Viking mythology comprises of a number of major gods which are divided into two major groups. Some of the most prominent and well-known Viking gods fall into the Aesir group of gods which many other notable Norse gods belong to the Vanir group.
Most of the gods in the Aesir group are powerful gods who are associated with warfare in Norse mythology while the gods in the Vanir group are associated with fertility and creation in the mythology. Following are the most famous Viking gods.
Odin is the most powerful and dominant god of the Viking pantheon. He is associated with war as well as death. According to Norse mythology, Odin has only one eye.
Although Odin is most often associated with war, he is also the wisest among Norse gods, having attained knowledge from many different sources in Norse cosmology.
In fact, one of the most notable legendary features of Odin’s personality is his immense thirst for knowledge. In Norse mythology, Odin is depicted as one-eyed which is as bright as the sun, having sacrificed the other eye for a drink from the fount of wisdom. He is the father of many notable Viking gods including Thor.
Thor is a son of Odin in Norse mythology and the god of thunder. He features a long beard and red hair. Vikings believed that during a thunderstorm, Thor rode through the skies on his chariot and it was his hammer which struck and created lightning in the storms.
In Viking mythology, Thor is particularly popular because he frequently intervenes to protect not only the gods but also the humans from different sorts of evil. According to Norse mythology, when the final battle between good and evil will be waged on the day of Ragnarok, Thor will be the one to slay the Midgard serpent but in doing so, will also die from the serpent’s poison.
Loki is the most notorious of Viking gods. He is known for being very clever and malicious. According to Norse mythology, Loki does everything he can to bring about the downfall of the Norse gods. He is the most powerful magician in the Norse cosmology and it is using this magic that he forces Norse gods to suffer many losses.
He ultimately causes the death of Balder, one of the most popular of Norse gods. Then he refuses to repent for it and this ultimately leads to the Norse doomsday whereby Norse gods are pitted against the forces of evil in a final, decisive battle. Loki dies fighting against the gods as do a number of notable Norse gods.
Balder is a Norse god who personifies all the aspects of good and virtue. He is an embodiment of innocence, beauty, wisdom, eloquence, peace and joy. However, Balder has little power on his own and all the Norse gods swear to protect him from harm.
They do so by taking an oath from everything in the world that they wouldn’t harm Balder. Only a tree of mistletoe is ignored when taking this oath.
Loki eventually gets a twig from the mistletoe tree and has it hurled at Balder, causing his death. Balder’s death ends peace in Asgard and ultimately leads to the final showdown between the forces of good and evil on the day of Ragnarok.