Freyja worship in modern America (I will not pretend to know what goes on elsewhere) may be generally categorized into four styles: Magical Worship, Sexual Worship, Mentor/Guide Worship and Archetype Worship. These are by no means the only or complete means of worship employed, they are merely the largest and most easily identifiable categories.
Modern Forms of Worship
Freyja is the mistress of Seidh-magic. She is referred to in many poems and sagas as the one whom Seidh workers grant supreme knowledge of the art. Modern Seidh workers often get their initial, if not primary, inspiration and guidance from Her worship.
The practice of Seidh is most akin to shamanic practices. The practitioner induces themself into a trance and vision-quests their way through internal and external threads of consciousness to gain knowledge, experience and epiphanies (some may claim 'fortunes') therefrom.
In worshipping Freyja in her magical role, She is experienced as a mentor of sorts in the teaching of the art. The experiences with Her are always personal, but pivotal in the workers learning of Seidh. Whatever inspiration or motivation they need spiritually is usually attributed to Her direct influence (there are exceptions).
To further bond with Her Seidh-workers often choose to drape themselves in Amber necklaces (and bracelets, and pendants and brooches... etc.) during their sessions (gleefully admitting to themselves and friends to being Amber-Whores). The wearing of cat-fur is looked down upon in the US (illegal?) but charms bearing the images of cats is another common theme. Raptor Feathers are illegal to possess in the US, yet while falcons are common spiritual guides in vision quests the utilization of talismans with falcon or hawk imagery is rare.
Rarely, altars to Her are established in the Seidh workers space.
A very rare few, including myself, worship Freyja in the practice of Galdr, or Rune Magic. As this is a very complicated relationship, I may be contacted by individuals who wish to know specifics. I may reached at godhi@FreyjaFirst.com.
The sexual worship of Freyja is rather easily explained, if not so easily performed (pardon the pun).
There are two roles that Freyja may perform in sexual worship. She may possesses the body of the worshipper for the duration of the sexual act and maybe longer. She may also be the spiritual partner in a spiritual quasi-mastubatory experience.
In both roles, amber, fur and cat-imagery is used quite often, along with oils and nontraditional incense. The boar probably should be an important part of sexual imagery, with its direct connotation to the male phallus, but American experiences with wild boars are usually limited to nature-programs and so the appreciation for the correlation is not as strong as it could be. (But Harley Davidson Riders sure love it!)
Both male and female worshippers have reported experiences with Freyja in both roles. It should be noted, however, that women appear to be more inclined to have Freyja as a spiritual sexual partner than men are to being possessed by her (something I recommend to every man at least once in their lives).
One interesting relationship I have noticed is the significantly few number of gay women who specifically worship Freyja before all. Contrariwise, I know quite a few gay men who worship Frey. The reasons for this are probably politically dangerous to consider, let alone publish, so I will let it stand that this is my observation and it may differ considerably from another's.
There are some people who do study the act of sex as a magical and/or spiritual experience beyond the mere romp in the hay others do. Ones I have met do not claim any particular sexual 'style' or set of sacred 'positions'. They hold it in their mindset during the practice and their dedication to the experience of the NOW. Surprisingly, I have met only a very few who do not have regular partners. This indicates a level of commitment to the experience that binds people together deeper than a mere act.
Apparently, the most common form of worshipping Freyja is by accepting Her as one's mentor or guide through life. This seems to call more women than men.
Women believe that Freyja has wisdom to share with them about being a woman and being a person. They often have regular, day-to-day conversations/arguments with Her about events and happenings as they unfold.
Some women even come to call Freyja their friend, or even their best friend, based upon their shared experiences. Newer worshippers are less likely to feel that close. Time is a factor in this kind of relationship. The longer the stronger. (Yes yes - Freyja made me say that - sorry.)
Some people who worship Freyja as a Mentor, end up studying and practicing Seidh for at least a short-period of time. As Seidh published resources grow, that number will surely grow with it.
This form of worship fulfills a spiritual need and satisfies the individual practitioner. However, there may be the tendency to expect other worshippers of Freyja to acknowledge Her interest in that individual which other worshippers may or may not acknowledge (i.e., conflicts of ego, ideology, etc.). This can lead to awkward relationships among supposedly like-minded worshippers.
