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Völva the Viking Witch or Seeress
A Völva or as it is pronounced in old Norse a Vǫlva (in Danish a ”Vølve”), is what we in English would call a Seeress. You could compare it to someone who practiced shamanism or witchcraft. So a Völva is a Nordic version of a shaman or witch, that practiced magic. The Völva in the Viking age were the predecessors of the medieval witches, so you could say, they were witches before it became cool. A Völva is not something that just dates back to the Viking age, a Völva is, in fact, very ancient, and their roots go back more than 2.000 – 3.000 years.
Continue reading below or watch the video, to learn the true definition of a Völva/Vǫlva (The Old Norse Viking Witch)
Freya and the Link Between the Mortal and Eternal Realm
If one is not honorable with the use of Freya's gifts, she can be a terrible Goddess indeed, in respect to her retribution. She is one of the oldest Goddesses of The Norse pantheon, second only to the great Goddesses of The Primordial Realm. She is an ambassador for The Primordial Goddesses, and when one crosses her, she delivers that individual over to the primordial goddesses to be tested, or punished. Nevertheless, her blessings are vast, and more priceless than all the Norse Gods combined. She is the link between the realm of mortals, and symbol of the eternal realms that the human eye cannot see.
Kid Songs Around The World - A Mama Lisa eBook
100 Songs (350 Pages) With Sheet Music And Links To Recordings
Whoever the children are in your life - your kids, your grandkids, your students, even yourself (in your heart) - Kid Songs Around The World is a wonderful way to help them experience other languages and cultures.
We've gathered 100 of our favorite songs and rhymes from all the continents of the globe. (Over 350 pages!)
Each song includes the full text in the original language, with an English translation, and most include sheet music.
All include links to web pages where you can listen to recordings, hear the tune or watch a video performance.
Each includes a beautiful illustration. Many have commentary sent to us by our correspondents who write about the history of the songs and what they've meant in their lives.
We hope this book will help foster a love of international children's songs!
by Emma Groeneveld
Freyja (Old Norse for ‘Lady’, ‘Woman’, or ‘Mistress’) is the best-known and most important goddess in Norse mythology. Beautiful and many-functioned, she features heavily as a fertility goddess stemming from her place in the Vanir family of the gods (the other and main one is the Æsir family) along with her twin brother Freyr and father Njord, and stars in many myths recorded in Old Norse literature as lover or object of lust. She lives in Fólkvangr (‘Field of the People’), rides a carriage drawn by cats, and is connected not just with love and lust but also with wealth, magic, as well as hand-picking half of all fallen warriors on battlefields to go into Odin’s hall of Valhalla – the other half being selected by Odin himself. She likely played an important role in old Scandinavian religion.
Freyja is part of the Vanir family of the gods who handle all things fertility-related, including harvests (her brother Freyr) wind, sea, and wealth (her father Njord) and her own expertise regarding love, lust, and wealth, too. Her mother appears to have been giant-daughter and wife of Njord, Skadi, and while originally Freyja may have been paired in a brother-sister married couple with Freyr, Icelandic mythographer Snorri Sturluson (1179-1241 CE) – our most comprehensive source when it comes to Norse mythology – has her down as wife of Ódr, who she has two daughters with Hnoss and Gersimi (Gylfaginning, 35). These names both mean something along the lines of ‘preciousness’ or ‘treasure’ and were possibly used in later poetry as manifestations of Freyja herself.
Ódr is said to have gone traipsing around on long journeys, inexplicably leaving Freyja behind, who would then search for him while weeping golden tears this tale dates back to at least as early as the 10th century CE. He and Odin are commonly thought to have originally been one and the same person, with Ódr functioning as a shortened form of Odin.
One of Freyja’s attributes has already been mentioned: her cat-drawn carriage with which she zooms around the Norse mythological cosmos. Another is a garment – a coat, cloak or dress-like thing – made out of falcon feathers. Possibly, the boar Hildisvíni should also be counted among Freyja’s attributes the Hyndluljóð poem has her riding said boar, and a boar connection, in general, is made more plausible by the fact that her brother Freyr is also associated with a boar, in his case named Gullinborsti. Sýr, another name of Freyja’s, is sometimes translated as ‘sow’, too, but it also might mean ‘to protect’, ‘to shield,’ in which case it would negate this third boar link. Germanic mythological powerhouse H. R. Ellis Davidson adds another animal: “Horses were certainly associated with the fertility pair Freyr and Freyja, and said to be kept in their holy places” (104). Her last – but not least – attribute is the necklace Brísingamen.
FREYJA’S MANY ROLES
The baseline of Freyja’s various functions comes from her role as fertility goddess as per her Vanir descent. Specifically, her other name Horn (Hǫrn, or Härn) probably comes from Old Norse horr, which means flax or linen. This was an important product which began being cultivated early on in Scandinavia and was thought to ward off evil and give fertility to humankind. Flax manufacture was a female affair, and as bridal dresses were made of linen, Freyja became a sort of defender of love and weddings, too. Another one of her names, Gefn, is Old Norse for ‘giver’, bringing to mind a role as a goddess of plenty.
