what is norse mythology all about

If you have a particular interest in all things Norse mythology, then you’ve come to the right place. Here, we are going to look at when the Norse mythology started and who the gods and the goddesses. To finish off, we are going to explore that Norse mythology talks about when it comes to the end of the world.

How did Norse mythology start?

Norse mythology comprises myths from the North Germanic population. Norse refers to the medieval North Germanic ethnolinguistic group, and the mythology has its beginnings in Norse paganism, but it transitioned over the centuries. It lasted around even when the Scandinavia countries got Christianized. The compilation of the mythology characters is thought to have begun in 9th century AD. Before the medieval texts got written between the 11th to 18th centuries, the myths were passed on from generation to generation in poem form.

These include Sweden, Iceland, Denmark, Norway and the Faroe Islands, and their mythology and also folklore does have some influences from as far away as England. The impact is notable as there are some similarities in Anglo-Saxon mythology too. It was Poetic Edda that dedicated his time to write about Germanic deities and other heroes.

The mythology itself comprises of gods, begins, heroes, and even foes and how they interacted with each other, the average population, and other worlds. There are plenty of manuscripts that remain from this era, along with archeological evidence that points to the tales stemming back before the pagan period. A simple way of looking at it is that the mythology from this time is a culmination of stories told over the centuries.

Some of the characters known and are quite popular include Odin and Thor, who have gotten mentioned plenty in the ancient texts. What you’ll find with these mythologies is that there are those with a deity status, and the narratives have to do with how they tule. Their gods are not all men; women feature as well, such as Sif and Hel. Together, they would have children, and from their interactions with one another, it is very much what we see today on the earth but with special powers.

Who are the Norse gods and goddesses?

Let’s look at a list of some of the gods and goddesses in Norse mythology.

Odin: The greatest among the Norse gods was Odin, and he was referred to as the Allfather of the Aesir. Odin was the ruler over Asgard, and he is associated with different things, including battle, death, healing, wisdom, royalty, poetry, sorcery, and also the runic alphabet. He is known to have had two ravens, two wolves, and Valkyries of which he took with him on his quest for knowledge. Odin is said to have sacrificed his eye so that he could see the cosmos and was able to unlock the many mysteries the universe had to offer.

Frigg: This was Odin’s wife, and she was the goddess of love, beauty, fertility, and fate. She is known to have had the gift of divination, but her ways were mostly a secret. Frigg had her rightful place next to her husband, being the only goddess allowed to sit with him. She also made the elements, weapons, beasts, and poisons make an oath not to harm her son, Balder.

Baldr: The child of Odin and Frigg was said to have been what it meant to have beauty, fairness, kindness, and radiance. Baldr was thought to be immortal, but it was a mistletoe that contained both his life and death that killed him. Before, he was said to have lived between heaven and earth. Baldr was the god of joy, purity, light, and the summer sun.

Thor: Also called the god of thunder and lightning, Thor is a God that wields a harmer called Mjöllnir and does not tire from protecting humanity. Of all the Norse gods, Thor stands out as being the strongest, and bravest, and also had healing powers. He is said to have been righteous, giving him an edge to make the right calls for humanity. Thor’s parents were Odin and Jörð, who was the personification of the earth, according to Norse mythology.

Loki: some sources state that Loki’s parents were Fárbauti and Laufey, and he was termed as the god of mischief. One characteristic that he has was his ability to shape-shift and even take animal forms. He was responsible for Baldr’s death, having found out that the mistletoe is the only thing that can kill him. He didn’t do the bidding himself; he tricked a blind god into throwing the parasitic plant at Baldr.

Heimdall: This was the watchman of the gods, but also had the whitest skin among all the gods. Heimdall was shining and considered as the Father of Humankind in Norse mythology because he aided coming with the hierarchical structures of the society. His post was at the entry to Asgard, where he guarded the rainbow bridge, Bifrost. He was son to Odin, having been born from one of the nine sisters that Odin had. Her name was Aegir, the sea god.

Ymir: Here, we have the ancestors of giant, and he is known to be the ancestor to all mythical entities that include giants and other creatures. It is said that he got created, having been formed from both ice from Niflheim (one of the nine worlds and home to primordial darkness, mist, cold, and ice) and the heat of Muspelheim (hot land glowing with fire, where giants reside. Ymir had the ability to birth male, female, and also mythical creatures. He did in the hands of his three brothers, leaving Odin and the other gods to create the entire earth.

Vidar: This god is considered to be the “silent” god of vengeance. Vidar is one of Odin’s sons, and in the Poetic Edda, he kills Fenrir, the monstrous wolf in Ragnarök that was responsible for killing his father. He was one of the few gods to remain after the end-time war. As per the mythology, he was as strong has his brother Thor.

Hel: The ruler of the Underworld was Hel, residing in a place with a similar name. In the existing depiction of her, he is said to be half fair and half black. Those who died of sickness and old age would be sent to Hel she was the ruler of this Helheim. Her father was Loki and the mother giant Angrboda, but it was Odin who placed her in Hel.

Tyr: The last god we’ll look at is Tyr, the god of war. He is considered to be the bravest Norse god there was. It is unclear who his father was, some saying that the giant Hymir was sired him. In another context, it implies that his father was Odin. Tyr is one of the oldest ancient gods of the Germanic people, while it is believed that Odin took over as being the most noteworthy.

Norse mythology end of the world

The end of the world, as per Norse mythology was called Ragnarök, which means “fate of the gods.” There were two warring parties, the gods led by Odin, and the fire giants and other monsters, with Loki and Surtr being in charge. It is during Ragnarök that most of the gods die, and a large part of the universe gets destroyed. What you will note is that the gods would kill each other during the battle, dealing fatal blows to their foe before having the favor returned in kind.

After most of the universe gets destroyed, the old and wrong die with it as it is submerged in a great flood. From the water rises a new world where things are good. In essence, evil has gotten defeated, and the world goes through a rebirth. Not a lot of gods survive, and it is not clear who lived on. However, those who die include Odin, Loki, Try, Vidar, Fenrir, and Thor.

The events that unfolded in Ragnarök changed the way Vikings viewed the world. It was not only the gods that fell; the world was a terrible shape that family would rise up against each other as they try to survive the events that unfolded. It was a time where there were moral decay and any rules that were there abandoned as the events unfolded. However, the world would be rebirthed, giving rise to a new order.

Wrap up

Norse mythology shaped how the Germanic people viewed the world. Even with the coming of Christianity, people still held on to the beliefs of what the world was back then. It was a way for them to understand the world and know how to interact with it. Thankfully, these stories have remained for generations, and are available for those who want to know their Scandinavian heritage.

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