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The Norse Deities

     The Old Norse religion, also known as Norse paganism (also known as Ásatrú), is the most common name for a branch of Germanic religion which developed during the Proto-Norse period, when the North Germanic peoples separated into a distinct branch of the Germanic peoples. It was replaced by Christianity during the Christianization of Scandinavia. Scholars reconstruct aspects of North Germanic religion by historical linguistics, archaeology, toponymy, and records left by North Germanic peoples, such as runic inscriptions in the Younger Futhark, a distinctly North Germanic extension of the runic alphabet. Numerous Old Norse works dated to the 13th century record Norse mythology, a component of North Germanic religion.

     The Old Norse religion was polytheistic, entailing a belief in various gods and goddesses. Norse mythology divided these deities into two groups, the Æsir and the Vanir, who engaged in an ancient war until realizing that they were equally powerful. Among the most widespread deities were the gods Odin and Thor. This world was inhabited also by various other mythological races, including giants, dwarfs, elves, and land-spirits. Norse cosmology revolved around a world tree known as Yggdrasil, with various realms existing alongside that of humans, named Midgard. These include multiple afterlife realms, several of which are controlled by a particular deity.


     Transmitted through oral culture rather than through codified texts, Old Norse religion focused heavily on ritual practice, with kings and chiefs playing a central role in carrying out public acts of sacrifice. Various cultic spaces were used; initially, outdoor spaces such as groves and lakes were typically selected, but by the 3rd century CE cult houses were also purposely built for ritual activity. Norse society also contained practitioners of Seiðr, a form of sorcery which some scholars describe as shamanistic. Various forms of burial were conducted, including both inhumation and cremation, typically accompanied by a variety of grave goods.


     Throughout its history, varying levels of trans-cultural diffusion occurred among neighboring peoples, such as the Sami and Finns. By the twelfth century Old Norse religion had succumbed to Christianity, with elements continuing into Scandinavian folklore. A revival of interest in Old Norse religion occurred amid the romanticist movement of the 19th century, during which it inspired a range of artworks. It also attracted the interest of political figures, and was used by a range of right-wing and nationalist groups. Academic research into the subject began in the early 19th century, initially influenced by the pervasive romanticist sentiment.

     Now that we have a little background of where they come from, let's begin.

Fairest of the Gods


  • Animals: Dolphins and Whales.

  • Colors: Gold, White, and Yellow.

  • Festivals/Holidays:

  • Food:

  • Herbs: Chamomile

  • Incense: Cinnamon and Frankincense.

  • Magical Attributes: Beauty, Friendship, Innocence, Joy, Light, Purity, Rebirth, and Reconciliation.

  • Metal: Gold

  • Musical Instrument: None

  • Offerings: Give something Beautiful that benefits others.

  • Planet: Sun

  • Plants: Marigold and St. Johns Wort.

  • Sabbats:

  • Stones: Goldstone

  • Symbols: Ringhorn, and The Sun.

  • Trees: Ash


     Baldur is one of the Aesir gods. He’s the son of Odin and Frigg, the husband of the obscure goddess Nanna, and the father of the god Forseti. He’s loved by all the gods, goddesses, and beings of a more physical nature. So handsome, gracious, and cheerful is he that he actually gives off light.

     When Baldur began to have dreams of his death, Frigg went around to everything in the world and secured from each of them an oath to not harm her son. Confident in Baldur’s invincibility, the gods amused themselves by throwing weapons and any random thing they could find at Baldur and watching them bounce off of him, leaving him utterly unscathed. Loki, the guileful trickster of the gods, sensed an opportunity for mischief. He inquired of Frigg whether she had overlooked anything whatsoever in her quest to obtain oaths. She casually answered that she had thought the mistletoe to be too small and harmless a thing to bother asking for such a promise. Loki straightaway made a spear from the mistletoe and convince the blind god Hodr to throw it at Baldur. The projectile pierced the god, and he fell down dead. The anguished gods then ordained that one of them should go to the underworld to see if there was any way Baldur could be retrieved from the clutches of the death goddess, Hel. Hermod, another one of Odin’s many sons, agreed to make this journey, and, mounting Odin’s steed, Sleipnir, he rode down the world-tree until he came to its dark and damp roots, wherein lies Hel’s abode. When he arrived, he found his brother, pale and grim, sitting in the seat of honor next to Hel. Hermod implored the dreadful goddess to release Baldur, and after much persuasion, she replied that she would give him up if and only if everything in the world would weep for Baldur – to prove, in other words, that he was as universally beloved as Hermod claimed. The whole world did indeed weep for the generous son of Odin – all, that is, save one creature. The giantess Þökk (“Thanks”), generally assumed to be Loki in disguise, callously refused to perform the act that would secure Baldur’s return. And so Baldur was doomed to remain with Hel in her joyless realm.