The handed-down mythology emphasises Freyja’s role in all things related to sexuality (apart from childbirth, with which she seems unconcerned). For one, she often features as an irresistible object of lust, mainly in the eyes of the giants. The giant Thrym, for example, is only cool with returning the hammer he has stolen from Thor if he gets Freyja for his own. Besides her being the ‘price’ of many things – which the other gods try to avoid paying, as such – other myths reinforce Freyja’s supposed free and considerable sexuality. Although Loki in the Lokasenna poem badmouths everyone around him and accuses all the goddesses of various sexual acts, Freyja is reprimanded by Loki as follows:
Be silent, Freyja! | for fully I know thee,
Sinless thou art not thyself
Of the gods and elves | who are gathered here,
Each one as thy lover has lain. (30)
She also consents to sleep with four dwarves in turn in order for them to hand over the Brísingamen to her and is accused in the Hyndluljóð poem of being the hero Óttar’s lover. Presumably, then, early Scandinavians looked to Freyja in matters of love and lust.
To make things even better, Freyja is also a goddess of wealth, as attested to by the many poetic references that link her to treasure. Her tears are said to be made of gold, even being synonymous with the material:
Gold is called Freyja’s Tears (…). So sang Skúli Thorsteinsson:
Many a fearless swordsman
Received the Tears of Freyja.
The fact that Freyja’s daughters’ names Hnoss and Gersimi mean ‘preciousness’ or ‘treasure’ could arguably be seen as the “product of poetic convention in which Freyja was recognized as the source of treasure: perhaps as the weeper of golden tears, perhaps as a goddess ruling over wealth” (Billington & Green, 61).
Her connection with magic is also well-known, and Snorri Sturluson relays how it was Freyja who first taught the shamanistic magic called seiðr to the Æsir. Finally, the way Freyja chooses slain warriors to be on her as opposed to Odin’s team carries her into more ferocious spheres, functioning as a goddess of death and perhaps even battle itself. Which god selects you seems to boil down to social or personal status, or perhaps comes from the fact that both the Vanir and the Æsir needed someone to fulfil this role on the battlefield. This link between Freyja and Odin, as well as Odin’s own strong proficiency with magic, helps illustrate how Odin and Ódr, Freyja’s husband, could plausibly have originally been the same person.
MYTHS INVOLVING FREYJA
As evidenced above, there are plenty of myths recorded in the Old Norse sources that are keen to dive into the subject of Freyja. The Hyndluljóð poem emphasises she was more than just a pretty face in it, Freyja visits wise-woman Hyndla asking her to unravel the hero Óttar’s ancestry, soaking up this knowledge. However, in the Þrymskviða (the ‘Lay of Thrym’, a poem possibly composed in the 12th or 13th century CE and found in the Poetic Edda), her desirability is once again a core theme. The story tells of Thor’s hammer being stolen by the giant Thrym, who will not return the hammer unless he gets his hands on Freyja. Freyja refuses to tag along, however, giving up the Brísingamen to help Thor disguise himself as her. After almost giving things away because Thor gorged himself to such an extent at the wedding banquet so as to raise suspicion – his burning eyes not helping either – Loki luckily smooth-talks his way out of it and ensures they get the hammer back. For good measure, Thor kills Thrym and a bunch of other giants on his way out.
As for other giant-related myths, the giant Hrungnir boasts he would bodily move Valhalla into Jotunheimen (the realm of the giants), sink Asgard (the realm of the gods), and kill all the gods except for Freyja and Sif, who he will take home with him (Skáldskaparmál, 17). In the tale of the Giant Master Builder, a giant offers to build walls around Asgard as long as he gets Freyja, the sun and the moon. Regarding her necklace Brísingamen, which is assigned to Freyja by Late Old Norse sources (13th and 14th centuries CE), the most famous myth concerns its theft (most commonly by Loki) but is preserved in such a fragmentary and tricky way that it is now rather hard to come up with one comprehensive story. The most detailed version is also the youngest and thus not the pinnacle of reliability: the Sǫrla Þáttr, which survives in the 14th century CE Flateyjarbók, describes how Freyja sleeps with four dwarves to get the Brísingamen, and how Odin then forces Loki to steal the necklace from her. Loki enters her bedroom as a fly, stings her so she moves her hand off of the necklace, and grabs it. By contrast, Snorri Sturluson has Loki and Heimdall fighting each other over the necklace (Skáldskaparmál, 8).
CULT OF FREYJA
As a fertility goddess, Freyja would have taken up a central role in old Scandinavian religion, playing a part in the circle of life. J. P. Schjødt explains her special position:
Freyja is one of the few individual goddesses who has had a major role in the more official religious cult (whereas many female deities seen as collectives played a part in both myth and ritual). She incorporates many traits that can be found in fertility goddesses all over the world, among whom is a clear connection also to death. (Brink & Price, 221)
The Old Norse sources do not specifically detail the existence of a cult of Freyja per se, but the large number of place-names in Sweden and Norway related to her name, such as Frøihov (from Freyjuhof, ‘Freyja’s temple’) and Frǫvi (from Freyjuvé, ‘Freyja’s shrine’), show clear worship, perhaps even pointing to a public cult as opposed to the domestic cult one would expect of a goddess of love. It is clear that the people of Iceland on the cusp of conversion to Christianity around the year 1000 CE still had Freyja clearly on their mind. The Íslendingabók states that Hjalti Skeggjason, a supporter of Christianity, was outlawed for blasphemy after calling Freyja a bitch (in this case a female dog, but taken to mean he wanted to call her a whore) at the Althing parliament. She was obviously still important enough for people to not successfully get away with these sorts of things.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Emma has studied History & Ancient History. During her Master’s she focused on Herodotus as well as the juicy politics of ancient courts, but more recently she has been immersing herself in everything prehistoric. She both writes and edits for AHE.
