Norse 101, Part 6
Here we are for the sixth part of Norse 101. I hope that those of you who celebrated Thanksgiving had a wonderful one! This week, we’ll talk about two more deities: Freyr and Freyja. They’re brother and sister, and of the Vanir. Their father is Njord, a God of the Sea. And though Their mother is never named, it’s suspected that she is Nerthus, a Goddess of the Earth. There was once a war between the Aesir and the Vanir, and part of the peace treaty between them was that some of the Vanir would come live in Asgard while some of the Aesir would move to Vanaheim. Freyja and Freyr were part of that treaty.
Freyr is a God of fertility, both of land and body. He was a pretty popular God back in the old times, and it’s said that He was “hated by none.” He even had priests and priestesses that traveled around the countryside with a chariot, carrying a statue of Him around from village to village in processions. He has a golden boar named Gullinbursti, and a ship that He can fold up and fit into His pocket. Pretty handy, right? He also had a sword that could fight on its own, but He gave it up to show His future wife, Gerda, that He was serious about wanting to marry Her. She is a jotun, very gifted in knowledge of herbs and healing. (See? Not all jotnar are bad news!) Freyr is a very kind and warm God. It’s nearly impossible to be in a bad mood when He’s around. As a God of fertility, He isn’t limited to just fertile land and bodies. Creativity and a fertile mind are also in His realm!
Freyja is a Goddess of love, beauty, and war. Yes, war. Remember how Odin takes His pick of the best fallen warriors? Well, He does that after Freyja has taken Her pick! She takes them to her hall, Sessrumnir, to be reunited with their families and lovers to spend eternity in loving embraces instead of endless training and sparring in Valhalla. Freyja is also adept in the art of seidhr, which a form of magick and shamanism. It is said that She taught this art to the Gods and also brought it to humanity. She rides a chariot pulled by two cats. Some say that these cats are the Norwegian Forest cat breed, which are large, long-haired cats equipped to live in the cold climates of the North. Freyja is very much a Goddess of love and beauty, including self-love. She isn’t just about outer beauty. She teaches you to embrace your inner beauty and see the beauty and light in others. And, as you all know, we get the word for ‘Friday’ from Her name!
This week’s pronunciations: