Eir- Norse Goddess of Healing and Medicine

In Norse Mythology, Eir is known as the Goddess of Healing and Medicine, especially relating to Herbalism and Naturopathic Medicine in particular. It is questioned by some that she instead is a Valkyrie, and debate has raised questions as to whether or not she is one in the same, or, if the myths are describing two separate beings.

Eir is a Patron Deity of all of those who work in Medicine. Her name Eir (“EYE-eer”) translates to mean “help, mercy, clemency, and protection”, and her specialty is her skill with herbs. Simplified, her name means “healer”. Other spellings include Eil, Eira, Eyr, and Eyra.

Eir is referenced in the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources; the Prose Edda, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson; and in skaldic poetry, including a runic inscription from Bergen, Norway from around 1300.

It is implied that Eir be included among the Asujnur, the major goddesses of the Æsir. Although other Goddesses and Deities are called upon for aiding in healing or the ministry of medicine, Eir is regarded as the predominant healer of them all. The realms of healing are more closely associated with Goddesses and women, rather than Gods and men. She is known as one of the handmaidens of Frigg, who is wife of Odin, the king of the Gods.

In folk tradition, Eir is often invoked during healing rituals through the use of a white flower known as the Eirflower, and Copper which she is also associated with.

As a Valkyrie, it is told that Eir would enter a battlefield to choose who lived and who died, who was healed and who was left to suffer, whereas other Valkyries would slain those on the battlefield without discretion. It is also said she has the capability of bringing people back from the dead through the miracle of resurrection.

© Debbie Edwards

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