Tyr is the Norse god attributed to honor, justice, war, as well as self-sacrifice and oaths. He is one of the more important of the Aesir gods. He is known also by Tiw (Old English), Ziu (Old High German), Tuisto (Middle German) ,and Teiwaz or Tiwaz (Proto-Indo-European). For it is from him the rune Teiwaz (Tiwaz) was named as well as the second day of the week Tuesday.
He is the god of war, much like Odin is. There are many similarities to Odin, some might even claim that Odin and Tyr are one and the same, Tyr possibly being a persona of the All-Father.
He is thought to be one of the oldest Germanic gods known. The most common myth of his birth attributes him as being the son of The All-Father Odin and an unnamed mother. Though others reference him as a Jotun from the union of Hymir and Hrod.
He is most well known for his binding of Loki's child by the Jotun giantess Angrboda, the wolf Fenrir. This binding ultimately was what cost Tyr his right hand and his friendship with Fenrir. Fenrir was bound beneath the earth until Ragnarok when he would break his bonds and unleash his fury on the gods. The story is as follows.
The All Father Odin received a prophecy from a Volva concerning his fate, Ragnarok, and Loki's monster offspring. Among them being Fenrir, a wolf that would grow so strong and great in size that it would devour the sun itself. This prophecy was not just of Odin's death, but the destruction of all the worlds. Fearing this, Odin sent the gods to collect the children of Loki. As they journeyed back the wolf grew larger every day and every day Tyr fed and played with it. Eventually the other gods grew fearful and by the time they reached Asgard the wolf was so large and powerful that only Tyr had the courage to approach it.
The wolf began to sew fear in the hearts of the Aesir. The gods decided that the only course of action was to bind him so that he could not harm anyone. The gods presented the first binding as a game which Fenrir gladly played. He snapped the binding with minimal effort and boasted how mighty he was. Discomfort within the Aesir ranks grew but they resolved to try again. They made a second, mightier, binding which they presented as a second opportunity to prove that the wolf's strength was even greater. This time the wolf struggled for a moment before finally breaking the bindings.
The gods were growing fearful. Odin was left with no choice but to seek out the dwarves and ask for their most powerful magical bindings. The dwarves then fashioned Gleipnir which had the looks of a fine silk ribbon. It made from six ingredients those being the sound of a cats step, a woman's beard, the roots of a mountain, a bear's sensibility, the breath of a fish, and spittle of a bird. Some have said that the reason these ingredients can no longer be found is because they were used on Gleipnir.
Having been bound twice the wolf Fenrir wasn't apt to be chained a third time. So when the Aesir gods approached him asking that he try to break Gleipnir, Fenrir
asked that one of them place their hands within his jaws as a sign of good faith. Of all the Aesir it was his childhood friend Tyr who came forward and placed his right hand in the great wolf's jaws. Tyr swore an oath that, should Fenrir be unable to break Gleipnir, the gods would untie him and declare him the strongest being in all the lands. Tyr being the god of Honor, Fenrir had no thoughts that his friend was betraying him.
The binding placed around him. He fought with all his strength to break it but when it became apparent he couldn't he was enraged. With a great howl that rang through the Nine Worlds Fenrir closed his jaws down on Tyr's hand. His former friend had betrayed him.
The gods took the wolf to an isolated location and, when he attempted to lash out at them, lodged a sword in his mouth to hold it open. It was said that the drool that ran from his gaping mouth formed a river. In that place Fenrir will remain bound until Ragnarok. At that time the fate of the gods will be fulfilled, the prophecy of the volva will come to pass, and Fenrir will devour the All Father himself before dying at the hand of Odin's son, Víðarr. Till then the great wolf waits... Seething still at his binding and betrayal by his friend Tyr. When those days come to pass and the dust from the battles of Ragnarok settles, Tyr will have ultimately paid with his life.
The Tiwaz rune and Tyr are also very
interconnected. The Tiwaz rune got its
name from Tyr, and is identified with him.
The day Tuesday, is also named after
On Tyr's name: "Old Norse Týr, literally "god",
plural tívar "gods", comes from Proto-Germanic
*Tē₂waz (cf. Old English Tīw,
Old High German Zīo), which continues
Proto-Indo-European *deiwós "celestial being,
god" (cf.Welsh duw, Latin deus, Lithuanian
diẽvas, Sanskrit dēvá, Avestan daēvō "demon").
The earliest attestation for Týr's continental
counterpart occurs in
Gothic tyz "the t-rune" (𐍄) in the 9th-century
Codex Vindobonensis 795. The name is later
attested in Old High German as Cyo in the
AWessobrunn prayer ms. of 814.
When setting an altar up to him keep the following in mind. He being a god of war his symbol is often seen as a sword. Tending the sword is something you can do as you meditate on him and his place in your life. The colors dark red and grey are associated with him. You can include the rune Teiwaz (Tiwaz) itself or inscribe it on altar items. As he kept his oath to Fenrir you can include an oath ring as a reminder of the seriousness of oaths you make. Like most deities you can offer mead or other alcohols, honey, bread, as well as meat. Think of your altar as an extension of you and your tribute to Tyr. It can be as simple or ornate as you wish it to be. Remember to include an altar bowl to pour or place your offerings into.
The Negau helmet inscription (2nd century b.c.) may actually record
the earliest form, teiva, but this interpretation is tentative.
Týr in origin was a generic noun meaning "god", e.g. Hangatyr, literally, the "god of the hanged", as one of Odin's names, which was probably inherited from Tyr in his role as god of justice. The name continues on as Norwegian Ty, Swedish Tyr, Danish Tyr, while it remains Týr in Modern Icelandic and Faroese."- Wikipedia (1)
Seven Norse Myths
We Wouldn't Have
Without Snorri (tor.com)