The Norse Pantheon

The Norse Pantheon - The Norse Pantheon: (The Norse...

Info iconThis preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

Unformatted text preview: The Norse Pantheon: (The Norse Pantheon) Major Gods, Goddesses, and the Afterlife of the West's Viking Empire FYI: Not that you didn't already guess, but it appears that I am a god... Just for Fun: Modi was the god of battle wrath. His worshippers were the archetypal berserks, some relying on drugs of various kinds to enhance their wrath and stifle fear. The berserks would go so insane that they would attack rocks, trees, and bite their own shields in the absence of enemies. Whereas a god like Posiedon has his domain listed as "the sea", Modi's domain is simply listed as "rage". Pezzulo? The collective name for the principal race of Norse gods; they who lived in Asgard, and with the All-Father Odin, ruled the lives of mortal men. The Aesir gods included: (god of beauty) Bragi (god of eloquence) Forseti (god of mediation) Freyr (god of fertility) Heimdall (guardian of the bridge) Hod (the blind god) Loki (god of fire and ally of the frost giants) Njord (the sea god) Thor (god of thunder) Tyr (god of war) Vili & Ve (brothers to Odin) Vidar (Odin's son) The goddesses included: Freya (the fertility goddess) Balder Frigg (Odin's wife) Sif (Thor's wife) Idun (keeper of the apples of youth). Aesir might be derived from the old-Teutonic word Ase, the common word for "god". Loki Valhalla & Helheim Odin Thor The Valkyries Ragnarok Doom of the Gods Fenrir The Terrible Wolf The World Tree Tyr God of War Thor: God of Thunder Thor: God of Thunder Thor is the Norse god of thunder. He is a son of Odin and Jord, and one of the most powerful gods. He is married to Sif, a fertility goddess. His mistress is the giantess Jarnsaxa ("iron cutlass"), and their sons are Magni & Modi; his daughter is Thrud. Thor is helped by Thialfi, his servant and the messenger of the gods. Thor was usually portrayed as a large, powerful man with a red beard and eyes of lightning. Despite his ferocious appearance, he was very popular as the protector of both gods and humans against the forces of evil. He even surpassed his father Odin in popularity because, contrary to Odin, he did not require human sacrifices. In his temple at Uppsala he was shown standing with Odin at his right side. This temple was replaced by a Christian church in 1080. The Norse believed that during a thunderstorm, Thor rode through the heavens on his chariot pulled by goats. Yes...flying goats...and they had names, too. Lightning flashed whenever he threw his hammer Mjollnir. Thor wears the belt Megingjard which doubles his already considerable strength. His hall is Bilskirnir, which is located in the region Thrudheim ("place of might"). His greatest enemy is Jormungand, the Midgard Serpent. At the day of Ragnarok, Thor will kill this serpent but will die from its poison. His sons will inherit his hammer after his death. The Romans see in him their god Jupiter. Thursday is named after him. Loki Magic : God of Fire and Loki: God of Fire and Magic Loki is one of the major deities in the Norse pantheon. He is a son of the giant Farbauti ("cruel striker") & the giantess Laufey. He is regarded as one of Aesir, but is on occasion their enemy. He is connected with fire and magic, and can assume many different shapes (horse, falcon, fly). He is crafty and malicious, but is also heroic: in that aspect he can be compared with the trickster from North American myths. Loki is an ambivalent god grows progressively more unpleasant, and is directly responsible for the death of Balder, the god of light. Loki's mistress is the giantess Angrboda, and with her, he is the father of three monsters. His wife is Sigyn, who stayed loyal to him, even when the gods punished him for the death of Balder. He was chained to three large boulders; one under his shoulders, one under his loins and one under his knees. A poisonous snake was placed above his head. The dripping venom that lands on him is caught by Sigyn in a bowl. But every now and then, when the bowl is filled to the brim, she has to leave him to empty it. Then the poison that falls on Loki's face makes him twist in pain, causing earthquakes. On the day of Ragnarok, Loki's chains will break and he will lead the giants into battle against the gods. Loki is often called the Sly One, the Trickster, the Shape Changer, and the Sky Traveler. Odin : Father of the Gods Odin The Father of the Gods : The chief divinity of the Norse pantheon. Odin is a son of Bor & Bestla. He is called Alfadir (Allfather): he is father of the gods. He fathered Thor with the goddess Jord; & giantess Grid became the mother of Vidar. Odin is a god of war and death, but also the god of poetry and wisdom. He hung for nine days, pierced by his own spear, on the world tree. Here he learned nine powerful songs, and eighteen runes. Odin can make the dead speak so he can question the wisest amongst them. His hall in Asgard is Valaskjalf ("shelf of the slain") where his throne Hlidskjalf is located. From this throne he observes all