Fylgiur Spirit Animals and Their Meanings in Norse Culture
In Norse mythology, fylgiur are animal spirits that help people along their human journeys. When a spirit animal of a human is healthy and strong, then so is the person it’s connected to. Likewise, when a person’s spirit animal, or fylgiur, is injured, hurt, or deceased, it means trouble for that individual, often predicting a bleak future outcome. The Norse believed that a person’s spirit animal was connected to the personality and character of an individual. In other words, if a person was noble and brave, their spirit animal would reflect that; if they were lazy and selfish, then their spirit animal would reflect that.
Scandinavia’s Norse culture viewed fylgiur as messengers, guides from the spirit world that were sent to help, as well as warn. While there are several different examples of fylgiur and their meaning, below are some of the most well-known examples of Norse spirit animals.
- The Bear. Bears were viewed by the Norse as the “forefather of man”. In legends, both Thor and Odin were depicted as bears when they decided to make a visit to the human world. Known for its strength, bears were also thought to be healers. Additionally, bear spirit animals brought inner wisdom, helping humans understand the intimate connection between what is visible and what is invisible.
- The Wolf. The Norse people thought of wolves as a symbol of protection. Classified as a “Moon Animal”, the wolf is able to renew energy, allowing people to actually re-connect with their youth in order to gain new wisdom and perspectives.
- The Polar Bear. Often referred to as the “Ice Bear” in Norse countries, the polar bear is a symbol of emotional freedom, allowing individuals to release feelings that have been held in for too long. For this reason, the polar bear spirit animal helps individuals to overcome challenges, as well as learn how to be more flexible and easy-going.
- The Lynx. A guardian in more ways than one, the spirit of the Lynx holds ancient secrets and wisdom. A symbol of infinite knowledge, the lynx invites people into deep introspection.
- The Red Deer. One of the most symbolic animals of Norse mythology, the Red Deer was often depicted near the Tree of Life. Not only did the Red Deer bring healing to people, but it was also thought to be able to resurrect spirits, creating an endless connection and current of communication between this world and others.
- The Moose. The King of the Forest, the moose is the keeper of the forest’s secrets. When he appears, the moose provides individuals with confidence, grace, and inner wisdom that inspires purposeful journeys.
- The Roe Deer. A symbol of spiritual growth, the Roe Deer reminds humans of their longing to be more than just a physical body and helps people to recognize and listen to their soul’s desires.