Norse Pantheon

               AEGIR "Alebrewer." So called because Aegir loves to give feasts for the 
               gods. God of the sea. Saxon pirates gave to Aegir a tenth of their 
               captives, who were thrown into the sea.

               ANGRBODA The giantess who mated with Loki to create Hel, Fenrir and the 
               Midgard Serpent.

               BALDER A hero god, the god who dies and rises again. Fair skinned, fair 
               haired, wise and merciful, beloved of all. Loke tricked Hoder into 
               killing Balder, who had to be rescued from the underworld. According to 
               the epic poem VOLUSKA, Balder will come to rule again after Ragnarok.

               BRAGI God of poetry and eloquence, husband of Iduun. It is Bragi's duty 
               to prepare Valhalla for new arrivals.

               DONAR German god of thunder, forerunner of Thor. His symbol is the 
               swastika. Oak trees are sacred to Donar, as they are to Jove.

               FENRIR Also FENRIS WOLF A monstrous wolf conceived by Loki. Fenrir was 
               raised in Asgard, the home of the gods, until he became so immense and 
               feroucious that only the god Tyr was brave enough to feed him. Tyr bound 
               Fenrir until the day of Ragnarok, when Fenrir will break loose to slay 

               FORSETI God of justice, the great arbiter, the god who "stills all 
               strife." Forseti dwells in a hall of gold and silver called Giltnir.

               FREYR "The god of the world," son of Njord, husband of Freyja. God of 
               fertility, sunlight and rain, peace, joy and contentment. Freyr was 
               worshipped with human sacrifices and a kind of religious play in which 
               men dressed as women mimed and danced to the sound of chimes and bells. 
               Freyr had some association with the horse cult as well, and horses 
               sacred to his service were kpet near his shrines. Freyr and his 
               sister/wife FREYJA were of the Vanir, a family or race of gods which 
               originally competed with the Aesir and later became allies. The Vanir 
               may have been the gods of an earlier Scandinavian race who were adopted 
               into the pantheon of later conquerors.

               FREYJA Goddess of magic and death, goddess of sex, daughter of Njord, a 
               shape-shifter who often took the form of a falcon. When her husband Od 
               disappeared, Freyja wept golden tears. Donning a magical garment, Freyja 
               could fly long distances. Patroness of seithr, a practice in which a
               sorceress would enter a trance to foretell the future. The women who 
               practiced siethr, who were know as Volva, wandered freely about the 
               country casting spells and foretelling the future. Freyja's worshippers 
               involved orgiastic rites which horrified and outraged the Christians. 
               Half of all those slain in battle belonged to Freyja, the other half 
               belonging to Odin.

               FRIGG Wife of Odin, mother of Balder, queen of Asgard. A fertility

               HEIMDALL The god who guards the Bifrost Bridge which is the entrance to
               Asgard. Heimdall can see for immense distances, and his ear is so
               sensitive that he can hear the grass grow. On the day of Ragnarok,
               Heimdall will blow the great horn Gjallarhorn, and in the ensuing battle
               he will slay Loki.

               HEL Goddess of death. Daughter of Loki. Ruler of Niflheim, the land of
               mists. Heroic souls go to Valhalla. Those who die of disease or old age
               come to Niflheim. Surrounded by high walls and strong gates, Niflheim is
               impregnable; not even Balder could return from there without Hel's

               HERMOD A hero god. Hermod rode through the gates of Niflheim to rescue
               Balder and found Balder seated on the right hand of Hel. Hel agreed to
               release Balder on condition that all living things weep for him.

               HODER Little is known about Hoder, other than that he is blind. Loki
               tricked Hoder into killing Balder with a sprig of mistletoe. Hoder will
               join Balder in the new world which will come into being when the present
               one is destroyed.

               IDUNN Wife of Bragi, keeper of the golden apples of eternal youth. The
               giant Thiazzi kidnapped her with the aid of Loki.

               LOKI A trickster. Sly, deceitful, a master thief, not to be trusted.
               Nevertheless, Loki is charming, witty, quite capable, and possessed of a
               sardonic sense of humor which he aims at himself no less often than at
               others. A shape shifter who can change into almost any animal form. Loki
               was involved in many of the gods' adventures, usually because one of his
               tricks had made some kind of a mess.