that happens in the nine worlds. He also resides in Valhalla, where the slain warriors are taken. Odin's attributes are the spear Gungnir, which never misses its target, the ring Draupnir, from which every ninth night eight new rings appear, and his eight-footed steed Sleipnir. He is accompanied by the wolves Freki and Geri, to whom he gives his food for he himself consumes nothing but wine. Odin has only one eye, which blazes like the sun. His other eye he traded for a drink from the Well of Wisdom. He gained immense knowledge. On the day of the final battle, Odin will be killed by the wolf Fenrir. He is also called Othinn, Wodan and Wotan. Wednesday is named after him (Wodan). The World Tree The Original Tree of Life : The World Tree is a motif present in several religions and mythologies, particularly IndoEuropean religions. The world tree is represented as a colossal tree which supports the heavens, thereby connecting the heavens, the earth, and, through its roots, the underground. It may also be strongly connected to the motif of the tree of life The World Tree is called Yggdrasill in Norse Mythology. Yggdrasil ("The Terrible One's Horse"), also called the World Tree, is the giant ash tree that links and shelters all the worlds. Beneath the three roots the realms of Asgard, Jotunheim, and Niflheim are located. Three wells lie at its base: the Well of Wisdom (Mmisbrunnr), guarded by Mimir; the Well of Fate (Urdarbrunnr), guarded by the Norns; and the Hvergelmir (Roaring Kettle), the source of many rivers. Four deer run across the branches of the tree and eat the buds; they represent the four winds. There are other inhabitants of the tree, such as the squirrel Ratatosk ("swift teeth"), a notorious gossip, and Vidofnir ("tree snake"), the golden rooster that perches on the topmost bough. The roots are gnawed upon by Nidhogg and other serpents. Nidhogg ("tearer of corpses") is a monstrous serpent that gnaws almost perpetually at the deepest root of the World Tree Yggdrasil, threatening to destroy it. The serpent is always bickering with the eagle that houses in the top of the tree. Nidhogg eats corpses to sustain itself. On the day of Ragnarok, the fire giant Surt will set the tree on fire. Other names for the tree include: Ask Yggdrasil, Hoddmimir's Wood, Laerad and Odin's Horse. Tyr The One-Handed & Original God of War : Tyr The One-Handed & Original God of War : The original Germanic god of war and the patron god of justice. The precursor of Odin. At the time of the Vikings, Tyr had to make way for Odin, who became the god of war himself. Tyr was by then regarded as Odin's son. He is the boldest of the gods, who inspires courage and heroism in battle. Tyr is represented as a man with one hand, because his right hand was bitten off by the gigantic wolf Fenrir (in old-Norse, the wrist was called 'wolf-joint'). His attribute is a spear; the symbol of justice, as well as a weapon. At the day of Ragnarok, Tyr will kill the hound Garm, the guardian of the hell, but will die from the wounds inflicted by the animal. In later mythology, "Tyr" became to mean "god". He is also known as Twaz, Tiw and Ziu. Fenrir The Terrible Wolf : Fenrir The Terrible Wolf : Fenrir The Terrible : Wolf (or Fenris) Fenrir is a gigantic & terrible monster in the shape of a wolf. He is Fenrir Greyback's namesake from the Harry Potter series. He is the eldest child of Loki and the giantess Angrboda. The gods learned of a prophecy which stated that the wolf and his family would one day be responsible for the destruction of the world. They caught the wolf and locked him in a cage. Only the god of war, Tyr, dared to feed and take care of the wolf. The Tale of Fenrir's Chaining, the Thin Ribbon, and Tyr's Hand: Gleipnir: the footstep of a cat; the roots of a mountain; a woman's beard; the breath of fishes; the sinews of a bear; and a bird's spittle. Being very pleased with themselves, the gods carried Fenrir off and chained him to a rock (called Gioll) a mile down into the earth. They put a sword between his jaws to prevent him from biting. On the day of Ragnarok, Fenrir will break his chains and join the giants in their battle against the gods. He will seek out Odin and devour him. Vidar, Odin's son, will avenge his father by killing the wolf. Ragnarok ("Doom of the Gods"), also called Gotterdammerung, means the end of the cosmos in Norse mythology. mythology It will be preceded by Fimbulvetr, the winter of winters. Three such winters will follow each other with no summers in between. Conflicts and feuds will break out, even between families, and all morality will disappear. The wolf Skoll will finally devour the sun, and his brother Hati will eat the moon, plunging the earth into darkness. The stars will vanish from the sky. The rooster Fjalar will crow to the giants and the golden rooster Gullinkambi will crow to the gods. A third rooster will raise the dead. The earth will shudder with earthquakes, and every bond and fetter will burst, freeing the terrible wolf Fenrir. The sea will rear up because Jormungand, the Midgard Serpent, is twisting and writhing in fury