If you’re following the Viking culture closely, you might have about gods like Odin and Freya, and the apocalyptic event called Ragnarok.
These names come from Norse mythology, and while gods, heroes and terms from this mythology are often used in pop culture, only a few actually know the true origins and what it actually is.
In this article, we will give you an overview of Norse mythology. So the next time you hear a name of a Norse god, you will have a clearer understanding of where they came from and the associated events.
Where Did Norse Mythology Originate?
Norse mythology is a series of myths that originated from the Old Norse Religion practised in Scandanavia during the Viking age. It’s a mythological framework used by the Norse people to create order and make sense of the world.
Despite the Old Norse Religion being eventually replaced by Christianity in the 9th century, Norse mythology still influences many modern movies, games, and tv shows. Marvel’s Thor, for example, is a product of Norse mythology.
Unlike most religions that we have today, Norse Mythology is polytheistic, meaning they believe that there is more than one God.
In fact, believers of Norse mythology worshipped 66 individual Gods and Goddesses including the commonly known Thor, Odin, Freya, Frigg, and Loki.
Norse Mythology, Explained
In Norse mythology, it is believed that the world was created when the Nordic gods slayed a giant called Aurgelmir and turned its body parts into the world.
The gods gave giants a place to live which is named Jötunheimr. To protect themselves against these giants, the gods created a fortification named Midgard.
The gods also created man and woman from driftwood and allowed them to live in Midgard, hence, the beginning of “earth” and mankind.
At the centre of it all is the Asgard and it is believed to be the home of the Gods and ruled by Odin the all-father. All in all, the Norse believed that there are 9 realms under the tree of life - Yggdrasil.
Odin went on a quest to achieve power and wisdom in preparation for Ragnarok, the end of the world.
To prepare for Ragnarok, Odin sends the Valkyries to every battle to search for the most heroic of the slain to join him in Valhalla. These heroes would also stand shoulder to shoulder with the gods in the battle of Ragnarok.
In Norse mythology, Ragnarok is considered the end of it all. The gods will be killed and the world will be consumed by fire.
It is believed to begin with three winters and a series of battles across the world. The sun and the moon will be devoured by the wolves chasing them, and earthquakes will arise as the sons of Loki will emerge.
When the battle arises, gods will stand against the forces of hell. Despite Odin’s power, wisdom and preparation, the Æsir will fall together with the forces of hell. Odin will battle against the great wolf, Fenrir, and will be devoured.
The New World
His sons, Vidar and Vali, will survive and take over Asgard while Thor’s sons will later join them carrying the Mjölnir. In Midgard, it is believed that two humans will survive and repopulate the world.
The sun was also believed to have a daughter before getting devoured which will shine a bright light in the world.
This is an oversimplified summary of Norse mythology. As you can see, the tales and myths are quite complex and involved. If we were to talk at length we could go on and on. As such, this article left out plenty of other characters and events.