Odr: The God of Vehemence

One of the Vanir, Odr is the god of vehemence. He is also associated with desire, passion and rage. Freyja …

One of the Vanir, Odr is the god of vehemence. He is also associated with desire, passion and rage. Freyja is his wife, who is constantly looking for him.

Short Facts

Tribe: Vanir

God of: Desire, franticness, eagerness, longing, pain, passion, rage, and vehemence.

Husband of: Freyja

Father of: Gersemi and Hnoss

Other names: Od, Oder, Odur

Odr responsibilities

Granting wishes, inspiring nostalgia, invoking flight, teaching mortals about desire, happiness, love, pain, and passion

Associated Animals with Odr


Odr weapon/domain of power

Photo Credit: mythology_of_vikings

Departure, fleeting shadows and winds, the wilderness

A mysterious god

Odr is the god of vehemence, longing and passion. He is also associated with desire and rage. His name means ‘the frenzied one’ in Old Norse. Some scholars suggest that Odr is another name for Odin owing to the fact of the same elusiveness of both. The only information about Odr is that he’s Freyja’s husband and father of her beautiful daughters; Gersemi and Hnoss.

For reasons unknown, Odr didn’t stay long with Freyja and went away from her and the other gods of Asgard. He journeyed far and wide, ultimately isolating himself from gods and mortals alike. 

Freyja, the most beautiful and the most desired goddess, couldn’t stand his absence. She loved him so much she wept tears of red gold and tried in vain to find him.

A betrayed god

It is strongly implied that Freyja drove Odr away from her side. When the goddess of beauty was obsessed with gold she searched the Nine Realms for that one special present. She met four dwarves, who offered her the magnificent necklace Brisingamen if she spent one night with each of them. Freyja accepted, being certain that no one would ever know, but she was unaware of Loki watching her. Odin Allfather heard of Freyja’s dishonorable act and punished her. But, it was Odr’s departure that hurt her the most.

Right after Freyja’s betrayal, Odr, feeling disgusted by all the gods, decided to leave and never to return. Some theories propose that he traveled the Nine Realms to teach mortals the meaning of desire, love, pain and passion. To grant wishes to those in need, and help wanderers to reach their destinations. Others say that Odr returned to his beloved wife, Freyja – eventually forgiving her – and never again left her side. Whatever happened will always remain a mystery as the one surrounding Odr’s background story.

In the old texts

In the Poetic Edda, Odr is mentioned in the poems Voluspa and Hyndluljod.

Odr also appears in the Prose Edda in the books Gylfaginning and Skaldskaparmal.

Odr is also brought up in the Ynglinga saga.


Who is really Odr?

There is not much information regarding Odr. The only known fact is that he is Freyja’s husband and that he is always away. One can only trade with assumptions and hypotheses as to Odr’s real story. 
He is a god of mystery, a fleeting figure in the Norse Pantheon. Perhaps he had been conjured up as a secondary character to show Freyja’s strong emotions caused by his absence. But that is another guess and not something solid.

Is Odr related to Odin?

Many scholars argue that Odr and Odin are the same. They mention the many similarities these two deities share. Both gods travel the Nine Realms and are shrouded in mystery. 
Even the names of their wives are somehow indistinguishable; Frigga and Freyja. Based on these notes one might say that Odr is indeed Odin. But, is that the truth? Many other gods share attributes and traits. That doesn’t make them identical. 
The old texts say that Odr is Freyja’s husband. They don’t mention him as Odin, but as Odr. That should suffice for Odr being a unique deity and not just another empty name for Odin Allfather.

How did Odr learn about Freyja’s infidelity?

Loki, the trickster, was known for his harmful acts. He followed Freyja into that dwarven cave and saw what she did in order to get the Brisingamen necklace. Now, could Loki have turned a blind eye to this disgraceful affair? Absolutely. But, this is Loki we’re talking about. He saw an opportunity to wreak some havoc and took it no matter what. So, of course, he went straight to Odin and spilled it all out. Whether Odr is Odin or Odr is a sole deity Loki revealed Freyja’s secret just for the fun of it.

Photo of author

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.