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Norse Gods A-K

Aegir (Eagor)
Germanic god of the ocean, and husband of Ran. His nine daughters, known as the "billow maidens", directed the swirling waves under his orders. He was sometimes depicted as a very old man with white hair and claw-like fingers. Whenever he left his glistening underwater palace it was with the single-minded purpose of destroying ships and their crews. To placate him the Vikings often sacrificed some prisoners before setting sail.
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Aesir
The collective name for the the principal race of Norse gods; the other was the Vanir. The Aesir gods under the leadership of Odin, included Balder (god of beauty), Bragi (god of eloquence), Forseti (god of mediation), Freyr (god of fertility, who originally was from the Vanir), Heimdall guardian of the bridge), Hodr (the blind god), Loki (god of fire and ally of the frost giants), Njord (the sea god, and another ex-Vanir), Thor (god of thunder), Tyr (god of war), Vili (brother to Odin), Ve (brother to Odin), and Vidar (Odin's son). The goddesses included Freyja (the fertility goddess), Frigg (Odin's wife), Sif (Thor's wife), and Idun (keeper of the apples of youth). They lived in Asgard.
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Alberich (Andvari)
(Scandinavian) King of the Dwarfs who steals the magic gold ring, Andvarinaut, (and the rest of the treasure) guarded by the Rhine Maidens, but is forced to give up all he has for his freedom after he has been captured. His curse upon the ring led to the deaths of all who tried to possess it.
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Alfhild
A maiden goddess of Scandinavia who dressed as a warrior to avoid being taken in marriage by King Alf. Only when they engaged in a fight to the death (almost), and he proved to be as strong as she, did she agree to mate with him.
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Alvis
(Germanic) His name means all-wise. He was a member of the dwarf race. In return for the weapons he forged for the gods he was promised Thrud, Thor's daughter, in marriage. Thor didn't like this arrangement and devised a test of knowledge to stop the marriage. He told Alvis that he had to prove that his great wisdom made up for his small stature. Thor prolonged the test until sunrise when the rays of the sun fell upon the dwarf; all dwarves turned to stone if touched by the sun's rays. End of story.
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Amma
A great mother in the Norse creation story, Amma ("grandmother") gave birth to the race of Churls, who conducted business and learned trades.
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Angerboda
(Norse) A frost giantess who was mate (or mistress) to the trickster god Loki. She bore three children; Jormungand (the Midgard Serpent), who grew so large he surrounded the earth; Fenrir (the Wolf of Ragnarok) and Hel (the death queen).
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Asgard
The home of the Norse gods. To reach this land one had to cross the bridge Bifrost (rainbow). Asgard was divided into a number of separate kingdoms, each ruled over by a different god. Valhalla was ruled by Odin, Thrudheim by Thor, etc. The walls surrounding Asgard were built by Hrimthurs, who asked in payment the hand of Freyja plus the sun and the moon. Odin agreed providing the walls be complete in six months. Hrimthurs had a magic horse, named Svadifari, who helped him in his work. To Odin (and the other gods, especially Freyja)'s horror, with but a few days left, Hrimthurs was almost finished. Loki, the trickster, turned himself into a mare and beguiled the stallion Svadifari away. The job was not completed in time and no payment was given.
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Askr and Embla
(Norse) The first man and first woman and the progenitors of the human race. They were created out of tree trunks by Odin his two brothers.
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Beiwe
A Lappland goddess who heralded the arrival of spring.
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Berserk, Berserker
(Norse) Grandson of the eight-handed Starkadder and Alfhilde. He always fought ferociously and recklessly, without armor. That's the origin of berserk for a savage fighter, or one with the "fighting fever".
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Bertha
(Norse) The goddess of spinning.
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Beowulf
(Germanic) Denmark hero, killer of two mythical water monsters; Grendel, the sea monster and Grendel's mother, a monstrous merwoman. In his old age he slew another monster, a fire-breathing dragon, but lost his own life in the battle.
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Bergelmir
(Germanic) The frost giant who, with his wife, were the only frost giants to survive drowning in the blood when Odin and his brothers killed Ymir.
