Tag Archives: Freyja

Frigg Links Post

I was going to do a post on whether Frigg and Freyja are the same goddess, but it seems that this is a much-rehashed controversy. So I decided to provide links to some of the more interesting pages I found, and let readers see for themselves. I’ve added some links on Friday and folklore to keep up the alliteration and for interest.

Are Frigg and Freyja the same goddess?

Wikipedia on the common origin hypothesis (as they grandly call it)

Yes:
Squirrel Edda
Norse Mythology for Smart People
Brit-Marie Näsström – sees them as originally identical

No:
Stephen Grundy – says no given current evidence
Ingunn Ásdísardottir (pdf) also says no, and like Grundy thinks they may have merged over time
Frigging Goddesses
Fuck Yeah Norse Mythology
What Frigg Knew – paper by Judy Quinn notes that Freyja reveals what she knows, as a seidkona, but Frigg does not speak about her knowledge of the future
Schmoop on Frigg: points out that the Baldr myth is specific to Frigg.

Frigg and Friday

Online Etymological Dictionary
Jacob Grimm also says Frigg, although he thinks that Frigg and Freyja were the same goddess, under different names
LiveScience makes no commitments on the Frigg/Freyja issue
Days of the Week in German – for the modern version
Early Germanic Names for the Days

Frigg and Folklore

Orion’s Belt called Frigg’s Distaff (although sometimes called Freyja’s Girdle)
Galium verum or Lady’s Bedstraw associated with Frigg. Apparently it was used as a sedative in childbirth. (The Eddic poem Oddrunargratur or Oddrun’s Lament features a prayer to Frigg and Freyja for help in childbirth.)

The Vanir and their cult

Time has obliterated many of the pagan elements of Scandinavian culture, and much of the pre-Christian belief system has vanished from hman memory. But while the cults of Thor and Odin no doubt included lore and practices now lost to us, the cults of the Vanir deities are even more obscure, perhaps because certain features offended Christian sensibilities.

Continue reading

Mardoll’s Tears and the Shining Sea

When writing my last post on Heimdall, I wondered if his name was connected to one of Freyja’s by-names, Mardoll. It’s usually translated as “Beauty of Light on Water”, perhaps inspired by the sun sparkling on the sea. It’s an appropriate name for Freyja, too, since her father controlled the waters, and she was the most desirable of goddesses.

The Scandinavians were a coastal people, who relied on the sea for food, trade and travel. Winter was when ice closed up harbour entrances and people stayed home; sun shimmering on the water meant spring had come and travel could begin again.

Continue reading

Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology – a review

Norse Mythology, by Neil Gaiman, W.W. Norton, 2017.

Earlier this year I reviewed Carolyne Larrington’s The Norse Myths, a lavishly illustrated introduction to the Norse myths for a popular audience. While Larrington’s book is more scholarly and objective, Gaiman’s book is laid out as a series of stories; retellings rather than analysis.

Continue reading

Freyja’s Cats

The Norse gods have different ways of getting around: Odin and Heimdall have horses, Freyr has a boar, and Thor has two goats to pull his wagon. Freyja’s choice was a little more unusual: she had two cats to pull her chariot.

Continue reading

Gullveig: the goddess who wouldn’t die

Considering that she may have started a cosmic war, we know very little about the Norse goddess Gullveig. Her story comes from the Eddic poem Völuspá, which tells how the Aesir riddled her with spears and then burned her three times but couldn’t kill her.

Since the next event in the poem is the war between the Aesir and Vanir, the two groups of Norse deities, it’s always been assumed that somehow this attack on Gullveig started it.

Continue reading

Thorgerd Holgabrudr

Thorgerd Holgabrudr and her sister Irpa were Norwegian goddesses. Some of the sagas relate tales of her rich temples and statues. Her followers gave her rich gifts, and expected her to intercede on their behalf. Her most influential follower was Haakon Sigurdsson, who was essentially the ruler of Norway in the last part of the 9th century.

Continue reading

The Rest of the Vanir: overlooked goddesses, waves, and women

After my last post, on Freyja and Odin, I had a response on Reddit that intrigued me. The poster was responding to my deliberately provocative description of Freyja as the only Vanir goddess, pointing out that there were other females associated with the Vanir or Vanaheim.

Unfortunately, the comment was lost or deleted, but they did have a point, so I decided to discuss their candidates for Vanir goddesses here.

Continue reading

Odin and Freyja: one’s grim, one’s golden, but they are a lot alike

Odin and Freyja are the “stars” of the Norse pantheon. The most famous god of the warlike Aesir, and the (only) goddess of the Vanir, they are surprisingly alike. Both are magicians, both gather the slain, and both take an interest in mortals.

Continue reading

Carolyne Larrington’s The Norse Myths – review

The Norse Myths: a Guide to the Gods and Heroes, by Carolyne Larrington, Thames and Hudson, 2017.

As the title suggests, this book is intended as an introduction to Norse myths, aimed at readers with little or no knowledge of the subject. The author, Carolyne Larrington, is an academic who has written several popular books, including a translation of the Poetic Edda. She has also written books on the green man and the women in Arthurian myth, and co-edited The Feminist Companion to Mythology.

Continue reading