The Vanes, the Nordic gods living in Vanaheim
The Vanes are the second family of Nordic gods. They represent fertility, fecundity, wisdom and precognition. The Vanes lived in Vanaheim for many years until they moved to Asgard. They are far less numerous than their rivals among the gods of the Norse pantheon, the best known are Freyr, Freya and Njord.
WHO ARE THE VANES
The Vanes are the smallest family of gods, and for good reason : there are only three or four of them, depending on the myths there is Njord, the father, as well as the two twins Freyr and Freya. These two twins are also called " the daughter of the daytime sky " and " the son of the daytime sky ".
They are the oldest gods, we learn in the legend telling of the war between the two families that the Vanes' family has existed for much longer than the Vanes'. They practice a very powerful magic that Freya will go and teach the Aesir when the truce comes.
As mentioned earlier, the family of the Vanes gods is very small, there is Njord and his two children. No one can affirm the existence of the other deities : the infirmations we have about them are extremely vague. However, we will give you as much information as possible about each god.
Njörd is the Norse god of the sea, the winds and prosperity. He was therefore the one who accompanied the Vikings when they went in search of new lands. It was with his sister, Nerthus, that he married and had his twins : Freyr and Freya.
Later, it was with Skadi a giantess associated with the mountain that he married. Legend has it that Skadi could only choose her suitor by looking at her feet (different times, different customs). Skadi soon regretted her choices Skadi could not bear to live near the sea and Njörd could not bear to live at home : in the mountains : so they concluded to live half the year at each other's home.
Freyr is a very famous god in Norse mythology. Since he takes after his father, he is also god of prosperity. In addition, he controls the rays of the sun.
Get your kids away from the screen as we're about to tell you an anecdote forbidden to under 18s Freyr was regularly depicted naked, like many gods, but mostly with an erect penis.
The most famous myth concerning Freyr is his meeting with his wife Gerd : being seated on Odin's throne, he had the ability to observe the 9 worlds at the same time, he came across the giantess Gerd and immediately fell in love. He married her a few months later.
Freyr would eventually die from Surt's sword during the Ragnarök.
Freya is the daughter of Njörd, she is the goddess of love and fertility in Norse mythology. She is also a twin of Freyr. She is the originator of the very powerful magic that the Vanes used, indeed it is she who will teach it to the Aesir after the truce between the two families.
She is often depicted wearing her Brising necklaceand her Valsharm cloak. When Freya wore the necklace, in addition to the natural charm she possessed, it gave her the power that no one would resist a single glance from her. The cloak, on the other hand, allowed the wearer to transform into a bird and travel from world to world quickly. This cloak will be by Thor in one of his myths.
Nerthus is the goddess of fertility and mother of the sky twins : Freyr and Freya. She was depicted in a chariot, drawn by two white heifers, travelling through the land.
Nerthus received a great deal of sacrifice, slaves were sacrificed to her by drowning them in a lake in which she bathed. The practice was common at the time, but Nerthus was among the gods receiving the most.
Two legends contradict each other about Nerthus, the first, the best known is the one we have been talking about from the beginning Nerthus is the sister of Njörd with whom she will give birth to Freyr and Freya. The second one, more controversial and the opposite of the first one, says that Nerthus is Odin's sister. This legend is much less told, as it creates several inconsistencies in Norse mythology.
Odr is the god of wheat. He was fortunate enough to marry the goddess Freya, coveted by the gods for her charm and irresistible beauty. After their marriage, Odr made the decision to leave for distant lands. He was soon considered dead.
Freya, devastated, wept golden tears and decided to travel the world in search of him. The end of this story is unknown today.
Hnoss and Gersimi
These are the two daughters of Freya and Odr, they were so beautiful that they were given as names, anything that could denote something precious. Their name thus means treasure and jewel.
These two girls appear very little in Norse mythology in fact whenever we see their names, it is not to speak of them, but rather of precious things.
He is Freyr's personal messenger, he is not a god, but has a vital place in Norse mythology.
It was also he who went to see Gerd at Freyr's behest, to testify to the love the sky twin felt for her.
A WAR BETWEEN THE VANES AND THEIR RIVERS
It was actually because of the Vanes that this war started. The Aesir had, in order to help the destitute families, given certain women powers that could help them.
In the end, the Vanes gave her the power to help the poor families. The latter thus bewitched him, mixing the powers of the two divine families. Gullveig had become immortal. The Aesir were not stupid, they had noticed that one of the chosen women had gone over to the enemy's side; they therefore captured her to execute her. This was without counting the spell the Vanes had cast on her, making her immortal.
The Aesir, furious at what they took to be a betrayal declared war on the Vanes. This war was between the Aesir and the Vanes and started when Odin threw his spear towards the Vanes. It is not known how long this war lasted, but it is known that no winner was found. So the gods stopped the slaughter and decided to call a truce. This truce was symbolised by an exchange of hostages: Njord, Freyr and Kvasir were given to the Aesir, while the latter sent Mimir and Hoenir to their former enemies.
The Vanes were convinced that the exchange was not fair and decided to behead Mimir and send his head to the Aesir. Odin was furious, but managed to revive Mimir's head. Mimir then managed to convince Odin, who was mad, that starting a war again was not a solution. Odin then succeeded, even after this act, in imposing a lasting peace.
To symbolize this new peace, the Vanes came to settle in Asgard, after Odin ordered the making of temples for the new inhabitants. The Vanes, pleased with this new life decided to share their culture. Njord and his son Freyr taught the Aesir the knowledge of the Vanes. Meanwhile, Freya, who had mastered magic to perfection, taught them. A final sign of eternal peace was needed. As a token of promise, each god had to spit into a basin. The mixture of all the saliva created a giant, designated as the wisest being.
This was without counting on the intervention of two evil dwarfs who decided to kill the newborn. The gods nevertheless managed to put this birth to good use, since they realised that by mixing the blood of the newborn with honey, mead was obtained. It is not known whether modern culture has caused this or whether it was already the case, but mead is now considered the alcohol of the gods. The gods decided to send it to Earth to pass on the wisdom of the gods to humans.
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