Freyja

Freyja (“Lady,” “Mistress”): She is the primary goddess of the family of the Vanir, daughter of Njörðr and the sister of Freyr. She was married to Óðr, with whom she had a daughter, Hnoss, also called Gersimi. When her husband went away on his travels, she wept gold tears. She lives in Fólkvangr, one of the heavenly dwellings, and her hall is called Sessrumnir. She shares half of the dead with Odin. She is fond of love poetry and is famous for her promiscuity. The worship addressed to her was erotic, which likens her to several Eastern deities, Cybele in particular. Freyja travels in a chariot drawn by cats.

Her field of activity is vast: life (birth) and death, love and battle, fertility and black magic. It is Freyja who taught the Æsir the magic rites most honored by the Vanir.

She is beautiful and lascivious, which inspired the giants with an urge to wed her, and the historiographical texts tell us that she was good to invoke for matters concerning love.

In skaldic poetry she was called Vanadís (“Dise of the Vanir”), Sýr (“Sow”), Gefn (“The Giving One”), Hörn (“Spirit of Flax”?), and Mardöll (“Sea-brightener”). She was quite renowned because of her necklace, Brísingamen. She obtained this piece of jewelry by sleeping with the dwarves who had forged it. The strength of the worship dedicated to Freyja is well attested by Norwegian and Swedish place-names, but the texts remain silent on this point.

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