The Norse Pantheon
Who were the original Aesir?
The two leading gods of the Aesir were Odin and Thor. Odin was the All Father and was also credited with the creation of humans. Like his German cognate, Wotan, he was the god of battle. He was also the god of poetry—real passion being needed for both war and poetry. Odin had mysterious magical and shamanic properties and could even extract the wisdom of the dead, as he did when he sacrificed himself on the world tree. Odin had only one eye and always carried his magic spear, Gungnir. Odin’s son Thor, by Fjorgyn (Earth) was a very different kind of god; he represented law and order.
With his famous hammer, Mjollnir, Thor fought off the evil giants and even competed with the terrible world serpent, Jormungand. The wheels of his mighty chariot were the source of thunder, a word derived from his name.
Another son of Odin was Tyr. Known for his bravery, he even sacrificed his own hand in the necessary binding of the dangerous giant wolf Fenrir, who threatened not only the gods but the whole world.
The first among the goddesses of the Aesir was Odin’s consort, Frigg, who could predict the future. Odin and Frigg produced the gentle and wise Baldr, who was killed accidentally by his brother Hod.
A highly ambiguous god was the trickster Loki, who brought mischief, serious damage, and creativity into Asgard and the whole world.