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Genealogy of the Vanir

by Ripvanwormer

I have a word document full of notes I made about 15 years ago, where I "creatively" attempted to construct a genealogy of the Vanir based on whatever books on mythology and wiki delving I was doing at the time (I didn't save a list of sources).

Anyway, I decided that Nott was a giantess, a daughter of Norvi, who was a son of Ymir. And she was the mother of the Vanir, in the same way the Aesir were descended from giants from their maternal line.

Norvi, a son of Ymir, was the father of Nott, personification of night, and the Norns Urd, Skuld, and Verdandi.

Nott had three husbands. Her first husband was Naglfari, a jotun builder of ships. With this giant she had a son, Aud, a lesser god of night. Her second husband was Annar, first king of the light-elves. By Annar she birthed the Vanir: Njord and Hertha, Bertha and Holda, Jord and Fjorgynn, Gullveig, Gra, and Sif. She taught her daughters, especially, many secrets of witchcraft that would serve them well in later years. Nott's third husband was another light-elf, Dellinger the Guardian (god of twilight), and their son is Dagr, personification of the day.

From Annar the Vanir would ultimately inherit kingship over the Liosalfar; when Njord rejected the office (or the elves rejected Njord), the kingship would pass to Freyr.

The Vanir are, and have always been, ruled by their women. When they made their treaty with the Aesir, they thought the loss of Freyr and Njord a small thing; what hurt most was the departure of Freyja, who insisted on leaving with her twin brother.

Twins are common among the Vanir. In fact, most of them are twins. Incest is another common element of Vanir culture; twins of opposite sexes usually end up married, at least for a time.

Bertha and Holda are the goddesses of spring and winter, respectively. Both are powerful witches of haglike appearance. It is possible that Sith, goddess of the harvest, is a third sister, making them triplets.

Bertha, also known as Eostre, is called the White Goddess. Although haglike in appearance, she is kind and sweet. She watches over the souls of unborn children and those who die without the protection of the other gods. She is a companion of Jord, and the wife of her son Mannus. With Mannus, she has a son named Ing.

Holda, also known as Hred, is a hideous, long-toothed hag with long, shaggy hair. She gave flax to mortals, and taught them weaving. During the solstice, she gives sweets to good children and coal to bad children. She lives in a cave from which she controls the weather, creating snow storms that kill without mercy. Bertha opposes her at times, making the storms she creates more mild. Because Holda presides over the time of year when magic is strongest, she is well-respected by Odin.

Jord and Fjorgynn are goddess and god of the earth and fertility. They are the parents of Frigga, who became Odin's second wife. Frigga's twin was Mannus, husband of Bertha. Jord became the first wife of Odin, and with him the mother of Thor.

Hertha and Njord are the parents of the twins Freyr and Freyja. They are both gods of earth and fertility, like most of the Vanir. They are also gods of weather, and the sea.

Another pair are Gullveig and Gra.

Gullveig, Golden Might, the East Wind Hag, is a deadly necromancer and a creator of plagues. She knows many secrets wrested from the dead. A close friend of Freyja's, Gullveig is the most terrible of vlva - witches - feared by the Aesir, who are unable to destroy her. In fact, it was this fear that is thought to have started the war in the first place. Her most recent consort was Fenris the wolf, by whom she had two pups, the wolves Skoll and Hati. Skoll eternally chases the sun, trying to devour it; his larger brother Hati pursues the moon. It is said that at Ragnarok they will succeed. Some say all worgs and werewolves are Gullveig's children.

She was reborn as Heid, daughter of the giant Hrmnir.

Gullveig's sister Gra is another vlva, or Vanir sorceress, a specialist in healing. A crafty medical-worker, she is her sister's opposite. She was the first wife of Aurvandil, and she is the mother of r. When Aurvandil disappeared for a decade, she raised her son alone.

Shortly after that, Gra's house was visited by Thor himself, who asked her to remove a fragment of stone from his forehead. This she had almost accomplished when Thor mentioned that he had just helped Aurvandil across a frozen river in Jotunheim, and he would soon be back in Vanaheim. This excited Groa so much that it disrupted her spell, and so the stone remained in Thor's skull.

