Chapter 8.1: What Animals Did Norse Gods Have and Why Them?

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Chapter 8.1: What Animals Did Norse Gods Have and Why Them?

Did Norse gods fly? The answer remains to be seen. But one thing we know for sure is that Norse gods owned types of animals that could carry them around the Nine Worlds. So what types of animals did Norse gods have and why they chose them instead of others?


Chances are that you have caught sight of Odin the Allfather in Norse myth riding his horse wandering around the Nine Worlds. 

Odin the Allfather owned a horse. But Odin's horse was no ordinary horse. His name was Sleipnir which meant "The Sliding One". By the name of the horse, we can see how fast Odin's horse could run. Legend had it that no horse in the cosmos could run as fast as Sleipnir. He ran through the land, galloped through the wind, and travelled across the ocean. 

Sleipnir horse of Odin in Norse mythology

Sleipnir the Horse of Odin in Norse mythology

Sleipnir was the son of Loki the trickster. But Loki was the mother and another stallion fathered Sleipnir. Their love affair happened within a night resulting in the birth of the eight-legged horse. Then the Norse trickster, Loki, gave Sleipnir to Odin as the gift to the Allfather. 

But why Odin chose Sleipnir? In other words, why Norse mythology gave Odin a horse as his steed?

From Ordinariness to Greatness

Common as the horse might be because in the past horses were the main animals carrying people. But it seemed that a horse was the most likely animals that leader would ride. Consequently, horse became a symbol of war and a war-band leader.

In Norse mythology, Odin often had for himself the most common things as his constant companions.

But such common things became great after all. Gungnir spear was the golden example for this. A leader might not be so special that he separated himself from the crowd. Rather, he should be an ordinary person, so ordinary in the crowd but when he led, he would never disappoint his people. It was when the ordinariness stood out. It was among the reasons why Odin rode a horse. 

Burning desire and passion

Horse was the symbol of strong desire and passion. This aspect was vividly reflected through tales of Odin. In the myth, the most burning desire of Odin was to learn everything in the world. He could make a fair trade between the things he had and the things he wanted to have. Odin traded one eye to gain knowledge which confused people. But when we get to know Odin was passionate about learning, everything made sense. 

Moreover, a horse symbolised the desire to balance the wildness and the tame inside one person. 


Freyr was the Vanir god from Vanaheim. He was the son of Vanir chief god. By the time when the war of gods came to an end, Freyr and his family came to Asgard land of Aesir gods to live. If the Aesir were associated with the power from the weapons, the Vanir were more associated with the natural power. 

Freyr himself was the god of summer and fertility. Choosing for himself a boar was the most suitable idea from my point of view. 


Of course, there was a reason why "boar" often came after the prefix "wild". They ran in the jungle, romping and playing. Freyr was the son of the Vanir chief god and the Vanir tribe was associated with the wildest and natural source of power. It made sense that Freyr had for himself a wild boar. 

Gullinbursti the Boar in Norse mythology belonged to Freyr god of fertility

Gullinbursti the Boar in Norse mythology. The boar belonged to Freyr god of Fertility in Norse mythology


The meaning of wild boar symbol is most awesome when it comes to defence. In Norse mythology and generally other belief, boar became the symbol of war, warriors, and courage. 

Freyr was the prince of Vanaheim, he was supposed to protect his homeland. Though he failed, he did his best. He joined the battle and fought bravely even though he had a boar later. 

He was the symbol of protection and fertility as well. 

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