Njörd, dieu du vent et de la mer

Njörd, god of the wind and the sea

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Njörd is the Nordic god of wind and sea. He accompanied the Vikings in their quest for new lands. He was able to calm storms, extinguish fires and give fishermen their chances. Moreover, compared to what we see in the Viking series, it is him that the Vikings prayed to when they went to sea, not Thor.

He was a god very revered by humans, his prayers were as important as Odin's. When humans made sacrifices, it was often to Njörd that they were intended.

He first married his sister, Nerthus, with whom he had two children, the famous sky twins, Freyr and Freya. Later, he will be exchanged as a hostage to symbolize the truce of the Aesir and the Vanes. He will be chosen there by Skadi, they got married, but compared to the fairy tales did not have many children. Indeed, their marriage was a failure.

He lived in Noatun, near the seas so he could always keep an eye on them. The Vanes had a very different culture than the Aesir. They were indeed much older and mastered arts that only they knew the secret of. Njörd was good at it, but it was his daughter, Freya, who was the expert in magic. It was she who taught it to the Aesir after the truce.

NJORD, THE GOD OF THE SAILORS

njord

In addition to being the god of the sea, he was by definition the master of fishermen and of treasures won at sea. Vikings sailing to new lands had great respect for Njörd and often prayed to him for calm and peaceful seas. According to some legends, he was also the god of hunting, but no reliable source can confirm this.

Njörd is opposed to Aegir, a giant associated with the sea, but who was much feared by the inhabitants of Midgard. He was indeed considered as a merciless monster when it came to the waves. It is said that when the sailors saw the waves approaching, they would summon Njörd to go and fight Aegir.

Ran was also a giant feared by the sailors, he represented the destructive side of the sea and it is said that he took more than he gave. In other words, he more often crushed ships and killed his sailors rather than bringing them to port.

NJORD AND HIS FAMILY, EXCHANGED AS A TOKEN OF ETERNAL PEACE

One day, because of the magic caused by the Vanes, the two families of gods entered into an endless war. It is said that it is not known if it lasted a minute or a century. After an indeterminate period of war, both families realized that it was useless to fight, not being able to find a winner.

The gods decided to establish an eternal peace. As a token of peace, the two families exchanged some of their own. Njörd was one of the hostages sent to the Aesir.

A marriage doomed to failure

Once the hostages were exchanged, a wedding was to take place in Asgard and the giant Skadi was the lucky one. She had to choose her suitor with a very strange technique nowadays: she could only see her feet.

njord skadi

As you can imagine, she chose Njörd, because he had the most beautiful feet. She soon regretted her choice: Njörd was considered ugly by the standards of the time. You will say to me, beauty is not everything and it is true. Their personalities were also completely opposite. Skadi was the goddess of the mountain while Njörd was the god of the sea. One represented fertility while the other represented rigor.

Moreover, the construction of ships prevented Skadi from concentrating and the calm of the forests disturbed Njörd who was used to the noise of storms. The two newlyweds made a pact to live six months of the year with one and six months of the year with the other. This was obviously a failure, as their marriage only lasted a short time.

An exchange not enough

Still in the quest for peace, the hostage exchange was not considered fair by the Vanes since they received only two hostages while they sent three. In revenge they decided to cut off the head of Mimir, one of the hostages and send him to the Aesir. Odin was ready to declare war again, but Mimir's spirit guided him towards eternal peace instead.

A second agreement had to be dictated. The Aesir then built temples in Asgard so that the Vanes gods could settle in the same city, thus abandoning Vanaheim.

An exchange of culture took place. Njörd and his son taught the Aesir the customs of the Vanes, while his daughter taught them the powerful magic she had mastered.

Since that day, no war has been declared between the two families, finally bringing about the eternal peace so coveted.

NJORD IN TODAY'S CULTURE

Njord remained for a very long time one of the rare gods still venerated. This was the case in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in Nordic countries such as Iceland. Indeed, on successful fishing days, Njörd continued to be thanked.

Several musics bear his name today. Here is one of them.

However, we don't know what happened to Njörd after the Ragnarök, a legend says that he didn't participate and went back to live in Vanaheim near the raging seas.

collier ancre

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