God of Eloquence, Poets, and Skaldic


  • Animals:

  • Colors: Orange

  • Festivals/Holidays:

  • Food: Mead

  • Herbs:

  • Incense: Sandalwood and Storax.

  • Magical Attributes: Art, Inspiration, Music, Poetry, Speech, Wisdom, and Writing.

  • Metal:

  • Musical Instrument: Harp and Lyre.

  • Offerings: Beautiful Writing, Mead, Poetry, and Stories.

  • Planet:

  • Plants: Fern and Lily of the Valley.

  • Sabbats:

  • Stones: Agate and Carnelian.

  • Symbols: Book, Harp, Runes, and Poetry.

  • Trees: Beech


     Bragi is the wise and learned bard of Valhalla, the magnificent hall of the god Odin. Old Norse poetry from the Viking Age frequently features him regaling the einherjar, the dead who dwell in Valhalla, and welcoming recently deceased heroes into their midst. One Eddic poem depicts him as having runes carved on his tongue. Bragi was originally the historical ninth-century bard Bragi Boddason. His poems were so outstandingly artful and moving that subsequent generations imagined that, upon his death, Odin had appointed him the court poet of Valhalla. After all, a troop of elite warriors, kings, and others favored by Odin needed an elite bard to sing of their countless exploits.

Goddess of Love, Sensuality, and Beauty


  • Animals: Boars, Cats, and Hawks.

  • Colors: Deep Purple-Gray, Gold, Greens, Ocean Blues, Red, and Whites.

  • Festivals/Holidays:

  • Food: Chocolate, Fresh Fruit, Mead, Organic Honey Cider, Strawberries, Sweet Pastries, and Sweet Wine.

  • Herbs: Alder,  Bramble, Feverfew, Mint, Mugwort, Tansy, Thyme, Vervain, Yarrow, and Valerian.

  • Incense - All Floral Scents, Mint, and Sandalwood.

  • Magical Attributes: Beauty, Divination, Healing, Love, Magic, and Peace.

  • Metal: Gold

  • Musical Instrument: Bronze Lurs

  • Offerings: Amber, Antlers, Cat Pictures, Chocolate, Feathers, Fehu Rune, Flowers, Fresh Fruit, Furs, Heart Shaped Stones, Love Poetry, and Mead.

  • Planet: Venus

  • Plants: Cowslip, Rose, Daisy, and Primrose

  • Sabbats: Ostara, Beltane, and Mabon.

  • Stones: Fire Agate, Red Agate, Hawkeye, Red Amber, and Tourmaline.

  • Symbols: 13, Cat, Northern Lights, Runes, and The Wheel of Fortune.

  • Trees: Apple, Birch, Elder, Elm, Linden, and Redwood.


     Freya (also Freyja or Freia) is the Norse Goddess of Love and Beauty and is one of the major Goddesses of Norse Mythology, equal to Thor and nearly the equal of Odin, the Allfather. She has a twin brother called Frey. Freya is leader of the Valkyrie, the Choosers of the Slain, warrior maidens who ride over battlefields on winged horses, taking the souls of warriors killed in battle to feast in Valhalla, Odin’s Hall. Freya claims half of the warriors for her own hall in Folkvang. Freya is one of the most beautiful Goddesses, with long flowing blond hair, blue eyes, and a gorgeous figure which she doesn't mind flaunting, as she often appears naked to her worshipers.


     Freya is also a helpful deity to women in labor and hopeful lovers. She is a healer, a nurturer, a source of love and peace. She listens to the prayers of people seeking love and will help them if she can. In keeping with the Norse acceptance of infidelity, Freya is a Goddess of lust and enjoys sexual freedom. She is a patron of young lovers and is viewed as a source of goodness in the world. Freya also has the power to grant magic called Seidr, trance magic, which includes shape-shifting and astral projection. Freya herself has a falcon cloak which allows any who wear it to become a bird and fly. Freya travels in either in a chariot pulled by two blue cats or on the golden boar, Hildeswin. After serving Freya for 7 years, the cats were rewarded by being turned into witches, disguised as black cats. As a sign of her domesticity, she is often portrayed with cats playing around her ankles. The runes on her sword signify power, fertility, and birth.