Norse Mythology Is Way More Than Thor
In 2011, everyone suddenly fancied themselves an expert on Norse mythology, thanks to the cinematic adaptation of one central figure: Thor. Whether it was an unexpected interest in the Scandinavian mythological framework of the Viking Age or — more likely — Chris Hemsworth's dedication to deadlifts and crunches, ancient Norse mythology was having a very modern moment.
But beyond the Hollywood versions of characters like Thor, there's a centuries-old history behind Norse mythology that experts are still discovering and busting myths around. Here are some of the basic facts to know.
The Original Sources of Nordic Mythology Are Two 13th-Century Books
"The main original sources are two books called Edda written down in Iceland in the 1200s C.E.," writes Dr. Jackson Crawford, resident scholar at the Center of the American West at the University of Colorado Boulder, via email. "One, the 'Poetic Edda,' is an anonymous compilation of about thirty Old Norse poems about the gods and heroes. Based on linguistic evidence, many of these poems probably were composed before Iceland was converted to Christianity (in 1000 C.E.), so these are our most direct sources. The poems include narratives about creation, the end of the world at Ragnarök, and the gods' many adventures between."
The other book, the "Prose Edda," was written around 1200 C.E. by the Icelandic poet and politician Snorri Sturlson, who also wrote a collection of sagas called the "Heimskringla." "Snorri was trying to preserve the traditional style of Old Norse poetry for a younger generation that was increasingly following the more fashionable poetic style and themes of England and France (the Arthurian stories were popular in his day even in Iceland)," Crawford says. "To teach the old poetic style, he had to teach the myths, which were alluded to extensively even in poems that weren't directly about the gods." According to Crawford, the "Prose Edda" quotes its predecessor, the "Poetic Edda" and "streamlines" certain narratives in more cohesive ways.
Jackson explains more about the differences between the Eddas here:
The Gods of Norse Mythology Aren't Quite Like Other Gods
"Our temptation today is to say that one god is 'god of' this and another 'goddess of' that, but these labels don't match well with the reality of their portrayal in our surviving medieval sources," Crawford says. "It's not especially meaningful to talk about who is 'god of' what or 'goddess of' what. The gods are more distinct personalities than distinct roles in the Eddic texts."
Unlike the Greek or Roman gods who weave a tangled web of interconnected stories, marriages, murders and more (or the 2,000-plus deities of the Egyptian religion), the Nordic mythological figures are somewhat separate and distinct. "The gods are not particularly united, except in terms of where they live (in the realm of Asgard, which means the 'enclosure of the gods'), and who their mortal enemies are," Crawford says. "The gods are opposed to a group of beings called the jotnar in Old Norse. These beings are usually called 'giants' in English translation but they are not actually larger than the gods or any different in appearance. Most of the gods (including Thor and Odin) have at least one parent from among the jotnar or 'giants.'"
There Are, However, Four Main Gods to Know
There are likely more than a dozen Norse gods who belong to two major tribes — Æsir and Vanir — but the four who come up the most in the stories in the Eddas are Thor, Odin, Loki and Freyja.
"Thor is the protector of the realm of the gods, as well as human beings, from the gods' enemies," Crawford says. "He fights with his great hammer Mjollnir, forged for him by the dwarves."
While Thor may be the one most of us are familiar with, thanks to the modest Marvel franchise helmed by Chris Hemsworth, he's actually not the top dog when it comes to Nordic gods. "Odin is the highest-ranked of the gods," Crawford says. "He stirs up battles and fighting among humankind, so that he can have his Valkyries (mortal women in his service with the gift of flight) harvest the dead from the battlefield for his own army he is collecting in Valhalla."
Marvel took inspiration from another Nordic god in the character of Loki, a supervillain turned hero. "Loki is an ambivalent figure who is sometimes a comical sidekick to Thor, and yet will lead the forces of the 'giants' (jotnar) and monsters against the gods during the final battle of Ragnarök," Crawford says, adding one myth-busting fact: "Thor and Loki aren't brothers, despite their portrayal as such in the Marvel films."
The best known goddess of Nordic mythology is known for zooming around Asgard in a cat-drawn carriage. "Freyja is a beautiful goddess often desired by the 'giants' (jotnar) and by pretty much everyone else too," Crawford says. "Her name simply means 'lady' or 'noblewoman,' and probably isn't her original name — it's likely that at some earlier point she was identified with Odin's wife, Frigg."
