I don’t post a lot of my own poetry, mainly because, while I love poetry, I’m not at all a trained poet and only write when the inspiration hits. That said, this is one of my favorites. I was inspired to write it one morning not long after my dedication to Her. I think it really conveys, for me, how it feels when I go to Vanaheim to visit Freya. Continue reading
Thoughts from my work with Freyr this evening:
- Freyr is generous.
- Freyr understands sacrifice–whether to do it; what kind is needed; how to prepare for it; how to do it; how to gracefully accept that which has been sacrificed; and how to heal up and live without it.
- Freyr does not care about how much a thing costs. He does not appreciate an extravagant meal any more than he appreciates a simple one, as long as it has been offered to him with intent. (So different from Freya! Freya will appreciate any gift, true–but she does notice and encourage high quality and poshness whenever possible. Goddess of gold, after all.)
- Freyr has absolute confidence in his ownership of a given thing. Complete and utter confidence. Unshakeable. Like, the thought that he would ever lose stewardship of something or someone once he has staked is claim does not appear to occur to him, possibly ever. (Maybe because he is a god of kingship??)
- Freyr is at one with the cycles of nature, and as such can be either calm and patient or dramatic and forceful, according to the land’s needs. (Unlike me, who, with my SAD and general dislike of change, has been at odds with the seasons for decades now.)
- And Freyr is not so much with the verbal, which once I got used to it, is totally fine by me. He’s possibly the least likely deity to try to trick someone by catching them in a terminology trap of some kind (unlike, say, Hermes or Odin). And that’s a relief. I’ve always been more of a “big concept” kind of girl.
- He’s also really earthy, which again is cool. And He feels very much like most of the Freyrspeople I’ve ever run into, young or old, male or female–just moreso.
- Oh, yeah, and I’m claimed by Him–like, eons ago, apparently. As if I was supposed to know this.
And I’ve been given the rough draft of a tattoo, likely for dedication purposes. I’m pretty sure it’s already been applied on spiritual body, though (long story). And given the location on my body that it got applied, I’ve taken to calling it my Freyr Stamp.
*sigh* Fertility gods. Whatcha gonna do? GO TEAM VANIR.
Now is the time for all good things to have sex. Be as the bee and the flower, and get it on! Love, Freya.
And, also, an undercurrent of LOVELOVELOVE. As underlies most everything I get from Her.
Not a bad deal, sometimes. 🙂
(I know I’m not the only flower you see/but what can I do, you are a good looking bee….)
Oh, and also–Happy Ostara!
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.
I was feeling the need for some lore. I realized that I hadn’t shared much (if any) of the Lore itself. And, though I can’t read Old Norse, I find the words themselves to be beautiful. (Sweden! Norway! I shall see you soon!)
This bit, which describes Freya, Freyr, and Njord, is from the Gylfaginning, in the Prose Edda. The translation is below.
XXIV. Njörðr í Nóatúnum gat síðan tvau börn. Hét annat Freyr, en dóttir Freyja. Þau váru fögr álitum ok máttug. Freyr er inn ágætasti af ásum. Hann ræðr fyrir regni ok skini sólar ok þar með ávexti jarðar, ok á hann er gott at heita til árs ok friðar. Hann ræðr ok fésælu manna. En Freyja er ágætust af ásynjum. Hon á þann bæ á himni, er Fólkvangr heitir. Ok hvar sem hon ríðr til vígs, þá á hon hálfan val, en hálfan Óðinn, svá sem hér segir:
en þar Freyja ræðr
sessa kostum í sal;
hon kýss hverjan dag,
en halfan Óðinn á.
Salr hennar Sessrúmnir, hann er mikill ok fagr. En er hon ferr, þá ekr hon köttum tveim ok sitr í reið. Hon er nákvæmust mönnum til á at heita, ok af hennar nafni er þat tignarnafn, er ríkiskonur eru kallaðar fróvur. Henni líkaði vel mansöngr. Á hana er gott at heita til ásta.”
“Njördr in Nóatún begot afterward two children: the son was called Freyr, and the daughter Freyja; they were fair of face and mighty. Freyr is the most renowned of the Æsir; he rules over the rain and the shining of the sun, and therewithal the fruit of the earth; and it is good to call on him for fruitful seasons and peace. He governs also the prosperity of men. But Freyja is the most renowned of the goddesses; she has in heaven the dwelling called Fólkvangr (“Folk-plain, Host-plain”), and wheresoever she rides to the strife, she has one-half of the kill, and Odin half, as is here said:
Fólkvangr ’tis called,
where Freyja rules
degrees of seats in the hall;
Half the kill
she keepeth each day,
and half Odin hath.
