Let’s talk about fertility, shall we?
Freya has a bunch of facets. One of the ones that has always been hardest for me to grasp, spiritually, has been the fertility aspect. I know it’s there–one of her symbols is the sow, which apparently in the day symbolized fertility for humans and animals (not plants–that’s Freyr). But whenever this was pointed out, I hemmed and hawed, because that just does not fit into my view of Her. I mean, She’s not a goddess of marriage or domesticity or children, for crying out loud. She’s just not the Mother Goddess type. There’s nothing in the myths or the sagas about her interacting with children, or being motherly in any way. In theory, depending on the sources, you can argue that she two daughters, but both of their names (Hnoss and Gersemi) are kennings for “treasure”, so in my mind, that’s still suspect. She is called on in a few bits of folklore here and there to help with ease in childbirth, but then again, what major goddess in any pantheon isn’t?
She’s a goddess of sex and power and money and essentially doing whatever the Hel She wants to, whenever She wants to do it. (Okay, so the sex thing can sometimes lead to fertility–true. But I’m pretty sure that’s not why Freya does it.)
This is all mainly to say that I just wasn’t buying the fertility connection. I’ve had this opinion for years–pretty much since I became a Heathen and started paying attention to things like Who was the Goddess of What in Norse mythology. And not much could change my mind on it.
Then came this year’s post-Con cleanup.
Due to a long series of unplanned events, I ended up spending much of the week after Con with two very good, very witchy friends, who both have very strong ties to a number of deities. One of my friends was going through some pretty strong new relationship stuff that had a decidedly strong Deity influence. You know, those kind of relationships where the Gods throw two people together, in the least subtle way possible? That kind of relationship. (That’s the story of my second marriage, but that’s another post for another day.) Anyway, the three of us are trance mediums, and perhaps because we had all just done a bunch of trance stuff at Con, we ended up doing some more trancey stuff to settle a few questions and concerns that my friend was having about her new situation. Her primary deity is a certain dark-haired raven goddess who is thick as thieves with my goddess, Freya, and they are often plotting, especially when any of us are within each others’ vicinity . And so at some point, Freya decided to get involved in this whole business, and in a very unexpected way.
Freya decided that she want to give my friend a gift. A blessing, in fact–for babies. And She wanted to bestow that blessing RIGHT THEN. Which understandably freaked out my friend, who had not planned on getting pregnant anytime soon. I have never felt more classically female, ladies and gentlemen, then when I was three seconds and three feet away from delivering a potent Goddess-driven fertility blessing. Let me tell you, at that point I got Her whole fertility connection.
As I knew my friend was not in the position to get pregnant at that moment, I was a good friend and did my utmost to block the blessing from landing on her, its intended recipient. But man, that was quite quite possibly the hardest thing I’ve had do to with Her yet. Easily harder than trancing Her in front of fifty-four people at Con. Usually Freya’s pretty amenable to my arguments about whatever it is She wants to do, and I certainly have a lot of experience telling Her no when it comes to anything having to do with me, but rarely do I ever have to fight to block her from doing something to someone else, and the fallout sucked. It felt like I was spiritually cockblocked–but, well, the other way around, obviously. (Weeks later, I can still practically feel the energy hovering.) Took me forever to ground afterwards, and days for the urge to pass.
(What other religion has that, I ask you–the need for their priest/esses fight off urges to give blessings from their deities? Seriously. I’m pretty sure Catholic priests don’t have to deal with this crap.)
In any event, the end result was that my friend is currently not blessed with extra fertility, and now I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Freya Can and Will bestow the fertility blessing if asked. Even if not asked, apparently. My friend is currently making placating gifts to Her to ensure that the fertility blessing doesn’t sneak through in some other way, like a dream or a blessing from a relative. Honestly, though, I think the odds may be stacked against her. If the Gods want something to happen, it’s gonna happen. The question at this point is not “if”, but “when”, and “how much drama”.
Ah, post-Con multitasking deity shenanigans. Yay for working for a tribe of fertility deities! GO TEAM VANIR.