Goddess Series: Freya

Updated: Mar 15

The divine symbol of war, death, blessings, love, beauty, and fertility, Freya is the beloved goddess from the Norse pantheon. Daughter of the principal god of Vanir Njord, Freya is also an honorary member of the Aesir gods. Known for her skill in divination, she could be both a gentle ruler and a fierce warrior. Freya is kind, beautiful and gentle, capturing the hearts of people. Due to her fondness of beauty and fine material possession, she’s considered to be the ‘’party girl’’ in Norse mythology. She puts no restraint on her sexuality, and lives to the fullest, causing Loki to once accused her of sleeping with every man in the realm (which was probably true).

A member of the Vanir tribe of deities, Freya shared her people’s penchant for the magical arts of divination. It was Freya who introduced the gods to seidr, a form of magic that allowed practitioners to know and change the future. Freya was gentler and more agreeable than the other Norse deities. Where Thor accomplished his goals through aggression and Odin and Loki resorted to trickery, Freya achieved her ends with the gentler persuasions of gifts, beauty, and sex. While Freya was often unselfish and helpful, she did have a darker side. Like the male gods, Freya had a taste for blood and fought fiercely in battle. It was said she took the lives of half the warriors ever slain in battle.

In addition to her particular weapons of war, she also possesses ‘accessories’ of a different sort. One such item was a cloak made of falcon feathers that gave the gift of flight to anyone who wore it. When she was not wearing it herself, Freya lent the cloak to companions and collaborators who agreed to do her bidding. Freya’s most prized possession was likely the necklace, or torc, known as Brísingamen (“gleaming torc”). In addition to her cloak and “gleaming torc,” Freya rode a glittering chariot that was pulled by two black (or grey) domestic cats. She was usually accompanied by her animal familiar, a hog named Hildisvíni (meaning “battle swine”).

Like most gods, Freya had other names in the old Norse mythology, including Gefn, Horn, Mardoll, Skjalf, Syr, Throng, Thrungva, Valfreyja and Vanadis. The majority of these names are Swedish or ancient Nordic languages related to fertility and propensity. While Freya may not be a familiar name for us, to Scandinavians, Freya is a goddess of bravery and elegance.

We will be calling on Freya during our first ritual of the season on the Equinox, asking for her support in Cultivating Calm in the Chaos. Find more details here.

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