The Viking Vision of Peace and Plenty with God Freyr

448px-Freyr_by_Johannes_GehrtsWe’ve already explored the central roles that physical strength and war play in Viking mythology. But the Vikings were a multi-faceted people; they also told stories that celebrated peace, diplomacy and the courage to give up your arms and embrace those who had once been your enemies.

Again, the Vikings’ mythology reflected the conditions of their actual lives. No people, no matter how fierce, could continuously be at war. Many of the conflicts the Vikings experienced were no doubt internal conflicts, fights between various Viking families and clans. They needed inspiration and guidance on how to restore peaceful relations after violent disagreements.

Who is Freyr?

Several of the most potent Viking stories of peace feature the God Freyr. Freyr is a God of sunshine and plenty, pleasure and generosity. He is said to bring blessings of peace and prosperity to humans who honour him. Freyr has a close relationship with humanity; legends claim him as the Father of the Royal House of Sweden.

The story of how Freyr came to live in Asgard, home of the Norse Gods, is a tale of reconciliation going back to the very roots of Viking mythology. The Gods themselves were once split into warring clans: the Aesir and the Vanir. The Aesir, led by Odin, invaded the homeland of the Vanir, where Freyr lived with his fellow Vanir Gods and Goddesses.

The two clans fought each other bitterly. As you might expect from beings of vast supernatural power, the war between the two families of Gods went on for a long time, causing vast damage and loss to both sides.

Eventually, both the Aesir and the Vanir were ready for a peace treaty. In order to ensure that both sides honored the peace, the two families exchanged hostages; several Aesir Gods went to live with the Vanir in their homeland, and Freyr (as well as his sister Freya) went to live with the Aesir in Asgard.

Though he comes from an enemy clan, Freyr’s charm and contagious optimism soon won him the trust of the Aesir. As a token of their respect, the Gods gave Freyr Alfheim, the world of the elves, to rule over. In time, Freyr became one of the most prominent and powerful Gods in the Norse pantheon. He is the God of Sacred Kingship and masculine fertility, the bright sun who brings growth and plenty to all the land.

The Blessings of Freyr

A detail from Gotland runestone G 181, in the Swedish Museum of National Antiquities in Stockholm. The three men are interpreted as Odin, Thor, and Freyr.

The gifts that Freyr brings are those that come from a long peace; abundant harvests, stockhouses full of meat and cheese, celebratory feasts where neighbouring clans come together and dancing might lead to strangers becoming spouses.

Freyr himself fell in love with a stranger, in another old tale about the power of peace. He became infatuated by Gerd, a giantess. The giants were a race at war with the Gods. In order to win the trust and affection of his beloved, Freyr agreed to cast aside his magic sword. He won the hand of Gerd and the two were happily married. But Freyr’s sacrifice of his weapon came with a price; he was destined to be slain in the final war, Ragnarok.

Freyr, Lord of the Sun, can teach us how to move from strife and distrust towards peace and prosperity.

Working With Freyr

Ask yourself:

* Is there a way I can turn the forces I see as my enemies into my allies instead?
* Where do I need the life-giving abundance of the sun?
* What am I willing to sacrifice in order to find love and trust?

Freyr teaches us that peace and prosperity are bound up together. In the world of the Vikings, freedom from war meant more hands to work the fields and gather the harvests. For any society, it’s much easier to get along with your neighbours when you know there is plenty of food and sunshine to go around.

In the end, Freyr’s most powerful blessing seems to be the realisation that the well being and prosperity of our neighbours -even those we might sometimes deem enemies–brings good to us as well.

Viking Symbols and Pagan Jewellery

I love Viking symbols because they are filled with beautiful imagery and the powerful stories and mythology from the Norse culture.  Here are some of my favourite Viking signs and symbols that have also been made into gorgeous Pagan jewellery.

Jorgmugand and the Sunwheel

Jormugand is a sea serpent that was one of the three children of Loki and his wife the giant Angrboda.  Jormugand was growing very quickly and this made the other gods nervous, so one day Odin decided to throw him into the sea.

Viking Symbol - Sunwheel and Jormugand
Viking Symbol – Sunwheel and Jormugand

This didn’t really do much as Jormugand grew bigger and bigger until he was able to surround the whole world and grasp his own tail, and because of that he earned the name Midgard Serpent or World Serpent.

Jormugand can be found deep in the ocean where he bites himself in the tail, and we are all caught in the coils of his tail.  In many ways then, this Viking symbol stands for the concept of eternity, or perhaps the cyclical nature of life, on the other hand we are still left with a feeling of uncertainty (no fluffy happy endings in Viking mythology!) since the story goes that if he lets go of his tail we will all die, and when the universe ends, Jormugand and his arch enemy Thor will fight to the death.

However this symbol can be made less dark in the way it is shown in the pendant on the right – Jormugand circling the Sunwheel.

