Freya

Freya: Get to Know the Desirable Goddess of Love and Lust

Freya statue in stockholmFreya goddess of fertility was one of the foremost Norse goddesses in Norse mythology. She was also the Norse goddess of love, lust, beauty, and sex, and she was greatly desired by many of the other gods. She had magical powers and magical tools, and she helped the other gods with her magic. Read to find out how Freya gained her popularity amongst the gods.

Who Is Freya in Norse Mythology?

Freya is the goddess of fertility, love, beauty, lust, and sex in Norse mythology. She was both beautiful with blonde hair and charming and one of the most well-known gods. She took part in many stories, and many of the gods desired her for various reasons. It could be because she was kinder and easier to get along with than many of the other deities.

Freya was part of the Vanir tribe of deities in the Norse world. The two tribes are Vanir and Aesir. While the Aesir tribe of gods resided in Asgard and focused more on order and organization, the Vanir deities enjoyed magic. Freya was no exception, and she had skills in magic and foresight that she shared with other gods.

She was a seeress, and she had the ability to wield Seidr, the magic to help one see into the future and make changes to it. While Freya was well-known to be kind and loving, she used her beauty and desirability to get what she wanted if she needed to. But she had a little bit of an edge to her, and she enjoyed fighting in battle and taking many lives. Freya lived in a hall in the middle of a field where half of those who died in battle spent eternity.

Freya: What’s in a Name?

Freya’s name meant “the lady” in Old Norse, and it was an honorific title for a woman of high social standing. It is connected to the German word “Frau,” which is used as a title of respect for a married woman. Because of her popularity and varied skills, Freya had many other names that she went by.

These included:

  • Gefn or the giver
  • Mardöll or sea shaker
  • Sýr or sow
  • Hörn or flaxen, likely because of her flaxen hair
  • Valfreyja or lady of the slain

She is also likely the inspiration for Friday, or “Freya’s Day.” But Freya is often confused with another goddess, Frigg, Odin’s wife and queen of the gods.

Family and Origin: How Was Freya Born?

We don’t know much about Freya’s beginnings. We do know that she was born of Njord, the god of the sea and wealth. Her mother is a little unclear, but it might have been Nerthus, a goddess of peace and wealth. She was born a twin, and Freya’s brother was Freyr, god of peace and prosperity.

Freya’s husband was Odr, who was a little bit mysterious and often traveled on long journeys, leaving his wife home alone. She would cry when he was gone, and it was said that she cried beautiful tears of gold. With Odr, she had two daughters named Hnoss and Gersemi, and Freya’s children were so beautiful, their names meant “treasure.” Freya’s son didn’t exist, for she only had daughters.

Freya’s hall was named Sessrúmnir, meaning “seat room,” in a field called Fólkvangr, “field of the “host.” This place was where many warriors spent their eternity after they died in battle. She takes half of the warriors, and the other half goes to Valhalla with Odin.

Freya and Her Magic

This goddess of beauty had more than desirability to help her get what she wanted. She used the magic of foresight to change events to suit her and those she loved. But she also had a few magical “tools” and other special things that she always kept with her. These included:

  • A cloak of falcon feathers: this cloak would give any wearer the power to fly. She would give it out to whoever wished to use it, and in many stories, Loki, the trickster god, was the one who did
  • Brísingamen: this was a torc necklace, called a “gleaming torc” or “amber torc.” It was made by the dwarves in Svartalfheim. Freya loved this necklace above all else, and she kept it very safe from any who wished to take it
  • Chariot: Freya rode in a bright and shimmering chariot that was pulled by two domestic carts
  • Hildisvíni: this was a hog that followed Freya everywhere. Its name meant “battle swine.” Considering her connection with it, that could be the reason one of her other names meant “sow”.

Frigg and Freya

While Freya was involved with many myths and many of the other gods, there is still some mystery surrounding her identity. That’s because she bears many similarities with Frigg, queen of the gods. Scholars haven’t yet decided if they were their own separate deities or if they really were one and the same. And considering that Freya married the mysterious Odr, similar-sounding to the god Odin, it only adds more confusion.

Friday may have been “Freya’s Day” or “Frigg’s Day.”

Myths of Freya, Norse Goddess of Beauty and Love

Freya is mentioned in multiple myths, and they each show a different aspect of her personality. They display her wit, creativity, helpfulness, and her ability to seduce. They also mention her skill in warfare and powers of negotiation.