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Bestla
(Scandinavia) The mother of Odin and his brothers Vili and Ve by her husband Bor.
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Billing
(Germanic) Father of the beautiful Rind, who despite an initial repugnance toward Odin eventually capitulated to his wooing and bore him a son, Vali. Vali later killed Hoder, thereby avenging Balder's death.
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Bor
(Norse) Son of Buri, husband of the giant Bestla, and father of Odin, Vili and Ve.
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Brono
(Norse) Brono was the son of Balder. He was the god of daylight.
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Brunhild, Brünnehilde or Brynhild
(Germanic) A mighty female warrior, one of the Valkyrie. She defied Odin and in punishment he imprisoned her within a ring of fire on earth, decreeing that there she would remain until a brave hero rescued her. Enter Siegfied (Sigurd). He braved the fire, broke her charmed sleep, and fell in love with her. He gave her the ring, Andvarinaut, unaware of its curse. Eventually she kills herself when she learns that Sigurd had betrayed her with another woman (Gudrun), not knowing he had been bewitched into doing so by Grimhild.
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Buri
(Norse) The first god, was the father of Bor and the grandfather of Odin. His "birth" was by being released from the primeval ice when Audhumla (the cow) licked the ice.
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Bylgja
(Norse) A daughter of Aegir and Ran.
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Edda
(Edda means great grandmother, and the term eddas, "tales of great grandmother" is the word used to describe the great stories in Scandinavian mythology.) The dwarfish Edda was the first to create offspring with her husband Ai. She gave birth to the Thralls, the ones "enthralled" to service as food producers.
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Eir
A companion of Frigg, Eir is the goddess of healing. She taught her art and the secret powers of herbs only to women, the only physicians in ancient Scandinavia.
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Elle (Elli)
(Norse) Personification of Old Age; in the form of an old hag she wrestled Thor to defeat, much to his shame.
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Embla
(Norse) The name of the first woman.
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Erda
(Germanic) Ancient earth goddess.
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Farbanti (Farbauti)
(Norse) He was a giant who ferried the dead over the waters to the underworld. He was the father of Loki by Laufey, who gave birth to Loki when Farbanti struck her with a lightning bolt.
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Fengi
(Scandinavia) The answer to the question, "Why is the sea so salty?": Once upon a time, in the days of King Frodi, there were two female giants who worked a mill called Grotti. Fengi and Mengi were the only beings strong enough to turn the giant millstone that magically produced food and plenty for Frodi's land. The king kept them working constantly, letting them rest only as long as it took them to sing a song. One night, angry and exhausted, they sang a magical charm that caused Frodi's death. But the new king, Mysing, set the giants to work as before, this time grinding salt. They ground so much that the entire ocean was filled with it.
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Fenris (Fenrir)
(Norse) Fenris is the monstrous wolf, son of the god Loki who will swallow Odin at Ragnarok but will be slain by Odin's son, Vidar.
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Fjalar
(Norse) The evil dwarf who, with his brother Galar, killed the wise man Kvasir in order to gain Kvasir's magic powers. They mixed his blood with honey in a cauldron and ended up with a mead that bestowed wisdom to the drinker. But the mead was taken by Suttung, a frost giant, who boasted of his acquisition to all. When the boasts reached Odin, he decided to go to Jotunheim (land of the frost giants) to get the mead for himself. He disguised himself as the evil frost giant Bolverk, and persuaded Baugi (another frost giant) to dig a tunnel through the mountain to where Suttung kept the mead under the guard of his daughter Gunnlod. Then Odin turned himself into a snake and slithered through the tunnel to the treasure. When he reached the cavern he turned himself into a handsome giant and for three days and nights was Gunnlod's passionate lover. She allowed him to drink all of the mead whereupon he changed himself into an eagle, flew home to Asgard and spit up the mead into some empty jars.
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Fjorgyn
(Norse) The mother of the Norse god Thor, she appears in few myths.
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Fulla
(Norse) From her name we get our word for abundance. Fulla is Frigg's handmaiden and messenger. Prayers are addressed to her for intercession with Frigg, and for guidance in service. She was pictured as a young woman with long, full hair bound at the temple with a golden band.
