How Powerful Were The Women in Norse Mythology?
Norse male figures like Odin, Thor, Loki, or Njord were super powerful. And so were the Norse female figures. In this blog post, we would discuss how powerful were the women in Norse mythology.
In Norse mythology, there were three powerful Norns who dwelled at the well of Mimir. Norns were the names for three seeresses in Norse mythology.
Some definitions say that the Norns were the female beings who created and altered the course of fate in Norse mythology. Their names were Urðr (Wyrd), Verðandi and Skuld. Three of them respectively meant "The Past", "What Is Now Happening", and "What Is Incoming".
The norns were the creators of fate for all beings in the Nine Worlds
Why the Norns were powerful? First, they were the ones who were responsible for watering the roots of Yggdrasil the Great Tree of Life which held the Nine Worlds within its branches supporting the cosmos and supporting all kinds of livings. Second, they were probably the first to understand Runes the magical wheel of the universe, even before Odin the Allfather. Many believe that Odin was the ones that introduced runes to the cosmos. It was true but only after the Norns had carved the runes on the branches of Yggdrasil. Finally, even Odin the Allfather who ruled over Asgard the land of gods couldn't intervene into what the Norns had already created for the Norse Pantheon. To sum up, the Norns held the fate of all beings of the cosmos in their hands.
Hel was the only daughter of Loki the Trickster and she was the Queen of Helheim the land of the Dead. So if we consider each realm in the Nine Worlds equal, Hel and Odin were equals.
When Ragnarok was looming large, Jormungandr poisoning the sky with its terrible breath, and Fenrir's howling deadening all creatures, Hel ordered her army to join her father, Loki. In the Naglfar the Ship made from nails, the deceased in Helheim were carried to the battlefield smashing the Bifrost bridge and the gate of Asgard.
Hel the Queen of the Dead
Another point that convinces us of Hel's power was in the Death of Baldur. When Baldur was intentionally murdered by Loki, Baldur was carried to the land of the dead to live with Hel. Hermod was the only one who volunteered to travel to Hel to carry the words of Odin asking Hel to release Baldur. But even those were the words of Odin, Hel never let go of Baldur. She could have released Baldur as the wish of Odin. But she didn't do it. Deep inside each child of Loki was their hatred towards the gods because of their mistreatment.
The only female character in Norse mythology who could share the fallen warriors with Odin was Freya. Norse mythology had it that Freya was the goddess of war, love, sex, and fertility. She was the daughter of Njord the Seafaring god (also the chief god of Vanaheim).
Freya was also among the few figures in Norse myth that practised seidr the magic of knowing and changing the course of fate for each being in the cosmos.
Freya Goddess of War, Sex, Beauty and Princess of Vanaheim
Freya was also believed to be the reason why the war between two god tribes happened. When Freya shapeshifted herself into a wanderer, she became famous for the magic of seidr. Aesir gods commissioned Freya to come and practise this kind of magic for them. But very soon after, shortcomings of the gods started to reveal, they were not always loyal, obedient, and kind. Then the gods blamed the witch for what she had done and they decided to burn the witch. But three times they attempted to kill Freya, three times she came out from the burning ash. As the Vanir learnt of this, they waged war against the Aesir. And there came the war of gods.
Idunn was the guardian of youth fruits in Asgard. And she was the daughter-in-law of Odin the Allfather. Her husband was Bragi the god of music, poem, and eloquence.
The reason why Idunn was in the list was because of her youth fruits. She was the only one in Asgard that possessed the fruits that kept the beauty and strength of the gods. Without her, old age would approach depriving the gods of their beauty and strength. This was vividly supported by the story of Idunn's kidnap.
On one occasion, Idunn was kidnapped by the frost giant, Thjazi who was helped by Loki the Trickster. When Idunn was away from Asgard, the Aesir gods started to age. Their skin started to get more wrinkles and their excellent beauty started to fade away. It was because of Idunn's absence that caused this trouble for the gods.