Nerthus

 

 

Nerthus, as well all of the holy powers, is very interesting. Tales of her date back as long as any other, and her presence has been accounted

all over Europe, in one form or another. And yet, there is still not too much known about her.

Nerthus is not a Norse deity per say, but more of a Germanic one. (Remember that in heathenism we use the Norse deities and names because their history is the best preserved  it is not to say that they are the only ones). Nerthus has many similarities with the mother of Thor, Jord. They both preside over the same area of rulership, as they are both deities of the earth. While it is unknown, it is believed that Nerthus is of the Vanir. She is Mother Nature, the personification of nature and all of its forces in one being. (Of course that is later divided down the line with other beings). Nerthus is nature, fertility, the protector of that which lives in the forests, mountains, and fields. On the other hand Jord, is Mother Earth, the Earth itself. See the difference? Of course that is just my opinion, but I at least think it is a good one. 

"In Germanic paganism, Nerthus is a goddess associated with fertility. Nerthus is attested by Tacitus, the first century AD Roman historian, in his ethnographic work Germania. 

 

In Germania, Tacitus records that a particular group of Germanic tribes who venerated the goddess at his time of writing maintained a sacred grove on an (unspecified) island and that a holy cart rests there draped with cloth, which only a priest may touch. The priests feel her presence by the cart, and, with deep reverence, attend her cart, which is drawn by heifers. Everywhere the goddess then designs to visit, she is met with celebration, hospitality, and peace. All iron objects are locked away, and no one will leave for war. When the goddess has had her fill she is returned to her temple by the priests. Tacitus adds that the goddess, the cart, and the cloth are then washed by slaves in a secluded lake. The slaves are then drowned." (1) 

 

Nerthus is known by many other names throughout the European nations and cultures, whether they are they same is up to debate but they are all very similar. They are: "Erda, Erce, Fru Gaue, Fjörgyn, Frau Holda and Hluodana" (1)

"Nerthus is the Norse Goddess (Teutonic) of peace, fertility, witchcraft, wealth, the sea, and purification. She is also known as the Earth Mother. Erce is her old English name, known as the goddess of blessings. 

 

She was worshiped in a sacred Grove on an island in the North Sea or the Baltic Sea, possibly in Sjaeland, but the center of her worship was in Denmark. With the arrival of spring an image of the goddess was carried about on a sacred, covered wagon which was drawn by an oxen among the neighboring tribes.

Nerthus is related to the Greek nerteroi (gods of the underworld), and with Njord, the Norse god of the sea. She is believed to be the mother of Freyja {and Frey} the Norse goddess of beauty and love. Nerthus had been known to mingle with humans." (2) 

 

 

Yes, it is possible that Nerthus is the mother of Frey and Frejya, it is actually a quite common idea I believe, and seems to make sense. It is also said that Nerthus is Njord, and that he does not really have a gender but gave birth to his children just as Ymir did. Another theory is that Nerthus is the twin sister of Njord (just as Frey and Frejya are) and is still Frey and Frejya's mother. I think the later idea is more correct, but then we can never know. 

May Nerthus bestow her blessings upon you and the Earth! Hail Nerthus!

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