While there are plenty of other gods in the Nordic world, they have a much more limited presence in the Eddas, according to Crawford. "Heimdall guards the realm of the gods, Týr sacrifices his hand to bind the wolf Fenrir until the final battle of Ragnarök, and Frey gives up his only weapon in order to marry a woman he desires from among the jotnar," he says. "Today we often underestimate the importance of the main Norse mythical heroes, such as the heroes of the Volsung legends like the dragon-slayer Sigurth, whose love affair with the cursed Valkyrie named Brynhild causes his death."
Destruction Is Inevitable — and Predestined
"One of the central beliefs of Norse mythology and a belief that sets it apart from most other mythologies, is the underlying concept that the gods are doomed to destruction," writes Jesse Byock, author of "Viking Age Iceland" and translator of "The Prose Edda," via email. "Ragnarök, the final battle between the gods and monsters, such as the Midgard Serpent and the giants, will end in disaster. Knowing the coming disaster in advance, the gods accept their fate, but try to stave off the timing of the battle and weaken their opponents. Odin, in Valhalla, gathers about him an army of dead warriors who will march out to defeat in the final battle, while Thor repeatedly strives to keep the power of the giants at bay. Both the 'Prose' and 'Poetic Edda' present vivid images of this final war."
"Each person (and god) has a destined day of death, which that person almost certainly doesn't know — though now and then a myth or saga has a seeress reveal someone's destiny, usually in mysterious and vague terms," Crawford says. "Because there is only one way to get into the glorious afterlife (by dying), there is a cultural imperative to fight on almost any pretext — because if you die fighting, you were destined to die anyway that day."
The Body and Mind Are Not Distinct From the Souls or Spirits
"There is no separable 'soul' or 'spirit' the afterlife involves the whole person," Crawford says. "Most of the dead go to Hel — spelled with one l not a place of torment, but just an underground world often literally understood as within the grave mound. As the Viking Age progresses, there grows a belief that men who die in battle may go to Valhalla, where they will join the god Odin's army at Ragnarök."
Mythology Played a Central Role in Viking Society, But More for Entertainment Than Worship
"No doubt many of the myths of the 'Poetic Edda' were told for entertainment — such as the story of Thor having to retrieve his hammer while dressed like a bride in the poem, 'Thrymskvitha.'" Crawford says. "Others contained traditional wisdom, channeled through the voice of a god like Odin, such as the poem 'Hávamál.'"
"While the Eddas contain stories about the Norse gods and some traditional wisdom, they don't contain information about how the Nordic society of the time worshiped gods or if and how they might have prayed to them. The stories in the Eddas do date back to pre-Christian times (based on linguistic and other evidence). But medieval Christians were willing to, and did, transmit stories without transmitting the actual religion."
Vikings weren't just one group of people they lived in groups across a large geographic region but shared many of the same pre-Christian beliefs and cultural practices of other speakers of Old Norse across northern Europe. And while it's been reported that practitioners of Nordic religion met in the open air to "praise the gods and make offerings to them," the formal worship of Norse gods (as well as other figures) known as "Asatro" didn't become popular until the 19th century. The Vikings themselves didn't have a name for their religion, and simply called it "the old way" (Forn Sidr), in contrast to Christianity, which they considered "the new way."
"Consider how a Christian parent today might read a child a bedtime story about Hercules," Crawford says. "Both of them are 'safe' to do so because there's no one around them who takes the stories of the Greek gods as the foundation of an alternative religion — they're just entertaining stories. No parent today tells a bedtime story about Hercules and concludes it with the instructions for how to sacrifice livestock to him. No doubt it was similar when the Eddas were written down in the 1200s in Iceland the stories were valued and enjoyed, but Christianity had supplanted the rites and practices of the old religion that worshipped those gods, and so the latter weren't passed down along with the stories."
GODS of Death, Destruction, and the Underworld
Religion: Ancient Egyptian Mythology
Anubis isn’t only a god of the death, but also embalmment and tombing. Anubis is believed to be the son of Osiris (a god of death) and Nephthys (goddess of the sky and mourning). Anubis is believed to have a significant canine face, more like a jackal, with the body of a man. When someone dies, Anubis takes them to the Underworld, where they’re under the care of Osiris. Anubis’ duties as a god of death are to ensure that the deceased gets a fair burial and judgment in the afterlife.
This god of death is also believed to assist with resurrection. According to mythology, Anubis acts like the bodyguard for Osiris, where he uses his physical prowess to tackle the attackers. Not only he oversees death and its related matters but is also the god of protection and justice.
Religion: Greek Mythology
According to Greek mythology, Thanatos was the personified spirit of the god of non-violent death. He is described as a minor and barely appearing in person but if you refer to the Greek vase painting, Thanatos appears as a bearded old man with wings, or more likely a beardless youth. Since Hades took over the Underworld, the honor of ruling the death itself fell to Thanatos.
The name of this god of death itself translates to ‘death’ in Greek. Thanatos is the son of Hypnos, the god of sleep, and Nyx, the goddess of night. It is believed that Thanatos is responsible for transporting the dying and dead souls to the Underworld, where they’re under the care of Hades.
Religion: Greek Mythology
According to Greek mythology, the victorious Olympian brothers Hades, Poseidon, and Zeus divided the significant duties of the world amongst themselves. Hades was assigned the ruler of the Underworld. It is believed that Hades has a massive palace beneath the earth, and he owned all the precious stones and jewels, which is why he enjoyed all the luxurious of lavish living. For all his possessions, Hades also became the rule of wealth.
