The Gods: Aesir and Vanir

artistic representation of the norse gods of norse mythology including loki, odin, thor, tyr, freya and more.

Aesir, Vanir, Giants and Dwarves

In Norse mythology, the Gods and Goddesses are split between numerous categories, mainly the Aesir, the Vanir, giants, dwarves and more. Some of the gods were monsters, but many of them were remarkably human in their appearance and conduct. One of the more unusual aspects of the Norse gods was that they could die. Granted, the could replenish their youth and extend their lifespans through the consumption of certain special foods, but they would eventually and ultimately die, either by battle-wound, ill health or simply or natural causes.

Aesir is old Norse for multiple gods, and it is in this tribe that the majority of the most well-known gods is found including Odin, Thor, Loki, Frigg, Tyr, Baldur, Heimdall and Bragi. They lived in Asgard, one out of the nine realms, situated in the highest and sunniest branches of the tree of life, or world tree Yggdrasil. Odin is the chief of the Aesir gods, hence his title of “Allfather”.

The Aesir were regarded as being the, for use of a better term, glue that held the cosmos together, preventing the giants from succeeding in their bid to tear down the world, plunging it into chaos. At Ragnarok, aka the twilight of the gods, the gods are destined to fall, and giants succeed in bringing about the end of the entire cosmos.

The second tribe of gods are the Vanir, there is very little historical text on these gods and goddesses, and a lot of the time they are essentially pooled together with the Aesir. Even the meaning of the word Vanir is not known. Nevertheless, this group included Freya, Freyr Njord and Neethu’s. They lived in a separate realm to the Aesir, in the realm known as Vanaheim, also held within the world-tree Yggdrasil.