Overview of Her in the Lore

Freyja is translated to mean 'Lady' or 'Highborn Woman'. It is a title and a distinction rather than a proper name. Her brother is titled 'Frey' which means 'Lord' and is a virility deity who bestows land, wealth and children. His name is widely known as "Ing", for he is named in many countries Fro-Ing or Yngvi-Frey (Scandinavians put titles AFTER the names so 'King Olaf' would be 'Olafr Konungr') Since Lord Ing has both a name and a title, it can be assumed that Freyja too has a name beside her title.

Her Role

Snorri says that She was one to pray to to attain love and to fulfill desires. He never mentions children in relation to Freyja, interestingly, suggesting that Freyja's role in fertility was more about the act of sex itself, rather than the literal gains from it. He also states that many young unmarried women prayed to her but says little or nothing of married women at all. That may be from his lack of personal experience or of written account of married women. That may also be due to her role in a woman's life changing after marriage.

Freyja is described by Snorri as being fond of Love Songs. This is interesting because even Snorri notes that love songs and love poetry had been outlawed in Iceland pretty early in its history (Snorri was Icelandic).

Freyja is also the mistress of sorcery, specifically a shamanic-style known as Seiðr ('seethe'). It is a form of magic that calls for trances, soul-journeying and fortune-scrying. Freyja taught this skill to Odin and it is assumed that he taught her Runes in exchange, though there is no lore recounting it. It is also assumed that they were lovers at the time, though again there is no lore recounting it. (another example of male scholars making presumptions about a sexual female deity. "If she's loose, she's going to be loose whenever, wherever and with whomever she can." But I will not argue that this was out of the question.)

Freyja once used magic to transform her lover Ottar into a boar. She road upon him to an Ettin seer who then recited Ottar's lineage for him to remember. This is peculiar story, for Freyja does not possess the knowledge herself nor does she magically scry information for him. Instead she has another do so.

Her Family

Freyja was once married, but is no longer. Her husband was named 'Od' which many suspect to be the same as 'Odinn'. However linguistic evidence suggest that the links between the names are indicative of the roles they play, rather than the true identity of the figures. Freyja has only one other lover with a specific name and that is the mortal hero 'Ottar' (for whom she assists the revelation of his ancestry - purely runic). The links between these names is dramatic and significant. They all represent the meaning of 'at the forefront of action'. The Old Norse word 'Oddr' even means "the furthest tip of a spear-point". In this analysis, Freyja is clearly attracted to the passionate ones who possess drive and passion leading forward through life like a hot knife through butter. This is supported in the visual forms of the elder runes as well. The general feel of the lore presents Her as being sexually proactive and chooses Her lovers as she wishes.

Freyja's and Frey's father is Njorð, the god of the 'Winds of Fortune' for he determines which fires blow out and which merchant ships sail swiftly. Not surprisingly, both his children and granddaughter are associated with wealth and prosperity. Unlike his children, his name is not translatable into English for it is lost in language and time.

Freyja is said to have one or two daughters. The agreed upon daughter is named Hnoss and means 'treasure' or 'precious thing'. Hnoss is always spoken of as a child before marrying age. Her other daughter is supposedly named Gersemi which means 'precious jewel'. Nothing more is known about her besides the name and it may simply be another name for Hnoss.

Her Affectations

Freyja owns and operates her own hall named Sessrumnir in a place named Folkvangr, where some of Her worshippers shall go to dine with her when they die. Folkvangr translates to "Folk-Gathering". Sessrumnir translates literally to "The-Roomy-Seat" or "The-Spacious-Seat". Most accept this to mean "The-Many-Seats" for it is also a known kenning for a ship, but the sessrumnir does not include a plural for "seats" so the ship is named "The-Roomy-Seat" as well. The word "sess" may also be used to refer a 'situation', and since one is the root for the other, it makes perfect sense. In Modern Icelandic, the word "rum" is also an epithet for a bed as it is a both "wide" place and object. Combined together, "The-Wide-Place" within the "Folk-Gathering" are among the strongest symbols of her role as Divine Hostess. Of course, the term is also perfectly suitable to describe the hall as a great bedroom with a great bed (LOL).

Freyja owns the most beautiful and precious necklace in the 9 worlds, the Brisingamen ("men" meaning Gem). The Brisings are 4 (give or take) dark elves or dwarves with whom she promised or exchanged sexual favors for it. It is her most prized possession and apparently is looked down upon by some other gods (surprisingly, the lore suggests that they look down on her lust for gold, rather than her self prostitution for it). It is this story that lends credence to the 'Sacred Prostitute' theory of worship. Though one would think that such a dramatic and intriguing piece of history would have made it into the earliest accounts of the population.

Freyja is described as having pure-white skin. This is but one of the many indications that Freyja's name is same the goddess Berchta, a continental (and Swedish?) goddess of light represented on Earth by birch trees (hence the name). Modern American Asatruar do not make the connection between Freyja and Berchta, but only because their knowledge of the facts connecting Freyja and Berchta is extremely limited. (See below.)

Freyja is described as having hair of "Red-Gold". This is an inadequate description. That particular Old Norse phrasing of color could mean anything from carrot-top through strawberry-blonde to sun-bleached platinum blonde. The literary style does not employ color distinction as we would today (they also say 'Blue' when they mean 'Black').Therefore, one would not be mistaken to vision her with any shade of blonde or red hair. But then, there is record of Viking-age women bleaching their hair, so she may even have roots! LOL.

Freyja sheds tears that turn to gold when they strike the earth and amber when they strike the ocean.

Freyja owns a cloak or cape made from falcon feathers. Either she uses it to fly or she uses it to transform into a falcon and then fly.

Freyja sometimes travels in a wagon drawn by two gigantic cats. The names and nature of these cats is not really known. The only description I have found is an English poem from the 19th century where the cats are supposedly gray. This confuses me. The boars associated with Frey and Freyja have bristles made of gold and are named Golden-Hair and Golden-Tusk. Freyja's bird is either the hawk or the falcon. In Iceland, the Icelandic or gyrfalcon is primarily white. On the continent, both of those local species have bright white throats to distinguish them from eagles. Either this very modern poet infused his own vision upon Her at the expense of the heritage and meaning of the lore, or he was privy to information about Her that I have yet to find. There is no resolution for this, however I would expect the original lore about her cats would have their coats made of gold or pure white as well. It should be noted that the practitioner's of seidh magic recorded in the lore wore clothing with cat-fur that was specifically white.

There is a 12th century drawing in the Schleswiger Dom of a woman riding a cat the size of a tiger carrying a drinking horn (beside her is another carving of a woman riding a pole-shaped-object. Below is text explaining that the depictions were two varieties of 'Witches').

What's Missing

There is little if anything written in Sagas about the sanctity of virginity in the modern sense. More over, women are constantly referred to as having their own minds and having control over their own desires with little or no interference by the men in their lives (unless one counts the outlawry of love songs and love poems).

Certain pieces of lore blur the roles of Freyja and Idun, yet this is understandable without misidentifying them. They are both symbols of eternal youth and beauty which the Thurs (enemies of the gods) jealously covet. Idun, though represents more literally the ideal of eternal youth while Freyja just is. Idun tends the Apple Orchard, which feeds the gods and keeps them eternally healthy and youthful (not necessarily young). Freyja, herself needs to eat of the Apples. It is unknown whether Idun needs to as well. (Idun's husband is Bragi - the poet-god.)

I recommend that everyone study Her influence upon the world around them at least as much as Her role within oneself. She represents that which strives to be greater than ourselves. Containing Her solely within the confines of our own spirituality is denying Her will to build our community and our world around us.