God of Fertility, Sun, and Rain


  • Animals: Boars and Pigs.

  • Colors: Brown, Gold, and Green.

  • Festivals/Holidays:

  • Food: Ale, Barley Wine, Mead, Nuts, and Water.

  • Herbs:

  • Incense: Mint, Rose, and Sandalwood.

  • Magical Attributes: Bountiful Harvest, Fair Weather, Fertility, Good Luck with Children, Love, Prosperity, Rain, Sex Magic, Sovereignty, Sun, Sunshine, and Virility.

  • Metal: Brass, Bronze, and Gold.

  • Musical Instrument: None

  • Offerings: Ale, Barley Wine, Mead, Water, and Yule Boar or Male Pig Sacrifice.

  • Planet: Sun

  • Plants: Holy, Ivy, and St. Johns Wort.

  • Sabbats: Yule

  • Stones: Goldstone and Rose Quartz.

  • Symbols: Golden Boar, Phallus, and Sword.

  • Trees: Ash, Mountain Ash, and Yew.


     Freyr is a god who belongs to the Vanir tribe of deities. He’s also an honorary member of the other tribe of Norse gods, the Aesir, having arrived in their fortress, Asgard, as a hostage at the closing of the Aesir-Vanir War. Freyr was one of the most widely and passionately venerated divinities amongst the heathen Norse and other Germanic peoples. One Old Norse poem calls him “the foremost of the gods” and “hated by none.” The reasons for this aren’t hard to understand; their well-being and prosperity depended on his benevolence, which particularly manifested itself in sexual and ecological fertility, bountiful harvests, wealth, and peace. His role in providing health and abundance was often symbolized by his fylgja, the boar Gullinborsti (“Golden-Bristled”), and by his enormous, erect phallus. It shouldn’t be surprising, then, that Freyr was a frequent recipient of sacrifices at various occasions, such as the blessing of a wedding or the celebration of a harvest. During harvest festivals, the sacrifice traditionally took the form of his favored animal, the boar.


     His father is Njord, and his mother is Njord’s unnamed sister (presumably Nerthus). Freyr himself has been the lover of numerous goddesses and giantesses, including his own sister, Freya. Apparently incest is a common and acceptable practice among the Vanir (although amongst the historical Germanic peoples it certainly wasn’t). Freyr’s residence is Alfheim, the homeland of the elves. This could mean that Freyr is the ruler of the elves, but since this is never stated explicitly in the surviving sources, it must remain a fascinating conjecture. The relationship between the gods and the elves is sufficiently ambiguous to allow for a number of possible connections between Freyr and the elves.

Queen of Asgard, Goddess of Marriage and Fertility


  • Animals: Cats, Cuckoos, Falcons, and Pigs.

  • Colors: Aqua, Blue, Green, Grey, Ivory, Silver, and White.

  • Festivals/Holidays:

  • Food: Light Fruity Wine, Mead, Organic Milk, Pastry, Riesling, Roast, and Stew.

  • Herbs: Allspice, Cardamom, Feverfew, Mint, Mistletoe, and Mugwort.

  • Incense: Myrtle, Rose, and Sandalwood.

  • Magical Attributes: Earth, Foresight, and Wisdom.

  • Metal: Gold and Silver.

  • Musical Instrument: None

  • Offerings: Berkana Rune, Mead, Milk, Norse-Style Beer, Old-Fashioned Keys, Pastries, Plants and Trees, Spindle, White Wool, and Wine.

  • Planet: Moon and Venus.

  • Plants: Lady’s Bedstraw, Mistletoe, Rose, and Tansy.

  • Sabbats: Yule

  • Stones: Amber, Emerald, Moonstone, Pink Tourmaline, and Rose Quartz.

  • Symbols: Distaff, Full Moon, Hearth, New Year’s, Norse Spindle, and Spun Wool.

  • Tree: Birch and Elder.


     Frigga (also known as Frigg) is their Queen and All-Mother. She is the wife of Odin, the King and All-Father of the Aesir, and the mother of Baldur, the god of light who was slain by Loki. She may also be the mother of Hodur and Hermod, and she is stepmother to many of Odin's children by other goddesses, including Heimdall and Thor. She is the daughter of Jord, Goddess of the Earth, and thus is Thor's older half-sister.


