Basic Guide To Norse Gods
Anyone who is new to mythology might find it hard to figure out the relationship between Norse gods. In this blog post, I will offer a basic guide including a few important things to remember Norse gods before anyone wants to dwell deeper in the myth.
There were two major god tribes in Norse myth
From the beginning, there were two god tribes that dominated the Norse cosmos. They were the Vanir and Aesir gods. To put it simply, we can view these two tribes as two kingdoms which were the most powerful in the Norse cosmos.
Each kingdom had the leader who we can regard him as a king, then a queen, sons, daughters, and his fellows.
Aesir gods included gods like Odin, Thor, Baldur, Frigg, Heimdall, etc. while the Vanir gods included Njord, Freya, Freyr. Njord fathered Freyr and Freya.
Odin the Allfather was the chief god of the Aesir gods
Aesir and Vanir gods once fought each other
Nobody knew exactly when the war happened, but probably it happened soon after the creation of the cosmos.
Freya wandered around the world to spread her magic. She took up a life of a wanderer disguising herself in a new appearance which made people fail to recognize her.
And her magic was so powerful that it came to the ears of Aesir gods. Then the Aesir gods asked Freya to come and teach them her magic. But the more they learnt and exposed to the magic of Freya, the more they revealed their shortcomings like selfishness, disobedience, greed, etc. This triggered off the wrath of Aesir gods and they blamed the magic of Freya something evil. They condemned Freya to the fire wanting to burn her to ash.
Three important Vanir gods - Freya goddess of war, Njord god of ocean, and Freyr god of summer and fertility
But three times they tried to burn Freya, three times she stepped out from ash, safe and sound.
When this news reached Vanir gods, the Vanir chief god, Njord, declared war on the Aesir. And there came the war of gods.
The war only came into a stop when the gods made a peace treaty. First, they exchanged hostage but this quickly failed. The second time, they created a being who was the most benevolent creature in the world, Kvasir.
Each god tribe lived in a different land but nobody knew about the Vanaheim
The land of the Aesir was Asgard which I bet is quite famous in modern time. And the Vanir gods dominated Vanaheim.
In Norse mythology, Asgard was described to be on the top branches of the Yggdrasil Tree of Life. Many assume Asgard as the heaven in the first place, but from my viewpoint, Asgard was not heaven as there was no concept of heaven in the Pre-Christian community. Yet, there was no mention of the exact location of Vanaheim.
This was probably because Norse mythology revolved much around the Aesir. And even after the war of gods, all of the important gods from the Vanir tribe came to live in Asgard.
In general, below are some things basic about the Norse gods to remember before you want to dwell deeper into Norse mythology.
- There were two god tribes in Norse myth: Aesir and Vanir
- Aesir lived in Asgard, Vanir lived in Vanaheim
- Aesir and Vanir once fought against each other in wars
- Norse mythology revolved around Aesir gods.