– Freya and the Aesir-Vanir War

Since the Aesir and the Vanir were the only two tribes of the Norse deities, it was bound to happen that they would come to blows. The tribes fought against each other, but the war couldn’t come to a conclusion. Eventually, they had to figure out a peace agreement, and Freya was selected to be in charge of the sacrifices. That was one aspect of the agreement, and Freya took it up easily.

She continued the cycles of life and fertility that kept life rolling along. She helped to maintain peace between the still-angry gods. The gods were so happy with her work that her name became known as a title for an honorable, high-level woman.

– Freya, Sharing Her Magic

Freya the goddess of love woodprintFreya had the gift of Seidr, the magic to tell the future. She was also a völva, a seer who could use skills to change the events of the foretold the future. She wanted to share this gift with the other gods, and so she did. That could be one of the reasons why Frigg had this skill as well, and she used it to help her son in her own myth.

But that could also be another factor in support of Frigg and Freya being the same goddess. While Freya’s sharing of her magic was a gift, the skill brought about the foretelling of the future end of days, Ragnarök. Then they learned about their fates. Freya’s stories are mainly retold in the tales of Norse mythology by Snorri Sturluson, the 13th-century Icelandic scholar.

One of the stories states that Freya would be the last deity left standing during the end of days. But it’s not mentioned anywhere else, so scholars aren’t certain that this was true.

– Freya, Desired by All

Freya was so charming that there were many instances of other gods/creatures wanting her. They would request her from the gods as payment for what services they might have provided. Unfortunately, the gods often agreed to trade her to get what they wanted. But usually, in the end, they would rescue her again.

– Freya and the Giant

One story states that a giant approached the gods at Asgard and told them that he wished to build them an even stronger place to protect them from enemies. The gods were happy for the assistance, and they asked the giant what he wanted as payment. He requested the sun, the moon, and beautiful Freya to become his wife. They heartily agreed, but he had to finish the building by the beginning of summer, or else, the payment would not come through.

The giant began his work with excitement, and he had a horse named Svadilfari which would help him carry the heavy loads. He began working, and he was making good progress. His progress was so good that the gods started to get concerned that Freya would have to leave them. They never dreamed that the giant would be as fast as he said, and so they came up with a plan.

Loki was famous for such plans, so he decided to transform himself into a mare and seduce the horse helping with the giant’s work. It worked, and the giant’s working progress was stunted. He was so angry that he flew into a violent rage, and as usual, the gods called upon the powerful Thor to help them, and he killed the giant. So, in the end, the gods gained a fortress and Freya, so who can say who the real villain is?

– The Aftermath

One of the other good things about this story is that Loki and the horse had another horse together. It was later named Sleipnir and had eight legs. It became Odin’s special animal, and he would ride Sleipnir whenever he traveled anywhere, including to the underworld.

– Freya and Giant Number Two

In another tale, Freya almost came under the control of a second giant named Thrym. One day, the mighty Thor woke up to find his famous hammer Mjölnir was missing. Furious, he rushed to the gods to ask them what to do. Loki asked Freya for her special falcon cloak, and he flew off trying to discover the hammer’s location.

He found it in Thrym’s castle in Jötunheimr, the land of the giants. When he confronted Thrym, the giant said that he would return it if he could get Freya’s hand in marriage in exchange. Loki flew back to alert the gods, and Freya herself was furious; her powerful necklace fell to the ground. But one of the sons of Odin came up with a plan to solve their problem, and he suggested Thor dress as Freya and return to Thrym.

Thor and Loki went to Thrym’s castle, pretending to be women, and they told Thrym they wanted to rush the marriage along. Thrym placed the hammer on Thor’s knee to seal the marriage when the vows were said, and Thor took off his disguise. He slew everyone in the wedding, and he got his hammer back. Freya was saved once again from the desires of a giant.

– Freya, The Sexual Goddess, and Her Dalliances

An exciting tale about Freya’s promiscuity appears in a story by Christian priests. It was called “Sörla þáttr,” and it was written in the 14th century. It details the story of how seductive and amorous Freya was as well as greedy. In other stories, she appears strong, independent, desirous to keep her reputation intact. In this story, Freya was one of the many lovers of Odin, and he cared for her deeply.

One day, Freya was traveling around, and she came upon four dwarves who were hard at work making a beautiful necklace. It was so wonderful, and likely the necklace she was later shown with, and she wanted it for herself. She asked the dwarves if she could have it, and they said yes, but only if she had sex with them. She agreed, but little did she know that Loki found out about the affair, and he told Odin about it.