     Frigga is the goddess of marriage - more properly, the goddess of marriage that is sanctioned by society, as unsanctioned unions are under the guidance of Frey and Gerda. She is the protector of home and families, and was much beloved by married women. She gave solace and aid in childbirth, and was also called upon for help in the domestic arts and cottage industries, especially the spinning of wool, which took up much of the time of women in Northern Europe. It was said that she pulled the wool from the cloud-sheep to spin and weave the garments of the Aesir. She was also known as a Goddess of Frith, which is a combination of peace and social order; in this guise she is called upon as the Lady of the Hall, carrying the mead horn around, and both sending off and welcoming back warriors with the cup of victory. Thus she is also called upon for matters of diplomacy, especially among leaders. She is also said to see many things with her seer's powers, but she speaks of very few of them.

God of Light and Protection


  • Animals: Horses, Rams, and Seals.

  • Colors: Gold and White.

  • Festivals/Holidays:

  • Food:

  • Herbs: Vervain

  • Incense: Birch

  • Magical Attributes: Beginnings and Ends, Light, Prophecy, Protection, The Sea, Strength, Wisdom.

  • Metal: Bronze, Copper, and Gold.

  • Musical Instrument: Horn

  • Offerings: Mead

  • Planet:

  • Plants: Avens, Polypody, Rose, ans Verbena.

  • Sabbats:

  • Stones: Amethyst ans Aquamarine.

  • Symbols: Hron, Light, Rainbow, and Ram.

  • Trees: Birch and Oak.


     Heimdall is one of the Aesir gods and the ever-vigilant guardian of the gods’ stronghold, Asgard. His dwelling is called Himinbjörg (“Sky Cliffs,” connoting a high place ideal for a fortress), which sits at the top of Bifrost, the rainbow bridge that leads to Asgard. He requires less sleep than a bird. His eyesight is so keen that he can see for hundreds of miles by day or by night, and his hearing is so acute that he can hear grass growing on the ground and wool growing on sheep. Here he watches and listens, holding at the ready the horn Gjallarhorn (“Resounding Horn”), which he sounds when intruders are approaching.


     During Ragnarok, the gods will know that their doom is at hand when they hear the dire call of Gjallarhorn signaling the imminent arrival of the giants, who will cross the rainbow bridge to storm Asgard and kill the gods. The disloyal Loki, the particular nemesis of the unwaveringly dutiful Heimdall, will be with them. Loki and Heimdall will slay each other as the world burns and sinks into the sea.

Goddess of Death


  • Animals: Crows, Dogs, Hell Hounds, Owls, and Wolves.

  • Colors: Black and White.

  • Festivals/Holidays:

  • Food: Mead

  • Herbs: Belladonna and Hellebore.

  • Incense: Myrrh and Storax

  • Magical Attributes: Change, Dark Magic, Death, Revenge, and Underworld.

  • Metal: Lead

  • Musical Instrument: None

  • Offerings: Black Candles, Blood, Bones, Dried Roses, and Withered Leaves.

  • Planet: Pluto

  • Plants: Wormwood

  • Sabbats: Samhain and Yule.

  • Stones: Black Agate, Jet, Obsidian, and Onyx.

  • Symbols: Broom and Rake.

  • Trees: Juniper, Willow, and Yew.

     Hel is a giantess and/or goddess who rules over the identically-named Hel, the underworld where many of the dead dwell. Her name’s meaning of “Hidden” surely has to do with the underworld and the dead being “hidden” or buried beneath the ground. According to the thirteenth-century Icelandic scholar Snorri Sturluson, Hel is the daughter of Loki and the giantess Angrboda (Old Norse Angrboða, “Anguish-boding”), and therefore the sister of the wolf Fenrir and the world serpent, Jormungand. This makes her part of a highly dangerous and disreputable family.


     Hel is generally presented as being rather greedy, harsh, and cruel, or at least indifferent to the concerns of both the living and the dead. However, her personality is little-developed in what survives of Old Norse literature. She’s mostly mentioned only in passing. Snorri describes her appearance as being half-black, half-white, and with a perpetually grim and fierce expression on her face.

Goddess of the Spring and Eternal Youth


  • Animals:

  • Colors: Gold and Green.

  • Festivals/Holidays:

  • Food: Apples, Mead, and Nuts.

