Alternate spellings: Njorth, Njordh, Njordr

Njord is the father of Freyr and Freyja and is one of the Vanir hostages exchanged after the Aesir/Vanir war. There aren’t many surviving tales about him in the Eddas; he is mentioned a few times though. Skadhi picks him as her husband when looking for scyld for the death of her father – she assumed by the beauty of his feet that she was picking Baldur, but that obviously wasn’t the case! Each of them wanted to live in their home (Skadhi in Thrymheimr, in the mountains, and Njord in Noatun on the beach), so they decided to go back and forth between the two. Skadhi could not bear the screeching of the gulls on the beach, and Njord hated the sound of wolves howling in the mountains. The poem ends with Skadhi going back to Thrymheimr and skiing/hunting.

Whether his marriage with Skadhi survived after the living arrangement fiasco is a matter of UPG among individuals. It’s also a common speculation that Nerthus, who is a figure of some mystery herself, is the mother of Freyr and Freyja. We know that incest was not taboo among the Vanir, and it is mentioned that Njord’s wife was his sister – the easiest assumption is that Njord and Nerthus are a brother/sister married pair. Some people, however, think that there isn’t enough evidence to support such an assumption and posit that Nerthus is the same deity as Njord.

Our Troth says that the two of them (Freyr and Njord) were set as blessing-godmen in Ynglinga saga, and the Icelandic oath taking formula recorded in Landamabok was “so help me Freyr and Njordr and the all-mighty Ase”. According to Snorri, a special toast was drunk to Freyr and Njordr at holy feasts.

He is also described as a future survivor of Rangarok – he “shall come home among the wise Wans again”.

Associations:

Njord is associated with wealth, the sea, the wind, ships, and economic activity of the sea. Surviving kennings for him include “god of chariots” and “the giving god”. Colors associated with him in modern times include deep or teal blue, black, and deep green – rich, earthy colors. There is no mention of holy animals associated with Njord in the lore, but we know seagulls were abundant at Noatun, and animals which can live on both sea or land are particularly fitting.

UPG:

I don’t personally have much UPG on Njord myself, not having a huge amount of experience with him to draw off of. I view him mostly as kind, gentle, and generous; he seems very even-tempered to me, with a good sense of humor. He seems to be universally viewed as friendly.

When speaking to others about their UPG, some very interesting themes came up. Many people connect him with safe harbor and the protection thereof as well as the sea. One person views the “commuter’s marriage” of Njord and Skadhi as a sort of seasonal metaphor. Melting snow on the mountains (Skadhi’s domain) makes its way to rivers and streams and eventually the deltas and oceans so strongly associated with Njord. It also brings fresh, fertile silt to the fields. The water and foam from Njord’s domains will eventually be evaporated and wind up back on the mountains as snow. A beautiful cycle; it makes you think our ancestors might have known more about weather patterns than modern science gives them credit for!

Sources:

Wikipedia

Our Troth Vol. I (I highly recommend this to anyone looking for an overview of heathenism and/or the northern deities; it’s packed with information, is scholarly but not dry, and is all around awesome.)

Further Reading

Goodfather Njord