(Also Rig, Heimdallr, Rigr, Hallinskidi , Vindhler, Gullintanni )
”The Bright God”
“The White God”
“Guardian of the Gods"
Heimdall is the Norse god of light who guards Bifrost (the rainbow bridge), the only entrance to Asgard (the realm of the gods). As his primary function is that of a watchman, he requires no sleep, can see for hundreds of miles in the day or night and has hearing so acute that no sounds escapes him – he can hear the growth of a single blade of grass. He watches for the coming of the frost giants which will signify the start of Ragnarok.
His hall is Himinbjorg (the heavenly mountains, the cliffs of heaven), a pleasant place where Heimdall enjoys good mead. His treasures include Gjallar (clangorous horn), the horn that he will sound to summon the other gods to the final battle and his sword, Hofud (man’s head). His mount is a horse with a golden mane called Gulltoppr (golden topped). Heimdall is handsome, well built and wears a ram’s head helmet. He also has a mouth full of shiny gold teeth (Gullintanni translates to 'gold tooth').
Heimdall’s parentage is somewhat confusing, there being various accounts of where this deity came from. He was considered by Snorri to be a son of Odin. In other accounts, he was born at the end of the world and raised up by the force of the earth, seawater and the blood of a boar. At the same time, Heimdall was said to have nine mothers: nine sisters representing the waves or the waves themselves. They are given as the daughters of Geirrendour the giant, of Aegir, or of the Valkyries, and their names are: Gjalp, Greip, Eistla, Eyrgiafa, Ulfun, Angeyja, Imdr, Atla and Jarnsaxa.
As Rig (ruler), Heimdall was the father of humankind. In the Rigspula it is told that the god was walking down the seashore when he came upon a dwelling occupied by Ii and Edda (great-grandfather and great-grandmother). The two entertained the stranger (who called himself Rig), and each night, for three nights, he lay down between them to sleep. He left and nine months later Edda bore a son called Thrall, who grew up ugly with gnarled hands and did manual labor. Thrall fathered the race of serfs or slaves.
Walking on, he came upon the home of li and Anima (grandfather and grandmother). They also entertained Rig, and for three nights he slept between them. After nine months Anima gave birth to a son called Karl, who was the father of all freemen or peasants. The last house visited by Heimdall posing as Rig was that of Fár and Afóir (Father and Mother), who lived in luxury and were aristocrats. Again, the god slept in the couple’s bed for three nights, and nine months later, Afóir bore a golden-haired child with glittering eyes called Jan, meaning earl or prince. Jan was skilled in the arts of war, and when he was grown, Heimdall came to him from under a bush to acknowledge his son, give him his name and teach him the runes. Jan was the progenitor of the race of warriors.
Heimdall's death occurs during Ragnarok, after he has alerted the other deities and they, along with the Einherjar, battle Loki, Hel, Fenrir, Jormundgand, Surtur of Muspellheim, and the hordes of chaos. Loki and Heimdall (who were involved in a long-standing feud) die at each other’s hands.