               MIDGARD SERPENT The great snake which lies in the ocean and encircles
               the world, its tail in its mouth. On the day of Ragnarok, the world will
               disappear under the ocean's waters when the Midgard Serpent rises from 
               the sea. Thor will kill the Midgard Serpent but will be killed by the
               Serpent's poision.

               MIMIR The guardian of a spring of wisdom at the root of Yggdrasill, the
               world tree which connects the lower and higher worlds and is the source
               of all life. Odin gave an eye to drink from that spring.

               NERTHUS An earth mother worshipped by the German tribe of the Suebi. Her
               sacred grove stood on an island in the North Sea.

               NJORD The chief of the Vanir, who warred with the Aesir. Lord of the
               winds and of the sea, giver of wealth. Particularly revered on the west
               coast of Sweden. In pagan days, oaths in law courts were sworn in his
               name. Njord may be a masculine form of Nerthus       

               ODIN Also OTHINN; WODEN; WOTAN A god of strife and war, magic and death.
               The chief of the Aesir who lives in his hall Valaskjal in Sagard from
               which he can look out over all the worlds. In his hall Valhalla,
               valkyries (female war spirits) serve heros who have fallen in battle and
               will aid the god in the great battle of Ragnarok. On Odin's shoulders
               perch two ravens, Hugin ("Thought") and Munin ("Memory") who can fly
               about all the worlds to bring Odin knowledge. Odin often aids great
               heros but is quite fickle and can turn against a man for any reason or
               none. Tales of Odin's treachery are not merely Christian propaganda.
               Odin's worshippers themselves could be quite sharp-tongued about Odin's
               unfaithfulness. Odin's worship involved human sacrifices, who were
               generally hung from trees or gallows.

               RAGNAROK "Destruction of the powerful ones." The Twilight of the Gods.
               The time of fire and ice. The great battle at the end of time between
               the gods and the Frost Giants in which the world will be destroyed and
               made anew. Ragnarok will be preceded by three winters of bitter wars
               followed by the Fimbulvetr, a winter so cold that the usn will give no
               heat. Then the forces of evil will gather and make war on the gods.

               THOR God of thunder. Huge, red-bearded, red-eyed, powerful. His weapon
               is the magic hammer Mjollnir, which is augmented by a magic belt which
               doubles Thor's strength, and iron gloves with which Thor grips Mjollnir.
               In some ways Odin's rival, Thor is the god of law and order, the
               champion of the people. Unlike Odin, Thor will keep faith. Oaths were
               sworn in Thor's name, which no sane man would ever do with Odin. When
               Christianity came to Iceland, the other gods surrendered meekly, but
               Thor fought to the bitter end. The Hammer is Thor's sacred sign and is
               the most common image in Nordic art. The worship of Thor survived well
               into the Christian age; little silver hammers were often made in the
               smith's shop along with crosses and crucifixes.

               TIWAZ The one-handed sky god and war god of the early Germanic peoples.
               Tiwaz was worshipped with human sacrifices conducted in the deep forest.
               Tiwaz is god of law and justice, and oaths were sworn in his name. His
               functions were later taken over by Odin and Thor, though unlike Odin
               Tiwaz is completely without deceit and guile. Tiwaz is also known as
               Irmin, and his sacred pillar Irminsul symbollically held the universe

               TYR God of battle, the only god with the strength and courage to bind
               Fenris. Warriors marked their swords with a T to gain the god's
               protection. Tyr was originally was Tiwaz, retained in a later pantheon
               but overshadowed by Odin and Thor.

               WELAND Also VOLUNDR; WIELAND; WAYLAND God of smiths and metal workers.
               Son of the giant Wade. Weland has much in common with smith gods such as
               Govannon and Hephaistos, which comes as no surprise. Technology and
               metalworking spread slowly in the ancient world, usually on a person to
               person basis, and highly skilled metalsmiths and other technical workers
               formed a virtual international brotherhood similar to the Masons.