Like his mother, and moreso than most other gods, there is a prevalent feeling of having lost much when it comes to Ullr. His mentions are few, and merely act to tease heathens and academics (and heathen academics) alike with possible answers, with possible connections. We know he is the son of Sif from a union prior to Thor. He has a hall called Ydalir, meaning yew dale. According to Snorri in the Prose Edda, he is a skilful bowman and skier. He is beautiful and an accomplished warrior.
In Atlakviða, Guðrún reminds her husband Atli of the oaths he had broken, one of which was made on the “ring of Ull”. Skaldic verses and kennings further tie Ullr to battle, connecting him with shields, swords, and bowstrings. There’s not much else. We have no record of who Ullr’s father is, which in turn would shed further light on Sif’s life prior to her marriage to Thor. As such, many heathens today tie him closely to Skaði, as they share many of the same associations to winter, skiing, archery, and hunting. While we have an attestation that connects him to oath rings, and indeed some 65 amulet rings have been found at Lilla Ullevi (Ullr-ve, a religious site dedicated to Ullr) (Riisøy, 2016, p.142–145), we have lost the significance of that connection to time.
Ultimately, Ullr is known in some spaces as the ‘forgotten god’, with sparse information on his associations and history even relative to other Nordic deities (an impressive feat!) So, over to you. Who is Ullr to you? How do you celebrate, honour or work with him?
Image credit: W.Heine