Meet the Gods: Thor
(art by Samantha Sullivan)
Thor is the hammer-welding Norse God of Thunder. He is the son of Odin, the primary god of all the Nordic gods, and the earth goddess Jord (also reported as Fyorgyn). He is one of the most important and well-known gods in the Norse pantheon, also said to be a sun god, the god of stormy weather, and a fertility god. His wife is also associated with fertility: the goddess Sif. Together they live in Thrudheim (“Place of Might”), the largest house in Asgard with more than 500 rooms. They have two children. Thor also adopted a stepson and had a son with a giantess.
Thor is described as massive and mighty, with a red beard, red hair and red eyes. The large hammer he carries is named Mjollnir or Mjoinir, which means the destroyer; it sends out lightening bolts. Crafted by dwarves, it can kill and destroy or it can protect. It magickally returns to his right hand after he throws it.
The Norse believed that thunderstorms were Thor riding his chariot across the sky and swinging his hammer. His chariot was pulled by two giant, magickal goats. If he were away overnight, he would eat the goats but by morning, they would have regenerated providing their bones were undisturbed.
According to an article by Cristian Violate published in 2014 and found online on the Ancient History Encyclopedia, “He also had iron gloves and a belt named Megingjard that doubled Thor’s strength once buckled on. There were also some other less destructive aspects of Thor. As a weather god he was associated with the fertility of the earth. He was also regarded as a guide for those travelling [sic] over the sea because of his power over storms and wind.”
Among the many tales involving Thor are his attempts to kill the World Serpent that lives in the ocean surrounding Midgard, the earth world in Yggdrasil. He also slayed dragons and giants – and anything else that got in his way.
In the old times, Thorrablot was known as the Feast of Thor. The festival was held in the latter half of January, that he might help people “weather” the severity of winter, and that he might bring about fertility with an early spring to let life begin again. Traditional feast foods included oats, pickled herring, sheep’s head meat, ram’s testicles and shark. Thor is said to have a ravenous appetite, so an offering of food today would still be appropriate, as would, I think, donating to a food bank.
It took strength and resilience to get through the storms of winter, and anytime you are faced with a difficult storm or situation requiring strength and resilience, you can call on Thor.
On ancient altars, he was placed in the center between Odin and Freyr. He was called upon during times of famine and disease. A bride would also call upon Thor to bless her by placing a replica of his hammer in her lap.
Today, people wear replicas of his hammer for protection and strength. Lighting a candle with the likeness of Mjoinir etched into it can empower any spell.
Thor’s Day came to be known at Thursday. You might light a candle representing lightening every week to honor him and get to know him better.
Merry part. And merry meet again.