One belief found in modern Heathenry is the multi-part soul. These parts are believed to work in tandem to make the whole, with all parts carrying equal importance. The number for these parts can vary, but four are typically acknowledged. These parts are as follows:

Hamr – The hamr is your outer appearance: Your physical form, your airs, and your presentation. The essence of the hamr can be manipulated by the hugr (mind). Examples of this are found in Old Norse berserkir and úlfhéðnar, warriors who were thought to assume the hamr of a bear or wolf, respectively, through battle-frenzy (a function of oðr, or inspiration). Hamr can also be manipulated with the alteration of appearance. The hamr is left behind after death.

Hugr – The hugr is the mind, emotions, and will. This is the property of consciousness and agency. The hugr leaves the body upon death.

Fylgja – The fylgja is also known as the fetch/follower. It is a core essence of a person. The fylgja can travel away from the body in a form of astral shape. Famous examples of fylgja are Odin’s ravens, Huginn (“thought”) and Muninn (“memory”).

Hamingja – The hamingja represents the potentiality and proclivities of a person. It can be thought of as someone’s “base stats”; what their natural strengths and weaknesses are, what they have a knack for, etc. Hamingja is thought to be passed down within family or lineage.

For more information on where parts of the soul go after death, see Death & the Afterlife.

Video Explainer

Norse Spirituality – The Parts of the Self

By Arith Härger