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Fylgja(sing.), Fylgakona(plural)
(Iceland) A family's guardian spirit (sometimes called Haminga). Some legends consider them to be ominous as well as protective spirits.
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Garm
(Norse) The hound which stands in front of Hel's home and snarls with jaws dripping blood at the pilgrims from the upper world.
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Gefion (Gefinn, Gefjon)
There are two Scandinavian females with this name (or can it be one with two very different set of character traits?). One Gefjon was a trickster giantess; she was promised as much land as four oxen could plow in a day. So she conceived four ox-shaped sons by a another giant; when her sons had grown, Gefjon brought them back to Sweden, where they plowed off a part of that country and dragged it to a new location, where it became the island of Zealand.
The other Gefjon, a goddess, sold her hymen for a jewel but miraculously retained her virginity. She was an attendant of Frigg. All women who die as maidens were said to pass into this Gefjon's possession. She is also the bringer of good luck and prosperity.
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Geirrod
(Norse) A frost giant and father of two daughters, Gjalp and Greip. He was a bitter enemy of Thor, and having captured Loki (when Loki was flying around as a hawk) received from him a promise that he, Loki, would bring Thor to Geirrod's castle without Thor having his magic belt and magic hammer. Loki did as promised and led Thor into the trap. On the way there, though, they stopped to rest at the home of a giantess named Grid. She told Thor what was up when Loki left the room, and gave him her magic belt, iron gloves and magic staff. Needless to say Thor used each with supreme efficiency and slew Geirrod, his daughters and all other frost giants in the vicinity.
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Gerd (Gerda)
A Scandinavian deity of light. She was the most beautiful of creatures, the daughter of a female giant and a mortal man. Frey became infatuated with Gerd and sent his servant to fetch her. Gerd refused, but Frey kept sending gifts and, finally, threats. A spell in runes eventually won Gerd, and she traveled to Asgard, the home of the gods, to live with Frey.
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Ginnunggap
(Norse) Ginnunggap was the "Yawning Void" that existed before the creation of gods.
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Gioll
(Norse) The river which surrounded the underworld, Hel.
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Gleipnir
(Norse) The chain which binds Fenris. It is made from the footfalls of cats, the beards of women, the roots of mountains and the breath of fish.
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Gna
(Norse) The messenger of heaven and of heaven's queen, Frigg. She was a wind deity.
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Godar
(Scandinavian)The Scandinavian gods were served by a class of priest-chieftains called Godar. Worship was originally conducted outdoors, under guardian trees, near sacred wells, or within sacred arrangements of stones. Later, wooden temples were used, with altars and with carved representations of the gods. Here animals and even human beings were sacrificed.
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Goilveig
(Scandinavian) She is a mighty witch who, according to legend, was killed three times but still lived. Some believe she is an avatar for the mightiest of the Vanir, Freya.
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Gold-comb
(Norse) The cock who shall crow when Ragnarok comes.
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Gondul
(Norse) One of the most famous Valkyries, Gondul was sent to earth to bring back the spirits of famous kings who fell in battle.
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Gonlod
(Scandinavian) The mother of poetry. She was the giant who owned the cauldron of inspiration that the god Odin took by trickery. She was also said to be the mother of Bragi, god of poets.
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Gotterdammerung
(Norse) The end of the world.
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Groa
(Scandinavian) A wise old woman who, in the eddas, is credited with being a sorcerer, a healer and a caster of spells.
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Gulltopr
(Norse) Heimdall's horse.
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Gungnir
(Norse) Odin's spear, obtained from the dwarves by Loki for Odin.
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Hel
(Norse) The goddess of the dead. She dwelt beneath one of the three roots of the sacred ash tree Yggdrasil and resides in her hall, Elvidnir (misery) in the underworld of Niflheim, the World of Darkness. She was the daughter of Loki, the spirit of mischief or evil, and the giantess Angerbotha (Angerboda). Odin, the All-Father, hurled Hel into Niflheim, the realm of cold and darkness, itself also known as Hel, over which he gave her sovereign authority. Here the dead suffered unimaginable tortures, except for those who died heroically in battle (who ended up in Valhalla, the Hall of the Heroes). Hel is described as being half white and half black. She is responsible for plagues, sickness and catastrophes.
