Since this series was inspired not just by Njord but also by his attitudes on generosity and gift-giving, I give to you some wise words on the subject from the Havamal. (TL; DR: Be as generous as you can, otherwise you will have no friends and life will be bad.)
- Hail, ye Givers! a guest is come;
say! where shall he sit within?
Much pressed is he who fain on the hearth
would seek for warmth and weal.
- He hath need of fire, who now is come,
numbed with cold to the knee;
food and clothing the wanderer craves
who has fared o’er the rimy fell.
- I found none so noble or free with his food,
who was not gladdened with a gift,
nor one who gave of his gifts such store
but he loved reward, could he win it.
- Let no man stint him and suffer need
of the wealth he has won in life;
oft is saved for a foe what was meant for a friend,
and much goes worse than one weens.
- With raiment and arms shall friends gladden each other,
so has one proved oneself;
for friends last longest, if fate be fair
who give and give again.
- To his friend a man should bear him as friend,
and gift for gift bestow,
laughter for laughter let him exchange,
but leasing pay for a lie.
- Hast thou a friend whom thou trustest well,
from whom thou cravest good?
Share thy mind with him, gifts exchange with him,
fare to find him oft.
- My garments once I gave in the field
to two land-marks made as men;
heroes they seemed when once they were clothed;
’tis the naked who suffer shame!
- Not great things alone must one give to another,
praise oft is earned for nought;
with half a loaf and a tilted bowl
I have found me many a friend.
Because I’m not the only one who thinks Njord likes gin.
A few weeks back, a friend who is running a Trance Class gave the class their first chance to attempt trancing a deity. A few of us had dialed in and were participating online, but most people were there in person. I hadn’t expected to trance Freya–while I have a lot of experience acting as Her medium, She and I haven’t been close in that way for a while. However, apparently She had some people to talk to and messages that needed to be passed on. So that’s what I did.
Money and prosperity is a common theme when speaking with the Vanir, and this was no exception. The lesson I learned that night was that though each of the Vanir have a tie to bringing money and prosperity, each goes about it in a slightly different way.
For Njord–Njord is the one who helps to “bring your ship in”–be it a job, an inheritance, money owed to you, or a good opportunity to make money. He’s like a sale rep. He goes out and brings back leads and contact info. A point that Freya made here was that if He knows specifically what you are looking for, it makes His job considerably easier. Otherwise he’ll keep throwing random things in your path and hope one of them is useful.
For Freyr–Freyr is the banker of the Vanir. He protects your investments and helps them to grow in a steady, safe way. He tends them the same way He tends His fields and He tends his followers. He is the Sacred, Sacrificial King–he will do whatever it takes to make sure his people survive; and he plans ahead for contingencies.
For Freya–Simply put, Freya is the attractor. She literally pulls money and valuables to Her (and you). Freya is all about gifts from out of the blue, with people, both good friends and mere acquaintances, unexpectedly buying you or giving you things. A down side to this energy is that you can end up with an imbalance of power in regards to gift-giving within relationships. Remember, a gift begets a gift. And a gift that you get may actually be something that the giver cannot afford to give away, or will receive a serious repercussion for. Best to make all of these things explicitly clear with the Lady when you ask her for help with the finances.
Hopefully this helps. I find that going to the best deity/power for the job makes everyone’s life a bit easier.
Now, if you follow any of my blogs or columns, you’ll probably have picked up on the fact that I don’t like long, complex rituals. This one is in the same vein: short, in a kitchen-witchery style.
- A bag of gold-covered chocolate coins
- An instrument to mark the foil (stick, kitchen knife, or pottery tools will work)
- A pinch of salt
- A small bowl of water
Take one of the foil-covered chocolate coins. Turn it to the side that is smooth, without many or any other markings. Take a pointy tool and inscribe a Laguz near the top. As you do so, say, “Njord, let the prosperity I need flow to me.”
Take the tool and inscribe a Fehu somewhere in the middle of the coin. As you do so, say, “Njord, please bring this money and prosperity to me.”
Finally, take the pointy tool and inscribe a Raidho. As you do so, say, “Njord, please let this prosperity journey to me, safely and without delays.”
Repeat this (or a variation with this) with as many of the gold coins as you wish. (I personally always like to have a few on hand to leave on His altar as an offering.)
Take the chocolate coins out of the wrapper. Break each in half. Set aside one half for Njord, and eat the other half.
Pour the salt into the bowl of water to make salt water. Rest the runic chocolate foil to float on the water. Place Njord’s half of the chocolates either in front of the bowl, or on his altar. Let sit several days before discarding.
–To me, that’s the best kind of ritual: short and sweet. (Literally.) Enjoy!
Here are some more depictions of Njord. My favorite of these is the bottm left picture, of him standing with a fishing spear.
First row: Statue of Njord is in Heiligenhafen, Germany. The picture second from right is by Helgath.Picture on the far right is by Thorskegga Thorn.
Middle row, far right picture: from the “Fate of the Norns: Gullveig” card game
(Unfortunately, I don’t know who created the other images.)
Njord is, in my experience, a very generous deity. He is often content enjoying whatever the other Gods are being offered, and he’s also often happy to share his offerings with any other deity. Still, He deserves His own dedicated offerings whenever he can get them.Offerings can be on a set schedule–say, once a month or once a quarter–but they can also be spontaneous; for example, as an offering for a gift given or a request made.
Here are some suggestions of things I have offered Him or think that He would enjoy being offered:
Food: Fish, seafood, and pork. (You can’t go wrong with pork with any of the Vanir deities.) Clam chowder with crusty bread. Herring and rye crackers. Also, one of the offerings I give him often are gold-foil-covered chocolate coins. You can also give chocolates made with sea salt or in the shape of seashells.
