The Vikings followed the polytheism which meant they worshiped many gods at the same time. Because of their polytheism, they showed more religious tolerance than the monotheism. But actually which gods did the Vikings worship? This is quite a typical question but many might struggle to find out the answer. Below is the quick piece of information about which gods did the Vikings worship.
Viking gods had two main groups: Vanir and Aesir
Though the surviving materials say that the Vikings worshipped the Aesir more, it remains a mystery which god tribe dominated the Viking belief. The Vanir gods were more ancient and natural than the Aesir. While the Vanir appeared to practice magic, the Aesir picked up the weapons and fought.
Popular Aesir gods
Odin: Odin was the Aesir chief god who ruled over Asgard. This Viking supreme god was the father of many powerful gods like Thor, Baldur, and Heimdall. Odin was the god of war, wisdom, poem, healing, and death in Norse mythology.
Thor: Thor Odinsson was a popular god in the Viking belief. He was the god of thunder and storm. Thor was so generous and kind that he defended both gods and human.
Tyr: In the modern sense, there are three Norse gods of war and Tyr is one of them. The rest are Odin and Thor. Tyr was god of war, honor, justice, and bravery. The noble Vikings worshipped Tyr prior to joining the battle.
Popular Vanir gods
Njord: The seafaring god. The Vikings worshipped Njord for his dominance over the waves.
Freyr: Son of Njord. Freyr was the god of summer and fertility. The Vikings worshipped Freyr for a fruitful harvest. Scholars believed that the Vikings carried out their Alfablot ritual as a dedication to Freyr.
Freya: Daughter of Njord and twin sister of Freyr. Freya was the goddess of love, sex, beauty, and war.
More of a lifestyle than a religion
Indeed, the concept of religion in the past did not resemble what we know today. We believe that what the Vikings believed in their gods was much like their lifestyle and worldview.
The Vikings chose which gods they wanted to worship. This was a process of personal decision. Sometimes, the Vikings followed the ancestor worship or the Vikings worshipped the household gods that we will never hear their names. Because if the Vikings worshipped gods in their house, they would allow no one to step into their threshold.
But they had their Viking pantheon as we mention above. Seemingly, the Vikings also tried to explain the nature surrounding with their gods. For example, they believed that when Thor drew his chariot through the sky, it caused the sound of thunder.
And the list above is not the complete list of the Viking gods or the Norse pantheon. Rather, the gods above were among those the Vikings worshipped the most. Some other gods appear the Prose and Poetic Edda but there was no trace that the Vikings worshipped those gods. Or we are yet to discover the cult of those gods.
One question commonly popping up is that whether the Vikings worshipped Loki? The answer to this remains a mystery as the viewpoint of the scholars varies. Many of them believed Loki was the type of anti-hero who countered all of the divine values of gods. This suggested the Vikings did not worship Loki. And by far, we have no evidence, both archaeological and literal, of Loki worshipping. Some scholars believed that the Christian writers who piled up Norse mythology tried to demonize Loki at their will.