Freyja as Archetype is probably the most common for male worshippers. Without sensitivity and understanding of women and Her role in their lives, it is improbable for a man to see in Freyja beyond what She presents to him.
As such, men often see a goddess of stark eternal beauty, who is self-confident, sexually proactive and will happily please the men in her life all she can (refer to Hyndluljod).
A man may also see in her examples of every woman he has ever loved or lusted after, seeing in them flashes of Her 'perfection'.
Those who worship Her in this manner, rarely have any conversations with Her, but often participate in spiritual sexual worship (with or without a breathing partner).
This form of worship fulfills a spiritual need and satisfies the individual practitioner. However, there may be the tendency to expect other worshippers of Freyja to acknowledge Her interest in that individual which other worshippers may or may not acknowledge (i.e., conflicts of ego, ideology, etc.). This can lead to awkward relationships among supposedly like-minded worshippers. (Yes - this is the same closing paragraph as above and its on purpose)
Other Means of Worship
One may worship Freyja as a family member, a personal friend or spouse. One may even worship her as a divine reality of female perfection scattered in whole or in parts across the physical reality of this world. In any case, the individual worshipping practices are rarely concerned with the affect it has on Her relationship with the whole of humanity. This begs question like, if she chooses one and only one - Who is it really? and if she is one and only one - Where is She really?
These kinds of questions lead to cult wars and ultimate and deliberate strife.
Freyja is a force of attraction that represents the coming together of people and families to love each other, form bonds and unite into a more holy unit than they were as separate entities. Therefore, some of these worshipping practices are selfish, divisive and, while perfectly usable by the individual, are rarely commendable nor compatible with what the lore represents Her as.
My Suggestions for Worship
My suggestions for worship include both practices and beliefs with supported theories. Those who are already steadily practicing Asatruar may notice instances I mention as 'From the Lore' which they have never heard of. I assure one and all, that further research upon the subject will reveal that I am not inaccurate.
If one is perfectly happy with their own beliefs and practices concerning Her worship, then one may not appreciate the information that follows.
Up until now, I have been careful to not to specifically declare my own beliefs and practices... but if one has read this far, then one may still be interested to learn what all of this information leads a Foundationalist to.
I cannot be held responsible the effects of the beliefs and practices I describe.
Styles of Worship
Worshipping practices may take three forms. One may worship her as the entity who exists and controls those forces without one deliberately participating in the process. One may worship her as a role-model for the promotion of bonding and forging. One may also worship her as the one who lays the foundation before us upon which we must build.
Worshipping Her without deliberately (careful wording here) participating in procreation (not purely sexual) may not actually be a worshipping practice, per se. Obviously, building an altar to her and praying for her influence in one's life constitutes worship, but Freyja herself is attracted to those who act and respects those who do as she does.
Freyja's advice to the person who wants love is to take action. Get up off one's butt, go to the gym, and make oneself attractive for the opposite sex (or whomever). Everything is Asatru is purely practical, including Her.
Worshipping Her as a role-model is more difficult than it seems. It is probably impossible for those who do not have that particular mindset already. To act as she acts is to seek out places and points in which one can bring people together. More to the point, that style of practice requires the bonding of ONESELF to others, first and foremost. Without a relationship with individuals, one is incapable of influencing them.
The purest example of this practitioner is the 'Miss Popular' archetype. By striving to be everything to all people, she is forming a central core to which a community may unite around. This kind of pressure, to be perfect and pleasing to everyone, can be improperly imposed upon individuals who are not capable of doing it by parents and peers upon a child. It is not a role to be pushed into, but a role that one may feels attracted to fulfill. Those attracted to it are usually better at it anyway than those who are forced into it. These people may end up in careers in popular culture such as pop-singers, actors, models, public relations, retail sales or somewhere in the beauty industry. This is not to say that these are the only careers they may aspire to or join, just that there is an substantial majority of this type of person in those careers so named.
On one controversial level, this role may be accomplished through sexual means. The Porn industry is populated with individuals who have made careers out of pleasing people. Certainly, their ability to assist in the bonding of humanity may be questioned, but they are still fulfilling a part of that role.
