Saturday, 12 March 2016

Freyja – Love Goddess

"A Blonde Beauty" by Styka 
The usual starting place, when looking to the written sources on Germanic Gods, is Snorri Sturluson – an Icelandic Christian who wrote the Prose Edda, the most extensive resource we have on Norse mythology. Of Freyja he writes:
“Njord [a Vanir fertility God associated with the sea] … had two children. The son was called Frey and the daughter Freyja. They were beautiful and powerful … Freyja is the most splendid of the Goddesses. She has a home in heaven called Folkvangar [Warriors’ Field]. Wherever she rides into battle, half the slain belong to her. Odin takes the other half … Her hall, Sessrumnir (With Many Seats], is large and beautiful. When she travels, she drives a chariot drawn by two cats. She is easily approachable for people who want to pray to her,  and from her name comes the title of honour whereby women of rank are called frovur [the Scandinavian Fru and German frau are derived from Freyja’s name] … She delights in love songs, and it is good to call on her in matters of love  
Freyja, along with Frigg, is the most noble. She married the man called Od. Their daughter, Hnoss, is so beautiful that from her name comes the word for a treasure that is exceptionally handsome and valuable. Od went travelling on distant paths, while Freyja remained behind, crying tears of red gold. Freyja has many names, because she gave herself different names as she travelled among unknown peoples searching for Od. She is called Mardoll and Horn and Gefn and Syr. Freyja owned Brisingamen [a famous necklace]. She is called the Goddess of the Vanir [Vanir Gods tend to be associated with fertility in the land and sea] ...  
[After his involvement with the disappearance of the Goddess Idunn, Loki] said he would go into Giant Land to find Idunn if Freyja would lend him her falcon shape ...  
How should Freyja be referred to? By calling her the daughter of Njord, the sister of Frey, the wife of Od, the mother of Hnoss, the possessor of the fallen in battle, of the hall Sessumnir, of male cats and of the ring of the Brisings, the God of the Vanir, the household deity of the Vanir and the God whose weeping is beautiful [Sturluson, Prose Edda, Penguin Classics at 35, 42-43, 82 and 111].”