While Thanatos took over the ruling of the death, Hades was the god of the Underworld. And despite the stories of his encounters and the fear of his name – which people believed took them closer to death itself, Hades was considered the least powerful of all the brothers and was believed to be of a non-evil, giving nature. Cerberus, his constant three-headed hound always accompanied this god of the Underworld.
Religion: Hindu Mythology
The Hindu Vedic tradition was honored as the god of death. In Hinduism, there’s a very valued book known as the ‘Book of Destiny’, where you can find the records of each person’s lifetime and death. Yama is believed to be the ruler of this entire process. The honor of being the god of death was granted to Yama as according to Hindu mythology, Yama was the very first human to die and found his way to the Underworld where he became the ruler of the dead.
Hindus also believe that Yama is the king of all ancestors, king of ghosts, and the king of justice. While some people fear the god of death because of these two hounds, others believe that Yama doesn’t possess any wickedness or evil at all.
Religion: Norse Mythology
Freyja is a popular goddess in Norse mythology regarded for her association with death. But that’s not all that the goddess is associated with. Freyja is also an example of love, beauty, fertility, abundance, battle, and war. Despite being a goddess of death, Freyja is often remembered as a figure that helps in childbirth, to boost positivity, and to seek assistance on marital problems. And even though she is associated with something most people fear – death – she was a beautiful goddess loved by all, including the Asgardians, giants, and elves.
Freya’s image depicts her flying around in her feline carriage or hawk-feathered cloak. She is one of the most famous and loved goddesses in Norse mythology. Not only she was in-charge of the death, but also the underworld where the majority of the souls were of people who died in a battle. The other half of the underworld was taken care of by Odr, the god she married.
Religion: Greek Mythology
Even though Hecate was the goddess of death according to Greek mythology, she was also associated with magic, crossroad, light, knowledge of poisonous plants and herbs, and ghosts. On the other hand, people also correlated as a goddess of childbirth and fertility. However, most of the scenarios in mythology discussed her links with destruction and the underworld more. People who follow Greek mythology also believed that Hecate ruled the world of spirits.
The goddess appeared in the generation between the Titans and Olympians and is therefore also regarded as the goddess of necromancy and witchcraft. Hecate’s description shows her holding two torches, which is a sign of protection. People also believe that she is the gatekeeper between the real world and graveyards.
7. Meng Po
Religion: Chinese Mythology
Chinese mythology claims several realms beneath the Earth. Meng Po is responsible for the Diyu realm, which is the realm of the dead. The goddess’s task is to ensure that the souls who are to be incarnated have their memories wiped out so they do not remember anything about their previous life or their time in hell. For the same reason, she is also often referred to as the goddess of forgetfulness.
The goddess is believed to serve the soup on the Bridge of Forgetfulness or the Nai He Bridge. The soup is a special recipe that the goddess prepares herself by collecting herbs from various streams and ponds. This soup wipes the memory of the person who is to be reincarnated into the next life to ensure they move on without the burdens and experiences of their previous life. She is believed to meet the dead souls at the entrance of the Fengdu realm.
Religion: Norse Mythology
According to Norse mythology, Hel is regarded as the ruler of the underworld and death. She is the daughter of Loki – the god of mischief – and giantess Angrboda. Her appearance has an unclear depiction, which is like half flesh-colored and half blue skin with some gloomy texture. She is believed to be the caretaker of a large hall called Eljuonir, which according to Norse mythology is a hall where mortals go if they died of a natural cause or sickness.
Norse mythology depicts Hel’s character as a merciless goddess. She is known as a greedy demigod with half of her body dead and only half alive. The goddess is often portrayed in black and white, representing the two sides of the spectrum as a simultaneous time of the beginnings and endings.
9. Morrighan (Celtic)
Religion: Irish Mythology
One of the most revered gods, the Morrighan is the goddess of war, strife, battle, death, and fertility according to Celtic mythology. She was one of the most well-regarded goddesses notably in Ireland but also in other parts of Europe including France. She is also known by the names ‘Phantom Queen’ or ‘Great Queen’ and was depicted as one goddess or a trio of sister goddesses. The trio – in most cases – comprised of Badb (crow), Macha (sovereignty), and Nemain (frenzy in battle). This does not mean she was different gods but one with different aspects.
Morrighan can take the form of a raven or crow, and in her original form, she was often surrounded by these ominous birds. In some cases, she would also take the form of a cow or wolf, which indicated that she was also considered the goddess of the fertility of sovereignty and land. Since she had a great association with war and battles, she was also regarded as a great warrior.
Religion: Egyptian Mythology
Osiris is the god of death and the underworld but he is also regarded as the god of transition, regeneration, and resurrection. And while he is the god of death according to Egyptian mythology, he is often described as the Lord of Love in ancient times. He depicts black-green skin, which symbolizes resurrection and rebirth.
After becoming a Pharaoh, he was viciously murdered by his own brother due to jealousy. Set chopped up Osiris’ body and locked him in a coffin that he sent down the Nile. Osiris’ body was found by his sisters, lovers, and his son, who put him back together. His rebirth and resurrection called for savage times and Osiris became the ruler of the Underworld.
