The Marriage of Freyr and Gerd (The Skirnismal, myth embodiment #3)

Last week my main Heathen group, which is focused on the Vanir, did a myth embodiment of the Skirnismal, aka how Freyr won his jotun wife Gerd. This exercise is one that we’d done twice previously–first with the myth describing the Marriage of Njord and Skadi, and second with the myth of how Freya won Brisingamen. Both times the activity yielded up some great insights into the Gods involved as well as a lot of hilarity. (And how often does one activity give you both of these things, I ask?)

One of the things that I think this type of exercise does best is to fully flesh out the characters–in our case last week, the Gods Freyr and Skadi; the Jotun (Godddess-to-be?) Gerd; and the eponymous Skirnir, who, as we found out, is neither Aesir nor Vanir nor jotun nor alf. (Actually, nobody knows quite what he is; though we do know he’s one of Freyr’s oldest friends, and also his servant). This myth showcases Freyr at his youngest, most immature self–moody, passionate, and self-centered. Not being that close to Freyr myself, I hadn’t had much reason to work through my own issues with this myth. My biggest issue with the Skirnismal, and the reason that I had put off doing this myth as long as we did, had always been that in the myth, it really does look like Freyr (through Skirnir) is threatening Gerd with some bodily and psychological harm should she decide not to marry him, and what is up with that? (The threats are both cruel and highly creative.) It’s coercion at the very least, and, personally, I didn’t see any way around dealing with that aspect of the myth.

However, this coercion aspect is actually what makes it the perfect fodder for myth embodiment. The whole point, in fact, is to try to understand the motivations and point of views of all concerned. (This technique is also successfully used to help families and communities heal themselves after tragedy or trauma. It’s amazing what putting yourself in another’s shoes will do for healing a relationship.) So, I did some research, had some great discussions around it with a few Freyrspeople, and went boldly on with the embodiment.

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Love notes from Freya, 8/29/14

Motherhoood is a symptom of kindness, and the greatest form of charity. It is the gift that is given without the expectation that something of equal value will be given in return. Who are you mothering today? Who has mothered you?

Honor those who, in their own way, have shown you kindness and compassion and have passed on the knowledge that they themselves fought dearly to gain. Respect their experience, strength, and hope, for without it, where would you be? Motherhood comes in all shapes and forms; look past your blood kin and out to others whom you respect and love. As you draw your strength from them,  be a comfort to them as their own strength wanes. What is remembered, lives, and gives hope to those who come afterwards. It is a gift; honor it as such. Love, Freya

This month appears to be a month of honoring your ancestors, of blood and spirit. May that which is beneficial remain with us and strengthen us, and that which is harmful fade away.

You know you’re a Heathen if…

I say, “Remember that scene in in The 13th Warrior? You know, “Lo! There do I….” and you can finish the entire quote (cracking up or tearing up while doing so still counts). For you, I give you this. Happy Wednesday.

“Lo, there do I see my father

Lo, there do I see my mother

and my sisters and my brothers

Lo, there do I see the line of my people

back to the beginning.

Lo, they do call to me

They bid me take my place among them.

In the halls of Valhalla,

where the brave shall live forever.”

(No, it’s not historically accurate, but it’s perfect.)

Love notes from Freya, 8/27/14

I’ve switched by schedule for these love notes to every 2-3 days. Hopefully that will make them more manageable. 🙂

 

Honor your father and your mother. The values they instilled in you are just as valid today as they were when you were growing up. If you have any living ancestors–grandparents, great-grandparents, great uncles or aunts–take some time to talk with them today. They, too, have wisdom, and they will be gone sooner than you think. Love, Freya

 

So, I’m not sure how this works with people who had really horrible experiences growing up, or who are estranged from their parents now, but I think it’s true that even the worst parents probably did teach you at least one thing that remains useful to this day. Having been in program as long as I have, I’d seen and heard of reconciliations–or at least memories put to rest and lessons learned–with parents who were more creatively vile and abusive than I had ever thought was humanly possible. For example, my grandfather was an abusive alcoholic, but one thing he did teach my dad (however inadvertently) was how to connect with animals and treat them with compassion and respect.

As for your ancestors–it’s easier to get information out of them now, while they’re alive, then have track down someone to do seidh or a seance or some kind of other divination for you after they are gone. Just FYI.

“Following Freya”, by Cara Freyasdaughter

Following Freya

Swish

Her long golden hair

Swings hypnotically

As I follow

My Lady into Vanaheim.

Sway

Round hips beckon

And gyrate, dancing to the beat

Only She knows

The green leaves, the brown branches

Sway with Her

As she goes.

Swish, sway

Swish, sway

A gentle breeze

Passes my face

Caressing my nose with her sweet smell

Jasmine/lilac/rose

In full summer sweet bloom.

A more pleasing scent I haven’t found here

No matter how hard I’ve tried.

Swish, sway

Swish, sway

What shall I learn today

From my guide, my mentor, my master?

She of many names

Only few of which we know.

None are Her true name;

To me, She is just

Lady.

Swish, sway

Swish, sway

A thousand times I have sought her thus

In green Vanaheim

Journeying the Nine Worlds

Anxious, hopeful

Seeking lust and love

fear and ecstasy

thought and power and memory combined,

for nothing is simple with Her

Not with my Lady.

What shall She be today?

Who shall I meet as I

enter these woods?

Who will I find when I go under?

Swish-

She stops.

We have arrived.

She turns, smiles

And the radiance

Of a thousand suns

I was never meant to witness

The glancing white glare of

A thousand stars

I was never meant to endure

Washes over me again.

I pause.

And I am reborn.

We are back on the path

I am following

Her lush, sloping hips

Her soft golden hair

Swaying hypnotically

Gyrating smoothly

As She dances me homeward

I blink.

Eyes wet with tears, I ask

“What just happened?

Vanadis? Lady?

Njord’s daughter?

Gullvieg, Mardoll, Horn?

Lady, did I…?”

She turns without moving

Walks without stopping.

I can still see her hair gleam, her hips glide

Back and forth, back and forth

She says,

“Heart of my heart

Love of my love

Joy in my sorrow that

Sweetness that was lost

has been found again–

I have brought you home.

Now you know the way.

I can only offer you everything

I have to give

And more–

Each time you come back

You will shine clearer.

Your heart will be bigger

Your smile, happier

Your light, brighter

And you will know more.

Now that you know the way.”

Swish, sway.

Swish, sway.

Swish, sway

Swish, sway.

Yes, Lady

I will be back

And I will take your thousand stars

And I will bask in your thousand suns

And walk this sacred path

That one day I, too,

will shine brightly

Swaying and swishing

Swishing and swaying

Smiling and leading others through

These green forests of Vanaheim.

To share the love/light/joy I have gained from

Following you.

–Cara Freyasdaughter, 2014

“If I Were to Die in Battle”, by Muninns Kiss

It’s been a while since I added some new poetry, so I’ll probably add a couple today 🙂

 

If I Were to Die in Battle

 

If I were to die in battle,

Who would invite me home?

Would it be Odin or would it be Freyja,

Whose hall I’d be taken to?

 

Would Odin want me,

Would I make the cut?

Am I the type he’d want,

To be fighting by his side?

 

Would Freyja have me,

Would I feast in her halls?

Would she find me worthy,

To lend her my sword?

 

The two they stand together,

Ready to make the choice,

Him with his initiator,

Her initiator with her.

 

As the Valkyries fly me closer,

I can’t help but think,

Is it them that make the decision,

Or was it always my choice.

Muninns Kiss, 2012