turn Odin against his apprentice Geirroth.

The prose goes as such- Odin has already ensured that his protege would become king instead of her, so she devises a strategy to make sure that Geirroth makes a bad impression on her husband. 

She informs Odin that his protege is well-known for his obstinacy, and the two then place a bet on it.

Frigg then dispatches Fulla ahead to ensure that Odin has a terrible reception because of Geirroth.  

This is Fulla’s lone appearance in the myth. Despite the short information though, the poem demonstrates Fulla’s strong role as Frigg’s messenger/confidante. 

See also  Vikings Mythology

Moreover, there is also a mention of Volla (Folla) in the “Horse Cure” Merseburg Incantation, written anonymously in the 10th century in Old High German.

The Merseburg charms or Merseburg incantations are two Old High German mystical spells. They are perhaps the only known surviving remnants of Germanic pagan belief in the language.

In the incantation, Volla aids in the healing of Phol’s injured foal and is referred to as Frigg’s sister. 

9. Rindr (Goddess of Ice, Magic and the Snowy Rind of the Earth) 

Rindr alternatively described as, a goddess or a human princess
Rindr alternatively described as, a goddess or a human princess

Rindr (also called Rinda in Latin, as well as anglicized as Rind) is a Norse mythological female deity who has been characterized as a giantess or a human princess from the east.

According to her mentions in the Prose Edda, Odin impregnated her against her will and she then gives birth to Váli.

The most thorough description can be found in Book III of Saxo Grammaticus’ Gesta Danorum, published around the early 13th century.

There, she is known as Rinda and is the daughter of the Ruthenians’ King. Her tale is a sad story.

Rindr’s story in Gesta Danorum goes like this- a seer predicts that Odin would marry Rind the Ice Goddess and have a child who would wreak retribution for the death of Baldr.

Odin then goes to see her, but she is uninterested. So he tries increasingly heinous methods to get into her bed, including driving her mad and pretending to be a healer who could cure her.

Ultimately, despite her protests, she became pregnant with Vali, who eventually exacted retribution for Balder’s death. 

Nevertheless, Rind is described as a powerful sorceress, frigid and reclusive. She works with weather, snow, and ice, but her special gift is the capacity to move through time in restricted ways. 

8. Frigg (Goddess of Love, Motherhood, and Marriage)

Frigg sits enthroned
Frigg sits enthroned

Frigg, the wife of Odin, was considered the Goddess of Love, Motherhood, and Marriage. She was also known as the beloved one.

Despite Odin getting into extramarital affairs, Frigg always respected him and understood his feelings.

They had three children together: Hodr, Hermod, and Balder. Though Odin had a song, Thor, Frigg loved him equally from another woman.

It is also considered that being blessed with the power of a prophetess, Frigg never revealed any of what she saw to others and always kept them as her secrets.

She was also given the privilege of sitting high on Odin’s seat, Hlidskjalf, and viewing the universe.

With three maidens, namely Fulla, Gina, and Hlin, Frigg had her secrets shared, messages delivered, and people in trouble protected. Frigg is associated with the day, Friday.

7. Eir (Goddesses of Healing)

Menglöð sits with the nine maidens, including Eir by Lorenz Frølich
Menglöð sits with the nine maidens, including Eir by Lorenz Frølich

Eir is considered the goddess of help, healing, and mercy. Whenever any gods or goddesses needed any medical treatment, she used to be of assistance.

Though she knew all kinds of treatments and medications, she was skillful primarily while using the herbs. It is also considered that she could even resurrect the dead.

So, she is sometimes taken as the Valkyrie of mercy, who would fly over the battlefield to medicate the wounded and dispense death to the fallen warriors.

Companion of the goddess Frigg, Eir lived in Lyfjaberg, the hill of healing, where the generous spirits surrounded her, and she was always fully equipped with the needed healing methods or skills. 

With the slender body, reddish-blond hair, pale skin, bright blue eyes, and arms built in an amazingly muscular build, the goddess of healing is portrayed wearing a red or grey gown with a cloak fastened over her chest, a tree-shaped brooch.

6. Freya (Goddess of Love, Sorcery, Gold, War, Fertility, and Death)

Freya by John Bauer
Freya by John Bauer

Freya, daughter of Njord, was considered the goddess of Sorcery, War, Love, Gold, Fertility, and Death. 

