How Norse Gods Travelled: Chariots of Norse Gods
Chariots popped up many times in Norse mythology. We might link chariots with horses because in ancient times chariots were pulled by horses. But Norse saga was different, mixing the chariot with different animals pulling it. For example, goats pulled Thor's chariot, God Freyr traveled with boars, while goddess Freya had her chariot pulled by cats.
Thunder Chariot of Thor
Thunder chariot of Thor was pulled by two goats whose names were Tanngrisrnir and Tanngnjostr, meaning teeth grinder. Whenever the pair pulled his chariot through the sky, it would create the sounds like thunder. Thor was not allowed to drive his chariot through the Bifrost rainbow bridge because gods feared the chariot would ruin the bridge.
The goats pulled Thor's chariot presented his power and a great source of strength. The symbol of double goats quickly became the symbols of Thor and his presence. In this day and age, many people even ink their bodies with two goats of Thor.
Tanngrisrnir and Tanngnjostr also become an inspiration for Viking Jewelry design. Jewelry of Thor's goats presented Thor and his presence, turning a small piece of adornment into a Viking amulet.
Viking Goat Tattoo
Goats pulled Thor's chariot
Chariot of the Sun and the Moon
In Norse mythology, the Sun and the Moon didn't run themselves. There were two gods who rode a chariot carrying the Sun and the Moon through the sky. Pulling the chariots were Árvakr "early awake" and Alsviðr "very quick". They were horses that were supposed to gallop through the sky every day. Árvakr pulled the chariot of Sol guardian of the Sun soon every morning. Meanwhile, Alsviðr pulled the chariot of Mani god of the Moon. He ran very quick so that the Sun would not set the whole cosmos with fire.
Hati and Skoll chased the Sun and the Moon
When the Ragnarok Doom of Gods broke the sky, Árvakr and Alsviðr were caught by Wolf Fenrir's children, namely Hati and Skoll. (See more Wolves of Fenrir)
Chariot of Goddess Freya
This part must be the most interesting because the figures that pulled Freya's chariot were cats. The very thought of two cats pulled a big chariot and a lady just astonished me. Both male cats of Freya were described to be in dark color and were the gift from Thor. Well, cats were the symbols of femininity and fertility. So it is not so much surprising to associate cats with the goddess of fertility in Norse mythology.
Freya on her chariot pulled by two cats