Freya (Freo), by Galina Krasskova

(An article on Freya that includes a meditation at the end. From Exploring the Northern Tradition, by Galina Krasskova.)

Freya (Fréo)

I will hail the Goddess of gold, hostage to the Gods, delight of Her kin.

I will praise Her with amber and wine, flowers and honey, for She is Goddess of beauty, eroticism, and desire.

I will celebrate Her abundance, Her gifts of wealth and fruitful plenty.

She brings luck, fertility, and creative fire, and Her presence is found amid the moaning cry of lovers, hidden within the rhythm of their entwined limbs.

I will call Her luck-bringer, for Her fingers are deft at untangling the snares of a gnarled wyrd, and sometimes the tangles are of Her making.

I will praise Her as strong in magic, cunning, skillful, and battle-wise.

I will summon Her forth with song of steel, for She is fierce and shows no mercy.

The field of combat is as sweet as the battlefield of love, and in both, She is the victor.

She is sweetness and fury, molten flame, the sharp edge of a killing blade.

She is danger and desire, unquenchable, unstoppable. She will tease and entice, transforming the soul. She is pleasure and pain so deeply bound there is no separation.

I hail Freya, Shining Goddess of the Vanir. She blinds with Her beauty, seduces with Her fury.

I hail Her in Her fullness, in battle, witchcraft, and love. I raise this horn in Her honor.

Hail, Freya!

Perhaps no other Goddess in Heathenry is so loved and also so often misunderstood as the Goddess Freya. She is an incredibly complex Goddess very often relegated solely to the realm of love and sex. She is most definitely a Goddess of sexual pleasure, eroticism, and desire, but She is also a Goddess of ritual sacrifice, seiðr magic, wealth, prosperity, abundance, ancestral veneration, warcraft, and power. These are not minor facets of Her nature either. So potent is Her prowess in battle that it is Freya, not Oðinn, who claims the first half of the slain warriors for Her hall. She is a gloriously beautiful Goddess and Her beauty is equal to Her power.

The name Freya means “Lady,” but She has many other heiti including: Syr (“Sow”—the pig was a holy animal to the Germanic folk. It represented both battle prowess and fertile abundance. Freya shares this attribute with Her brother Freyr.), Mardoll (possibly “One Who Makes the Sea Swell”), Vanadis (“Lady of the Vanir”), Heiðr (“Bright One”), Horn (possibly “Flax”), and Gefn (“Giver”). Her home is called Folkvangr (“Field of the Folk”), and within it She maintains a great hall named Sessrumnir (“many-roomed hall”). She rides in a chariot drawn by some type of feline. Most Heathens assume these to be cats, but speculations range from cougars to lynx to wolverine. She is wed to Oðr, Who long ago disappeared. Nothing is known about Him, save that Freya travels far and wide searching for Him, weeping tears of gold or amber. (Amber is widely associated with this Goddess.) She has a daughter, Hnoss, whose name means “treasure.” It could be said that Freya gives birth to wealth.

The most famous story about Freya involves the emblem of Her power and might: the necklace Brisingamen. Though most sources call Brisingamen a necklace, there is some textual evidence that it may in fact have been a belt or girdle. Loki, who attempted to steal this piece of jewelry bears the heiti “the Thief of Brising’s belt” but elsewhere the Eddas do refer to it as a necklace. The word brising, or brísingr, means “fire,” which would lead to a possible translation of its name as “fiery belt.” Some scholars link it to the aurora borealis; others see it as a symbol of Freya’s fertility and sexuality. In order to win Brisingamen, Freya journeyed to the dwarven realm and commissioned a piece of such beauty and power that there would be none like it in all the world. The dwarves, master craftsmen, agreed to Her request but demanded in payment that She spend one night in sexual intercourse with each of them. This Freya did, and during those four nights, Brisingamen was forged. The necklace (or belt) is a symbol of Freya’s power, just as Mjolnir embodies Thor’s. It represents Her power to manifest desire on levels that go far beyond the sexual. She is less a Goddess of fertility and more that of synergetic attraction, which opens the doors to blossoming abundance. She is a Goddess of sensuality and of passionate fulfillment in life, be it giving one’s all in love, in battle, or in pursuit of one’s chosen crafts. She teaches us to suck the proverbial marrow out of life instead of drifting through it like a shadow.

Freya is the Patroness of unmarried women who go to Her hall when they die. She is also the priestess of the Gods, charged with maintaining the rites and making proper sacrifices for the Divine community. As seiðr worker, Freya is credited with bringing the practice of this form of magic, which involves trance work, mind control, and luck working to the Æsir. She was also, by Her very presence amongst the Æsir, a frith-weaver, having been sent from Vanaheim to secure peace with the Æsir.

Meditation for Freya

Set out a pretty piece of cloth—something that appeals to your personal aesthetics. It should be at least a foot square. Think about the many ways in which we define beauty in our culture. How do you, yourself, define beauty? What do you find beautiful? What nourishes you? What attracts you? What is beautiful about you personally? Do you think you are beautiful? Why? What would you change? Why? What would you sacrifice to be beautiful? Select an item that represents your beauty and place this on the cloth. This is an offering to Freya, a gift of gratitude and love.

How are you powerful? What would you do to fully manifest your personal power? Is this power a trait you admire about yourself? Is this part of your beauty? Select an item that represents your power and put that on the cloth as a gift to Freya.

How does Freya manifest in you? How does She inspire you? Does She make you uncomfortable? What gifts of abundance has She given you? Are there any areas that you feel particularly closed off to Her? Select a gift representing Freya’s presence in your life, and add that to your bundle.

Add a piece of amber to the bundle, flowers, and anything else that you either associate with Freya or would like to give to her. Wrap the bundle up and secure it with ribbon. Take this to the nearest park, seashore, or any place in nature that is special to you. Call to Freya; speak to Her from the heart. Take as long as you wish. When you are finished, bury your offering, leave it by a tree, or cast it into the water with your thanks and a prayer of gratitude.

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