Without turning it into a career, one may adopt a sexual lifestyle dedicated to the pleasing of others. Freyja may be unconcerned with the nature/gender/orientation of sexual partners in the process of bonding (for however length of time) but She is certainly concerned with the ultimate conclusion of Her efforts in the procreation of some greater entity. It is not beyond Her to accept the forging of communities based entirely, maybe even exclusively, upon sexual interaction. Problems arise in the practicality of that practice, however. My personal experience has led to me to conclude that those problems stem from areas not directly under Freyja's influence (namely - male sexual identity often prohibits multiple heterosexual males in the same sexual community).
This may be considered a traditional (but not exclusive) 'female' role without any of the negative connotations given it by past feminist movements. The modern feminist movement will recognize these traits as being empowering and not derisive.
Worshipper Her as the layer of foundations is one of the most profound means of worshipping Her and my preferred method (not that I wouldn't enjoy a few decades of Sexual Worship).
As the layer of foundations, Freyja presents all of the raw materials, tools, knowledge and skills to the worshipper who must only take them up and put them to use.
This may be interpreted as creating works of art, engineering machines and structures or designing and implementing the solutions for any problem one faces.
As a Foundationalist, I believe that Freyja has presented me with all of the material I require to build something that will stand the test of time. It is my responsibility to Her to perfect my knowledge, hone my skills and forge something that will stand greater than myself.
Worshippers of this kind may end up in careers involving art, music, engineering and entrepreneuring. They are constantly driven to create and build. To forge something that stands and lasts is their ultimate dream.
Those who build something that fails, are not true to their foundation and built too soon without fully understanding what it was they were building upon. (This is perfectly applicable to the insane 90s and the Internet collapse of 2001, where businesses and dreams were built out of thin air, without knowledge or respect for the reality of the medium and the technology).
This may be considered a traditional (but not exclusive) 'male' role. However, just as not every one is suited for the various roles of bonding that one may adopt, not everyone is suited for building.
There is absolutely no reason that one must choose one particular means of worshipping Freyja. In fact, Freyja is all of these things, and so worshipping her in all of these ways in any combination of degrees is perfectly adhering to Her teachings.
Tools and Means of Worship
- An Altar to Freyja does not need to be cluttered with tokens of Her identity (e.g., amber, gold, cats, falcons/hawks, dildos. Playboy magazines, etc.). What is important is the choice of those tokens. If one is not comfortable with cats, for instance, it is not mandatory that cat-imagery be part of Her altar. Freyja is, however, quite serious when it comes to the value of objects. The more money one spends on Her altar, the more of one's own energy and value in being placed on Her in one's life. She does not ask or demand one to go beyond one's means in developing her Altar ("'Tis better to not offer at all, than to sacrifice too much"). Asatru is a practical faith, and injuring your own financial strength injures your ability to impact the community. On the other hand, I've found that a single necklace that costs $200 after saving for months, is more valuable as an altarpiece than ten $20 necklaces bought week after week. Spiritually, the more one plans and prepares in Her altar, the more one is honoring Her role in one's life and in the universe. Monetary value is also not the ONLY means of measuring spiritual value in an altarpiece. The study and practice it takes to bring together raw materials and your faith into an altarpiece is the ultimate form of Her worship.
- Some worshippers find that communing in the nude wearing nothing but a cloak is a profound means of spiritual attunement. Freyja Herself is said to own a cloak made from falcon feathers. Again it must be stressed that raptor feathers are illegal to possess in the US (a raptor is any bird of prey - e.g., eagles, hawk or falcon). Colors and fabrics vary depending upon the nature of the worship and the gender of the worshipper. There is no rule of thumb. I recommend a cloak that covers the head and is large enough for at least two people to worship in together.
- Phallic tokens run the gambit of materials and purposes. The purely sexual will be purchased sex-toys. More spiritual phalluses may be sculptures or objects that represent phalluses. One common choice is a spear or spear representative. I forged a mini-spear myself (about 18" long) that stands for the whole of the process and power of procreation. Female worshippers should not feel shy about using phallic token for their presumed purpose. Male worshippers may feel more comfortable with spears, arrows and firearms (obeying all local state and federal laws). A literal living phallus on a male worshipper or worshipping partner may be used for worship, but I know few who actually do so. I suspect that the separation of the person from the altarpiece may be important to spiritual fulfillment and is difficult to attain when attached.
