Lesson Three: The Gods and Goddesses

Readings:

  •  
  • The Poetic Edda:
    • Hávamál (“Sayings of the High One”)
    • Vafþrúðnismál (“Vafthrúdnir's Sayings”)
    • Skírnismál (“Skírnir's Journey”)
    • Hárbarðsljóð (“Hárbard's Song”)
    • Hymiskviða (“Hymir's Poem”)
    • Lokasenna (“Loki's Quarrel”)
    • Þrymskviða (“Thrym's Poem”)

Select one of the following introductory guides:

  • Essential Ásatrú, (either edition)
    • Chapter Six: The Gods
    • Chapter Seven: The Goddesses

OR

  • Our Troth, third edition
  • Volume Two: Heathen Gods (Once again, reading all the relevant parts of Our Troth is itself something of a heroic feat, and perhaps too much for just a Heathen Essential Lesson. I suggest you start by reading as much as you can of the sections on Odin, Baldr, Tyr, Frigg, Njord, Freyr, Freyja, Loki, and Holle.)

OR

  • A Practical Heathen’s Guide to Ásatrú
    • Three: Gods and Goddesses
    • Appendix: The Problem of Loki
      1.  
    • The Way of Fire and Ice
      • Chapter Three: The Norse Gods

Questions and Exercises:

  1. Who are the different gods and goddess of the Germanic pantheon? Which ones are most prominent or important to you?
  2. What is the Prose Edda? Why is it important to heathens today?
  3. What is the Poetic Edda? Why is it important to heathens today?
  4. Consider the connection between many of our gods and goddesses and the various forces of nature. How do our god/desses manifest themselves in the world? Write down your impressions.
  5. Our gods and goddesses operate according to the rules of reciprocity, as we all do. Make an offering to the gods and goddesses you feel closest to in your life, in order to thank them for their gifts. Then, reflect on the experience, and write down your impressions, any omens you noticed, feelings you had, etc.
  6. Examine the accusations Loki makes against the gods and goddesses in Lokasenna. How many are true, and how many outright lies? How many are truths that Loki twists to his own ends? Who defends whom, and why do you think that is important to know? Why do the gods and goddesses bind Loki at the end of the poem?

Heathen Essentials Index