Drink: Dark beer; gin; vodka. Or, anything that you have available. Currently, I am giving him whatever variety of gin I have on hand, though in the past I had a dedicated bottle of Death’s Door gin for Him from a local distillery.)
Other offerings: Gold or gold-colored coins; beads, shells, spices; anything else than has been used/can be as currency. Also, loose tobacco or cigars, either smoked or not. Seashells; fishing gear; boats. Anchors are another key image with which I adorn his altar.
One of Njord’s main myths–you could argue that it is the most important of His myths–describes how he married Skadi, the daughter of an ice jotun. The myth follows the myth of “The Theft of Idunna’s Apples” in the Skáldskaparmál from Snorri’s Prose Edda.
First, a summary of the theft of Idunn’s Apples:
Odin, Loki and Hœnir were out journeying. Hungry, they came across a herd of oxen, killed one, and started cooking it. However, it refused to cook. The jotun Thjazi, disguised as an eagle, offered to help make the fire cook properly if they left him have some of the ox as well. They agreed. The food was finally cooked and Thjazi flew down and started devouring the ox. Realizing that the eagle would eat the their entire meal, Loki hit it with a staff. The staff stuck to the eagle and to Loki’s hand, and the jotun flew back toward Jotunheim, dragging Loki behind him and bumping him on trees and boulders as he went. Loki realized he had been tricked and offered to do whatever Thjazi required of him. Thjazi tasked him with going back to Asgard and stealing Idunn and her apples of Immortality for him.
Loki went back to Asgard with Odin and Hoenir. He lured Idun out of Asgard with tales of a new kind of apple tree, and Thjazi, in eagle form, swooped down and carried her off. Eventually the gods began to age, and they noticed that Idun and her apples of immortality are missing. When they found out that Loki was the last one who was seen with Idun, they threatened him with bodily harm until he agreed to get her back. Loki borrowed Freya’s falcon cloak and flew to Jotunheim. He found Idun, changed her into a walnut, and flew back with her, with Thjazi hot on his heels. As Loki flew back into Asgard, the rest of the Aesir sent up a huge fire wall, which Thjazi then flew into and died.
Then, with this context, the story of Njord and Skadi begins:
Skadi, an accomplished hunter, learns that her father, Thjazi, has been killed by the Aesir. She packs up her weapons and storms up to Asgard’s walls, demanding retribution. The gods offer Skadi her choice of the hand in marriage of any of the Aesir present. She agrees to this but also demands that one of them must make her laugh. None succeed at this until Loki ties his balls to the beard of a nanny goat and hilarity ensues. At that point, even Skadi has to laugh.
However, the gods put a restriction on how Skadi was to chose her husband. She was only allowed to see his feet. She chooses the whitest, brightest feet, assuming that those feet must belong to Baldur, Odin and Frigga’s son and Asgard’s shining glory. Instead, she ended up with Njord, god of the sea and commerce, father of Freyr and Freya. They first went to live at her father’s home in Jotunheim. However, the howling of the wolves and the wind were too loud for Njord to sleep, and after nine nights they left. Next they went to his home at Noatun, but Skadi could not sleep there due to the loud crying of the seagulls, and flashing of the sun on the waves irritated her. They agreed to live separately, and parted amicably, and each at his or her own hall.
Here’s a prayer/invocation I wrote a little bit ago in honor of Njord and his family. The full article from Huginn’s Heathn Hof is available here.
A Prayer of Thanks for the Vanir
Hail to Njord!
Hail to that gift-giving god
Whose generosity is as boundless as the sea.
God of the coasts and the ocean
A hand to calm the troubled waters.
A peacemaker, an oathkeeper
Hail to Njord!
Hail to Nerthus!
Hail to that hidden goddess
Whose cart and whose cattle
blesses the fields
and helps us all prosper.
Hail the Earth Mother
Hail to Nerthus!
Hail to Freya, lady of love and light
And magic, gold, lust, and death
Hail to Her glowing hall
that welcomes half of the slain—
a well-deserved reward for a life well wrought.
Hail to the Vanadis!
Hail to Freyr, lord of peace and prosperity
Who thaws the land, makes it fertile and lush
Hail to the god who followed his heart
He gave up his weapon and chose love, not war.
Hail to the noble sacrificial king.
Hail to Ingvi-Freyr!
Hail to these gods of pleasure and plenty
Of peace, prosperity, and wisdom!
Hail to all their spouses and children!
Hail to their laughter, hail to their strength
Hail to the joy and hope that they bring us!
Hail to the connections they nurture between us!
Hail to the generous Vanir!
–C. Freyasdaughter, 2016
For a while now, I’ve been getting a similar message from Njord, over and over again: He is the God of Prosperity. He gives gifts. Gifts and prosperity should flow; they should not be hoarded, either by me or you. Perhaps this is the key to prosperity, after all–letting money come and go, not being miserly; being open to money going out as well as coming in, for it does us no good locked away somewhere. It’s a lesson I’m definitely struggling with, several months into unemployment.
My most recent missive from Njord had me set up a project somewhat similar to the Love Notes from Freya, but in this case it’s more like “Money Notes from Njord.” I don’t think the messages will be channeled per se; they may just contain info and images of Njord, or articles about finances and how to bring wealth into your life. As with most everything in my spiritual life, we shall see how it goes.
So, today is Day 1 of Njord.
Above is the picture I use on my altar to represent Njord. It’s not labeled as “Njord”; it’s just an old-fashioned painting of a nameless sea captain. (I don’t even know the painter or the year, unfortunately).