Hermod: The Messenger of The Gods

Short Facts Tribe: Aesir God of: Bravery, communication, diplomacy, freedom, honor, luck, travel and war Son of: Odin Half brother …

Short Facts

Tribe: Aesir

God of: Bravery, communication, diplomacy, freedom, honor, luck, travel and war

Son of: Odin

Half brother of: Baldur, Bragi, Hodr, Thor, Tyr, Vali and Vidarr

Other names: Hermodr

Hermod responsibilities

Communication between the gods, courage, diplomacy fortune, freedom, honor, journey, negotiation and war

Hermod riding the horse.
George Percy Jacomb-Hood, via Wikimedia Commons

Hermod spirit animal

A gyrfalcon

Hermod weapon/domain of power

His bravery and ability to negotiate with deities far superior than him, his strength and resolve, the skill to handle Odin’s eight-legged steed Sleipnir, and his magical staff Gambantein

The bravest of the Aesir

Hermod is the messenger of the gods. He is associated with communication, freedom and luck, but he is also a fearless and strong god. Son of Odin Allfather, Hermod’s name means either war-spirit or warrior or fury of war.

Hermod holds the magic wand Gambantein and his main task is to carry and deliver the messages of the gods. He is considered to be the bravest among the Aesir as he is the only one who steps up to the challenge of traveling to Hel and asking the dire goddess of death for Baldur to be released.

Hermod in Helheim

After the foul deed of Loki and the death of the beloved Baldur, Frigga asked who amongst the Aesir would ride to Hel and bargain with the Lady Death for Baldur’s return to the world of the living. Hermod was the only one who accepted this perilous assignment. Odin lent him his marvelous eight legged steed Sleipnir, and so Hermod rode off to Helheim.

Hermod riding through the dark valley.
Photo Credit: culture.northern

Hermod traveled through deep and dark territories for nine nights until he reached the Gjoll River, the boundary between the world of the living and the dead. There, on the golden bridge over the Gjoll, the guardian Modgudr said that Baldur was already in Hel’s halls. Eventually, Hermod made it to the halls of the Queen of the Dead after leaping over Hel’s gate on Sleipnir’s back.

When Hermod came before Hel he saw Baldur sitting in the most honorable seat beside her throne. Hermod immediately started pleading with Hel for Baldur’s release, but Lady Death was unyielding until, in the end, Hermod persuaded her to reconsider and agree on a deal. Hel would release Baldur if all things (living or not) wept for him. Yet, that didn’t happen thanks to Loki’s schemes once again.

In the old texts

In the Prose Edda, in the Gylfaginning book, Hermod is brought up as the hero-god, who accepts the challenge of going to Helheim and asks Hel to let go of Baldur.

In the Poetic Edda, in the poem, Hyndluljod Hermod is mentioned as a mortal hero.

In the poem Hakonarmal, Hermod and Bragi welcome the king Hakon the Good to Valhalla.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Who is Hermod’s mother?

A. At first, Hermod is only mentioned as a son of Odin. Later on, some of the old texts suggest that Frigga is Hermod’s mother although Frigga gave birth only to Baldur and Hodr.

Q. Hermod is the god of what exactly?

A. Hermod is the messenger of the gods; taking and delivering messages among them. But, Hermod is also known for his courage, his diplomacy, his luck and his sense of honor. Therefore, he is the god of bravery, luck, travel and travelers and negotiation.