Heimdall is such a great watcher of Asgard because, as the Eddas tell us," He needs less sleep than a bird and can see a hundred leagues in all directions, by night as well as by day". His hearing is so acute that he can hear the grass growing, and even the wool growing on sheep. He rides around on the horse known as Gold Tuft and it is said that he, like Frigga, can see the future. This may be a clue to his Vanir heritage. He is also known as the God of the pure and holy fire.
Heimdall, the radiant God, is also very wise. He is the one who devises the method for Thor to get his mighty hammer back from the Giant Thrym. To Thor's chagrin this meant dressing up like a woman and acting like he would be the Giants bride. But the ploy worked and Thor regained his hammer.
In Lokasenna, Loki describes him this way: " Fate has handed you a loathsome life, bolt upright you must always be, awake to guard the Gods". This is how I see Heimdall, stoically at attention, ever watching and listening for any danger that might try to cross the rainbow bridge. I, unlike Loki, see his, "fate", as a great honor. What could be more honorable than being given the duty of guardian of Asgard and all its inhabitants !?
The strangest story of Heimdall can be found in the Eddic poem Rigsthula, or Lay of Rig. This story, which is attributed to Snorri Sturluson, has Heimdall travelling around Midgard. He sleeps in three households and fathers a child with the wife of each household. Each one grows up into a different social class, so it is said that Heimdall is the father of the three classes of mankind, Thraellar, Karlar and Jarlar. It is also said that he gave the inhabitants laws to live by.
When, " The rope breaks and the wolf runs free", Heimdall quickly blows the horn Gjallar alerting all of Asgard to the approaching danger. All his vigilance and might is not enough to prevent the destruction of Bifrost and the death of most of the Gods and Goddesses. He kills Loki and is killed in turn by the evil trickster. An amazing thing to consider is that Heimdall, who can see the future, surely knows what will happen and still remains at his post, giving up his life to save the other Gods and protect Asgard. That is truly the mark of a great and brave warrior. All hail the ever vigilant Heimdall !
Silent and alone your eyes scan the horizon,
your ears listening for any and all danger.
Watchful and vigilant you must be
to guard the bridge to heaven.
Your weapons are your senses,
the Gjallarhorn your shield.
You stand like a statue,
The Great White God,
guarding the gate to heaven.
Your duty is your honor,
never resting, never ending,
you fulfill it with dignity.
Gods and Goddesses sleep well
knowing you are at your post.
Their trust is your honor,
and badge of courage.
I honor you in silence.
I raise my horn to you,
and drink a toast to you,
guardian of Asgard !
- Glenn Bergen 2010
Go with Odin's wisdom, Freyja's love and Thor's protection !