As a background to my Vision Courses to meet the Gods and the Goddesses of the ancient Norse, here’s a brief note to present the Gods and Goddesses of the ancient Norse, and then to explain the relationship between the Norse and Vanir Gods
The Vanir are beautiful Gods and Goddesses of wealth, inspiration, wisdom, fertility, and a deep connection to the earth.
Twin sister of Freyr. Goddess of fertility, seidr, magic, war, and death. She learned the art of seidr from Gullveig, and shared it and other magics with Odin. Freya was married to Od, God who is the Sun. She received the beautiful necklace Brisingamen from the Dwarves, after having slept with four of them.
Father of Freyja and Freyr. God of the sea and shore.
Goddess of wealth and magic and skilled in the healing arts and prophecy. She was treated terribly by the Aesir, until the truce was made and they accepted her essence.
The Aesir are a shining pantheon of Gods and Goddeses whose natures widened greatly, from their part merger with the Vanir and the shamanic currents of the north of Europe.
Odin / Wotan
Warrior, Magician God. King of all the Norse gods and goddesses. Sacrificed himself to seize the magic of the Runes. The Wise One who learned Seithr and shamanic magics, and who has two wolves and two ravens as his power animals.
The main Norse goddesses. Odin’s wife and Balder’s mother. She is the main Norse goddess.
Maybe the most well-known of the Norse gods and goddesses. Odin’s son and Sif’s husband. Known as the thunder god. The strongest god. Protector of mankind. God of war and agriculture.
He is a war god and is Odin’s son. The god of sacrifice and single combat. He has one hand.
Your fate is cast by the Norns: three old women who live at Urd’s Well. Urd’s Well at the foot of the World Tree, Yggdrassil. They carve your runes in wood when you were born and predict your destiny. And when it’s Time, they cut your thread. They are past, present, and future. They hold the world together. The Norns hold the universal order. From the beginning, they wove the threads of fate. They heal the World Tree from the dragon Nidhogg who ever gnaws at its roots. They sit there, ever chanting endlessly the Orlog: the rules that govern cosmic balance. Determiners of Destinies of Gods and Men! Against whom not even the Aesir gods could contend!
The son of two giants. he is a trickster. Norse mythology explains how he leads the giants in their victory against the gods in the final battle of Ragnarok. He married the hideous giantess Angrbroda, and their monstrous children threaten of order of the Gods
The first being. Embodies Unity Consciousness.
The noble God who is the guardian of Bi-Frost the Rainbow Bridge that links Middle Earth to Asgard the abode of the Aesir Gods. He will sound the Gjallarhorn on the terrible final day of Ragnarok, when the Forces of Chaos will attack the shining Gods of Asgard.
Balder The Beautiful. Odin and Frigg’s son – a wise and gentle god. Accidentally killed by his brother Hod.
This terrible Norse goddess is ruler of the realm of the dead (Helheim). She is the daughter of Loki and Angrbroda. One side of her face is beautifully fair; the other side is foul beyond any telling.
What is the difference between the Norse and the Vanir?
My perception is that the Norse came to the Northern Lands in the Baltic region, about 2000 years ago. They were an Indo-European people, and part of the Indo-European invasions, and they followed the Indo-European invasions way of life that we also see with the Celts and Hellenes.
The Indo-Europeans fanned out in all directions from their land of origin in the Caspian / Southern Steppes. They carried with them their language (which evolved outwards like a family tree), their superior agriculture and weaponry, their trade, their ritual spirituality and Gods, and their societal structures.
They were akin to other Germanic tribes, but these various Indo-European tribes arriving in the North of Europe, diverged and lost touch with each other as they spread northwards, and so their languages and spiritual beliefs and practices diverged, as did their definition of their alphabet: The Runes.
They set off from what might be roughly defined as the Balkans/Caspian area. They were led by their powerful warrior magician God, Odin. There is evidence they got the runes as an alphabet from the Phoenicians, but they utterly transformed its spiritual dimensions, the same as the ancient Irish Druids did with The Ogham.
And so, the Norse developed a unique magical visionary cosmological dimension to this alphabet: the Runes.
The Gods of the Norse were a hierarchy akin to the Gods of the ancient Greeks and Romans and the Aryan people who invaded Northern India – all from the same place of origin. (The Norse much later changed into the Vikings).
The important thing is that the Northern land that the Norse settled in to conquer, was already occupied – by the Vanir. The Vanir had a magnificent range of god consciousness, in some ways not dissimilar to the Gods and Goddesses of the ancient Irish. The Norse fought to enslave the Vanir, but failed, and so the two cultures merged, and their sense of Gods merged. And the result is pure magic and such wonder, power, strength, healing and beauty to connect with.
The Vanir Gods whom the Norse encountered as they invaded, are very different from the Norse. The Vanir Gods are part of the Earth and the Sea. They are sensual, visionary and earth-magical.
And there was also a very important admixture into all this from shamanic-practising older-culture indigenous peoples of the region too: such as the Sami and the Yakut.
And then there are the Giants: Just as behind the pantheon of the Vedic peoples, the Greeks and Romans, for the Norse, too there is an older displaced order of Titans/Giants.
The Priests of the Norse were Vitkis and Gothi.
The Priestesses of the Norse were the Volvas, who were akin to the Pythonesses of Delphi, the Vestals of Rome and to shamanesses.
Most importantly, the stories of Mimir indicate a clear awareness that the Norse found when they reached their Northern Lands, of connection to unity consciousness, and how Unity Consciousness must be left behind so as to engage with the physical world, but must not be destroyed. Thus, Like Mimir’s body was dismembered by Odin and his ‘brothers’ so as to create the physical Middle Earth, one of the Nine Worlds, that are connected by the World Tree; Yggdrassil.
Essentially the root sense of the Norse Gods are militarist and hierarchical, and this is why they must fall prey to the forces of chaos at the prophesied Ragnarok, in the eternal cycle of creation and destruction (as seen with Shiva and Vishnu).
And importantly, after Ragnarok, a new cycle will begin: two teenagers arrive at Mimir’s grove! But the contact the Norse Gods had with the Vanir and the shamanic peoples very much widened their nature and their magic.
So, basically this is the presentation I learned at Oxford, form one of my Tutors who is the son of JRR Tolkien.