  • Herbs: Orange Rose (Oil)

  • Incense: Apple Blossom.

  • Magical Attributes: Abundance, Beauty, Fertility, Spring, Wisdom, and Youth.

  • Metal: Copper

  • Musical Instrument: None

  • Offerings: Apples, Garden Dedication, Gardening Tools, Mead, and Nuts.

  • Planet: Earth

  • Plants: Rose

  • Sabbats: Ostara

  • Stones: Smoky Topaz and Quartz.

  • Symbols: Earth, Golden Apples, and Youth.

  • Trees: Apple, Fir, Hawthorn, and Willow.


     Idun is a goddess who belongs to the Aesir tribe of deities. Her role in the pre-Christian mythology and religion of the Norse and other Germanic peoples is unfortunately obscure, but she features prominently in one of the best-known mythological tales, The Kidnapping of Idun. In this tale, which comes to us from the skaldic poem Haustlöng and the Prose Edda, Idun is depicted as the owner and dispenser of a fruit that imparts immortality. Idun is the wife of Asgard’s court poet and minstrel, Bragi. One Old Norse poem has Loki accuse her of sleeping with her brother’s murderer, but the identities of her brother and his slayer are unknown, and no tale explaining this accusation has survived into the modern era.


     The Old Norse word for “apple,” epli, was often used to denote any fruit or nut, and “apples” in the modern English sense didn’t arrive in Scandinavia until late in the Middle Ages. Whatever species Idun’s produce belongs to, its ability to sustain the immortality of the gods and goddesses makes Idun an indispensable presence in Asgard.

Trickster God


  • Animals: Flies, Mares, Salmon, Snakes, Spiders, and Wolves.

  • Colors: Black and Red.

  • Festivals/Holidays:

  • Food:

  • Herbs: Cowslip, Mullein, and Thistle.

  • Incense: Dragon's Blood, Pepper, and Yew.

  • Magical Attributes: The Arts, Birth Death and Rebirth, Craftsmanship, Cunning, Dark Magic, Fire, Knowledge, Revenge, Shape-Shifting, Thievery, and Trickery.

  • Metal: Lead

  • Musical Instrument: None

  • Offerings: Mare Figurines

  • Planet: The Star Sirius

  • Plants: Ivy

  • Sabbats:

  • Stones: Black Agate, Jet, Obsidian, and Onyx.

  • Symbols: Fire and Snake

  • Trees: Beech, Blackthorn, Elder, Elm, Juniper, Willow, and Yew.


     Loki is a member of the Aesir tribe of gods in the Eddas and Sagas. He is a solitary and lonely figure who is surrounded by mistrust and ambivalence – with good reason as Loki constantly demonstrates a complete lack of concern for the well-being of his fellow gods. Loki is a trickster who can shape-shift into any form or being and can be either male or female. He is an alchemist, a powerful magician, creating realities in the duality of time and illusion. He breaks the rules, sometimes maliciously, but in the end a positive effect is usually manifested.


     The Trickster is an example of an archetype. He is a god, yet he is flawed, he is a fool, yet he is wise. His trickery and deviousness will point out the flaws in the carefully constructed laws, society, and beliefs of mankind. He causes us to question and not accept things blindly. He is a rebel who pokes fun at pompous seriousness, he is a schemer who plays with the Laws of the Universe and is sometimes his own worst enemy. He is the destroyer and the survivor. Through his ability to shape-shift, die and be reborn, bring chaos and reconstruction, he points out that our reality is an illusion that can be changed. He is the embodiment of the mystery of birth, death, and re-birth.

God of the Sea, Wind, and Fire


  • Animals: Dolphins and Whales.

  • Colors: Sea-Blue

  • Festivals/Holidays:

  • Food: Fish and Mead.

  • Herbs: Oak Moss and Vervain.

  • Incense: Cedar, Rose, and Vervain.

  • Magical Attributes: Abundance, Crop Fertility, Fertility, Fishing, Good Fortune, Oaths, Seas, Seafaring, Success, Water, Water Travel, Wealth, Wind and Wisdom.

  • Metal: Tin

  • Musical Instrument:

  • Offerings: Fish-shaped Cakes and Mead.

  • Planet:

  • Plants: Avens, Ferns, Polypody, Seaweed, and Verbena.

  • Sabbats:

  • Stones: Amethyst, Aquamarine, and Turquoise.

  • Symbols: Chariot, Fish, Ships, and Water.