“Her hall Sessrúmnir (“Seat-roomy”) is great and fair. When she goes forth, she drives her cats and sits in a chariot; she is most conformable to man’s prayers, and from her name comes the name of honor, Frú, by which noblewomen are called. Songs of love are well-pleasing to her; it is good to call on her for furtherance in love.”
And from the Grímnismál (Poetic Edda) we get the same information. (The translation is cheesy, but I like the way it flows.)
“Falcvanger’s towers claim my song,
These to Freya’s right belong;
Who chief presiding at each feast,
Appoints his place to ev’ry guest:
Half of the slain by her’s possest,
But Odin daily claims the rest.”
(Grímnismál; trans. Amos Simon Cottle, 1797)
(Yes, I know–falcons don’t “flock”. But it was too great of an alliteration to pass up.)
I’m back in the Bay after 3+ months away. The first day I’m back? It rains! I drove by the Oakland hills yesterday, and they were green–several shades of soft, lush green! It’s been ages since I’ve seen that. I think the plane ride was actually a portal to an alternate reality in which there are actual raindrops falling from the sky in CA. 🙂
One of the first things (and probably the most blog-relevant) I’ve done since landing has been to rehearse the Facts of Freya ritual with the Freyja’s Aett gang–five Freyaswomen, each representing a different Facet of Freya, held in check by a lone Freyrsperson (and a really big antler, covered in bells). Much discussion was had as well as much showing off of the amber hoards and of costuming/priestess-wear bits.
It was fascinating to see how our facets stood apart from the others in some ways and overlapped in others. One of the ways each facet overlapped was the theme of “love”–self-love, being the focus of others’ love, how love is not “safe”, love for one’s people and respecting one’s self, love that inspires warriors into battle and takes them back home again. I think the facet that each one of us chose to portray was reflective of which “path” of Freya that we work with, and which sides of Her we connect with strongest within ourselves. I get to portray the Freya of Self-Love; though this is not ned essay a historical or lore-based aspect, it is one of the most common sides of Freya for us modern worshippers to come into contact with. Freya LOVES US ALL AND THINKS WE ARE ALL BEAUTIFUL AND AMAZING. I’m not necessarily as secure in my lovability factor as Freya seems to think I should be, but hey, maybe that’s why I get this aspect of her so strongly. /shrug But it’s interesting to see who we are and which one we portray. For example, the Freyaswoman who is portraying the “Chooser of the Slain” will be sending her own son off to boot camp today; talk about interesting timing. And the Freyaswoman who is portraying “Freya as Vanadis” is in the process of creating her own Heathen tradition. So I like to think that this whole ritual was not just me getting my rocks off, but has been a pertinent and valuable experience for the other Freyaswomen involved as well 🙂
The rehearsal was also a great example of how in Heathenry (and other religions as well, for that matter) our understanding of Freya, and the lore itself, is very idiosyncratic. There are commonalities, definitely, or else we’d end up being in different spiritual traditions entirely; but we each have our own spin, or experiences and bits of understanding that Freya has gifted to us. No one’s understanding of any given deity or spiritual entity will ever exactly match another person’s, not even in those religions that have the One Book with all of the guidelines in it. And in a recovering tradition, one that is being reanimated and re-fleshed and otherwise pieced back together in the modern world, well–it’s likely to be even more varied than we’ll expect. Who knows which Facet of Freya will show up next?
…and Freya could not be happier. Sigh.
I kinda feel like I did when I got mindjacked by Zeus a few years back. It was all “big dominant masculine force all up in my shit”, with no warning. Freyr’s energy is much different–earthy, sexy–but they both have this sense of complete and utter confidence in life and the world in general that I find difficult to grok. Confident female energy? Hell yeah! Domin
eeringant male energy? Um…
But landed Freyr has. It’s just that he has such a huge energy, and it’s gonna take some adjusting. It’s got an unmistakeable heft to it, a great weight. … And it’s going to take a better person than I am to avoid the constant flow of sexual double entendres any time I post about this. Seriously, though, these are the adjectives that come to mind describing Him. What can I say? And, come on–this is his iconic image, straight out of antiquity:
I mean, he was one of the Gods for whom historians and archaeologists coined the term “ithyphallic”, for crying out loud. What little bit of distance my head was still out of the gutter is now gone, and it has been replaced by a married sibling pair of fertility deities raucously laughing at me. (Well, laughing near me, but still.) I work in the corporate world (and when I don’t, I’m teaching) so I at least attempt a modicum of propriety now and then. I’ve always seen Freya and Freyr as being like those two obnoxious kids who, once one starts laughing, the other starts, and when someone tries to stop them, they both laugh harder–ie, they exacerbate each other’s qualities rather than balance them out. I can see within their relationship, there are ways they balance each other out, definitely–but who’s going to balance out their sheer Vanic-ness, I ask you?