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Hermod
(Norse) Son of Odin and Frigg, and brother of Balder. He was divine messenger of the gods (same as Hermes and Mercury).
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Hogni
(Norse) He and his brother Gunner, persuaded by Brynhild to avenge her honor, arranged Sigurd's death. They inherited his fortune, including the cursed ring Andvarinaut, and were in turn doomed at the hands of Atli.
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Holer (Holler)
(Norse) The god of death and destruction and the one who brings diseases and disasters. He takes people to his dungeon where he tortures them to death.
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Honir (Hoenir)
(Norse) The long-legged god of the Aesir, and brother of Odin. He and the wise god Mimir were sent to live with the Vanir to seal their truce. The Vanir gladly accepted them and made Honir one of their leaders. Honir, however, was not as smart as the Aesir had claimed (was very indecisive, actually) and relied heavily on Mimir. He gave noncommittal answers whenever Mimir was not around. The Vanir, feeling cheated, cut off Mimir's head and sent it back to Odin. Honir is one of the gods that will survive Ragnarok.
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Hreidmar
(Norse) The father of Regin, Fafnir and Otter.
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Hresvelgr
(Norse) The giant who lives in the extreme north; the motion of his wings causes wind and tempest.
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Hrungnir
(Norse) The strongest of the frost giants, killed by Thor in a personal duel.
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Hugi
(Norse) The young frost giant who defeated Thialfi (Thor's human servant) in a foot race; one of the many adventures undergone by Thor and Loki in their journey to Utgard, land of the frost giants.
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Huginn
(Norse) Huginn (thought) was one of the two ravens which sat upon Odin's shoulder and which brought him news each day of what was happening in the world. The other was Muninn (memory).
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Hymir
(Norse) Hymir is a sea giant, the husband of Hrod, who lives at edge of the heaven. He possessed an enormous cauldron which the Aesir coveted because they could brew enough beer in it for all the gods, and Thor was sent to obtain it. In the final battle against the gods, Hymir will sail the terrible ship Naglfar, which is made entirely from the nails of the dead. The flood that precedes Ragnarok will free the ship after which the giants will board it and, with Hymir as commander, sail towards the battlefield of Vigrond.
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Ilmarinen
(Finnish) The primeval smith in Kalevala.
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Jabme-akka
(Lapland) The goddess of the dead who presides over Jabme-aimo (Jabmeanimo), the realm of the dead.
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Jörd
(Norse) Mother of Thor and mistress to Odin.
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Jormungandr
(Norse) Jormungandr is the great dragon-serpent, son of Loki and the frost giantess Angrboda, which lives in the stream that circles earth. He is known as the Midgard Serpent.
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Jotunheim
(Norse) The abode of the giants. It is on the edge of the ocean, far to the northeast. It is one of the nine worlds sheltered by the cosmic tree, Yggdrasil.
The others are:
Asgard, the home of the Aesir gods
Vanaheim, home of the Vanir gods
Alfheim, home of the "light" elves
Nidavellir, home of the dwarfs
Midgard, home of humankind
Svartalfheim, home of the "dark" elves
Hel, home of the unworthy dead and
Niflheim, the region of everlasting cold and endless night.
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Judur
(Scandinavia) One of the Valkyries.
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Jumala
(Finland) The ancient creator god and supreme deity. His sacred tree was the oak.
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Kajsa
(Sweden) Goddess of the wind.
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Kara
(Scandinavia) One of the Valkyries, and wife of the hero, Helgi (who accidentally killed her during a battle).
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Kied Kie Jubmel
(Lapland) Lord of the herds. Reindeer were sacrificed to him before a hunt. He is called Storjunka in Sweden.
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Kolga
(Norse) Kolga is a daughter of Aegir and Ran.
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Kvasir
(Norse) He was considered the wisest of all men. He was a teacher, never at loss for an answer to a question. Fjalar and Galar killed him when they became tired of learning and poured his blood into a magic kettle. When mixed with honey this concoction formed mead, which gave wisdom (or the gift of poetry in some myths) to those who drank it.
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