Skadi, a frost giant, is a member of the Vanir by marriage. Her father was the giant Thiazi, who was killed by the Aesir after stealing the goddess Idun and her apples of youth. In payment, she was allowed to marry any one of the gods. She married Njord, her first husband, by mistake. Odin would only let her see her suitors' feet, so she married the one whose feet were cleanest and whitest. She expected this to be Balder, but it was Njord, whose feet were daily cleansed by the tides. She tried living with him for a while, alternating between the mountains that were her home and the sea that was his domain, but it grew too wearisome. Finally she left him for Ull, a god of winter and skiing who was much more to her tastes.

Sif is a goddess of excellence, skill, and the harvest, possibly a sister of Bertha, goddess of spring, and Holda, goddess of winter. She is said to have created a food of wisdom, akin to Odin's mead, from the fat of three dragons, and gained strange knowledge from it.

She was the second wife of Aurvandil, after the death of Gra, bearing him his son Ull and helping to raise his son r. When Aurvandil disappeared again, his friend Thor married Sif and raised her youngest son with her, r having already grown up and married Freyja.

AURVANDIL
AoC: Seas and seafarers
Domains: Weather, Travel, Water
AL: CG
WAL: Seafarers, half-elves
Symbol: Morning star
Home P/L/R: Arborea/Ossa/None (wanders), Ysgard/Ysgard/Alfheim, Ysgard/Ysgard/Vanaheim
Allies: Thor, Sif, Ull, r, Nehalennia
Favored Weapon: Longbow
Known Proxies: None

Aurvandil, also known as arendil, is a minor god of sea travel. He is the son of the elf Gervendill and the giantess Idrill. He was originally married to Gra, but he is too much a wanderer at heart to settle down with any single woman.

While on his first journey, he got frostbite and lost one of his toes. Thor threw it into the heavens, where it became the Morning Star. Aurvandil is also allied with Nehalennia, a Celtic goddess of sailors. In Vanaheim and Alfheim, Aurvandil acts as a protector of half-elves. With Sif he has a son, Ull.

He manifests as a half-elf with a jewel in the center of his forehead.

OD
Aliases: r, Odur, Svipdag
AoC: Necromancers, oaths, odes, riddles
Domains: Death, Knowledge, Rune
AL: N
Symbol: Rune of death
Home P/L/R: Ysgard/Ysgard/Jotunheim
Favored Weapon: Shortspear
Allies: Aurvandil, Gra (dead)

r was Freyja's first husband. He was very protective of his wife, and wouldn't allow her to leave with Freyr as a hostage to the Aesir. This threatened the entire peace accord, so r's stepmother Sif stepped in, laying a geas on him to win the hand of the giantess Mengloth in marriage. r summoned the spirit of his mother Gra to help him complete his quest. A powerful vlva even in death, Gra cast nine spells for him, allowing him to make his way to the castle of the jotun. There he beat the watchman in a game of riddles, learning from the guard that, due to a curse from a goddess called Sif, only one can enter Mengloth's castle: one called Svipdag. Revealing that this is his own truename, r is allowed in. He and Mengloth are wed.

With her husband gone, Freyja consorted once again with her twin Freyr, and left Vanaheim with him. Freyja and Od have three daughters, Gersimi, Noss, and Hnoss.

ULLER
Lesser God, "The Hunter."
AoC: Hunting, Archery, Winter
Domains: Chaos, Animal, Weather, Travel
AL: CN
Symbol: Longbow
Home: Ysgard/Ysgard/Vanaheim/Ydalir
Favored Weapon: Longbow
Allies: Skadi, Artemis, Odin, Thor, Sif, Aurvandil

Ull, a god of winter, archery, and skiing, is a son of Aurvandil and Sif. He was raised by Thor. Though he long resented his stepfather for usurping Aurvandil's place and even fought on the side of the Vanir during the war with the Aesir, the two have since reconciled.

Ull is now highly regarded by Odin, who has been known to let him temporarily rule Asgard in his place while the gallows god is elsewhere. Ull's wife is the frost giant Skadi. Though, after she left her first husband Njord, Skadi had pledged to put all future suitors to the death, she and Ull fell in love. Ull still spends most of his time in the mountains of Vanaheim with Skadi, unless Odin has need of him.