A few weeks ago, I ran a camping event in honor of one of my main deities, Freyr. It was meant to be a Fall Equinox last hurrah kind of ritual, as my personal experience of Him is that he goes dark sometime after August 1 and the Summer Sun Freyr, who brings the life-giving gifts of sunlight and warm rain, heads off to sleep. In the course of the ritual, in this liminal Freyr-time when He is not really one or the other, there was space for trancing any and all of his aspects. For a number of reasons, I did not end up carrying Him that night, and it was lovely to once again see Him brought though others. One aspect I almost never see tranced is my original experience of Freyr—that of primal nature: the deep, wild forest; the Stag that is hunted; a true Lord of the Wood. And I realized in interacting with this facet of Freyr for the first time in a long time, that this side of Him is integral to my understanding of what Freyr is.
I often describe Freyr as sunny and generous and warm, full of randy blessings of prosperity and wise leadership, and that’s often the energy of His that I carry when I am out doing His work. Hand in hand with that experience of him, however, is my acknowledgement of His darkness. Dark Freyr is nothing is like the wise summer ruler I also know and love, who comforts me and reassures me that dark times do pass and that we can thrive again. This Freyr only comes out in the liminal times, for me: Spring and Fall, twilight and dawn. The stillness after a heavy storm, before anything living has yet ventured out. Wild or abandoned places.
Dark Freyr teaches many things, most of which are the basic laws of nature. Everything dies—sometimes as an old and quiet sigh, sometimes in a raw terror that scythes through the night. Nothing is soft and fuzzy, except perhaps the dead baby rabbit at your feet that will feed you and help keep you warm. Everything is either predator or prey; hunt or be hunted. The cycle of life and death is neither good nor bad; it just is the reality of things. For tomorrow’s crops to grow, the previous year’s growth has to be destroyed, subsumed, and absorbed back into the earth, else there will be no nutrients to feed the new seed. Nothing is wasted.
Once Winter fully hits and I feel Him go under the mound for good, my senses used to go radio silent. However, in recent years a new God has come to take his place during this season, which has knocked the legs out from my “Norse mythology doesn’t have a Summer King/Winter King” duality. The past two winters I’ve been seeing Ullr step up while Freyr is below. When winter comes in most parts of the world (not looking at you, CA), the crops die, and the ground freezes. What do you do when you can’t farm? You hunt. For me, Forest God Freyr + the winter Hunt = Ullr.
Maybe it’s just me, but I switch in the winter, too. I become less outgoing, less warm and fuzzy, less social. Despite the holiday feasting, I feel leaner, emotionally and spiritually speaking—like everything’s been pared down to just the essentials. Calmer, and stiller. And I feel like going … hunting.
And so it goes until Spring starts making its presence known, usually early February in my neck of the woods. Days are noticeably longer and the growing-things energy begins to kick back up, even if nothing is showing yet on the surface. This period starts to increase in pressure until it starts to get really irritating–a pressure in my heart and head and body. Itt literally feels to me like I have a full-body scab that’s just itching to be ripped off. Anybody else get this?) I get the added bonus of tuning in to Gerd as she essentially does her Spring cleaning, clearing the way for His arrival. And finally the Inexorable Coming of Freyr, in all the ways that anything can come, happens. Usually in May, depending on the year, there’s a release and big shift in energy, and the happy, horny, warm and giving Freyr is back. And it all begins again.
The joys of being tied to seasonal deities.