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Who Is Njord?

Who Is Njord?

I am an ocean lover , the sea pulls me and I can only think of Njord when I smell the salt in the air. lets learn more about him. Njord is the northern god of humanity’s dealings with the waters – fishing and boating on both ocean and rivers. Unlike the sea gods Aegir, Ran, and their nine daughters who embody the wild nature of Ocean, Njord is the mediator between the waters and the people who make their living there. He is on good terms with the Sea Gods and with spirits of river, lake, and stream; he is the Divine Ship Captain and all the waters are peaceful when he passes.

Njord is one of the consorts of Nerthus, the Earth Goddess of Vanaheim, land of the Vanic Gods. With her, he brought forth the golden twins Frey and Freya. After the war with the Aesir Gods, hostages were exchanged, and Njord the traveler agreed to go as hostage with his two children to Asgard. This was done because Njord is a superb diplomat, wise in the ways of peacemaking. In little time he had forged a strong alliance with the former enemies of the Vanir, and made them dependent on Vanaheim for much of their food. Njord spends two-thirds of the year in Asgard, coming home for a third of the year to be with his wife Nerthus, but he is often on the waters in his ships. He has two halls, both named Noatun, one in each world.

At one point, the winter goddess Skadi demanded a husband of Odin in exchange for the death of her father, and the canny All-Father made her choose by looking only at the feet of the men living in Asgard. She chose Njord, and they married but later divorced amicably. Skadi disliked the ocean and Njord was not happy in the mountains; by this they became Gods to be called on for amicable and friendly divorces.

Njord can be prayed to for all fishing and travel by boat. He is the Lighthouse God, and can light the way through stormy seas, literally and figuratively. In contrast to his son Frey, who is a more "personal" light-in-darkness that lives within the single heart, Njord is the light-in-darkness for a community, the lighthouse that brings the whole ship company safely to the new shore. He can also be called upon when there is need of diplomacy in “troubled waters”. As a doting father figure – there are those who say that he not only raised Frey and Freya but fostered the orphaned Sigyn as well – he can be called upon by fathers and fathers-to-be, and those who have need of positive father figures. As the Captain’s God, he teaches responsible leadership under difficult circumstances. Offerings to Njord

Njord is the fisherman's God, and as such he is very concerned with the health of the oceans. For him, however, while pollution is definitely a problem, his main concern is the overfishing of the seas due to industrial fisheries. The oceans are running out of fish at a fast rate, and this is a terrible thing to him. Njord would like to see industrial fisheries banned and fishing returned to small fishermen, especially small fishing families - much as his son Frey prefers small family farms over huge industrial agribusiness farms and feedlots. The new term on the horizon is "artisanal fishermen", for the smaller fishing boats who do it the old-fashioned way, without dangerous dragnets and enormous waste of fish. These are Njord's people, and to support them is to honor him.

Some suggestions might be:

  • Write to Congress about ocean acidification concerns and overfishing. Encourage them to cut all subsidies for industrial fisheries and eventually ban those. At the least, ask them to ban bottom trawling and destructive fishing. Ask them to ban offshore drilling - we can't guarantee that the BP accident won't happen again. Ask them to subsidize, instead, artisanal fishing boats and sustainable fish farming companies.

  • Write to your trade minister and ask them to pressure the UN to outlaw "flags of convenience", which allow ships from industrialized nations to fly the flags of smaller, poorer countries who agree to look the other way on illegal overfishing, catching waste, boundary violations, and pollution.

  • Write to your government and ask them to set aside more offshore areas to be "preserves" where no fishing can happen - we need some places where the fish stocks can recover and be breeding grounds for the rest of the oceans. Ask them to pressure the UN into pushing this agenda.

  • Recruit your local seafood restaurateur or market owner to do the same - he can't afford to run out of fish either.

  • Eat sustainably caught fish, and encourage your friends and family to do the same. The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch pamphlet is a good resource for this. Download a batch and distribute them. Voting with your wallet is the best way to go.

  • Contact local restaurants and ask them not to use "red-list" seafood. Eat at restaurants that serve sustainable fish. Fish2Fork is a good organization to check for this.

  • Don't eat bluefin tuna, and contact sushi places and ask them not to use it either.

  • Don't buy coral jewelry - we're killing the reefs fast enough as it is, and they are needed to nurture fish birthing grounds.

  • Put in a volunteer stint as a bycatch observer aboard a fishing vessel. These volunteers make sure that "bycatch" fish - meaning any fish that the boat can't or isn't interested in selling, which can be up to 75% of any given catch - are actually thrown back alive and not just killed. When you're there, you're a direct agent of Njord.

  • If you live within driving distance of the ocean, support local artisanal fishermen. See if it's possible to buy directly from any of them instead of going through middlemen. See if you can organize a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share program among local fishermen and your friends who want to eat sustainable fish.

  • Find out about the difference between sustainable and unsustainable aquaculture, and support (through buying and eating) the sustainable variety. RAS (recirculating aquaculture systems) is the most sustainable sort; find out where those industries are and buy from them (and push restaurants to do the same). The same "feedlot" issues that Njord's son Frey abhors on land are no better when they are applied in the waters.

  • Write to the FDA and ask them to ban the importation of fish farmed with quinolones and other harmful antibiotics.

  • If you own a boat, join Sailors for the Sea, which is an organization for recreational boaters who want to help preserve the oceans. If you live near a pier, leaflet recreational boats with their info (or give it to anyone with a boat in their front yard).

  • Support organizations like the Gulf Fishermen's Association, which is trying to ensure a future for small fishermen who are being put out of business by industrial fishing.

  • Donate time or resources to the American Oceans Campaign ( and the World Forum of Fishermen and Fish Workers (working to support sustainable fishing and small family fisheries). Writing


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