Religion: Maori Mythology
Whiro is the god of death and known as the lord of evil or darkness. They are said to be responsible for the ills of all persons. It is also believed that Whiro gained his powers by eating the bodies of the people who die and are descended into the underworld. Whiro is known as the embodiment of all evil, a contrast to his brother who is also his enemy, Tane.
The process of eating the dead makes Whiro sufficiently powerful to break free of the underworld, which will enable them to rise to the surface and devour everyone and anything on it. This is why cremation is put into place to prevent this because Whiro cannot gain strength from ashes. Whiro is believed to live in Taiwhetuki – the house of death – which is a deep and dark cave that contains all the evil, including black magic.
Religion: Canaanite Mythology
According to the ancient West Semitic, Mot is the god of death, doubt, and infertility. He was a prominent god to the Canaanites. He was one of the sons of El and has a history of the battle of brothers. He was not only the god of death but also the underworld and was worshipped by the people of Phoenicians and Ugarit. It was believed that Mot’s bottom lip touched the earth while the top reached the heavens.
The non-social god preferred isolation and was rather scared of other Gods. His biggest energy was Baal, the god of rains and storms. It was believed that Baal later feared Mot more because he built a divine palace without windows to keep away from his enemy gods.
Religion: African Mythology
Like most gods of African origin, Adro is one of the aspects of one supreme god. Adro depicts the evil side while Adroa is the benevolent side, also known as the god in the sky. Adroa was remote from the matters on earth. Each of the two aspects of the supreme god has half a body, one eye, one arm, one ear, one kidney, one leg, etc.
While Adroa is regarded as perfection itself, he had no direct contact or involvement in earth matters. Adro was responsible for the matters on earth and was the only one who could get direct with humans. Adro remained invisible but he could take different forms for appearance. Sometimes he would also appear almost translucent like a white and tall half-man to people who are on the verge of death. Adro possesses young women, causes illnesses and death, and even abducts people for the sake of eating them.
Religion: Egyptian Mythology
Sekhmet is a goddess most commonly associated with death, retribution, and destruction in Egyptian mythology. Other than that, she was also correlated to the powers of medication, healing, and the sun. The goddess is depicted in the form of a lioness figure according to history. Most people confuse Sekhmet with Bestet but there are certain features that differentiate between the two. According to mythology, the sculptures of Sekhmet are red while Bestet’s green. Sekhmet cannot be associated with either good or evil. She is believed to have an unpredictable nature, which can lead to destruction. She is known to bring bad luck, plaque, and disease to people who disobeyed her.
The lioness-headed goddess of war and destruction was formed from the divine eye of Ra, the god of the sun, who initially formed her to end humanity’s evil but eventually transformed her into a gentler goddess Hathor.
Religion: Slavic Mythology
Also known as Cert, Czernobog, and Chernobog, this god is the embodiment of evil and darkness and everything unfortunate known to mankind. The name ‘Crnobog’ itself translated to ‘dark master’ or ‘black god’ which is a clear depiction of his power over destruction, havoc, night, and all unfortunate things. According to Slavic history, Crnobog was the most feared god with a highly mysterious nature that made him even more frightening to people.
The god is believed to be the ruler of the chaos, night, winter, and could generate all the evils around the earth. It was said that the impact of his powers begins with the winter solstice – when the nights are the longest – and would last up to spring when the power would switch in favor of Belobog, the god of goodness, light, and summer.
Religion: Siberian Mythology
According to Siberian mythology, the earth was the creation of Ulgan, the creator god. Ulgan was also responsible for creating Elrik, by giving this piece of mud a spirit and giving it a name. Elrik is believed to have an image that’s close to a totemic bear. He is closely connected to the creation of humanity but later became the ruler of the underworld, judge of the dead, and the darkness.
Since Elrik was driven by pride, his bond with Ulgan didn’t work and by deceiving the god of creation on numerous occasions, he was eventually banished in the 9 th layer of the earth. Eventually, Elrik took charge of the dead, while leaving the charge of the living with Ulgan.
Religion: Hindu Mythology
According to Hindu mythology, Shiva is one god who has multiple aspects. Even though he is a god of destruction and death, he is worshipped and given a high regard. People do not regard him as an evil god. In fact, the worshippers of Shiva believe that for new and better things to emerge, it is crucial for the old things to die. Therefore, Shiva is doing well by running the world in cycles and allowing all living creatures to be able to begin a new cycle of life.
Shiva is also believed to be of a complex nature. He is considered the strongest, even more than Vishnu and Brahma.
Religion: Inuit Mythology
Sedna is the goddess of the sea, marine animals, and the underworld. She is also regarded as the Mother of the Sea or Mistress of the Sea. There are many versions of Sedna’s story but the most popular one is where she was bluffed into marrying a Fulmar, who appeared as a handsome man and promised a life full of luxuries. When her father came to know about his reality, he tried to rescue his daughter and took her back in his kayak. The entire family of birds started chasing Sedna. To save himself, the father drowned Sedna and chopped off her fingers that Sedna used to cling to the boat. Sedna drowned and became the ocean’s spirit while her fingers became the fish, whales, walruses, and seals.
