Fact 1: The Vikings worshipped many gods and goddesses
The Vikings did not just have one God. They worshipped lots of different gods and goddesses. These gods are known as the Norse gods.
The main gods were called:
But there were many others such as Loki, and Frey’s sister Freya. Each one of these gods and goddesses had their own personality, story and job.
These gods and goddesses were very important to the Vikings and they often argued over which one was their favourite!
The Viking gods belonged to two different families, the Aesir family and the Vanir family. The families were once at war, but luckily, they eventually made peace!
The gods lived in the sky in a kingdom known as Asgard. Each of the important gods lived in their own palaces which were made of gold and silver.
Unlike many other gods, the Norse gods were not immortal, and in fact, they looked just like us humans! They did, however, have special powers…
Fact 2: Odin was known as the father of all gods
Odin was the main god of the Vikings, and thought of as the god of war and wisdom.
Viking myth says that Odin and his brothers were the creators of the world.
We still acknowledge Odin today with the day Wednesday. The word Wednesday comes from ‘Wodensdaeg’ in Anglo-Saxon, as they called Odin ‘Woden’.
Most drawings of Odin show him with a long beard, hat, cloak, and one eye! The Vikings believed that Odin sacrificed his eye to gain knowledge and wisdom.
Odin was the wisest out of all the Viking gods, and known for always looking for more wisdom and knowledge. He was also known for practicing wizardry!
Odin lived in the biggest palace in Asgard, known as Valhalla, where he sat on a throne and watched over the world. Valhalla was an important part of Viking beliefs about the afterlife.
Odin also had a flying horse with eight legs that he rode around the kingdom!
Fact 3: One of the most famous Viking gods is Thor
Thor is Odin’s son, and was one of the most important and more famous Viking gods.
Thor was known for his superhuman strength and is often associated with thunder and lightning.
He is often seen holding a hammer that also had special powers. It could crush mountains and would return to Thor like a boomerang!
Thor also had a magical belt that he used to kill his enemies!
He would often ride around in a chariot that was pulled by two giant goats.
Thor was always hungry and loved to drink and feast. In fact, he would sometimes get so hungry that he would eat his two giant goats. Luckily, they would regenerate and come back to life overnight!
Thor was one of the Vikings’ favourite gods, and they would often pray to him.
Today, we still acknowledge Thor with Thursday, which comes from ‘Thor’s day’.
Fact 4: Gods Frey and Freya were twins
Frey is one of the most important Viking gods, and he had a sister called Freya who was a goddess.
Frey is sometimes spelled as Freyr or Frej, and Freya is sometimes spelled as Freyja.
Frey was the god of fertility and prosperity and was one of the most well-loved gods among the Vikings.
Frey is often pictured with long, flowing hair and accompanied by a giant boar. He usually lived in Alfheim which was the land of the elves!
Today, the Swedish royals believe they descended from Frey, and Frey continues to play a significant role in their culture.
Frey’s sister Freya was the goddess of love, but also the goddess of death and war. She was also a sorceress who practiced powerful magic and would teach it to the other gods.
She was known for riding around in a golden chariot that was pulled by two blue cats, and sometimes she would ride a boar!
Fact 5: Loki was the most mischievous of the gods
Loki was known as the trickster of Viking gods. Viking myths tell the stories of how Loki would play conniving pranks and tricks on his fellow gods. Sometimes he would help the gods, and other times he would get them in trouble. This is how he got his title as the god of mayhem and mischief!
Loki had the power to shape shift, which he would use to play his tricks on the other gods. Some myths tell stories of Loki shape-shifting into a fly, a fish, a horse, and even an old lady!
The other gods eventually got their revenge on Loki, tying him to a rock and tormenting him with a venomous snake.
Fact 6: There were many other gods who had their own stories
The Vikings told stories about lots of different gods and each one was worshipped for a different reason.
Frigg is a well-known Viking goddess, and she was the queen of the goddesses. Frigg was Odin’s wife, and she was known as the goddess of love and marriage.
Tyr was another of Odin’s sons, and the Vikings believed he was the bravest out of all the gods! Warriors would worship Tyr, hoping to become just as brave as him. Today, Tuesday is derived from Tyr’s day.
Odin had another son called Baldur. Baldur was thought of as a gentle god, and he was known for suffering from bad dreams.
Heimdall is another important Viking god, as he guarded the rainbow bridge that connected the human world to where the gods lived in Asgard. It was important that nobody crossed this bridge unless they were invited!
The Vikings also believed in The Fates. The Fates were three goddesses that ruled over “what has been”, “what is” and “what must be”.