During the war between the two gods, Aesir and Vanir, Freya was taken over by the Aesir gods and kept in the Asgard as a hostage. Her husband, God Our, was also disappeared by Odin. 

With a lot of practice, she performed a unique form of magic, Seidr, where she could discern and influence fate.

See also  10 Best Female Viking warrior in the history

Using her beauty, she convinced the dwarves to give her the beautiful necklace, Brisingamen. With her ability in sorcery and fights, she collected the wounded warriors and kept them in her hall, Folkvangr.

Bringing art to the gods and humans for the first time, the goddess of love was considered the most thoughtful and wisest goddess of all time. Freya is associated with the day, Friday.

5. Idun (Goddesses of Spring and Youth)

Bragi with his wife Iðunn
Bragi with his wife Iðunn

Idun, the wife of Bragi, was considered the goddess of Youth and Spring. She was beautiful with long golden hair.

With the power to grant youth to everyone, she guarded the apples of youth in Asgard and blessed all the Asgardians with children by supplying apples. 

Finding out about her powers, Loki – the trickster kidnapped her with the help of a giant Thjasse, as he wanted to save his skin and stay young forever.

Gods of Asgard started aging due to a lack of apples of youth, so they demanded Idun’s freedom with Loki, and he agreed to their demand.  

Belonging to a complex religious, cosmological, and mythological belief system, Idun was blessed with high physical powers and military might.

Besides Guarding the apples of youth on her chest, she is also portrayed as a dutiful wife and a wise goddess.

4. Skadi (The Goddess of the Mountains) 

Skadi Hunting in the Mountains
Skadi Hunting in the Mountains

Skadi (pronounced “SKAHD-ee) is a Norse mythological giantess and deity. Her name is the same as the Old Norse common noun skai, which means “damage.”

It might have also derived from another Germanic origin perpetuated in the Gothic term skadus. 

Another origin may be from the Old English sceadu. Both Gothic and Old English origins imply the name’s meaning to be “shadow.”

Moreover, Skadi’s name is also possibly related to the name “Scandinavia.” Although, whether Skadi named the region or the region named Skadi is unknown.

Skadi dwells in the mountains’ highest levels, where the snow never melts. She’s a passionate huntress, and her bow, snowshoes, and skis are frequently referenced.

She was previously wedded to the deity Njord. Their marriage, however, failed. 

Njord couldn’t take the cold desolation of the mountains, and Skadi couldn’t stand the brightness and commotion of Njord’s home by the coast, so the two separated.

The giants (or, to use a better translation of their Old Norse name, the “devourers”) are primarily entities of darkness, cold, and death.

Skadi matches this paradigm and appears to have had special ties to winter. Her classification as a goddess by marriage seems to indicate that she has a more kindly demeanor than most of her kin. 

The regularity with which she has been worshiped historically also lends to this. She was also honored as a patroness of winter survival pursuits.

3. Gefjun (The Goddess of Ploughing, Abundance, and Prosperity) 

Gefjun Plows Zealand with her Oxen by Karl Ehrenberg
Gefjun Plows Zealand with her Oxen by Karl Ehrenberg

Gefjun (also written “Gefjon”) is an old Norse goddess of agriculture, fertility, wealth, and prosperity. Her title comes from the Old Norse verb gefa, which means “to give.”

It translates as “Giver” or “Generous One.” The majority of our knowledge of Gefjun comes from the intellect of Snorri Sturluson. 

While Snorri’s retellings of Norse mythology cannot be believed without reservation, his descriptions of Gefjun are undeniably real.

According to Snorri, Gefjun disguised himself as a destitute woman and journeyed throughout Sweden. 

When she stood before King Gylfi, he granted her as much land as four oxen could plow in a single day.

Gefjun then summoned her four sons, whom she had conceived through a nameless giant, and transformed them into oxen to plow the field. 

According to the Prose Edda and Heimskringla, Gefjon plowed away what is now Lake Mälaren in Sweden, forming the island of Zealand in Denmark.

Furthermore, the Prose Edda states that not only is Gefjon a virgin, but that those who die virgins become her attendants.

