Gefjon, goddess of fertility and agriculture: Her role in the creation of the island of Zealand

Nordic mythology is rich and complex, brimming with epic tales and powerful deities who shape the elements and human destinies. Among them stands out Gefjon, the goddess of fertility and agriculture, known for her sagacity and strength. She played a key role in the genesis of Zealand, Denmark's largest island, a feat that highlights the importance of agriculture in Nordic spirituality and culture.


The legend of Gefjon

Mythological sources and references

  • The Poetic Edda
  • The Prose Edda

Gefjon's tales are mainly rooted in these two founding texts of Scandinavian mythology.

The story of Gefjon and King Gylfi

According to legend, the goddess Gefjon met King Gylfi, who ruled the region now known as Sweden. He offered her a tract of land that she could plow in one night.

  • King Gylfi's promise
  • The metamorphosis of Gefjon's sons

To accomplish this Herculean task, Gefjon transformed his four sons, fruits of his relationship with a giant, into mighty oxen.

The birth of Zealand

Thanks to the superhuman strength of his bovine children, Gefjon ploughed the earth, creating a furrow so deep that it detached itself from the continent.

  • The ploughing of the earth
  • The formation of the island
  • Geographical consequences

The land torn up by Gefjon gave birth to Zealand, while the void left by the absence of the land that had become the island filled with water, forming Sweden's Lake Mälaren .

Gefjon, goddess of fertility and agriculture

Symbolism and worship of Gefjon

Gefjon is the personification of mother earth, guarantor of fertility and agricultural prosperity.

  • Fertility of the earth and agricultural prosperity
  • Rituals and celebrations linked to Gefjon

Comparison with other fertility deities

It is interesting to compare Gefjon with other mythological figures linked to fertility, both in Nordic mythology and elsewhere.

  • Analogies and divergences
  • Interactions with other Nordic gods

Cultural impact and heritage

Gefjon's importance in Nordic culture

Gefjon and his feat are rooted in Scandinavian folklore, testifying to the valorization of agriculture and fertility in Nordic societies.

  • Tales and folklore Thinkers and poets inspired by Gefjon

Zealand in Danish history and culture

Gefjon's creation of Zealand has left an indelible mark on Danish culture , affirming the island's geographical and mythical importance.

  • Historical and cultural influences
  • Gefjon in art and literature

Modern representations and reinterpretations

Gefjon continues to inspire works of art, literary writings and theological discussions, proof of its living cultural heritage.


The tale of Gefjon recalls the ancient Norse veneration for agricultural deities and the vital importance of fertility in mythology and our lives today. The legend of Zealand remains a powerful testament to the links between spirituality, agriculture and mythical geography, links that weave the fabric of many cultures past and present.