Depending on the culture, the deities associated with the afterlife could be male or female. In this article, you will learn of the links to the underworld and afterlife in regards to Agni , a Hindu god and Freyja , a Norse goddess.
One of the most significant of Vedic gods was the Hindu deity named Agni, who was known as the god of fire and the one who accepted sacrifices. Agni served as a messenger from and to the other gods, which is why he was responsible for sacrifices and making sure they reached the appropriate deity. Agni will always be young and is an immortal god. As the Vedic god of fire, he doesn’t age because the fire is re-lit every day.
Agni is one of the most important and powerful of gods in Vedic mythology and is second only to Indra (known as king of the gods or Lord of Heaven) in this aspect. He is actually the twin of Indra. Many religious dedications have placed Agni in great honor.
When religious ceremonies are held and religious practices take place, Agni serves as the ultimate director of such events. He presides over the earth and is associated with the link between heaven and earth. He is responsible for transporting offerings to the other world in the fire and is present during Vedic sacrifices. One of the Vedic rituals that involve Agni is the piling of the fire altar.
In various Hindu art depictions, Agni is seen as having two or seven hands, two heads, and three legs. Inside of his mouth, he possesses seven fiery tongues. When he travels, he uses a ram or chariot that is pulled by goats. Some of the objects associated with the god include a torch, axe, flaming spear, or prayer beads.
In some myths, Agni is thought to have arisen out of water or lived in a body of water. In early accounts, he is sometimes described as fire arising from water.
While Freyja is associated with love, beauty and fertility, she is also linked to war and death. The artistic depictions of this goddess can get pretty interesting. She is often seen riding in a charity pulled by two cats. She owns Hildisvini , a boar that she also rides when the cats are not in use. Sometimes, she is seen wearing a cloak fashioned out of falcon feathers.
In Folkvangr, Freyja helps other deities at her hall called Sessrumnir. It is here that she allows them to use her feathered cloak, which helps in matters of love and fertility.
Freyja is married to the god Oor, who is continuously not around. Because of this, she cries tears made out of red gold while he is absent. Searching for her love, she takes on aliases, such as Horn, Syr, Vanadis, and Gefn.
Norse myths tell of a field called Folkvangr that Freyja is in charge of. When the slain die in combat are ready to go to the afterlife, half of the dead go to where the goddess rules, while the other half are sent to the god Odin in Valhalla. Because of this, Freyja is viewed at times, as a goddess of war.