Ragnarok is a series of events that will bring about the death of major figures of the Norse pantheon. The gods, Odin, Thor, Freyr, Heimdallr and Loki will all die in a great Battle. One of the first indicators of Ragnarok is the death of Balder, most beloved of the gods and the son of Odin and Frigg. The gods are not the only beings who will suffer during Ragnarok. It is foretold that mankind will be locked in battle for three years, that families will turn on and abandon each other. There will be various natural disasters which will result in the world being submerged in water.

Afterwards the world will resurface fertile and new, the surviving Gods will meet and two humans will repopulate the world. The most important factor to remember about Ragnarok is that it is cyclical, it starts with destruction and begins with a new world – it does not signify an end but rather a beginning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

Crossley-Holland, K. 2011.  The Penguin book of Norse Myth: Gods of the Vikings. Penguin Books.

Image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ragnar%C3%B6k

 

Gods and men were not the only creatures who existed for the Norsemen.

Giants – An enemy of the Aesir, they live in Jotunheim.

The Light Elves – who live on Alfheim, are beautiful beings.

The Dwarves – are craftspeople. They are generally blacksmiths.

Jormungand – also known as the Midgard Serpent.  Son of Loki and the giantess Angrboða. His body forms a circle around the entirety of Midgard

Nidhogg – dragon who lives beneath Yggdrasil and eats its roots.

Fenrir – Son of Loki. Wolf who brings about Ragnarok.

Dark Elves – who live in Svartalfheim.

Sleipnir – 8 legged horse. Son of Loki, Odin’s steed.

References:

norse-mythology.org

Image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fenrir

There are two families of Gods, the Aesir and the Vanir.

The Aesir are warrior Gods. They reside in Asgard. The principal gods are Odin, Tyr, Thor and Baldur.

The Vanir are fertility gods, usually associated with agriculture, peace and abundance as well as wisdom and the ability to see the future. They make their home in Vanaheim. The principal gods are Njord, Freyr and Freya.

The War of the Aesir and the Vanir:

The war between the Aesir and Vanir is an important one as it resulted in the two families of gods unifying.

The catalyst for this war is not known, it is however the result of the war that is important. After a long battle both sides grew weary and began to speak of a truce and integration. The two families of Gods swore to live in peace and exchanged leaders as proof of their intentions.

Njord and Freyr were welcomed into Asgard as High Priests to reside over sacrifices and Freya was consecrated a sacrificial priestess.

To Vanaheim, the Aesir sent Honir and Mirmir. The Aesir believed Honir would make a good leader during both times of war and times of peace. Mirmir was a figure of Wisdom.

The significance of the war is just that it happened. The true importance of it is that it is what brought the Aesir and Vanir together. The story of the War is an origin story, it tells of how the Vanir and Aesir came to be unified.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

Crossley-Holland, K. 2011.  The Penguin book of Norse Myth: Gods of the Vikings. Penguin Books.

 

Image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%86sir%E2%80%93Vanir_War

Aegir – Norse God of the Sea
Balder – Son of Odin and Frigg. Balder is known as a gentle and wise god.
Bor – Son of Buri and father of Odin, Vili and Ve.
Bragi – Norse god of Poetry and Eloquence. Son of Odin and husband of Idun
Forseti – God of Justice. Son of Balder and Nanna
Freyja – Main goddess of the Vanir. Daughter of Njord and sister of Freyr
Freyr – Important god of the Vanir. Son of Njord and brother of Freya
Frigga – Wife of Odin and mother of Balder.
Gefion – Fertility Goddess. Associated with the plough.
Gullveig – A Vanir goddess who is burned three times by the Aesir.
Heimdall – Watchman of the Norse Gods.
Hel – ruler of Hel. Daughter of Loki.
Loki – Trickster God.
Njord – Vanir god associated with wind and sea. Husband of Skadi and father of Freya and Freyr
Odin – King of the Norse Gods. God of poetry, battle and death.
Skadi – Goddess of Winter and the Hunt.
Thor – God of Sky, thunder and fertility.
Tyr – War god. Son of Odin.
Vali – Son of Odin and the Giantess Rind.
Ve – Son of Bor and brother of Odin and Vili
Vili – Son of Bor and brother of Odin and Ve

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

http://thenorsegods.com/the-norse-gods/

 

Image: http://teacherlingo.com/resources/items/mythology-greek-norse-and-biblical-family-trees-of-the-gods.aspx

The sacred ash tree Yggdrasil is central to the Norse cosmology. The Norsemen believed the world to consist of three tiers. Each of these tiers is connected to Yggdrasil by a root. The three levels are Asgard, Midgard and Niflheim. The roots of Yggdrasil lay underneath a spring on each level of the world. The springs are: The Well of Urd, The Spring of Mimir and the spring Hvergelmir

The first level is Asgard; this is the realm of the Gods. There are three worlds on this level:

Asgard – This realm is the realm of the Aesir also known as the Warrior Gods.

Vanaheim – This is where the Vanir reside. The Vanir are Gods of Fertility.

Alfheim – This is the land of the Light Elves.

The spring on this level is called the Well of Urd; the Well of Fate. This is where the Gods gathered each day.

The second tier is Midgard or the Realm of Men. Midgard is connected to Asgard by the Rainbow Bridge – better known as the Bifrost. There are four worlds on this level, they are:

Midgard – The world of Men.

Nidavellir – The Place where the Dwarves live.

Svartalfheim – The Land of the Dark Elves.

Jotunheim – Land of the Giants.

The spring Mimir is on this level, it is the Spring of Wisdom.

Niflheim is the third and final level and has two worlds:

Helheim (or Hel) – the realm of the dead.

Niflheim – World of the dead.

Hvergelmir is the spring in Niflheim. The eleven rivers called Elivigar spring from it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

Crossley-Holland, K. 2011.  The Penguin book of Norse Myth: Gods of the Vikings. Penguin Books.

 

Image: http://dailymythogies.wordpress.com/2011/02/03/yggdrasil-the-cosmic-world-tree/