  • Trees: Oak


     Njord is one of the principal gods of the Vanir tribe of deities. He’s also an honorary member of the Aesir gods, having been sent to them during the Aesir-Vanir War along with his son, Freyr, and his daughter, Freya. Freyr and Freya’s mother is Njord’s unnamed sister, who, based on linguistic evidence, is probably Nerthus or an equivalent goddess.

     The tale in which Njord features most prominently is The Marriage of Njord and Skadi. Skadi, a giantess, had come to the Aesir seeking restitution for the slaying of her father. As part of the settlement, they agreed that she could have any of the gods she desired as her husband. She chose Njord by mistake, thinking him to be Baldur. Their marriage was short and unpleasant. Half of their time was spent in Skadi’s home in the snowy mountains, which Njord couldn’t tolerate; the other half was spent in Njord’s home, Nóatún (“The Place of Ships”), which was located on the beach. Skadi couldn’t tolerate Njord’s home, either, so the two parted ways.

King of Asgard, God of War


  • Animals: Bears, Horses, Ravens Snakes, and Wolves.

  • Colors: Black, Dark Blue, Gray, Orange, and Red.

  • Festivals/Holidays:

  • Food: Mead

  • Herbs: Mandrake, Marjoram, Vervain, and Wotan's Herb.

  • Incense: Dragon's Blood, Pine, and Sandalwood.

  • Magical Attributes: Art, Battle, Death, Fate, Fertility, Healing, Hunting, Magic, Poetry, Prophecy, Runes, Shamans, Trade, Traveling, Victory, Warriors, Wild Hunt, Wisdom and Writing.

  • Metal: Gold and Tin.

  • Musical Instrument:

  • Offerings: Evergreen Branches, Good Stories, Knowledge, Pottery, Powerful Occult Tools, and Sacred Meats.

  • Planet:

  • Plants: Amanite Muscaria, Elecampane, Fern, Madinhair, Monkshood, and Polypody.

  • Sabbats: Yule

  • Stones: Agate, Carnelian, Jet, and Onyx.

  • Symbols: Raven, Spear of Odin, and Wolf.

  • Trees: Juniper, The World Tree, and Yew.


     Odin is one of the most complex and enigmatic characters in Norse mythology, and perhaps in all of world literature. He’s the ruler of the Aesir tribe of deities, yet he often ventures far from their kingdom, Asgard, on long, solitary wanderings throughout the cosmos on purely self-interested quests. He’s a relentless seeker after and giver of wisdom, but he has little regard for communal values such as justice, fairness, or respect for law and convention. He’s the divine patron of rulers, and also of outlaws. He’s a war-god, but also a poetry-god, and he has prominent “effeminate” qualities that would have brought unspeakable shame to any historical Viking warrior. He’s worshiped by those in search of prestige, honor, and nobility, yet he’s often cursed for being a fickle trickster.

     In modern popular culture, Odin is often portrayed as being an eminently honorable ruler and battlefield commander (not to mention impossibly muscular), but to the ancient Norse, he was nothing of the sort. In contrast to more straightforwardly noble war gods such as Tyr or Thor, Odin incites otherwise peaceful people to strife with what, to modern tastes, is a downright sinister glee.  His attitude is not far from Nietzsche’s dictum, “You say it is the good cause that hallows even war? I say unto you: it is the good war that hallows any cause.” In keeping with his associations with sovereignty (see below), Odin doesn’t generally concern himself with average warriors, preferring instead to lavish his blessings only on those whom he deems to be worthy of them. Many of the greatest Germanic heroes, such as Starkaðr and the Volsung family, have enjoyed Odin’s patronage.

     Odin’s preference for the elite extends to all realms of society. As the chief of the Aesir gods, he’s the divine archetype of a ruler. He’s the legendary founder of numerous royal lines, and kings are as likely as shamanistic warriors to claim him as their beneficiary. The Germanic peoples, like other Indo-European peoples, originally had a three-tiered social/political hierarchy: the first tier consisted of rulers, the second of warriors, and the third of farmers and others occupied with production and fecundity. The gods and goddesses can be profitably mapped onto this schema, and Odin, along with Tyr, corresponds to the first tier, the rulers. The crucial difference between Tyr and Odin in this regard, however, is that Tyr has much more to do with rule by law and justice, whereas Odin has much more to do with rule by magic and cunning. Tyr is the sober and virtuous ruler; Odin is the devious, inscrutable, and inspired ruler.