as he makes his way toward the land. With every breath, Jormungand will stain the soil and the sky with his poison. The waves caused by the serpent's emerging will set free the ship Naglfar, and with the giant Hymir as their commander, the giants will sail towards the battlefield. From the realm of the dead a second ship will set sail, and this ship carries the inhabitants of hell, with Loki as their helmsman. The fire giants, led by the giant Surt, will leave Muspell in the south to join against the gods. Surt, carrying a sword that blazes like the sun itself, will scorch the earth. Meanwhile, Heimdall will sound his horn, calling the sons of Odin and the heroes to the battlefield. From all the corners of the world, gods, giants, dwarves, demons and elves will ride towards the huge plain of Vigrid ("battle shaker") where the last battle will be fought. Ragnarok: Doom of the Gods Odin will engage Fenrir in battle, and Thor will attack Jormungand. Thor will victorious, but the serpent's poison will gradually kill the god of thunder. Surt will seek out the swordless Freyr, who will quickly succumb to the giant. The onehanded Tyr will fight the monstrous hound Garm and they will kill each other. Loki and Heimdall, age-old enemies, will meet for a final time, and neither will survive their encounter. The fight between Odin and Fenrir will rage for a long time, but finally Fenrir will seize Odin and swallow him. Odin's son Vidar will at once leap towards the wolf and kill him with his bare hands, ripping the wolf's jaws apart. Then Surt will fling fire in every direction. The nine worlds will burn, and friends and foes alike will perish. The earth will sink into the sea. After the destruction, a new and idyllic world will arise from the sea and will be filled with abundant supplies. Some of the gods will survive, others will be reborn. Wickedness and misery will no longer exist and gods and men will live happily together. The descendants of Lif and Lifthrasir will inhabit this earth. The strangest thing about Ragnark was that the gods already knew what was going to happen through the prophecy: who will be killed and by whom, who would survive, what happens to those in the other world. Despite knowing their fates, the gods will still defiantly face their destiny, as brave as any hero in a saga. The Norse gods knew what was to come, and knew they could not do anything to prevent the prophecy coming to pass. Valhalla The Hall of the Slain : Valhalla The Hall of the Slain : Valhalla, Hall of the Slain, in Norse mythology is the hall presided over by Odin. This vast hall has five hundred and forty doors. The rafters are spears, the hall is roofed with shields and breast-plates litter the benches. A wolf guards the western door and an eagle hovers over it. It is here that the Valkyries, Odin's messengers and spirits of war, bring half of the heroes that died on the battle fields (the rest go to Freya's hall Folkvang). These heroes, the Einherjar, are prepared in Valhalla for the oncoming battle of Ragnarok. When the battle commences, eight hundred warriors will march shoulder to shoulder out of each door. Helheim The House of Hel : Helheim The House of Hel : Helheim ("House of Hel") is one of the nine worlds of Norse mythology. It is ruled by Hel, the monstrous daughter of the trickster god Loki and his mistress Angrboda. This cold, dark and misty abode of the dead is located in the world of Niflheim, on the lowest level of the Norse universe. No one can ever leave this place, because of the impassable river Gjoll that flows from the spring Hvergelmir and encircles Helheim. Once they enter Helheim, not even the gods can leave. Those who die of old age or disease, and those not killed in battle, go to Helheim while those who die bravely on the battlefield go to Valhalla. The entrance to Helheim is guarded by Garm, a monstrous hound. The giant Hraesvelg ("corpse eater") sits at the edge of the world, overlooking Helheim, in the form of an eagle with flapping wings, he makes the wind blow. Garm The Original "Hel-Hound" : The monstrous hound Garm guards the entrance to Helheim, the Norse realm of the dead. It has four eyes and a chest drenched with blood, and lives in Gnipa-cave. Anyone who had given bread to the poor could appease him with Hel cake. On the day of Ragnarok, Garm will join the giants in their fight against the gods. Garm is often equated with the wolf Fenrir. It can also be compared with Cerberus, the Greek guardian of the underworld. Valkyries: The Choosers of the Slain The Valkyries ("Choosers of the Slain") are beautiful young women, mounted upon winged horses and armed with helmets and spears. Odin needs many brave warriors for the oncoming battle of Ragnarok, and the Valkyries scout the battlefields to choose the bravest of those who have been slain. They escort these heroes to Valhalla They are also Odin's messengers and when they ride forth on their errands, their armor causes the strange flickering light that is called "Aurora Borealis" (Northern Lights). ...
View Full Document

Ask a homework question - tutors are online