Tyr was supposed to be the bravest of the Norse gods, and the proof of this was he stuck his hand in the Fenris Wolf’s mouth. He lost the hand, meaning that he gave up his sword (and oath-taking) hand so the Aesir could bind the gigantic wolf. But what did he lose, and what did he gain?
Tyr and Fenrir.
“The Binding of Fenrir” (1908) by George Wright. Wikimedia.
Tyr and Fenrir. From an 18th century Icelandic manuscript.
Sophia: Goddess of Wisdom?
The first humans, in Norse myth, were made from two pieces of wood. Trees, humans and gods are closely connected, and the guardian god Heimdall and the world-tree Yggdrasil have a particularly strong bond.
A depiction of Ask and Embla (1919) by Robert Engels. Wikimedia.
Seeds of Fraxinus excelsior, known as keys.
Hera was the women’s goddess – “By Hera” isn’t just something Wonder Woman says, it was a common Greek oath among women in Classical times. (Although Socrates used it too.)
A victress of the Heraean Games, represented near the start of a race. Wikimedia.
Hera of Samos by Egisto Sani on Flickr. This is a probably a copy in marble of a wooden xoanon.
Kvasir’s name might make you think he was a mere personification of alcoholic drink, since it comes from the same source as the Russian kvass, or else proto-Germanic –kvass, to crush.
The stories of Mimir and Kvasir both emphasize how Odin’s magic and desire for wisdom led him to preserve the knowledge that the two gods possessed after their untimely deaths.