Family Deities – Thor

Thanks for joining us for another Families’ Deity! We’re exploring deities that tie into families and family values, or who are important to the family unit or children in some way. This month, we are exploring the thunderous God, Thor.

Who is Thor?
When many people think of Thor, they think of the quintessential warrior: fierce, uncompromising, and focused solely on battle. While Thor may have these qualities, He’s also a much more complex deity than this. His tales from Norse mythology indicate that He’s capable of much more than just fighting, and the way He’s been revered throughout history suggests that He may have been (and still is) very much a God of the people. In this way, Thor makes it into our collection of family deities, encompassing many aspects of family life.

Thor, or Þórr in Old Norse, is a God who is named for the thunder He often represents. His father is the God Odin and His mother is Jörð, thought to be the personification of Earth.

We know that Thor was very important to the Norse people and, indeed, many people across Europe because of the influence His name has left behind. We have Thursday, which is literally “Thor’s Day.” There are also numerous place names that contain His name, and lots of archaeological evidence that shows people were wearing Thor’s hammer (Mjölnir) necklaces even as Christianity was taking hold across Europe.

Why is Thor One of Our Family Deities?
Thor is a great representation of complex familial relationships. He has children by at least two but probably three different partners, including His wife Sif. He also has numerous brothers, and a close but tumultuous relationship with Loki. After all, Thor agrees to being dressed in bridal gear and pretending to be Freyja as part of Loki’s plan to reclaim Thor’s stolen hammer. This feels like something only close friends or siblings would attempt together.

There are also connections to agriculture, fertility, and plenty with Thor. One time, Thor feeds Himself, Loki (a frequent travelling companion), and some peasants by killing the goats that pull his chariot. He uses the bones, skins, and a blessing to resurrect the goats the next day, suggesting a strong connection to rebirth and rejuvenation, but also the ability to provide for a community.

Thor is also deeply connected to the end of things, which in Norse mythology, is Ragnarök, the end of the worlds. While He may literally kill the world serpent, Jörmungandr, and die in the process, there are plenty of modern takes on this that consider that these tales of the end of things are cyclic. The end of the world is happening all the time, in every choice we make and every new beginning. Understanding that things end is a critical part of growing up, and can be challenging to handle, however with the right support and compassion, it’s something families can go through together.

Honouring Thor
There are many ways to honour Thor. Some people choose to wear the symbol of Mjölnir, whether as a necklace, a ring, or a tattoo. There are, unfortunately, some racist groups that have tried co-opting many Norse symbols as their own. However, the Mjölnir still firmly represents Thor, and many Heathens and other Norse-leaning Pagans wear it with pride.

If you have a sacred space in your home, you could consider leaving offerings for Thor. These may include meat, ale, mead, or any food you have made yourself.

Acts that benefit your community can also be seen as acts of service for Thor.

Thor Correspondences

Animals
Goats
Bears
Oxen

Tools
Hammer or hammer-like tools
Chariot
Belts
Cauldrons

Images
Oak trees
Lightning, storms
Battles
Community or family gatherings

What are your experiences of Thor? Come and tell us in our Children and Families Group.

Image copyright details
A reproduction in wood of an Icelandic original known as the Eyrarland statue depicting the Germanic war and thunder god Thor, displayed at the Swedish Army Museum. Image by Peter Isotalo, public domain.