Part 1: Woden the ancestor
The ancestor of the South Saxon kings (among a
great many other descended lines of kings), Woden was born at the
beginning of time, his parents being the giant, Bor, and the
giantess, Bestia, who came from chaos.
Woden was the father god, the god of battle and death,
the god of inspiration and wit and, far from least, he was the god of
learning. Woden was also the psychopomp of slain warriors, taking
them back to Valhalla, his hall of the brave. Valhalla was situated
in a joyous land called Gladheim, where Woden also had another hall
with twelve thrones upon which were seated his councillors.
Woden was the great chief of the Aesir, a race of war
gods who lived in Asgarth, the world of divinities. The god-chief had
two ravens, Hugin ('Thought') and Munin ('Memory'), who told him all that
had happened in Milgard, the world of mortals. (See Tribal Warfare
of the Gods in Scandinavia for a more in-depth examination of Aesir
and the Norse gods).
Woden was in wedlock with Frigg, the goddess of fertility,
conjugal love, and motherhood.
Their eldest son, Balder, was the favourite of all the
other gods. He was known for his matchless beauty and sweetness of character.
He was the god of plants and good forces. He lived in a hall called Breithablik with his wife, the daughter of the god Nepr, and her name
was Nanna. Forseti, their son, was the god of justice, peace, and truth.
He had a throne in his hall. This residence was called Glitnir, a palace
which was embellished with silver and gold.
Balder was killed unintentionally by his blind brother,
the god Hoder, with a bough of mistletoe, having been misled by the
malicious Loki, the god of mischief, destruction, and fire.
Woden and Frigg had another son who was killed in combat
at the battle of Ragnasok. His name was Hermod. Since he had no children
and nor did Hoder, presumably Aelle and Mealla (if they were royal)
would have claimed descent from Woden through his grandson, Forseti.
Woden also had a natural son called Vithar, by his concubine Grithir,
who was a giantess.
Woden is still important to contemporary pagans for whom
he is the god of inner battles.