Ullr: God of Skiing, Archery, the Hunt, Shields, Personal Combat, Oaths, and so much more.
Ullr, is the handsome the son of Sif and stepson of Thor. He is a warrior god and one that can be called upon when dueling and in personal combat. He is the winter god of skiing and snow shoes. Skiers, and especially ski racers like myself, even today call on Ullr for victory. I have a goodluck Ullr talisman that has an image of Ullr on skis with a bow on one side and on the other an inscription in German it reads “Shutzpatron der Skilaufer,” which means patron protector of skiers. He is the God of Archery and master of the hunt. No one can compete with him in these arts and skills.
Ullr is Baldr’s friend. He is the God of shields and of oaths and he has a sacred oath ring. "Ullr’s ring" is a kenning for an oath ring. While he is a winter God, he has a strong connection to the sun and the return of light after Yule and the winter solstice. There seem to have been cults associated with the worship of Ullr. He has a magic ship made of bone which he uses to cross water. He lives in Asgard in a hall called Ýdalir (the Yew Dales). His hall was located within a grove of yews, which are an excellent wood for making bows and arrows.
There are several other kennings for Ullr. Instead of shield one can say “Ullr’s Ship.” “Ullr almsíma” meaning Ullr of bowstring and “Ullr brands” meaning Ullr of the sword are kennings referring to a warrior. An sword artifact discovered in Thorsberg in Northern Germany, consisting of a bronze piece that was attached to a sword scabbard, is inscribed in runes “Owlþuþewaz niwajmariz,” which translates to “servant of Ullr -the glorious one.” The piece dates to around 200 CE. Again, this shows the connection between Ullr and warriors. One can imagine there may have been an Ullr cult of warriors or Berserkers or Ulfhednar. who gave special allegiance to Ullr because of his unparalleled martial and hunting skills. The kenning "storm of Ullr" means battle. Because of many hints like this, Ullr is known to have a connection to Tyr, which many Norse scholars have tried to unravel. Tyr is also a very ancient God.
Ullr is an ancient God and a temple has been found that was dedicated to him from around or after the year 450 in Little Ulevi in Bro, Uppland, Sweden. His temple in Little Ulevi East towards the rising sun. This is different from the foundations of other Norse temple digs that face North. Sixty three rings, of various typed for fingers, arms, bracelets, and a few torques have been discovered in the vicinity of the Ullr temple at Little Ulevi that date to the period 650-750 CE.
There are many places in Scandinavia named after Ullr and I encountered one in Iceland. Ullr is depicted on a runestone in Boeksta in Southeast Sweden. He is depicted on skis holding a bow and arrow ready to shoot.
Breckenridge, Colorado holds an annual festival in his honor called Ullrfest. The town of Ullensakr, Norway adopted a coat of arms with Ullr depicted holding a bow and arrows. In December 2018, our tribe held a combined Ullrfest and Yule celebration on a farm in Southern Virginia. We dined on freshly killed venison in Ullr’s honor. We held Viking combat training and sparred over the weekend and a solid silver Ullr medal was awarded to the best Viking and a bronze medal to the runner up. Hail Ullr!