Norse Religon and Gods
There were two groups of pagan gods. Most belonged to the Aesir and some the Vanir. Vikings had their own pagan religon and worshipped many Gods. Norse people thought that the world was a tree of life containing nine worlds. The Vikings believed that people lived in Middle Earth or Midgard, and the Gods and Godesses lived on the highest branches, of the world tree of Yggrasil, in a Heaven world called Asguard. The most powerful God was thought to be Odin, who had a son called Thor. Vikings worshipped their Gods and Godesses by making 'blot' sacrifices, which was an exchange made by the Vikings sacrificing something to the gods to get something back in return. The Vikings may have been rewaraded with good luck in battle, good weather and fertility for farming, from the Gods. Worshipping Gods was very significant in Viking society because they believed that each god had the power over a different thing, such as the winner in a battle, love, travel and good harvest, and each god played an important role.. Sagas have been written about the Vikings and give us a realistic despcripition of past events, though sagas are usually mystical in nature. Some Vikings would worship and make blot sacrifices at a very famous temple called 'Gamla Uppsala', in Sweden, but much of it was destroyed in the late 11th century. The Aesir were the warrior gods and the Vanir were fertility gods. The most famous and important Aesir are Odin, Thor, Tyr, Frigg, Loki and Baldur.
Thor is a hammer-wielding god that is also associated with thunder, lightening, storms, stench and the protection of mankind. He is the son of Odin, who is the leader of all gods, and is married to Sif, a Godess of fertility. Vikings thought that lightening flashed whenever Thor threw his hammer and that thunderstorms occoured when he rode on his chariot through the heavens. Thor used his hammer to fight giants and demons and defend Asguard. Thor surpassed his father because unlike Odin he did not need human sacrifices. If a storm or famine was about to hit the Vikings would drink to Thor. Some say that Thor has lived on through our weekly calendar, Thursday (Thor's day).
Loki is a master of magic and has a high status in Asguard, becasue of his family,. Loki has no concern for his fellow gods and allows his relatives to hurt and kill them. Loki is portrayed as a coward who only cares for his own benefits and self-preservation. Loki is seen to be malicious and irreverent.