Nine Waves

The Nine Waves are the nine daughters of Ægir and Rán, who represent the waves.

  • Bára (or Drǫfn) – Foam Fleck, Comber
  • Blóðughadda – Bloody Hair
  • Bylgja – Billow
  • Dúfa – Pitching Wave
  • Hefring – Rising Wave
  • Himinglæva – Transparent Wave
  • Hrǫnn – Welling Wave
  • Kólga – Cool Wave
  • Unnr (or Uðr) – Frothing Wave

Ægir

Ægir (anglicised as Aegir or Aeger – also known as Hlér – the common Swedish form is Ägir) is a jötunn of the sea. He is a god of the sea and of brewing.

He is a personification of the power of the ocean. He was also known for hosting elaborate parties for the Æsir, who appoint him their host in the Hymiskviða due to a large number of kettles he possesses.

Rán

Rán is the wife of the giant Ægir. She is a goddess of the sea, living with her husband in an underwater hall. She captures sailors and drowns them in her net. She loans the net to Loki so he can capture Andvari the dwarf.

She is mother to nine daughters, the Nine Waves.

Freyr

Sometimes anglicized as Frey, his name means “lord” and he is described as the King of Elfheim/Alfheim (Grímnismál 5). Freyr is associated with sacral kingship, virility, peace and prosperity, with sunshine and fair weather, and with good harvest. He is a Lord of Earth and Sea, invoked for weather conditions and plant growth, and it is said that he bestows frith and pleasure to all men (Wright, 2016). Freyr is associated with the rune Ingwaz.

Thor

In Germanic mythology, Thor (from Old Norse: Þórr) is a hammer-wielding god associated with lightning, thunder, storms, sacred groves and trees, strength, the protection of mankind, and also hallowing and fertility.

Besides Old Norse Þórr, the deity occurs in Old English as Þunor, in Old Frisian as Thuner, in Old Saxon as Thunar, and in Old High German as Donar, all ultimately stemming from the Common Germanic theonym *Þunraz, meaning ‘thunder’.

Auðumbla

The first Auroch, the primal cow or Cow Goddess. Her name is generally accepted as meaning “hornless cow rich in milk” (from Old Norse auðr meaning ‘riches’ and humala meaning’hornless’).

The primordial frost jötunn Ymir fed from her milk, and over the course of three days she licked away the salty rime rocks and revealed Búri, grandfather of the gods, and brothers Odin, Vili and Vé.

Auðumbla’s narrative occurs in the Gylfaginning section of the Prose Edda. The cow Auðumbla’s tears produced four rivers of milk, from which Ymir fed. She licked salty rime stones for sustenance, and once licked salts for three days, revealing Búri: The first day she licked free his hair, the second day his head, and the third day his entire body.

Freyja

Freyja (alternate spellings include Freya) is the goddess of love, sex, beauty, death, and sorcery. Her name means “Lady.”

Freyja is a Vanir, but was made an honorary Aesir after the Aesir-Vanir war.

Freya with Brisingamen / J. Penrose, 1890 / Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons
Freya with Brisingamen,J. Penrose (1890)

Freyja’s necklace, Brisingamen, is a symbol of fertility made of amber or gold. These were precious materials in the North. Freyja earned this necklace by laying with four dwarves, who represent the four elements. One of Freyja’s nicknames is Syr, which refers to a female pig or sow. We may find it vulgar to call someone a pig, but to the Norse they were sacred, and this is an excellent fertility symbol; in fact, Frey has a golden boar (Gullinbursti) on whose back he travels, and Freya has a battle swine called Hildisvin (Aswynn, 1998).

Freyja rules the afterlife realm Fólkvangr, on which sits her hall Sessrúmnir, which complements Odin’s hall, Valhalla. 

Freyja is a Völva and practitioner of Seidr. She is something of a shaman and a seer. 

Personal Experience

Freyja is the goddess that called me to this path. I picked up the runes because I had a vision that my father told me it was time. When I was introduced to them, it was Freyja that greeted me. She presented me with a piece of amber engraved with the rune Perthro. I often carry a real piece of amber with me to remember this vision.