Vanir is the name of what is usually considered one of the two pantheons of gods in Norse mythology, the other and more well known being the Ęsir. The Vanir fought with the Ęsir in the War of the gods.



They include Njǫršr, Freyr and Freya (Freyja), who lived among the Ęsir since the end of the conflict between the two clans of gods (traded for Mķmir and Hœnir); the identity as Vanir of Skaši, Lżtir, Geršr and Óšr may be debated. Skaši was a giantess married to one of the Vanir (Njǫršr); Geršr was also a giantess, with whom Freyr fell in love and with whom he managed to have a union, having sold his sword as payment; but it is not clear whether this union amounted to more than a single meeting. Óšr is mentioned in the Eddas very shortly as the husband of Freyja, but nothing more is actually known about him (although it is often remarked that it was one of Óšinn's names). The gods Njord and Freyr appear in Snorri's Ynglinga saga as Kings of Sweden. Their descendants on the Swedish throne can be called Vanir, such as:


They are gods of fertility and prosperity, while the Ęsir were war gods. The Vanir have a deep knowledge of magical arts, so that they also know the future. It is said that it was Freyja who taught magic to the Ęsir. They also practiced endogamy and even incest, both forbidden among the Ęsir; as an example Freyr and Freyja were children of Njǫršr and his sister (see Nerthus).


The Vanir live in Vanaheim, also called Vanaland; Snorri Sturluson calls their land Tanakvķsl or Vanakvķsl.

Vanir and Elves

The Eddas possibly identify the Vanir with the elves (Alfar), frequently interchanging "Æsir and Vanir" and "Æsir and Alfar" to mean "all the gods". As both the Vanir and the Alfar were fertility powers, the interchangeability suggest that the Vanir may have been synonymous with the elves. It may also be that the two names reflected a difference in status where the elves were minor fertility gods whereas the Vanir were major fertility gods. Freyr would thus be a natural Van ruler of the elves in Įlfheim.

Contemporary reconstruction of Norse religion focussing on the Vanir is sometimes known as Vanatrú.

Vanir and their Guests

There is a possible connection between Heimdall and the Vanir, noted by H.R. Ellis Davidson.


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