- A hammer on an altar to Freyja should really be painted gold (or fabricated out of gold). Thor's Hammer Mjolnir was made from gold by the Dwarf Eitri at Loki's bidding. Gold is such an important feature of Freyja that it should not be missed. Obviously, personal preference will rule the day, but knowing how important gold is to Her I cannot recommend any other choice. Hammers are used to ritually ward ceremonial areas and warn off wights and thoughts that may disturb the process of worship.
- An idol of Freyja is a traditional and obvious altarpiece Finding one that is attuned with one's own aesthetic is key. As an artist, I dedicated myself to finding the most beautiful idol I could. Photographs and paintings also work as idols to some degree, but more for meditation than for worship. The 3d experience of Her is dramatic. I settled on 3 idols. The first is a handmade sculpture of Berchta I bought in Iceland. She carries a bowl in which one may put a candle that lights up her face. The second, don't laugh, is a Barbie doll. Not just ANY Barbie doll, mind you, but one with both red and gold hair and a tulle evening gown shaped in the form of the the rune Fehu, the first letter of Her name. The third is a reproduction of Nike, the Roman equivalent of a Valkyrie, but without weapons. Idols of animals are also quite common. They may be hand-carved, cast or plush or any combination thereof. Personal preference is extremely important here.
- As the goddess of Brightness, candles add an extra special touch to Her understanding. In the present day, we take daylight and electric light so much for granted that we can easily gloss over the true importance of it in our lives. It also makes for great mood lighting. ;) Scented are a matter of choice and personal preference.
- Again raptor feathers are illegal to possess in the US (unless one is Native American). However down pillows and comforters as perfectly suited to worshipping Her. Another use for feathers is the single long plume which may be used for the experience of sexual bonding in a very NOW sense. Try it, you'll see what I mean.
- Freyja's cloak allows her to fly either like a falcon or AS a falcon. This combined with the imagery of the Swan winged Valkyries has impressed many Freyja worshippers to visualize Her with wings, or that wings are a part of Her identity or purpose in some manner. Personally, I find the Victoria Secret Angels so attuned to Freyja that its self explanatory. Butterfly wings are also acceptable as they are both lovely and represent the female genitalia in a very comfortable fashion.
- Personally, I think the most important means of connecting with Freyja as a person and an individual beyond the structure of self-need is a talisman or depiction of Her eyes. Find a photograph or a painting of any woman, and you will find Her eyes to be the most important part of her anatomy. The better the artist, the more attention put into the eyes. Find Her eyes. Place it about the altar where you can look into Her eyes. Worship Her.
- Every culture in a cold climate has developed the Sauna and various rituals about it. Scandinavia is no exception. Besides the connotations of sexual freedom it suggests to modern Americans, it is actually a very useful and profound instrument for attaining spiritual enlightenment. There are various means of doing this within a sauna and they can be easily found elsewhere on the Internet
- Okay, its nontraditional, but Freyja loves it. Just ask Her.
- Library Card
- All of the knowledge of our species is collected in books. Those books are the foundation for our society, and losing the past it destroying our future. One doesn't really need a library card to worship Her, but one expressly needs respect for the knowledge stored there and it certainly helps if one has the motivation to study it and contribute to it. Those of us who really appreciate it build our own libraries.
- One does not need to study the runes to understand that they are important for religious practice. Even a single one will do. In that case, I recommend Feoh/Fehu or Beorc/Berkano. The poem named Havamal, Odin specifically states that the Runes should be known by all wise people.
There are few, if any remaining prayers directly to Freyja. Several modern worshippers have published their prayers of choice, mostly that they themselves have written. I, myself do not use any formal prayer. I keep my commitment in my heart and speak with Her as I see fit depending upon the situation and my mood.
Mostly, I feel silly talking to thin air, so I developed this web-site so that I, and others like me, may sit down and write to Her, letting the stream of consciousness of our prayers flow onto page.