Rán – Robber; Goddess of the Drowned
Rán, a primordial Norse sea spirit lives in a golden hall in the deepest depths of the sea where those who drown spend eternity. Rán is not a benevolent sea goddess, although she is allegedly a wonderful hostess. She is a death goddess, blamed for shipwrecks, drownings, and disappearances at sea. Rán’s signature possession is a special fishing net, which she uses to catch ships and drag them down to her home. (Loki borrowed Rán’s net to capture Andvari.) Rán casts her net to fish for permanent guests at her luxurious hall.
Once upon a time, Rán was allegedly offered human sacrifices. She was fed, so she wouldn’t serve herself. Saxon pirates tithed to Rán, allegedly casting one in ten captives overboard in hopes of ensuring safe passage. Rán and her husband, Aegir, are the proud parents of nine daughters who manifest as beautiful women and as waves. Sometimes they help their mom capture ships. Rán’s hall on the ocean floor is among the Norse realms of death. She receives those who drown, whether or not she is responsible for their deaths.
Aegis, Lord of the Sea, is her husband and brother. They are primordial spirits, older than the Norse pantheon. They predate and defy classification and thus are neither Aesir nor Vanir, although they socialize with both. Rán is an oracular spirit. It is safer to request her assistance on land.
Despite her fierce reputation, Rán is often visualized as being very beautiful. Her portrait on a 2004 Faeroe Island postage stamp depicts her as a sexy sea goddess clad in nothing but her net.
The seven seas; in Old Norse kennings (wordplay), Rán’s Road is another name for the sea.
Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses – Written by : Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.