The goddess of the ocean and destruction has a good side, as she sends food to her people where she rules. However, if she isn’t worshipped properly, she does not spare anyone from her wrath and starvation and make people suffer.
Religion: Aztecs Mythology
Coatlicue is an Aztec goddess of earth, fire, and destruction. She has a loving and nurturing like the earth but at the same time has the tendency to devour on human life through calamities and natural disasters. According to Aztecs, the sun regularly needed blood sacrifices from mankind for maintaining its power.
That’s why most enemies were abducted on the battlefield and not killed. The captives were later sacrificed on top of a hill for the sun. It is also believed that Coatlicue sacrificed herself to enable the earth to shift into the 5 th era. Coatlicue is the mother of the god of war and has her statue places in the Axis Mundi – the point where according to Aztecs the world revolves.
Religion: Persian Mythology
Ahriman is considered the ancient equivalent of Satan. The god of death and destruction is also the bringer of death, ills, diseases, and every evil in the world. Ahriman is believed to have many demons at his disposal. These demons are known as ‘daevas’, who are responsible for spreading and injecting evil across the world. The main weapon Ahriman used against humanity and all the goodness in the world was lust.
Many people believe that Ahriman is the predecessor of Satan. Towards the end of the world, Ahura Mazda – Ahrmiman’s brother – is believed to triumph over his hellish brother and put the goodness back in the world.
21. Batara Kala
Religion: Javanese and Balinese Mythology
Batara Kala is an ogre-like god, responsible for the creation of the earth and light, bringer of devourer and destruction, the ruler of time, and bad luck. Batara Kala is also the ruler of the underworld along with Setesuyara. The god of destruction and underworld in the Javanese and Balinese mythology is the son of Java’s own version of Shiva, Batara Guru. Batara Guru had the most beautiful wife in the world, Dewi Uma, who was forced for intimacy by Batara Guru on top of a divine cow. Dewi Uma was so ashamed that she cursed both of them took on the hideous form of ogre-like creatures.
Batara Kala was the result of this union, who also looked like a fierce ogre with an insatiable appetite and bad behavior.
Religion: Hindu Mythology
The goddess of death, Kali is one of the most feared warriors according to Hindu mythology. Not only she has a great history of the battlefield, but she also has a terrifying appearance with a bloody knife in her hand. Kali is known for her fierceness and the death deity is irresistible to men and other deities alike. Her gore appearance makes her stand out while the believers think she is the rescuer of women in danger.
According to Hindu mythology, her appearance is only one side of her personality. She has a good side that she uses to save innocents from suffering and ending up in ugly death. She is also believed to protect the world against the demons.
23. Ah Puch
Religion: Maya Mythology
Out of all the death gods, Anubis hates Ah Puch the most, even though Kali really admires him because he wears a necklace made out of eyeballs. He is the god of death, disaster, and darkness, often seen as a skeleton-like creature or in a stage that resembles the highest state of decomposition. Ah Puch is believed to be the ruler of the lowest and most feared of Xilbalba’s nine levels – Mitnal.
The god of death and destruction does not simply kill. Once he grabbed a soul, he would torture it and burn them until they screamed in agony. And to further intensify the pain, he would snuff the fire with water and torch it again. This process would continue until the soul was completely destroyed.
Religion: Japanese Mythology
Shinigami is not a single god but a name given to a group of Japanese soul-rippers. The concept of Shinigami is relatively new to Japanese mythology. These agents are also known as the grim reaper, death spirit, or death binger.
These supernatural spirits or gods invite humans towards death in certain aspects of Japanese culture and religion. As for their conduct, Shinigami is described as monsters, helpers, and creatures of darkness. These are often mentioned in religions and tales in Japanese culture.
Religion: Egyptian Mythology
According to ancient Egyptian mythology, Apophis already existed before the creation of the world. Apophis is the great serpent and the arch-nemesis of Ra. Apophis found peace in chaos and darkness. After the creation of the world, it was filled with light, peace, order, and most importantly, humans.
That’s exactly what Apophis didn’t like. He was the god of thunder, earthquakes, storms, darkness, and death, and is sometimes also linked to god Set, who is also associated with the disorder, chaos, storms, and darkness.
Unlike most of the deities of Asgard it does not belong to the lineage of the Aces, but to that of the Vanes. He came from far away Vanaheim with his father Niord and his brother Freyr , in an exchange that ended the war between the two families of gods. 
In the Poetic Eddas, Freyja is described as a goddess of love, beauty, and fertility.
Freyja was also associated with war, death , magic , prophecy, and wealth. The Eddas mention that he received half of those killed in combat in his palace called Fólkvangr, while Odin received the other half in Valhalla . The origin of the Seidr  and his teaching to the Æsir was attributed to her. 
The colors green, gold, blue and pink are attributed to it. Its metals are the gold the silver and bronze . The sacred trees : the birch , the maple and the apple tree .
Their animals are cats of all sizes, wild and domestic, along with wild boars and hawks. Her favorite gemstones are emerald , pearl , aventurine , rose quartz, and tiger’s eye (to represent Freyja’s Brisingamen necklace), and amber , which also represents the tears she shed for her late husband Od (another possible name for Odin).
