The Aesir, the Norse gods living in Asgard
The Aesir are a family of gods led by Odin and living in Asgard. In the world, we can also find another family of gods, the Vanes, who live in Vanaheim and are less known and less numerous than the Aesir.
The Aesir are the "nice" gods since they are regularly against the giants who spread terror in the different worlds. By abuse of language, the Aesir are all considered as Nordic gods, but it is not actually the case. Indeed, the example of Loki is the best known: he actively participates in the life of the Aesir gods but he is in fact a giant, adopted son of Odin.
Centuries ago, a war broke out between the Aesir and the Vanes. This war ended with an exchange of hostages and the marriage between Njörd and Skadi. This war also made the two families live together, it was the Vanes who made their way to Asgard.
An interesting anecdote was born from this cohabitation: the creation of the alcohol of the gods. Indeed, the mixture of the saliva of the Aesir and the Vanes created a very intelligent giant who studied science. According to the legends, the blood of the latter mixed with honey created the Mead: the alcohol of the gods (we see this alcohol appear in the series Ragnarok, produced by Netflix).
THE AESE GODS
The Aesir family was very large, it included a large number of gods, among them, we found mainly :
- Odin, chief of the Aesir gods, creator of the Earth with his brothers, representative of the dead, victory and knowledge, it is often represented as a man age, wearing a long beard. He lives in Valaskjálf, Asgard and has a magic spear as well as his famous mount, Sleipnir.
- Thor, the most famous god and master of thunder. We know him today mainly thanks to the famous movie adaptations about him, especially the Marvel movies. He is the most powerful god, mainly thanks to his magical weapon: Mjolnir. He symbolizes strength, agility, valor and victory. He also owns a chariot pulled by two goats, allowing him to travel from world to world.
- Baldur, god of light, beauty and love. He is also known as Baldr or Balder. He was the most loved god, the proof, his name is still used to talk about a flower, the matricarias (I have never seen one either, it is an Icelandic flower).
- Tyr, the judge of the gods. In addition to being god of the sky, war and justice, he is also god of oaths, procedures and law. He is also known as the one-armed god, a very famous scene where he had to sacrifice his hand by putting it in Fenrir's mouth to help his capture.
- Bragi, god and inventor of poetry. He stood out thanks to his eloquence. His name means poetry in Old Norse.
- Heimdall, guardian of the Bifröst (the bridge allowing to travel between worlds). He is also the god of light and the moon. We see him a lot in the movies Thor, he is the one who can watch over all the 9 worlds with his eye.
- Höd, the blind god. This handicap made him kill Baldur. Yes, it's weird, but it's still a trick of Loki who bewitched Höd to force him to shoot Baldur. This anecdote is however to be taken with hindsight: nobody can agree on the real circumstances of the murder. This version is the best known.
- Vidar, god of vengeance and silence. He is one of the strongest gods after Thor. During the Ragnarok, he will avenge Odin of Fenrir by piercing and tearing his heart thanks to his magic shoe.
- Vali, the dirty god. He will avenge the death of Baldur, by killing Höd (even if he was not for much, poor guy). The legends say that Vali did not wash or comb his hair from the day of the murder until the day of vengeance.
- Ull, god of hunting and winter. He gets out of bed mainly with his shield, which he can use to orotate others, but also to make them go on the water. He is also the adopted son of Thor. Later, he will marry the goddess Skadi.
- Foresti, goddess of humor (report to the comedian). That's not true, she was the goddess of justice and reconciliation.
- Loki, god is extremely hated by the gods because of the sneaky tricks he could do to them. For cause, he is the god of discord, malice and illusions. He is the father of the worst threats the gods have known: Fenrir and Jormungand and also the mother of Odin's horse (you read that right). Because of the prank he played on Höd, he will be imprisoned until the Ragnarök.
THE WAR BETWEEN THE ASES AND THE VANES
The Aesir gave several women living in Midgard powers to help poor families. They gave them the powers of clairvoyance, divinations, magic, healing and communication (that's a lot).
One of them, Gullveig, guided by the Vanes turned away from the path she was supposed to take, and started to help the Vanes. The Aesir realized this and captured her to kill her. However, Gullveig had received spells from the Vanes, reanimating her after each death.
A war then broke out between the Aesir, led by Odin, and the Vanes, led by Njord. After centuries of battles, the gods stopped, finding no victor. The truce was symbolized by a hostage exchange. The Vanes gave Njord, Freyr and Kvasir. In exchange, the Aesir sent Mimir and Hoenir.
The Vanes were not satisfied with this exchange, so they beheaded Mimir and sent his head to Asgard. Odin needing Mimir's wisdom resurrected his head (yes, it's possible). Odin, furious at this provocation wanted to get into their game and was ready to resume the war. Mimir calmed him down and suggested instead to find a way to create a lasting peace.
So the gods worked it out: temples were built so that the Vanes could settle in Asgard. Cultures were shared: Njord and Freyr taught the Aesir gods the knowledge of the Vanes while Freya taught them the magic of the Vanes. As a sign of eternal peace, all the gods spat into a basin, forming the wisest being.
Two evil dwarves killed this giant. The gods realized that the blood of this giant, mixed with honey formed mead, the alcohol of the gods. It was used to pass on the wisdom of the gods to humans.
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