Ullr, who’s name means “Glory” picture with his bow, arrow and skis
Do you like skiing, or other winter sports? Even now in Europe Ullr is remembered as the Patron of Skier, and folks buy Ullr medallions for protection while skiing, and their are winter sport competitions, clubs and organizations still named for Ullr. In Europe, Ullr’s name never really went away. There’s even a liquor bearing His name.
So, we’ve got a Norse God of Skiing/Winter being called upon by a surprising amount of folks, with what amounts to a very active modern cultus, meanwhile, this son of Sif and step son of Thor is so rarely mentioned in American Heathenry and Paganism! Maybe we don’t ski enough?
We can see from the many places named after Ullr, and his name, meaning “Glory” that he was likely highly regarded by our Ancestors, yet so little information available. His hall was Ydalir, Yew-dale, his favourite wood for bows; he was called “God of the Shield”, and the shield was referred to as his ship. He was one of the Gods who over saw the making and keeping of Oaths. In a tale recounted by Saxo, it was Ullr who the Aesir elected to lead them when Odin was banished.
Yet despite being so well known, and so strongly associated with winter, it doesn’t appear that Ullr was properly the God of Winter – or that he was a “God of…” anything particular. Was He an older culture’s Sky God, now the step-son of Thor, the Thunderer? Was He a God of the Winter Hunt? Is he Aesir by birth? (and if we ask that question, we must ask – is Sif Aesir by birth? Were they Vanir?) We have no idea from any historical sources. None what so ever.
However I think its fantastic to see that without much in the way of historical sources, what is essentially a modern, non-Heathen focused worship! His name is known, old winter sports equipment is burned in honor of him, he’s got liquor and charities and clubs named after him, and winter sports enthusiast pray to him for safety and good weather.
I wonder if perhaps this is as He wanted it. We see some wights of the Northern Tradition ‘waking up’ and reaching out to modern folks, but I have yet to meet a modern Ullrperson at any Heathen or Pagan event, but I’ve met ton’s of skiers who know of Him – and probably Know Him well.
Ullr’s Shrine on Northern Tradition Paganism.org – Poetry, prayers, further information on Ullr’s modern cult.