GNA – This neglected Norse goddess was one of the Asynjur (female Aesir) and served as the messenger of the female nature deity Frigga. Gna was as swift as Hermes from Greek myths and rode a horse named Hofvarpnir, a steed capable of galloping across the sky and the seas in addition to land. Gna wielded a spear and could travel as quickly as the breeze when she was astride Hofvarpnir.
During the 8th Century war between the Langobards and the Vandals the goddess Frigga put Gna to a lot of work. Frigga and her husband Odin were quarreling, so since he supported the Vandals in the conflict Frigga made a point of supporting the other side. She would frequently send Gna to the Langobards with information on Odin’s plans to help the Vandals.
Gna was also sent to the realm of the dead to try to negotiate with the goddess Hela for the release of the god Baldur after Loki engineered his murder. She fought past the giant hound Garm and past Modgud, the goddess who guarded Hel’s Gjallarbru, the bridge over the frozen river Gjoll. From there Gna overcame many other perils before reaching Hela in her castle called Sleetcold.
In some accounts Gna is the goddess who – at Frigga’s command – delivers an enchanted apple to King Rerir so that his til-then childless marriage will be blessed with a son. Rerir’s wife eats the apple and later gives birth to Volsung, setting in motion the events of the Volsunga Saga.
Gna would report to Frigga on whatever events she observed in her travels, much like Odin’s ravens Hugin and Munin would tell him everything they witnessed during their daily flights.
Like the proverbial sailor with “a girl in every port,” Gna was said to have a male lover in each of the Nine Realms. When necessary this goddess could shrink down to just a few inches in size, simultaneously shrinking her horse and transforming him into a mouse that she rode.
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