The Sunwheel is a very sacred symbol which can be found on rock carvings and ancient jewellery from the Norse times. The sunwheel symbolises how important sun is to farming and agriculture, and so added to Jormugand really does represent the cyclical nature of life.


Thor’s Hammer

Thor's Hammer
Thor’s Hammer

Thor’s hammer, known as Mjollnir, is the hammer (sometimes depicted as an axe or club) of the fearsome god Thor, and was a very popular pendant in ancient times, since many ancient hammer jewellery pieces have been found.

This mightily powerful weapon is even capable of leveling mountains and so becomes a wonderful way of symbolising strength, both inner and outer, and also precision, since using Mjollnir meant that Thor would never fail in his aim.

Other magickal qualities of the Hammer meant that Thor could throw it and always find it again, and also he could make it so small that he could hide it in his Tunic if he wanted to.  Having a small pendant then, that you can display or hide under your clothes, seems very fitting!

Thor was a particularly popular god for medieval Scandinavians and many ancient pendants of his hammer have been found, and is now an important figure for many Pagans.

The Hammer of Thor was also worn by people as a way to outwardly display their Pagan faith and as to show their opposition to Christianization.  Many people also practiced syncretic beliefs, meaning the combining of two or more religions, and moulds of a combined cross and hammer have been discovered.  This can be seen in the Wolf’s Cross which was a famous Icelandic pendant, worn by both Pagan Vikings and Christians.



Eagershelm aka Aegishjalmur
Eagershelm aka Aegishjalmur

Aka Aegishjalmur – aka “helm of awe’.  This Viking symbol was used for protection, particularly in battle.  It was originally a helmet won by Sigurd when he killed the dragon Fafner, but for the Viking people it was not actually used as a helmet, instead this symbol would be worn over the forehead, maybe scratched into the inside of the helmet, or even drawn on the head using blood or spit.

A warrior about to go into battle would press Aegishjalmur against his head (or draw it on) and say ‘I bear the Helm of Awe’, giving him power and strength in battle, both mentally and physically.

There are also other ways of using and conceptualising Eagershelm, for instance it can be used to put fear into the minds’ of enemies or even to calm the fear in yourself.

Elhaz - Norse Rune

Further magic can be found in the Aegishjalmur, in the way that runes are hidden inside the symbol, particularly the rune Elhaz which can be also be used for protection, and is thought to symbolise an elk’s horns – a powerful symbol of self protection.


Elhaz keeps in good energies and helps to repel the bad, making it ideal for creating a sacred space or even pushing away negative energy and negative people. This rune can be found eight times over at the ends of spokes of this sign, but also eight times more within the spokes itself, making Aegishjalmur an incredibly powerful viking symbol.


I hope you enjoyed this article, feel free to share your favourite things from Norse symbolism.  For more Viking Symbols and Handmade Jewellery, please visit my shop! Or read this article to find out how to magickally charge your jewellery.

Pagans protest at treatment of the Norse God Thor

There is also the additional concern, as Eric Scott pointed out, that the film makers felt that they didn’t really have to worry about what people would think, unlike one of the mainstream religions such as Christianity.

Eric Scott wrote a post at Killing the Buddha that set off a big debate on “What happens when Hollywood gets a hold of your gods.”

The truth is, I looked at the toys in my hands and I saw the result of millions of dollars of development and thousands of hours of manpower, put into something bearing the name of a god, my god, and it had nothing to do with me. Their Thor was a god forgotten by all except the few quiet geeks who read his adventures in Journey into Mystery and The Mighty Thor for forty years. It wasn’t that they meant to upset or unsettle me; they simply realized that people like me were too few to matter. It’s impossible to think of a story about Jesus like this, not written to pander to or irritate Christians, but simply not considering them at all.

Eric Scott goes on to make the point that representations of mythic figures change frequently, and depict different things depending on the context:

Of course the Thor of the movie, and the comics that I grew up reading, is not the same Thor whom Snorri Sturluson wrote of in the Prose Edda, who perhaps is not the same Thor the Norsemen worshipped in the time before Christianity came to Northern Europe. The character Chris Hemsworth plays is not the deity I worship, the god whose symbol hangs around my neck. Anthony Hopkins, in his Hollywood regalia and metallic eyepatch, is not the Gallows-God I pray to. And even if the film is terrible, perhaps someone will watch it and then pick up Kevin Crossley-Holland’s The Norse Myths at the bookstore, and that will make it worthwhile.

On the plus side, many Pagans have actually been pleased with the film, saying that Thor is actually represented in a positive light, a great improvement on the demonification of Paganism that is common in everything from depictions of hag like scary witches at halloween to those who present pagans as devil worshipping.  And as Eric Scott says, if this film switches people on to the actual mythology behind Thor, this could be a good thing.


I haven’t seen the film yet but will definitely be checking it out.  What do you think?  Have you seen the film?  Do you think that filmmakers should be dealing with this issue in the same way as they would have had to with other deities?

(via USA Today)