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The Story, Symbols and Powers of Freya, the Norse Goddess of Love


Sep 20, 2022

Freya is previous Norse for “woman” and was the title given to the Norse goddess of affection. While she actually sought out ardour and pleasure, she was a fancy character. Actually, to the Vikings she was a strong pressure, a goddess on par with Odin and Thor inside the legends of Norse mythology.

The Powers of Freya

Whereas Freya, a.okay.a. Freyja, Freja, Fröja or Frøya, is most often known as the goddess of love , she additionally  oversaw fertility, battle, and demise. The mythology associated to her emphasizes her position in all issues associated to sexuality. Nevertheless, she appears to have been utterly excluded from childbirth, a side of fertility which was inside the purview of different goddesses of the identical nature.

Due to her hyperlinks to the very beginnings of life, she most likely performed an essential position in early Scandinavian faith. Certainly one of her most influential roles, was the flexibility to decide on half of all of the heroes who died in battle to take to her nice corridor in Folkvangar (which interprets to “subject of the folks”). The opposite half would have been chosen by Odin who would then take them to Valhalla. When it comes to which god chosen who, it appeared to rely on the social standing of the useless hero.

Freya drives her cat chariot by Emil Doepler. ( Public domain )

Freya’s Attributes inside Norse Tradition

There have been many attributes and possessions related to Freya. She deemed pigs to be sacred to her, rode a boar and drove a chariot pushed by cats. She was additionally stated to have owned both a coat, cloak or costume which was manufactured from falcon feathers. Freya was additionally related to witchcraft and a few myths report her instructing the follow to the Norse Aesir gods.  

Proof for the boar comes from the Hyndluljóð, an historic Norse poem, which names the animal Hildisvíni. Her brother Freyre was additionally stated to personal a boar named Gullinborsti. H. R. Ellis Davidson additionally hyperlinks Freya to horses and argues that they have been significantly related to the goddess and have been stored in her holy locations.

She additionally owned a necklace named Brísingamen, related to a narrative involving the mischievous god Loki. The necklace appears to have been attributed to Freya within the thirteenth and 14th centuries by late Previous Norse sources. The title is alleged to translate to “necklace of the Brisings,” nevertheless its that means is unclear. The Norwegian phrase brisa means shrine and a few consider the necklace’s title pertains to that. Others suppose it could be associated to the phrases Brosinga mene from the Beowulf poem.

Freya was additionally recognized by 4 different nicknames – Mardöll, Hörn, Gefn, and Sýr. The title Sýr is typically translated to “sow,” however might additionally imply “to defend” or “shield,” whereas the title Hörn most probably comes from the Previous Norse Horr which interprets to “flax” or “linen.”

The hyperlink right here could also be the truth that in Scandinavian tradition, linen was an essential product which was believed to forestall evil and supply fertility. The manufacture of flax was a lady’s position and was largely related to weddings as a result of linen was used to make bridal clothes. In the meantime, Gefn interprets as “giver” in Previous Norse. The hyperlinks to Freya’s tasks are clear right here; she brings life and love.

Freyja and the Necklace by James Doyle Penrose. (Public domain)

Freyja and the Necklace by James Doyle Penrose. ( Public domain )

Freya’s Household Tree and the Vanir Gods

Freya belonged to a household of Vanir Gods who oversaw most issues fertility associated. It’s stated that she had a twin brother (Freyre) who oversaw the harvest. Her father was Njörd (Previous Norse: Njörðr) the god of the sea who oversaw the ocean, wind and wealth. Njörd was stated to reside in Nóatún, which was situated subsequent to the ocean. Freyre, her twin brother, was additionally born within the Vanir tribe, nevertheless, he finally ends up residing within the realm of Alfheim which was introduced to him as a present by the Aesir.

There’s some competition over who her mom was. Some data state she might have been an unknown sister of Njörd. Others say her mom was Nerthus, the Norse model of Mom Earth personified. Some say her mom was the daughter and spouse of Njörd, Skadi the enormous.

Freya was born into the Vanir department of the Gods who lived within the realm often known as Vanaheim. Nevertheless, there’s a fantasy which particulars her change to the opposite tribe of gods often known as the Aesir, to whom Thor and Odin belonged. After this change, she lived in Asgard, the Norse equal to the Greek Mount Olympus, alongside her husband Ódr (Previous Norse: Óðr).

As together with her mom, there may be disagreement inside the sources about who her husband was and his potential hyperlinks to the Odin. Some have argued that Freya was similar to Odin’s spouse Figg, and the 2 have typically been interpreted as being the identical individual. Some sources discard Ódr utterly and as a substitute report Freyre (her brother) as Freya’s husband. Nevertheless, the Icelandic Snorri Sturluson (1179-1241), who compiled essentially the most full report of Norse mythology , data Ódr as her husband.

Freya and Ódr are stated to have had two daughters by the names of Hnoss and Gersemi, each of whose names imply treasure. They’re solely ever known as Freya’s daughters and there may be nothing else recorded about their lives. Regardless of this, the truth that their names are linked to treasure will be seen as a hyperlink to Freya’s fame as a prize to be received or demanded within the many myths involving her. It additionally hyperlinks to the parable the place Freya was stated to weep tears of gold.

Freja Seeking her Husband by Nils Blommér. (Public domain)

Freja In search of her Husband by Nils Blommér. ( Public domain )

Freya and the Artwork of Seidr Magic

There are lots of myths that contain the point out of Freya in Previous Norse sources. There are some tales that inform of Freya travelling the world looking for her misplaced husband and crying tears manufactured from gold. This fantasy appears to originate as early because the tenth century.

