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Warrior Women Myth & Legend: Freyja

February 28, 2017

A snapshot of Freyja

 

  • Freyja is an old Norse and Germanic goddess associated with love, sex, beauty, fertility, gold, seior (magic), war and death. There are many variations of the spelling of Freyja; Freya, Freja, etc.

  • Freyja is old Norse for ‘the Lady’. She is also known as great goddess, seer, the sage, Queen of the Valkyries, Freyja of the Black Sword hand, the fair one and Vanadis (Lady of the Vanir). Another well-known name is Gefn, which means giver.

  • Freyja is the twin sister of Freyr (associated with fortune, sunshine and fine weather) and they are the children of Njord.

  • Freyja was a member of the Vanir, a tribe of deities. She became an honorary member of the Aesir gods after the Aesif Vanir war. The Vanir is made up of gods associated with wisdom, fertility and magic and it is said they can predict the future.

  • She wears a cloak made of falcon feathers that allows her to fly between worlds and she rides in a chariot, pulled by 2 cats. She also has a faithful companion that she sometimes rides, Hildisvini, a golden battle boar.
     

 

  • She is a warrior goddess. Queen of the Valkyries. Valkyries choose half of the warriors that die in battle and give them to Odin, ruler of the gods, at Valhalla. They take the other half of the warrior spirits to a large field called Folkvangr, ruled by Freyja.

  • Her favourite possession was the Necklace of Brisings. It was made by 4 dwarves; she had agreed to spend a night with each of them in exchange for it as they wouldn’t accept any other payment. It was later stolen by Loki as she slept. She went to the god Heimdall (Odin’s son) for help, who later won it back for her.

  • Freyja is often associated/confused with Frigg, goddess of marriage. It is suggested by scholars that the two goddesses represent different aspects of the same deity, who oversaw both love and motherhood.

  • She married a god called Odr. She loved him deeply but he was often away on long journeys. She would cry red golden tears for him. Her tears became gold and amber when they fell to Earth, leading gold to be called ‘Freyja’s tears’.

 

  • Freyja and Odr had two beautiful daughters named Hnoss and Gersemi.

  • Freyja is said to be the kindest among goddesses.

  • She is mentioned in lots of poetry and writings of the 13th century.

  • She is the patron saint of crops and childbirth.

  • The metallic element Vanadium was named after her.

  • Freyja represents Norse women of the Viking age; whose husbands often went away to war. Derived from the name Freyja, noble Norse women are called Fru, wives are called House-Fru and Frau means ‘woman’ in German.

  • Freya and Freja are now common Scandinavian female names. It is also said that Friday is her namesake.

  • She was almost identical to Aphrodite but also holds some characteristics that the Greeks assigned to Apollo.

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