Thunder-God, Protector of Gods and Men


  • Animals: Goats

  • Colors: Red and Blue.

  • Festivals/Holidays:

  • Food: Acorns and Most kinds of Alcohol.

  • Herbs: Oak Moss and Thistle.

  • Incense: Dragon's Blood, Juniper, and Pine.

  • Magical Attributes: Civilization, Defense, Fertility, Hallowing, Healing, Law, Lightning, Magic, Protection against Fire and Lightning, Rain, Storms, Strength, and Thunder.

  • Metal: Iron and Steel.

  • Musical Instrument: Drums

  • Offerings: Anything Hearty including Ale Mead and Meat, Rain Water, and Thor's Hammer Brand Vodka.

  • Planet:

  • Plants: Avans, House Leek, and Mistletoe.

  • Sabbats:

  • Stones: Carnelian, Lodestone, and Red Agate.

  • Symbols: Storms and Thor's Hammer.

  • Trees: Hazel, Mountain Ash, and Oak.


     Thor is one of the most prominent figures in Norse mythology. He was a major god of all branches of the Germanic peoples before their conversion to Christianity, although he reached the height of his popularity among the Scandinavians of the late Viking Age.

     Thor, the brawny thunder god, is the archetype of a loyal and honorable warrior, the ideal toward which the average human warrior aspired. He’s the indefatigable defender of the Aesir gods and their fortress, Asgard, from the encroachments of the giants, who are usually (although far from invariably) the enemies of the gods. No one is better suited for this task than Thor. His courage and sense of duty are unshakeable, and his physical strength is virtually unmatched. He even owns an unnamed belt of strength (Old Norse megingjarðar) that makes his power doubly formidable when he wears the belt. His most famous possession, however, is his hammer, Mjöllnir (“Lightning”). Only rarely does he go anywhere without it. For the heathen Scandinavians, just as thunder was the embodiment of Thor, lightning was the embodiment of his hammer slaying giants as he rode across the sky in his goat-drawn chariot. (Of course, they didn’t believe he physically rode in a chariot drawn by goats – like everything else in Germanic mythology, this is a symbol used to express an invisible reality upon which the material world is perceived to be patterned.)

     His activities on the divine plane were mirrored by his activities on the human plane (Midgard), where he was appealed to by those in need of protection, comfort, and the blessing and hallowing of places, things, and events. Numerous surviving runic inscriptions invoke him to hallow the words and their intended purpose, and it was he who was called upon to hallow weddings. (Evidence of this is preserved, amongst other places, in the tale of Thor Disguised as a Bride.) The earliest Icelandic settlers implored him to hallow their plot of land before they built buildings or planted crops. Thor’s hammer could be used to hallow as readily as it could be used to destroy – and, in effect, these two properties were one and the same, since any purification necessarily involves the banishing of hostile forces or elements. The blessing of weddings, for example, was effected through his hammer. Perhaps the most striking case of this, however, is his ability to kill and eat the goats that drive his chariot, gather their bones together in their hides, bless the hides with the hammer, and bring the animals back to life, as healthy and vital as before.

God of Law, The Sky, Justice, War, and Self-Sacrifice


  • Animals: Wolves

  • Colors: Orange, Red, and Yellow.

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  • Herbs: Thistle and Vervain.

  • Incense: Juniper and Pine.

  • Magical Attributes: Athletics, Bravery, Fire, Justice, Law, Oaths, Orders, Victory, and War.

  • Metal: Bronze and Steel.

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  • Offerings: A single Glove.

  • Planet: Mars

  • Plants: Flowering Spurge.

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  • Stones: Gray Agate and Smoky Topaz.

  • Symbols: Arrow, Scepter, and Spear.

  • Trees: Blackthorn, Juniper, and Oak.


     Tyr is a Norse war god, but also the god who, more than any other, presides over matters of law and justice. His role in the surviving Viking Age myths is relatively slight, and his status in the later part of the Viking Age may have been correspondingly minor. But this wasn’t always the case. Other kinds of evidence show us that Tyr was once one of the most important gods to the Norse and other Germanic peoples.

     Tyr’s role as one of the principal war gods of the Norse, along with Odin and Thor, is well-attested in sources from the Viking Age and earlier. For example, in the Sigrdrífumál, one of the poems in the Poetic Edda, the valkyrie Sigrdrifa instructs the human hero Sigurd to invoke Tyr for victory in battle. Another Eddic poem, the Lokasenna, corroborates this picture by having Loki insult Tyr by saying that he could only stir people to strife, and could never reconcile them.

