Guide: How to Distinguish Gods and Goddesses in Norse Mythology
If you still find it hard to tell the difference between Norse gods, here is a basic guide to distinguish them. In Norse mythology, each god/goddess had personal traits that made up the values they embodied.
Odin the Allfather
King of Asgard, father of great gods, creator of humanity, etc. were all the names that Odin deserved. Odin was the Allfather in Norse mythology that ruled over Asgard and Valhalla the Hall of Fallen Warriors.
- One-eyed: In Norse mythology, a man with an eye was probably Odin, especially a man in cloak wandering around a corner. Mythology had it that Odin once traded his eye for wisdom in the Well of Mimir. The acquisition of knowledge came at the price of an eye.
- Eight-legged horse: A man on an eight-legged horse was Odin. Sleipnir was Odin's favourite horse that was grey and eight-legged.
- Spear: Prior to the battle, Odin would throw his spear toward the enemy screaming "Odin own you all". This was practiced by the Viking warriors later. Odin's spear was named "Gungnir" the Swaying One.
- Wolves: Odin had two constant companions named Geri and Freki. They were wolves with whom Odin shared his food.
- Ravens: Ravens were Odin's mind and thought. They were Huginn and Muninn. So, if a man with an eye dressing in a dark cloak riding on an eight-legged horse and two ravens flapping around, he was Odin.
Thor God of Thunder and Storm
Thor was a son of Odin and Jord the giant of the earth. He was regarded as the Everyman's God as Thor often offered humans with blessings and protection.
Thor fighting off Jormungandr his sworn enemy
- Hammer: Mjolnir was the name of Thor's hammer. Hardly did Thor go out without Mjolnir. With Mjolnir hammer, Thor defended his beloved.
- Goats: Laughable as it might be, Thor had a pair of goats pulled his chariot. If you happen to see a muscular man on a goat-pulled chariot crossing the sky, it is Thor God of Thunder and Storm.
Tyr God of Honor and Justice
In Norse mythology, Tyr was the god of honor and justice. He upheld the moral values that the Vikings followed.
- One hand: Tyr appeared as a man with one hand. Because in Norse mythology, Tyr once volunteered to put his hand between sharp-razor teeth of Fenrir. As a result, Fenrir bit off his hand.
Freyr God of Summer and Fertility
Freyr was a Vanir god and he was the Prince of Vanaheim land of the Vanir tribe.
- Antler: To win the hand of Gerd the giantess, Freyr had to give up his magical sword. For the loss of his sword, he had to use an antler to fight in the battle of Ragnarok.
- Boar: A golden boar was the symbol of Freyr in Norse mythology. It was a gift from Loki to Freyr.
Frigg Queen of Asgard
Frigg was the wife of Odin and the only Queen of Asgard (even if Odin had many wives). The son of Odin and Frigg, Baldur, was the only Prince of Asgard and he was the only one that was destined to rule the pantheon after Odin fell.
- Weaving: Frigg was the creator of clouds. If you see a picture of a beautiful woman weaving gently, it is Frigg.
Freya Goddess of War, Beauty, and Sex
Freya was the princess of Vanaheim the land of Vanir gods and also the twin sister of Freyr.
- Cats: Freya had a pair of cats pulled her chariot across.
Idunn God of Youth
- Basket of youth fruit: If you happen to see a gentle girl that carried along a basket of youth fruit, it is Idunn. In Norse mythology, Idunn kept the youth fruit that gave Norse gods the beauty and energy.
Bragi God of Music and Poem
- Harp: Bargi was the God of Music in Norse mythology. In the Hall of Fallen Warriors Valhalla, Bragi would entertain the warriors with his music on behalf of Odin.
Heimdall the Guardsman of Asgard
Heimdall was also a son of Odin in Norse mythology.
- Nine maidens: If you happen to see Nine maidens carrying a boy across the waves, it is Heimdall. This god was the son of Odin and nine sea maidens.
- Horn: The alarming sound of Asgard was the sound of Heimdall's horn. Heimdall had a horn and everytime something approached Asgard his home, he would blow the horn to tell his people.