Vanir

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The Vanir is one of the two kinds of deities in Norse mythology. The others are the Æsir. The Vanir are peace-loving gods, related to Elves ; while Æsir are warlike gods, related to Giants. Important members of the Vanir include:

  • Njord, the god of the sea and wind.
  • Freyr, the god of fertility (crops) and prosperity.
  • Freyja the goddess of fertility (child births), wealth, love, beauty, magic, and battle.
  • Skadi, Njord's wife, Freyr and Freyja's stepmother, a giantess. She is the goddess of winter.
  • Gerd, Freyr's wife, a red-haired giantess.
  • Odr, Freyja's husband, who might be just a doublet of Odin. Nothing is known about Odr except that he often went away on long journeys, and Freyja wept when she missed him. Freyja's tears become the purest gold and amber.
  • Gullveig, an evil witch who was burnt and killed many times by the Æsir. This led to the war between Æsir and Vanir. Loki ate the burnt heart of Gullveig and gave birth to a monster. But Gullveig still lived after all those punishments.
  • Heimdall, Guardian of the Rainbow. Whether he is Æsir or Vanir is doubtful.
  • Ull, God of hunting. In later traditions, Ull is said to be stepson of Thor.

They live in Asgard together with the Æsir as a token of goodwill following a peace treaty. Others live in Vanaheimr. The goddess Freyja receives half of the slain heroes as a share of power between the two clans.