Tyr’s Day


Today is Tuesday, or Tyr’s Day.

In case you didn’t know, Tyr is the Norse god of battle and courage. Men would often inscribe their swords with Tyr’s rune and pray to him before going in to battle.

Tyr's rune. Tiwaz.

Tyr’s rune. Tiwaz.

Tyr’s story is bound up with the great wolf monster Fenrir, a spawn of Loki. Odin had allowed Fenrir to live with the gods, but the wolf grew to such an enormous size and had such a rapacious appetite that the gods all grew afraid of him. They asked Odin to get rid of the monstrous beast.

The gods tried twice to bind Fenrir, but each time he escaped from his fetters. They were all too weak for him.

For the third attempt the gods asked the dwarves for help in creating a fetter strong enough to hold Fenrir. The dwarves outdid themselves and created Gleipnir. In Gleipnir the dwarves wove six magical ingredients: the sound of a moving cat, the beard of a woman, a fish’s breath, the spit of a bird, the roots of a mountain, and the sinews of a bear.

However, Fenrir was no fool and refused to be bound a third time. He demanded payment: one of the gods would have to put his hand in the wolf’s mouth. Tyr, the bravest of the gods, volunteered.

The gods bound Fenrir with Gleipnir. He struggled and thrashed, but could not break the magical binding. The gods then tied him to a boulder where he will remain until Ragnarok, the Norse end-of-the-world.

As Fenrir struggled, though, he gnashed his teeth. He clamped down on Tyr’s hand and severed it at the wrist.

Tyr is always portrayed as a one-handed god.

tyr

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One Response to Tyr’s Day

  1. Kilian Metcalf says:

    Very interesting. I knew about the association of the names of the days of the week from Tuesday-Friday with the gods, but not the stories behind them. Thank you for this.

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