One other fantasy tells of her change from the Aesir tribe to the Vanir tribe of gods. This occurred due to the Aesir-Vanir Conflict which broke out due to hostility and elementary dissimilarities between the Aesir and Vanir when it comes to their tradition. After they finally got here to an settlement, Freya, her brother Freyre, and her father have been despatched over to the Aesir as a form of collateral.

The three have been finally accepted by the Aesir as one among their very own, and Freya quickly taught the Aesir gods the methods of seidr, the title for a type of historic Norse magic . Freya was additionally one of many völva, a seeress who was a part of a bunch of feminine seers or shamans. They practiced seidr magic which was essentially the most organized type of magic within the Norse world. Norse myths report that Freya was the primary to current this artwork to the gods after which to humankind.

The artwork of seidr concerned utilizing magic as a way to perceive the course of destiny after which working together with it to result in change. Those that practiced seidr tried to weave new occasions into life. This energy may very well be utilized in any method the seer imagined. This may very well be as a way to result in destructive penalties like sickness or bad luck , and even for inflicting ache and damage. It is also used for constructive causes comparable to to treatment sickness, deliver good luck, win a battle or discover hidden objects.

Throughout Norse instances, these folks would journey throughout the land taking up commissioned acts of magic in alternate for something from meals to lodging. Like many people who practiced magic all through historical past, the social standing of a seeress or sorceress was ambiguous. By some Freya was feared for her skills, by others she was longed after.

Heimdall returns the necklace Bryfing to Freya. (Public domain)

Heimdall returns the necklace Bryfing to Freya. ( Public domain )

The proof for Freya bringing this artwork to the gods will be discovered within the Ynglinga Saga , a piece written by the Icelandic poet and historian Snorri Sturluson in 1225, in addition to in proof discovered within the Eddas, two medieval Icelandic literary works. Moreover, the theme of destiny is one which options closely in a lot of Norse mythology .

Additional Myths of Freya

In one of many Eddic poems, Freya is accused by Loki of sleeping with the entire gods and elves, together with her household! One other fantasy additionally entails Loki in addition to Freya’s necklace Brisingamen. Quite a lot of the literary sources don’t point out the story intimately and solely merely discuss with Loki because the thief of Brisingamen. Those who point out Loki’s involvement solely stay in a fragmentary state and so the great story has been misplaced to time.

In different sources, Heimdall and Loki combat for the necklace within the guise of seals! There are additionally sources which describe Heimdall because the bringer of the necklace. One other story involving the necklace states that Freya slept with 4 dwarves as a way to get the necklace again.

In lots of myths she seems as the thing of lust. In a single explicit story she is used as a bargaining chip by the enormous Thrym who states he’ll solely return the hammer he stole from Thor if he received Freya for his personal. Freya options in lots of tales from Norse mythology on this method – because the “value” of issues and lots of myths reinforce the concept that Freya was free to make use of as fee.

There are additionally quite a lot of myths involving Freya and giants. For instance, one fantasy describes the best way a large supplied to construct partitions round Asgard. The fee for the job he requested was Freya, the solar and the moon. In one other story, the enormous named Hrungnir was threatening to maneuver Valhalla to Jotunheimen (the realm of the giants), sink Asgard (realm of the gods) and kill each god however Freya and Sif who he needed to take house.

Similarities Between Freya and Frigg

Freya and Frigg (Odin’s spouse) are introduced as nominally completely different goddesses in line with the Previous Norse literary sources that survive. Nevertheless, there are similarities between the 2 that are value mentioning. Daniel McCoy has argued that these variations will be defined as a result of when Iceland and Scandinavia have been transformed to Christianity, the Norse have been within the strategy of splitting the 2 girls from one widespread Germanic goddess into two separate entities, Frigg and Freya.

McCoy argues that the unique goddess who grew to become Freya was the spouse of the god who would finally turn out to be Odin. There’s additional proof within the names given to those gods. Freya’s husband is alleged to be named Óðr (fashionable translation: Ódr) which is a reputation which is nearly similar to Óðinn (Previous Norse: Odin). The added ending (-inn) is a masculine particular article. Óðr by itself means “ecstasy, inspiration.”

Óðr as a personality in Previous Norse mythology isn’t talked about. There’s one part that describes his persona and deeds which is discovered within the Eddas. This passage states he’s typically away on journeys and that due to this Freya cries tears of gold.

An intimate depiction of Freya, the Norse goddess of love, by Anders Zorn in 1901. Freya is shown in the nude, enthroned in her hall at Folkvangar, holding a chalice and accompanied by a black cat. (Public domain)

An intimate depiction of Freya, the Norse goddess of affection, by Anders Zorn in 1901. Freya is proven within the nude, enthroned in her corridor at Folkvangar, holding a chalice and accompanied by a black cat. ( Public domain )

The Legacy of Freya, the Norse Goddess of Love

While there doesn’t appear to have been a cult of Freya, there are a lot of locations in Sweden and Norway that many consider are associated to her title. Examples embrace Frøihov (from Freyjuhof, “Freyja’s temple”) and Frǫvi (from Freyjuvé, “Freyja’s shrine”). Such examples show a transparent recognition of Freya’s affect on life.

While Freya is remembered in the present day because the Norse goddess of like it is clear that she was much more advanced. The truth that she options in so lots of the surviving Norse myths demonstrates her prevalence inside early Norse faith.

Prime picture: Portray of Freja by John Bauer. Supply: Public domain

By Molly Dowdeswell

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