Odin told Loki to steal Freya’s necklace from her, and he transformed himself into a flea, bit her, and took it from under her while she was sleeping. When she told Odin that her beautiful necklace had been stolen, he told her what he did, accusing her of sleeping with others. Odin and Freya argued, and then he said he would return the necklace if she did something for him. Her job was to force two kings to fight each other for eternity, and she agreed to do it.

– Freya’s Fate and the Analysis of Women

We can tell how much the story was skewed since it was written by Christian authors who hated and discouraged the pagan ways of the Norse people. Freya’s war continued until a Christian king of Norway named Olaf Tryggvason came and ended it. This situation is not unlike others in pagan religions once Christianity got involved. The goal was to tarnish the reputation of the gods in Norse mythology so that people would turn to Christianity.

Strong women were turned to whores, and their intent was changed to something much more base. But even the “Poetic Edda,” written by Sturluson, states that Loki claimed all women were promiscuous and slept with everyone else. Not unlike today, these societies of the past still judged women for their sexuality and sexual behavior. This bias was done much more than they would ever have judged men.

– Helpful Freya

In a final tale about the goddess of love, she used her skills to help someone she cared about. This story took place in “Poetic Edda.” Her servant named Ottar wanted to know about his ancestry because he had taken part in a bet. So, he asked Freya to help, and she agreed, turning him into her favorite pig and taking him to a wise woman.

The woman at first didn’t want to help, but Freya used her power and threatened to kill her. So, she agreed, and she spoke of Ottar and his place in history and detailed his ancestry. However, Freya was worried that he wouldn’t remember it, so she asked the woman to pour the beer of memory to help him. It worked, and Ottar and Freya left, with Ottar having his desires fulfilled.

What Is Freya’s Symbol?

The Symbol of Freya includes many things such as gold, pigs, witchcraft, and cats. Freya rune is called Fé.

Freya in Pop Culture

Even though Freya was so famous during the heyday of the Norse people and religion, she doesn’t appear much in modern media. She was a little involved in Germanic nationalism and appeared in the Danish national anthem. She is also shown in the opera named “Der Ring des Nibelungen.” But she wasn’t in any of the Marvel movies.

Conclusion

Freya in her chariot with catsTake a look at the main points about the goddess Freya covered in the article above:

  • Freya is the goddess of love, beauty, sex, lust, and fertility. She is one of the foremost gods in Norse mythology, and is mentioned many times in various myths
  • Because of her beauty and charming nature, she was greatly desired by many of the other gods and creatures, especially giants
  • She had golden hair, and she rode in a chariot pulled by domestic cats
  • She also had a special torc necklace, a cloak of falcon feathers that would help her to fly, and a pig friend
  • Freya was a part of the Vanir tribe of Norse deities. Her father was Njord, god of the sea, fishing, and wealth, and her twin brother was Freyr, god of peace and prosperity
  • Freya was well-known and appeared in many myths, but she may have been another representation of Frigg, Odin’s wife and queen of the gods
  • Freya had many talents, and one of them was the ability to wield Seidr, the magic that helped one see into the future. She was also a völva, meaning that she could go and make changes in order to avoid the foretold future if it was bad
  • When she taught the other gods this skill, they were able to see into the future and see the end of days and that all gods would be finished
  • One story states that Freya would be the final goddess who was left standing once the end of days came
  • One of the stories involves a giant who offered to build a great fortress for the gods, but he wanted the sun, moon, and Freya in exchange
  • Loki transformed himself into a horse to seduce the giant’s horse to distract him from his work. Because of this, the giant couldn’t finish the fortress. It grew so angry that Thor had to kill him, and Freya was saved
  • Sleipnir, the eight-legged horse, was born from the horse union, and that became Odin’s favorite animal
  • In another story, the giant Thrym stole Thor’s hammer and asked for Freya in exchange. Thor dressed as Freya, went to Thrym and slew everyone at the wedding ceremony to get his hammer back
  • Freya helped her friend to find out his ancestry by taking him to a wise woman and giving him a beer of memory in order to allow him to remember it
  • In a story written by Christian priests, Freya was a lover of Odin’s. She found a necklace being made by dwarves, and she took it in exchange for sex with the dwarves
  • This story showed that Freya was different from her Norse personality, totally focused on greed and sex
  • It’s not surprising that she was changed into this type of woman, with Christian priests writing the story

Freya was the beautiful goddess of love, fertility, lust, and sex in Norse mythology. She was so well known, and because of her charm, beloved by all the gods. They worked to keep her safe and would barter with her but would keep her safe in the end. She was revered in Norse mythology, but Christians reduced her to a whore focused on greed, and everything changed.

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