Goddess of the Month - May 2009
Goddess of the Month - Freyja
WHO IS FREYJA? Freya by Lisa Iris from The Enchanted world of Lisa IrisFreyja is one of the most important Goddesses in the Norse pantheon. According to the Eddas, a group of epic poems from Iceland, She is the Goddess of love, beauty, battle, magick, prophecy, wealth, and fertility. Freyja is also the leader of the Valkyries, immortal maidens who were choosers of those slain in battle who were worthy to go to Valhalla and dwell with the Gods, and half of those chosen would go to Her to dwell in Her hall Fólkvangr. She was often prayed to by people in love who wanted a happy relationship or those who wanted to find true love. Freyja was invoked at the spring planting for good weather and a good harvest and by women in childbirth. The ancient Norse art of Seid, a form of witchcraft practiced by women called völva or seiðkona, was said to have been created by Freyja. In the Ynglinga Saga, it states "Njörðr’s daughter was Freyja. She presided over the sacrifice. It was she who first acquainted the AEsir with seiðr, which was customary among the Vanir". Some of Her other titles include:Den Väna Solen - The Fair Sun
Vanadís - Fair Goddess
Mardöll - Sea Bright
Gefn - The Giver
Sýr - Sow
Valfreyja - Mistress of the Chosen
Worship of FreyjaSadly, due to the extreme militancy of the Christians as they assimilated parts of Scandinavia, there is little knowledge of Freyja's rites or holy sites. There is an account in the Droplaugarsona Saga of the temple of Ölvusvatn, Iceland having statues of Freyja and Frigg seated on high thrones and wearing garments and ornaments of gold and silver. Fortunately, those in modern Iceland, Denmark, and Norway have not forgotten their Goddess entirely and the modern rites of the Asatru are reclaiming the worship of all the Norse Gods in those countries - where they have official sanction and recognition - as well as in the US. There are many places named after Her, and some ideas of what Her worship may have been like can be gleaned from the Eddas and other surviving Norse literature. Few images of Her survive, but She is described as flaxen-haired, blue-eyed, and extremely beautiful. There are many accounts of Freyja wearing a falcon feather cloak and the celebrated necklace Brisingamen. She was so associated with gold and gems that there are many references to those things as "Freyja's Tears". In one story from the book According to Norse Mythology - The Myths and Legends of the Nordic Gods by Arthur Cotterell Freyja is described in this way "Freyja flew over the earth, sprinkling morning dew and summer sunlight behind her. She shook spring flowers from her golden hair and wept tears which turned to gold or to amber at sea." She is said to ride in a chariot pulled by lynxes or other wild cats depending on the account, and She has a golden boar who accompanies Her. The constellation Orion was called "Freyja's Gown" and the belt of Orion was known as "Freyja's Girdle". The Kennings of Freyja from the Prose Edda by Snorri Sturluson (trans Thorpe) (Icelandic circa 1300 CE)Gold is called Tears of Freyja:
Many a fearless swordsman
Received the Tears of Freyja
The more the morn when foemen
We murdered; we were present
Ródi's Roof's great Ice-Lump
For the Rain of Freyja's Eyelids
Grows not less, my fair axe-head;
His age my lord so useth.
I received the Ice of Wed Rims,
With Freyja's golden Eye-Thaw,
From the upright prince high-hearted;
We bear in hand the Helm's Hurt.
Gold is called Tears of Mardöll:
Where, mounted 'twixt the carvings,
The Tear of Mardöll lieth,
We bear the axe shield-splitting,
Swollen with Serpent's lair-gold.
The free-handed Lord gave,
The heroes accepted,
Sif's firm-grown tresses,
Ice of the bow-force,
Weeping of Mardöll,
Fire-flame of Órun,
Idi's fine Speeches.
Gold is called Tears of Óðr's Bride:
The shield, tempest's strong roof-ice,
With tear-gold is unminished,
The Eye-rain of Óðr's Bride:
His age the King so useth.
Jewel is called Child of Hörn:
Hörn's Child, the glorious adornment,
I own, gold-wound a jewel
Most fair to the shield's rim
Fast is the golden Sea-Flame:
Gem is called Niece of Freyr, Gold is called Tears of Hnoss's Mother:
On the gem, Freyr's Niece, the tear-drift
Of the fore-head of her Mother
She bears; the Raven-Feeder
Gave me Fródi's seed-gold's fostering.
Gem is called Child of Njörðr's Daughter:
A defence of songs full goodly
He freely gave me, neighbor
Of sea-scales: I praise gladly
Njörðr's Daughter's golden gem-child.
Fair things are called Daughter of Freyja:
The awesome Stately Urger
Of Odin, he who raises
The struggle stern, gave to me
The courage-stalwart daughter
Of the Vana-Bride, my fair axe;
The valorous sword-mote's Ruler
Led Gefn's girl to the Skald's bed,
Set with the sea-flame's gold-work.