Njörd is the Norse god of sea and wind . In this sense, it is also associated with navigation , fishing , as well as the richness and fertility of crops . In the Nordic countries, the god Njörd is revered for a long time. He is often depicted next to the sea, with long, brown hair. A seagull is sometimes posed on his hand. For the god of the sea, this bird is sacred and symbolic. Equivalent to the Greek god Poseidon, who really is the Norse god Njörd?
Who is the god Njörd?
In Old Norse, his first name means "power" or "strength" . And more commonly "vital force". Njörd is the son of Natt and Nagelfare , and is the half-brother of Frigg . He is the father of ten children, including the god Frey and the goddess Freya. These last two are not the offspring of his wife Skadi, but would be those of his own sister, Nerthus.
Njörd masters magic brilliantly and possesses superhuman strength. Legend has it that the god controls the waters of the seas and oceans, as well as the air and the wind. Snorri Sturluson's Edda states that he "is so rich and fortunate that he can give to those who invoke him abundance of land and goods."
The Sea God is also the leader of the Vanirs (Vanes) and lives in Vanaheim . When war breaks out between the two camps – Vanir and Aesir (Ases) – he of course remains at the side of his family and his Men. However, at the end of the war, he was sent as a hostage of peace to the Aesir with his children Freyr and Freya, and thus became an honorary member. Njörd now resides in Asgard . His residence is called Noatun , a place where many boats are built right by the sea.
During Ragnarök , Njörd is one of the few to survive . The god returns to Vanaheim when gods and monsters clash, and would not have participated in the great battle. In the Poetic Edda it is written that in Vanaheim, “the wise Powers made him and gave him as a hostage to the gods; at the death of men, he will return to the Vanir sages”.
Njörd and Skadi's wedding
Little is finally told about the God Njörd. If not his very short marriage with the giantess Skadi . The stories tell that the latter had gone to the kingdom of the Aesir in order to seek reparation following the murder of her father. They then agree among themselves to let her choose among the gods the one she wants as a husband. To choose it, however, she had to look only at their feet. Skadi chooses Njörd. It was he who had the most beautiful feet of all and the giantess is then persuaded that they are those of Baldur , the most beautiful of the gods.
The sea god and the giantess never managed to get along , being the complete opposites. He couldn't tolerate living with Skadi, in the snowy mountains of Jotunheim. And she couldn't stand Njörd's house on the beach. The Edda relates that Njörd would have assured: “The mountains are odious to me; I wasn't there long, only nine nights. The howling of the wolves seemed ugly to me after the song of the swans”. Skadi for her would have confessed this: “I couldn't sleep on the seabed for the howl of the bird. This seagull wakes me when from the great sea he comes every morning” .
They therefore choose to live half the year with one, the other half of the year with the other . But Njörd and Skadi finally end up separating .
Njörd, revered by the Vikings
Njörd was very arguably one of the most revered gods by the Vikings. When they went to sea and the waves raged, they prayed to the god not to perish under the swell . So as not to remain in the hands of the god Aegir – or Gymir -, god of the ocean who took the ships with him. The Scandinavian peoples erected many temples and shrines in honor of the god Njörd. Sacred ceremonies and offerings are dedicated to him. In particular because he could grant them an extreme fertility of their cultures and an abundant fishing. And still today, some places in Sweden, Norway or Iceland bear his name.
God of the sea and true king?
In the Middle Ages, Goth kings reigned over Denmark, and all of them at that time claimed to be of the lineage of the God Odin. They are called the Skjoldungians, after the first king Skjiold. According to Snorre Sturluson, Skjiold would be the son of Odin and the father of Njörd.
Njörd would also be one of the ancestors of the Ynglingar dynasty , which in turn reigns over Sweden. He would have been king of Sweden , after Odin. Snorre Sturluson draws a saga from it, and a poem called Ynglingatal traces its history. So pure fiction or reality...