Seasonal Musings: A Cycle of Freyrs

Summer

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.

Fall

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.

Winter Freyr

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.

Spring

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.

30 Days of Gerd, Day 8: The Skirnismal

(Yes, I’m skipping forward a bit.)

One of the workshops I love doing is an activity called Myth Embodiment. I have an entire section of the blog dedicated to it. Essentially, it involves a group of people “embodying” or re-enacting a myth, with all of the bits being portrayed–the deities, the scenery, the named objects. During the reenactment, we stop and each “character” gets a chance to give their pov of whatever event is taking place. It sparks some great discussions and helps really fill out less-well-known or less documented deities and myths. A few years ago, the Vanic Conspiracy did a myth embodiment for the Skirnismal, (“the Journey of Skirnir/Skirnir’s Story”). At the time, it helped me address some deep-seated issues I was having in working with Freyr, because at surface value this myth shows Freyr’s servant Skirnir forcing Gerd into marriage with Freyr using extremely creatively horrible threats. Our analysis is hosted on my blog here. My longer description and analysis of the myth from several different perspectives is available on Huginn’s Heathen Hof.

 

Update 9/21/17

Well, work has me run ragged, and we’re still recovering from the move. Also this week, my mother ended up in the hospital for a week (she’s fine now and recovering). So the Fall Equinox has kind of caught me by surprise. Normally I start to notice Freyr going back into the Mound around August 1, once the days start getting noticeably shorter, but it’s Mabon, to use the Wiccan term, and Freyr’s still up and kicking–around here, at least. (We’re in the middle of a week of 90+ temps, so it certainly doesn’t feel like fall yet.) But the cycles are turning, and Freyr will be down soon.

In the honor of His and Gerda’s marriage, I am putting together a short reenactment ritual which honors Their marriage and its connection with the changing of the seasons. It will take place in my favorite secluded glade in my hometown, surrounded by overhanging trees, adjacent to the local public rose garden. We’ll have a picnic dinner after the ritual. If all goes as planned, it will be idyllic 🙂 Wish me luck!

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The Lord and the Lady, by Faeriewood

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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