Gefjon married the famous Danish king Skjöldr and lived in Lejre, Denmark, according to Heimskringla.

Throughout the pre-Christian religious conversion of the Norse and other Germanic communities, parallels amidst this deity of the Earth and prosperity and the act of plowing were always prevalent.

See also  10 Reasons Vikings Invade England

2. Gerðr (The Fertility Goddess of the Earth)

Skírnir Persuades Gerðr to Follow Him by Karl Ehrenberg
Skírnir Persuades Gerðr to Follow Him by Karl Ehrenberg

Gerðr is a jötunn goddess and the wife of the God Freyr in Norse mythology. Gerðr is also sometimes anglicized as Gerd or Gerth in modern usage. 

In both mentions of her literary work, Freyr sees Gerðr from afar and becomes profoundly lovesick at the appearance of her gleaming beauty.

He then sends his servant Skírnir to Jötunheimr (where Gerðr and her father Gymir live) to win her love. 

This tale is mentioned in both the Poetic Edda and the Prose Edda. In the Poetic Edda, Gerðr initially refuses, but after Skírnir threatens her, she is compelled to yield.

However, threats are not mentioned in the Prose Edda. In all versions, though, Gerðr promises to meet Freyr at a specific time and place at Barri. 

After Skírnir returns with Gerðr’s response, Freyr bemoans that the rendezvous could not happen sooner. Additionally, Gerðr is also mentioned in chapter 19 of the Prose Edda book Skáldskaparmál as one of goddess Frigg’s “rivals.” 

Moreover, there is archeological evidence of the goddess’s presence too.

Small pieces of gold foil with engravings dating from the Migration Period to the early Viking Age (known as gullgubber) have been unearthed in several locations around Scandinavia.

Moreover, there were about 2,500 discovered in one area as well. 

The foil fragments have often been discovered in construction sites, with only a few exceptions found in graves. The figures are sometimes single, sometimes an animal.

Sometimes, it is a man and a woman with a leafy bough between them, facing or embracing. The human figures are virtually usually clothed, and their knees are sometimes bowed.

According to scholar Hilda Ellis Davidson, the figures are engaged in dance and may have been associated with weddings, signifying the notion of divine marriage. This signifies the coming together of Gerðr and Freyr.

1. Rán (The Goddess of the Sea) 

Rán pulls her net beside her husband Ægir as depicted by Friedrich Wilhelm Heine
Rán pulls her net beside her husband Ægir as depicted by Friedrich Wilhelm Heine

Rán is a goddess and the embodiment of the sea in Norse mythology. Rán and her husband, a jötunn who also represents the sea, had nine daughters who represent waves. 

The goddess is typically depicted holding a net, which she uses to catch seafarers.

Rán once loaned her net to the deity Loki as well, according to the narrative preamble to a poem in the Poetic Edda and the Völsunga saga. 

Both Rán and her husband live in a majestic hall beneath the water. They were perceived as the ocean’s heavenly powers and many attributes.

Her husband was frequently depicted as a welcoming host. He appears to correspond to the most beneficent qualities of it. 

Rán, on the other hand, appeared to correspond to her more malevolent qualities.

She’s frequently referenced in the context of drowning helpless seafarers and pulling them down to dwell in her undersea lair in Old Norse poetry. 

Conclusion 

Many people are familiar with religious characters and legends from the Norse tribes, which are populations that live in modern-day Scandinavia.

However, Norse mythology is more than just a collection of stories and fascinating people endowed with supernatural abilities.

Norse mythology is a branch of an organized and old indigenous religion followed by the Germanic peoples of Europe.

They are a group of tribes in central and northern Europe linked by comparable languages and religious traditions.

This belief system was most prevalent prior to the Middle Ages when Christianity became the main religion. 

Believers used Norse mythology stories, like any other religion’s stories, to help organize and make sense of the world.

The gods, living, breathing deities that were a big part of life for the northern Germanic peoples were the main players in those myths.

In conclusion, Norse gods still have a place in our culture today, from the comic book hero Thor to the nomenclature of the days of the week.

Such as Tuesday being Tyr’s Day, Wednesday is Odin’s Day, Thursday being Thor’s Day, and Friday being Freya’s Day. 

Leave a Comment