Top 10 famous Norse Mythology

According to Norse Mythology, the Norse gods and goddesses are divided into two significant groups: Vanir and Aesir, based on their earliest existence.

The Gods and Goddesses who emerged earliest and are associated with fertility, nature, wisdom, and ability to see the future are the Vanir Gods which include a few major Gods namely Njord, Freya, and Freyr.

The Gods and Goddesses considered as newcomers who overcame and assimilated the Vanir Gods and ruled the lives of mortal men are the Aesir Gods which include a few major Gods, namely Odin, Thor, and Idun.

Out of all the Gods and Goddesses, the most known gods and goddesses are Frigg, Baldur, Tyr, and Loki from the second group – the Aesir.

Here is the list of top 10 famous Norse Gods and Goddesses with their details.

10. Frigg:  Goddess of Love, Motherhood, and Marriage

Frigg: Goddess of Love, Motherhood, and Marriage

Frigg, the wife of Odin, was considered as 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, from another woman, Frigg loved him equally.

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 have a view of 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.

9. Eir: Goddesses of Healing

Eir is considered as 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 mostly skilful 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 also dispense death to the fallen warriors.

Companion of the goddess Frigg, Eir lived in Lyfjaberg, the hill of healing, where the helpful 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 by a tree-shaped brooch.

8. Odin: God of Chief Divinity (Father of all Gods)

Odin: God of Chief Divinity (Father of all Gods)

Odin, the father of all gods, was considered as the God of Chief Divinity and War.

He was the husband of Frigg and together had three sons Balder, Hodr, and Hermod and another son, Thor, from a mistress.

Despite being taken as the God of War and Death initially, he took a keen interest in poetry and wisdom which led to him learning a few songs and runes and became the God of poetry and knowledge as well. He had the most varied characteristics amongst all the Norse Gods.

Sitting on his throne, Hlidskjalf, located in Asgard, he observed everything that was happening in the nine worlds.

With his efficient attributes – Gungnir(spear), Draupnir(ring), Sleipnir(steed), he managed to control his targets, and with his one eye which blazed like the Sun, he would observe all without a miss.

Odin was killed by the wolf – Fenrir in the Ragnarok, the final destiny of the gods.

7. Freya: Goddess of Love, Sorcery, Gold, War, Fertility, and Death   

Freya: Goddess of Love, Sorcery, Gold, War, Fertility, and Death

Freya, daughter of Njord, was considered as 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 Odr, was also disappeared by Odin. 

With a lot of practice, she was able to perform a unique form of magic, Seidr, where she could discern and influence fate.

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

Bringing art to the gods and humans for the first time, goddess of love was considerably the smartest and wisest goddess of all time.

Freya is associated with the day, Friday.

6. Balder: God of Light, Purity, Joy and the Summer Sun

Balder, son of Odin and Frigg, was considered as the God of Light, Purity, Joy, and Summer Sun. 

With a physique built naturally, he was gracious, cheerful, handsome and was loved by all the gods and goddesses. 

As one of the wisest, most gracious, and fairest-spoken gods, he was considered the only god loved by all.

When he dreamt about his death, his mother, Frigg, took an oath from every creature that they could never harm him.

With their agreement on the pledge, Balder was then safe, and all practised knife throwing on him as he would never be hurt by any means.

With hearing about the oath, Loki – the trickster planned on disguising and killing Balder, so he went to Frigg and asked about the depth of the oath.

Frigg, without suspecting told the disguised Loki, Balder could be killed by a small tree – Mistletoe.

Ultimately, Balder was killed by his blind brother, Hod as he threw the Mistletoe at him, which was the plan of Loki.

5. Idun:  Goddesses of Spring and Youth

Idun, the wife of Bragi, was considered as 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 youth by supplying apples. 

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

Gods of Asgard started ageing due to lack in supply of apples of youth, so they demand Idun’s freedom with Loki, and he agrees 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. Njord: God of Fertility, Wealth, and Seafaring

Njord: God of Fertility, Wealth, and Seafaring

Njord, a most significant member of the Vanir gods, was the father of Freya and Freyr and was considered as the God of Wealth, Seafaring, and Fertility.

During the war between the Aesir gods and Vanir gods, Njord along with two others was sent to Asgard considering the token of truce. He was kept in the house of seashore, Naotun and become an honorary member of the Aesir gods.

Married to Skadi, a giantess, their marriage did not last long, as both of them did not like shifting from their home to stay in one place together.

Njord could not tolerate Skadi’s home place, the snowy mountains and the same was true with Skadi as she did not like the beach, home place of Njord.

Njord was considerably the wealthiest gods of all time, and all the Norse people longed to be as wealthy as him.

3. Gefion: Goddesses of  Agriculture and Fertility

Gefion: Goddesses of Agriculture and Fertility

Gefion, the goddess of unmarried women, was considered as the goddess of Agriculture, Love and Fertility.

Disguising herself as a beggar woman, she had once asked the King of Sweden, Gylfi for a little part of his land and the King had told her to take all the land she could plough in one day and night.

With him saying so, Gefion bounded her four strong and big oxen to plough the flat and fertile land – western part of Sweden.

The plough went deep into and cut through a considerable part of Sweden and led to becoming into a new and huge island, which is now called Zealand( Sjaelland), a part of Denmark.

As the associations between the goddess of prosperity and the act of ploughing were shared amongst the Norse and other German people, Gefion was also considered the goddess of wealth and agriculture.

2. Loki: God of Tricks

Loki: God of Tricks

Loki, father of Hel – the wolf Fenrir, was considered as the god of Tricks and was also famously known as the Trickster.

As one of the most vigorous and unpredictable gods of all, his activities were mostly mischievous and cleverly executed, also created various situations where everyone got into complicated problems and some even losing their lives.

Though he was a good looking god, his deeds did not match his appearances. There are many incidents of him creating a disguise of himself and fooling others.

It is considered that he had a considerable role in the killing of Balder, through the hands of his brother – Hod.

The chain of events which led to the destruction of many gods, including Balder, began by Loki.

When he was finally imprisoned, he was chained with three massive boulders placed under his shoulders, under his loins, and under his knees, a poisonous along with the blocks was also placed above his head.

At the end in a disastrous battle, every gods and goddess including Loki are killed. With this comes the end of this mythological period and starting of a fresh cycle of life.

1. Thor: God of Thunder

Thor: God of Thunder

Thor, son of Odin, was considered as the God of Thunder and the pivotal enemy of the giants. He was the source of trust for the common man, who would always call upon him during the times of crisis.

A god mostly portrayed as bearded and red-headed persona is the most powerful gods of all. Always believing in protecting commoners and gods from evil, he was able to surpass his father, Odin, in popularity and that too without giving any human sacrifices.

Despite his strength and ability to help every kind, he is teased and fooled by the contemporaries because of him not being the smartest and the wisest. It also gets him ill-tempered and furious, which leads to throwing his hammer, Mjolnir, towards them.

Thor is married to Sif, the goddess of fertility, and has three children – Magni, Modi, and Thrud. He is associated with the day, Thursday.

Conclusion:

The deities mentioned above are of the mythological period, where the stories were mostly based on the rumours and myths.

With the end of all the Norse deities, came a new and fresh life cycle which gives a lesson that nothing can remain still or unchanged forever, even the mightiest gods or goddess.

Other significant Norse deities other than those mentioned above include  Sif, Heimdall, Skadi, and Forseti.

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Cite this article as: Richard Marrison, "Top 10 famous Norse Mythology," in HistoryTen, October 24, 2020, https://historyten.com/viking/top-famous-norse-mythology/.
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