How Many Norse Gods Are There?

When compiling a list of the Norse gods, a few names come to mind for most people, including comic book heroes like Loki and Thor.

However, the Norse pantheon was almost as gigantic as the Jotunn, not including all the other spirits and creatures that had a part in Norse mythology. 

There are more than 60 Norse gods, but there are even more other divine beings, including large groups of giants, elves, spirits, and other semi-divine people and creatures.

There were likely even more gods than these, but we have limited literary evidence of the Norse pantheon.

Historical and archaeological evidence indicates that some Norse gods seem to have been much more popular than others among Scandinavians from the Bronze Age to the Medieval period.

However, there are many types of gods, spirits, and other creatures in Norse mythology.

Also, see Why Is Norse Mythology Considered Mythology? to learn more.

The Most Famous Norse Gods

Although there are far too many deities in Norse mythology to name in one place, the pantheon’s most popular and well-known gods are Odin, Thor, Frey, Frigg, Freyja, and Loki. 


According to the National Museum of Denmark, Thor was the most popular of all the Norse gods. [1] 

Thor, literally “thunder,” was Asgard’s selfless and powerful guardian. From Asgard, he used his hammer, Mjölnir, to strike lightning upon giants, preventing them from entering the realm of the gods. [2]

Thor’s associations with war, defense, thunder, rainstorms, weapons, and hammers made him an every-mans’-god. 

He was likely one of the most often invoked gods since almost every Scandinavian person could benefit from his skills, whether the invoker was a farmer praying for rain, a warrior going into battle, or a blacksmith hammering at their anvil. 


Odin, or Wodin, the father of most of the Aesir gods, was the wisest of all the deities, but he was not omnipotent and made many sacrifices to achieve his wisdom.

Odin was insatiable in his lust for wisdom and knowledge; thus, he was a well-versed god who presided over many aspects of the world. 

One such sacrifice was one of his eyes, which he offered in exchange for a drink from the well of Mimir, whose waters were said to grant the drinker wisdom. [3]

This one-eyed appearance gave Odin many epithets and made him one of the easiest gods to recognize in Bronze, Iron, and Viking-age art. 

However, Odin also sacrificed his own life multiple times in the quest for secret knowledge, hanging himself on the Yggdrasil for nine days and nine nights to attain knowledge of the nine worlds of the Norse universe and casting himself upon a spear to learn the secrets of the runes. [4]

Thus, when Scandinavians sought answers to their questions, they often prayed or made sacrifices to Odin.

Freyr or Frey

Frey is the divine embodiment of the masculine force of the earth, often associated with fertility, sunny and warm weather, and kingship.

Accompanied by his boar-drawn chariot and foldable, pocket-sized ship, Frey also was a warrior and developer of the land. 

Thus, he was the god of lords and kings, and rulers would pray to him to see more prosperity in their realms. 

In one of the few Norse centers of worship that still survive in Uppsala, icons of Frey were found alongside those of Odin and Thor, illustrating that these top three gods were likely the most commonly worshiped deities in the Norse pantheon of the Viking age. 


Odin’s wife, Frigg, is often called the Queen of the Gods. Like her comparable counterpart from Rome, Juno, was a god associated with matrons, marriage, motherhood, matchmaking, and women’s work. 

However, Frigg was much more than a mother and wife. She also excelled in divination and could foretell the future, making her more of an even match for her husband. 

Freyja or Freya

Freya, whose name we derive Friday, was Freyr’s twin sister and, as a counterpart to her brother, presided over the more feminine aspects of fertility.

She is commonly associated with sexuality, love, bountiful crops, and material wealth. 

This goddess, often riding in her chariot drawn by cats, is told to weep golden tears, tying her to the material of gold and grain harvests. 

In addition, in the Eddas, Sturluson writes that Freya was the first god to teach magic, or seiðr, to the other gods of Asgard.

This clue, along with her husband’s name, Odr, has led many scholars to believe that, in the earliest beginnings of the Nordic religion, Frigg and Freya were the same goddesses. [5]

Freya also has ties to battle and the dead, as she chose half of the slain on a battlefield to go to Folkvangr


Loki is a bit of an anomaly here. Loki exists in a liminal space on the Norse Gods’ family tree, as he is not part of the Aesir or Vanir.

He is more closely related to the giants (jotunn) than anything, and he very well may be a giant. In this case, clear textual evidence is lacking. 

However, Loki’s popularity as a divinity in the Norse pantheon speaks for itself.

This trickster god is dynamic and fickle, often switching roles from villain to hero to sidekick, which agrees with his role as a shapeshifter. [6]

The Types of Gods and Divine Creatures In Norse Mythology

While the word god may seem self-explanatory to us today, practitioners of The Old Religion would not have seen their gods as a collected pantheon with a strict hierarchy of deities.

Instead, they would have seen their gods as part of a more extensive system that balanced the world. 

Some of the different groups of deities and divine beings that would make up a large part of the Norse world order included: 

  • Aesir: The aesir gods are the celestial gods of Asgard, who ruled over the world from above. These gods include Thor, Odin, Frigg, and others. 
  • Vanir: The Vanir gods only include Njord and his children, Frey and Freya. These gods are all associated with fertility and earthly prosperity. They originally lived apart from the Aesir deities but made peace following a battle, which allowed the Vanir to cross into Asgard.
  • Giants or Jotunn: The Jotunn are closely related to all gods, and the Norse world was believed to have started with a Jotunn named Ymir. Most of the gods of the Aesir also had children with Jotunn, and Odin was the offspring of giants. 
  • Dwarves or Dvergar: Dwarves are short, black-skinned metallurgists, craftsmen, and shapeshifters who live in rocks or caves. [7]
  • Elves or Alfar: The light elves were creatures of light with fine skills in poetry, song, and craftsmanship. They were also associated with fertility, and Frey presided over their realm, Alfheim. Some historians believe there was also a race of dark elves, but others believe these dark elves were dwarves.
  • The Norns: The Norns lived near the base of the world-sustaining Yggdrasil tree, where they, like the Fates of Greek myth, spun, wove, and snipped string to determine the fates of all living beings. 
  • Other Well-Known Spirits: There were plenty more gods and creatures in Norse mythology. These include animals and monsters like Sleipnir, Odin’s eight-legged horse, Fenrir, Loki’s wolf son, land spirits who presided over certain regions, and Valkyries, women who chose half of the slain on a battlefield to take to Valhalla. [8]

This list is not comprehensive, and there are many more divine beings in Norse mythology. However, these groups of gods, spirits, and creatures were all a part of the divine scheme of Norse cosmology. 

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Christian Christensen

Christian started Scandinavia Facts to explore his family heritage, raise awareness of one of his academic interests as a professor, and civilly promote the region. Please see the About page for details.

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