God of Silence and Vengeance


  • Animals: Wolverines

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  • Food: All kinds of Alcohol and Meat.

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  • Magical Attributes: Anger, Dependability, Duty, Revenge, Stealth, and War.

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  • Offerings: Alcohol, Leather from old shoes, and Meat.

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     Vidar is one of the younger generation of gods who survive Ragnarok, the cataclysmic end of the cosmos in Norse mythology. (In some accounts of that event, that is; in other accounts, the universe just ends, and no one survives.) Virtually all of the references to him in Old Norse literature are concerned with his role in Ragnarok; we know little to nothing of his personality or function outside of that one particular episode.


     During Ragnarok, the gods – the divine forces who uphold the cosmic order – and the giants – the divine forces of chaos and destruction – battled, and most of those involved on both sides were slain. The god Odin was devoured by the wolf Fenrir. Vidar, a son of Odin by the giantess Gríðr, immediately set upon the wolf to avenge his father’s death. He wore a shoe that had been crafted for this particular moment. It was the strongest and sturdiest of all shoes, and surely also charged with magical properties. With it, Vidar kicked open the wolf’s lower jaw, and then, holding the beast’s upper jaw open, he sliced Fenrir’s mouth to pieces with his sword, killing the monster and ending his devastating rampage.


     Elsewhere, Vidar is called the “silent god,” although no explanation for this epithet is given. He is said to be the strongest of the gods after Thor. His land is described as a place of brushwood and tall grass, but the significance of the association of this particular kind of landscape and this god is unknown.

Primordial Frost Giant God


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  • Magical Attributes: Creation

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  • Planet: His Corps is the Earth.

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     Ymir is a hermaphroditic giant and the first creature to come into being in the Norse creation myth. As the first giant, he’s the ancestor of all of the other giants – and, since almost all of the gods are partially descended from giants, he’s their ancestor as well. Another name for Ymir in some Old Norse poems is Aurgelmir (“Sand/Gravel Screamer”). According to the medieval Icelandic scholar Snorri Sturluson, Ymir was born when fire from Muspelheim and ice from Niflheim met in the abyss of Ginnungagap. Ymir was suckled by the cow Audhumla for his nourishment. When he slept, several other giants were conceived asexually in Ymir’s hermaphroditic body, and spontaneously sprang from his legs and the sweat from his armpits.

     The divine brothers then slew Ymir and fashioned the cosmos from his corpse. As one of the poems in the Poetic Edda, Grímnismál or “Song of the Hooded One,” words it:

From Ymir’s flesh the earth was created,
And from his sweat [or, in some versions, blood] the sea,
Mountains from bone,
Trees from hair,
And from his skull the sky.

And from his eyebrows the blithe gods made
Midgard, home of the sons of men
And from his brains
They sculpted the grim clouds.

     Thematically, Ymir is the personification of the chaos before creation, which is also depicted as the impersonal void of Ginnungagap. Both Ymir and Ginnungagap are ways of talking about limitless potential that isn’t actualized, that hasn’t yet become the particular things that we find in the world around us. This is why the Vikings described it as a void (as have countless other peoples; consider the “darkness upon the face of the deep” of the first chapter of Genesis, for example). It is no-thing-ness. But it nevertheless contains the basic stuff out of which the gods can make true things – in this case, the primal matter is Ymir’s body, which the gods tear apart to craft the elements. It’s extremely fitting for Ymir to be the progenitor of the giants, for this is the general role the giants occupy in Norse myth. They are the forces of formless chaos, who are always threatening to corrupt and ultimately overturn the gods’ created order (and at Ragnarok, they succeed). But the giants are more than just forces of destruction. Not only does Ymir fit this pattern; mythologically speaking, his death and dismemberment is the paradigmatic model for this pattern.


     This also explains why Ymir is depicted as a hermaphrodite who can reproduce on his own asexually. Differentiation, including sexual differentiation, didn’t exist yet. The gods had to create that as part of their task of giving differentiated forms to what had previously been formless and undifferentiated. Various other creation myths from other peoples have used a hermaphroditic being to illustrate this same concept, so we can be confident that this is also what the Norse meant here – despite the superficial counterexample of Audhumla and her udder. (After all, Norse mythology was never an airtight system.)

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