She is represented as a beautiful, voluptuous and lustful young woman.
Although Freyja was the goddess of love, she was not gentle and lover of pleasures, as the ancient Norse races believed that she had very martial tastes and that under the name of Valfreya she often led the Valkyries on the battlefield. So she was represented with a corselet and a helmet, shield and spear, being only the lower half of her body dressed in the usual loose attire of women.
Freyja riding on the Hildisvíni boar
Like her brother Freyr, Freya owns a sow or javelin, a symbol of fertility as well as strength in combat, although in this last aspect it is more remarkable that Freyja also rides a golden-bristled boar called Hildisvíni (“Battle pig” ) that appears only in the poem Hyndluljóð . (Then it is related in this work that this boar is his protégé or his human lover Óttar temporarily disguised as Hildisvini or transformed into a boar with the magical arts of the Seidr).
Freyja in her chariot pulled by Gatos-Gir
Freyja frequently drives a war chariot pulled by a pair of big cats. The Gylfaginning relates that he drove this car to Balder’s funeral . It is believed that the cats that pulled his cart were the Skogkatt or Norwegian forest cat, it has also been suggested that they could be boreal lynxes .
Its name corresponds to Friday , for the association to the Roman Venus (Friday in English , Freitag in German).
She was the female deity who most received prayers for love and one of the longest-lasting in pagan worship, despite Christianization . The Nordic peoples invoked her to obtain happiness in love, to assist in childbirth and to have good seasons.
Brisingamen – Representation of Freyja’s Necklace
Odin / Óðinn
This guy is a wild, drunken, horny, shape-changing, traveling wanderer, who recites poetry and seduces women to gain knowledge. He takes all who die from battle into Valhalla, the hall of the dead, and wears a blue cloak and a hat that covers one of his eyes to make him seem a little pirate like. His staff or spear is also always with him, and he has 2 pet ravens called 'Thought' and 'Memory´, and historians wrote about him as a creepy old wizard man who rides an 8 legged horse called Sleipnir. He sounds pretty sketchy to me. but how cool to have a horse with 8 legs!
Freya / Frøya / Freyja
Frøya på norsk og Freya på engelsk, men opprinnelig Freyja. Hun kjennetegnes som den vakreste av alle gudinnene. Freyja er gudinnen for fruktbarhet og kjærlighet, men også død, skjebne og seidr/seid (magi) i Norrøn mytologi og åsatru. Hun er en vane/vanir (vaner, gudeslekt som æsene). Datter av Njord, og hun har en bror som heter Frøy/Freyr.
Freya was the most beautiful of the Norse goddesses. She was the goddess for fertility and love, but also death, destiny and seidr (magic) in Norse mythology and in modern asatru. She is a Vanir (one of the two lines of gods, the other being the Æsir). Her father is Njord and her brother is named Freyr.
Freyja sitt tilholds sted var Folkvang, som var hennes hus i Åsgard. Dit kommer også halvparten av de som har falt i krig, mens andre halvparten drar til Odins Valhall.
Freya lived in Folkvang, which was her house in Asgard. There, half of the fallen in war arrived, while the other half went to Odin’s Valhalla.
Det var også Freyja som lærte Odin seid magi.
It was Freya that thought Odin seidr magic.
Hun var gift med Od, det er lite informasjon om hvem Od egentlig var. Det som vites er at han er mye borte fra Freyja å reiser, og da gråter hun tårer av gull. Det spekuleres også i om at Od bare er et annet navn for Odin (all faderen), for det finnes også en del fellestrekk mellom Freyja og Odins kone Frigg. Od og Freyja fikk to vakre døtre med navnene Hnoss/Noss og Gjerseme/Gersemi.
She was married to Od, but there is little information about who Od really were. That which is known is that he is a lot away from Freya, traveling. And when he is gone, she cries tears of gold. It is also speculated that Od is just another name for Odin (the all father), because there is a lot of similarities between Freya and Odin’s wife Frigg. Od and Freya had two beautiful daughters named Hnoss/Noss and Gjerseme/Gersemi.
Freyja sitt fremkomstmiddel var en vogn som ble trukket av to katter. Så hun blir ofte illustrert sammen med to katter. Hun har også en magisk gris som blir kalt Hildisvina, som ble skapt av dvergene Dain og Nabbe. Og hun brukte også grisen som ridedyr.
While traveling Freya had several options. She had a carriage drawn by two cats, a magical pig named Hildisvina (created by the dwarfs Dain and Nabbe) and suit made by feathers.
Hun hadde også noen spesielle eiendeler:
– En fjærdrakt som hun brukte til å fly rundt i.
– Brisingamen (brisingasmykket), og smidd av dvergene Alfrigg, Berling, Dvalin og Grerr.
Freyja skal også ha sovet med hver og en av dem for å så smykket.
S he also possessed a rare and beautiful necklace named Brisingamen, wrought by the dwarfs Alfrigg, Berling, Dvalin and Grerr. Its also said that she slept with each of them to get the necklace.
Freyja har flere navn som hun brukte når hun reiste rundt: Mardoll, Hørn, Gjevn og Syr.
Freya had several names which she used while traveling: Mardoll, Hørn, Gjevn and Syr.