Eir: The Goddess of Healing

Eir is the goddess of healing. She is one of the handmaids of Frigga, or in some sources a Valkyrie …

Eir is the goddess of healing. She is one of the handmaids of Frigga, or in some sources a Valkyrie in the service of Odin Allfather.

Short Facts

Tribe: Aesir

Goddess of: healing and birth

Other names: Eira, Eria and Eyra

Eir responsibilities

Healing, medicine, and overseeing childbirth

Associated Animals with Eir

A gray jaybird

Eir weapon/domain of power

Mortar and pestle, healing instruments, rituals and herbs, home remedies and folk medicine, eirflower, copper material and hilltops

The healer

It is not clear if Eir is a goddess or a valkyrie. Despite this fact, Eir is associated with medical skills and is considered a major entity in Norse mythology. Her name means mercy or help. There’s no information about her parents or if she had any relations with the rest of the Aesir gods.

Eir preparing medicine.
Photo Credit: littlemoonbeamsoul

One of her main duties was to choose those warriors who would live and recover after the battle while her sisters Valkyries carried the selected few among the slain to enter the halls of Valhalla. According to folk tradition, Eir performed healing rituals using a white flower known as Eirflower.  

Mentions

In the Poetic Edda, Eir is referred to by the watchman Fjolsvith as one of the maidens that accompany a kind and gentle female jotunn (giantess) named Menglod. Eir and her sisters live on a sacred hill called Lyfjaberg (the hill of healing). 

In Prose Edda, Eir is mentioned as an extremely good physician.

In Svipdagsmal, Snorri says that Eir is one of the most important goddesses.

Lastly, in skaldic poetry, Eir is seen as the companion of Var, the goddess of oaths and legislation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What powers did Eir have?

A. Besides healing those in need, Eir would look after women in labor, protecting both the mother and the infant. Not only that, but Eir was a deity of protection, keeping all sickness and diseases away from those who offered her blots on the top of Lyfjaberg hill.

Q. Is Eir one of the Norns?

A. The Norns were deities responsible for shaping the destinies of humans. According to a source, Eir was one of the Norns, but that is highly unlikely as it contradicts other sources.

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Vasilis Megas

Vasilis Megas (a.k.a. Vasil Meg) lives in Athens, Greece. He is a Greek- and Norse Mythology enthusiast. Vasilis has written and published 16 books - mostly fantasy and science fiction - and he is now working as a content writer, journalist, photographer and translator.