Mighty Women from Norse Mythology

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Mighty Women from Norse Mythology

The Viking society respected the women so much that the Viking women had some fundamental rights. Compared with other European women's lives at the same time, Viking women's lives were much more civilised. So there is no need surprising Viking sagas or Norse mythology had many mighty women. Here is the list of Mighty Norse Women.

1. Hel the Queen of Death Realm

Coming at the first place must be Hel the ruler of Helheim land of the dead. Hel was not a goddess like many modern materials mentioned. Because Hel was a pure giantess in the blood as she was the daughter of the giantess Angrboda and Loki who was also a child of a giant couple. Being the queen of the dead, Hel filled people with fear and terror. It was said that anyone coming to the land of Helheim would feel no more happiness. 

Image of Hel queen of death

Fenrir Wolf, Hel, and Jormungand Midgard Serpent - Loki's children

The death of Baldur was a strong proof that Hel was the mightiest woman in Norse mythology. When Baldur the son of Odin passed away, he was destined to Helheim and stayed with Helheim. Odin the supreme chief Aesir god could not retrieve his son from Hel back no matter what effort was spared. It was not until Ragnarok Doom of Gods had come to pass that Baldur came back to life. 

2. Urdr, Verdandi, and Skuld

In Norse mythology, there were three wise beings whose names were Urdr (Past), Verdandi (Present), and Skuld (Future). Norse myth regarded this trio as the Norns with a huge of might and powerful in wisdom. Indeed, they were. The Norns were responsible for weaving the destinies of all beings in the cosmos.

Image of Norns Viking fate

The Norns wove fates of all creatures

The trio also bore the responsibility for taking care of the Yggdrasil Tree of Life whose roots reached Nine Worlds in the cosmos. As the dawn broke, the Norns would water the roots of Yggdrasil with the water from Well of Urdr. The Norns might not join the battles to smash someone's skull but one thing for sure no Norse creatures could escape the fate that Norns gave them. 

3. Freya Goddess of War

There were two god tribes: the Aesir and the Vanir. While gods like Odin, Thor, Baldur, etc. came from Aesir branch, Freya, Freyr, Njord came from the Vanir god tribe. Freya was the daughter of Vanir chief god Njord and the twin sibling with Freyr god of sunshine and summer. 

Image of Freya goddess of war norse myth

Freya and Odin shared the fallen warriors who would travel to Asgard when they died honorably in battles. The hall of Odin was known as Valhalla while that of Freya was Folkvang. Because of this, Freya became the goddess of war. 

4. Elli Who Defeated Thor 

Thor was one of the most powerful gods in Norse mythology. But there was the time he was defeated by an old lady. 

One day, Thor and his friends visited the land of the giant. The giant set out challenges for all the guests. In the third challenge of Thor, he announced he would do wrestling with anyone in the room. An old woman appeared and began the fight. No matter how hard Thor tried to lift the old woman, he failed. Elli even drove Thor back and made him kneel down. 

Image of Elli who defeated Thor Norse mythology

Thor and Elli wrestled

Later, scholars realized that Elli was the personification of Old Age. The story points out that no one could ever win time and old age. That's why when Idun the guardian of youth apples was kidnapped, gods were afraid so much that they swore to retrieve Idun back no matter what. (See more The Kidnapping of Idun)


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