articles : norse mythology

The Æsir are generally associated with war, death and power they live in Asgard. Odin commands the Æsir while his wife Freya is his Vanir counterpart. The Vanir were originally a group of wild nature and fertility gods and goddesses. They were the sworn enemies of the Æsir, and were considered to be the bringers of youth, health, fertility, wealth and luck and were the masters of magic. The Vanir live in Vanaheim and their leader is Njord.

Odin (Woden, Wutan, Alfadir, Allfather, Othinn, Wotan, Wodan, Odínn) is the supreme Viking sky and wind deity. He is the father of gods and men and is hailed as 'Allfather' or 'Alfadir'. With Frigg he is the father of Balder, Hod and Hermod. With the goddess Jord he fathered Thor and with the giantess Grid became the father of Vidar. Odin is a god of war and death but he is also the god of poetry and wisdom. For nine days he hung on the world tree pierced with his own spear. There he learned nine powerful songs and eighteen runes. He can make the dead speak to question the wisest amongst them. His hall in Asgard is Valaskjalf (shelf of the slain) where his throne Hlidskjalf is located. From this throne he sees all that happens in the nine worlds. Odin's two ravens, Huginn and Muninn (memory) bring him news from the nine worlds. Odin also resides in Valhalla, where the slain warriors are taken.
Odin's attributes are the spear Gungnir, that never misses its target, the ring Draupnir from which every ninth night eight new rings appear and his eight-footed steed Sleipnir. He is accompanied by the wolves Freki and Geri to whom he gives his food for he consumes nothing but wine. Odin only has one eye which blazes like the sun. His other eye he traded for a drink from the Well of Wisdom and gained immense knowledge.

Loki often called the "Sly One", the "Trickster", the "Shape changer" or the "Sky traveler" is the malignant god of fire. He is the mischief-maker and trickster supreme amongst the gods and is regarded as one of the Æsir, but on occasion he is their enemy. Through his destructive children, Fenrir, Jormungand and Hel, he caused the most trouble and Odin knew that they would be triumphant at Ragnarök. He grows more unpleasant and is directly responsible for the death of Balder the god of light. Loki's mistress is the giantess Angrboda and with her he is the father of three monsters, Fenrir, Jormungand and Hel. His wife is Sigyn who stayed loyal to him even when the gods punished him for the death of Balder. He was chained to three large boulders; one under his shoulders, one under his knees and one under his loins. A poisonous snake was placed above his head. The dripping venom that lands on him is caught by Sigyn in a bowl, but when the bowl is full she has to leave to empty it. The poison then falls on Loki's face and makes him twist in pain, causing earthquakes. On the day of Ragnarök, Loki's chains will break and he will lead the giants into battle against the gods.

Freyr "Lord" is a Scandinavian water god and son of Njord. He has intimate connections with the sea, ships and sea voyages. Freyr is the twin brother of Freya and both are members of a divine group called the Vanir, which has origins and parallels in West Asia.

Freya or Frigg is the most important fertility and mother goddess of Scandinavia and is the equivalent of the great mother goddesses of the Mediterranean area such as Ishtar, Isis, Cybele and Demeter. She is the twin sister of Freyr and daughter of the sea god Njord. Freya is married to Odin and is credited with the gift of prophecy, sexual potency and childbirth. With Odin she shared sovereignty over death with the fallen heroes being divided between her and Odin.

The Fenrir or Fenris is a monstrous wolf said to be the son of Loki, that lived in Asgard but it's increasing size and ferocity terrified everyone. Odin then set the metal working dwarves to fashion him a chain made from intangible elements: fish's breath, a mountain's roots, the stealth of a moving cat, etc. No amount of strength or force could break this chain, although it appeared to be little more than a silken cord. The next problem was to get it onto the wolf. This feat was accomplished with the loss of only one hand that belonged to Tyr. At Ragnarök, Fenrir eats Odin before being killed by Vidar.

The Midgard Serpent (Jormungand) envelopes the world with the endless coils of the abyss of the oceans. At Ragnarök the malevolent serpent Midgardh floods the world with it's venom but dies in the flood it causes.

Nidhogg serpent (dread biter) lives at the foot of the Cosmic Tree, Yggdrasil, continually gnawing at the roots representing the evil powers of the universe.

articles : norse mythology : ragnarok

Ragnarök, Ragnarökr or Ragnarřkr (Doom of the Gods) also called Gotterdammerung means the end of the cosmos in Norse Mythology. Fimbulyetr will precede Ragnarök, the winter of winters where three such winters will follow each other with no summers in between. Conflicts and feuds will break out, even between families and all morality will disappear. The wolf Skoll (repulsion) will finally devour the sun and his brother Hati (hatred) will eat the moon, plunging the earth into darkness. The stars will vanish from the sky. The golden cock Gullinkambi will crow to the gods, the cock Fjalar will crow to the giants and a third cock will raise the dead. The earth will shudder with earthquakes and every bond and fetter will burst, freeing the terrible wolf Fenrir. The sea will rear up because the Midgard Serpent, Jormungand, is twisting and writhing in fury as he makes his way to land. With every breath Jormungand will stain the soil and the sky with his poison. The waves causes by his emerging will set free the ship Naglfar and with the giant Hymir as their commander, the giants will sail towards the battlefield. From the realm of the dead a second ship will set sail and this ship carries the inhabitants of hell with Loki as their helmsman. The fire giants, led by the giant Surt, will leave Muspell in the south to join against the gods. Surt, carrying a sword that blazes like the sun, will scorch the earth.

Heimdall will sound his horn calling the heroes and Odin’s sons to the battlefield. From all corners of the world, giants, gods, dwarves, demons and elves will go to the huge plain of Vigrid (battle shaker) where the final battle will be fought. Odin and Fenrir will battle and Thor will attack Jormungand. Thor although victorious against Jormungand, will be gradually killed by the serpent’s poison. Tyr will fight the hound Garm and they will kill each other. Loki and Heimdall will meet for the last time and neither will survive. Surt will seek out the sword less Freyr, who will quickly succumb to the giant. The fight between Odin and Fenrir will rage on for a long time, but Fenrir will finally capture Odin and swallow him whole. Odin’s son Vidar will leap towards to wolf and kill him with his bare hands by ripping the wolf’s jaws apart.

Surt will then fling fire into every direction and the nine worlds will burn, all will perish and the earth will sink into the sea.

After the annihilation, a new and peaceful world will arise from the sea and will be filled with unlimited supplies. Some of the gods will survive while others will be reborn. Evil and misery will no longer exist, gods and men will live together happily and the descendants of Lif and Lifthrasir will inhabit the earth.

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