Nordic Goddess Froya

Freyja, Cats and Angels, by Nils Blommer (1816-1853)

Of Freyia and the dwarfs

East of Vanaquisl in Asia was the land called Asia land or Asia home, but the folk that dwelt there was called Æsir, and their chief town was Asgard. Odin was the name of the king thereof, and therein was a right holy place of sacrifice. Niord and Frey Odin made Temple-priests thereover; but the daughter of Niord was Freyia, and she was fellow to Odin and his concubine. Now there were certain men in Asia, whereof one was called Alfrigg, the second Dwalin, the third Berling, the fourth Grerr: these had their abode but a little space from the King's hall, and were men so wise in craftsmanship, that they laid skilful hand on all matters; and such-like men as they were did men call dwarfs. In a rock was their dwelling, and in that day,  they mingled more with menfolk than as now they do.

Odin loved Freya full sore, and withal she was the fairest woman of that day: she had a bower that was both fair and strong; insomuch, say men, that if the door were shut to, none might come into the bower aforesaid without the will of Freyia. Now on a day went Freyia afoot by that rock of the dwarfs, and it lay open: therein were the dwarfs a-smithying a golden collar, and the work was at point to be done: fair seemed that collar to Freyia, and fair seemed Freyia to the dwarfs. Now would Freyia buy the collar of them and bade them in return for it silver and gold, and other good things. They said they lacked not money, yet that each of them would sell his share of the collar for this thing, and nought else---that she should lie a night by each of them: wherefore, whether she liked it better or worse, on such wise did she strike the bargain with them; and so the four nights being outworn, and all conditions fulfilled, they delivered the collar to Freyia; and she went home to her bower, and held her peace hereof, as if nought had befallen.

Of the stealing of Freyia's collar, and how she may have it again

There was a man called Farbauti, which carl had to wife a carline called Laufey; she was both slim and slender, therefore was she called Needle. One child had these, a son called Loki; nought great of growth was he, but betimes shameless of tongue and nimble in gait; over all men had he that craft which is called cunning; guileful was he from his youth up, therefore was he called Loki the Sly. He betook himself to Odin at Asgard and became his man. Ever had Odin a good word for him, whatsoever he turned to; yet withal he oft laid heavy labours upon him, which forsooth he turned out of hand better than any man looked for: moreover, he knew well-nigh all things that befell, and told all he knew to Odin. So tells the tale that Loki knew how that Freyia had gotten the collar, yea and what she had given for it; so he told Odin thereof, and when Odin heard of it he bade Loki get the collar and bring it to him. Loki said it was not a likely business, because no man might come into Freyia's bower without the will of her; but Odin bade him go his ways and not come back before he had gotten the collar. Then Loki turned away howling, and most of men were glad thereof when as Loki throve nought. But Loki went to Freyia's bower, and it was locked; he strove to come in, and might not; and cold it was without, so that he fast began to grow a cold. So he turned himself into a fly, and fluttered about all the locks and the joints, and found no hole therein whereby he might come in, till up by the gable-top he found a hole, yet no bigger than one might thrust a needle through; none the less he wriggled in thereby. So, when he was come in he peered all about to see if any waked, but soon he got to see that all were asleep in the bower. Then in he goeth unto Freyia's bed and sees that she hath the collar on her with the clasp turned downward. Thereon Loki changed himself into a flea, and sat on Freyia's cheek, and stung her so that she woke and turned about, and then fell asleep again. Then Loki drew from off him his flea's shape, and undid the collar, and opened the bower, and gat him gone to Odin therewith. Next morn awoke Freyia and saw that the doors were open, yet unbroken, and that the goodly collar was gone. She deemed she knew what guile had wrought it, so she goeth into the hall when she is clad, and cometh before Odin the king, and speaketh to him of the evil he has let be wrought against her in the stealing of that dear thing, and biddeth him give her back her jewel. Odin says that in such wise hath she gotten it, that never again shall she have it.

"Unless forsooth thou bring to pass, that two kings, each served of twenty kings, fall to strife, and fight under such weird and spell, that they no sooner fall adown than they stand up again and fight on: always unless some christened man be so bold of heart, and the fate and fortune of his lord be so great, that he shall dare go into the battle, and smite with weapons these men: and so first shall their toil come to an end, to whatsoever lord it shall befall to loose them from the pine and trouble of their fell deeds."

Hereto said Freyia yea, and gat her collar again.

Old Norse: En Freyja er ágætust af ásynjum. Hon á þann bæ á himni, er Fólkvangr heitir. Ok hvar sem hon ríðr til vígs, þá á hon hálfan val, en hálfan Óðinn, svá sem hér segir:

English: Freyja is the most famous of the goddesses. She has in heaven a dwelling which is called Fólkvangr, and when she rides to the battle, one half of the slain belong to her, and the other half to Óðinn. As is here said:

Old Norse: Fólkvangr heitir,
en þar Freyja ræðr
sessa kostum í sal;
halfan val
hon kýss á hverjan dag,
en halfan Óðinn á.

Ref: Gylfaginning

Engliish: Fólkvangr it is called,
And there rules Freyja.
For the seats in the hall
Half of the slain
She chooses each day;
The other half is Óðinn's.

Old Norse: Salr hennar Sessrúmnir, hann er mikill ok fagr. En er hon ferr, þá ekr hon köttum tveim ok sitr í reið. Hon er nákvæmust mönnum til á at heita, ok af hennar nafni er þat tignarnafn, er ríkiskonur eru kallaðar fróvur. Henni líkaði vel mansöngr. Á hana er gott at heita til ásta

Her hall Sessrúmnir is large and beautiful. When she goes forth, she drives she drives in a wagon drawn by two cats ; she is most conformable to man's prayers, and from her name comes the name of honour, Fraú, by which noblewomen are called. Songs of love (mansong) are well-pleasing to her; it is good to call on her for furtherance in love.

The Vikings believed that Freyja (Freya, Frøya) rode a cart drawn by a team of cats but these cats were not your domestic pussycat but rather more akin to Norwegian Forest Cats or feral male felines. Now a lot of misguided ideas have been passed around regarding Freyja as a goddess of love, this is far from the truth. In contrast Freyja is a goddess of sexual prowess which is an entirely different area to that of love. No magic on this planet can make you fall in love another human being. This is sacred chemistry and that area is a magic all by itself.

Gundestrup Silver Cauldron

In 1891 a precious silver cauldron appeared during peat-digging in the bog Rævemosen, near Gundestrup in Himmerland. The vessel had been deposited in the bog – an immensely valuable sacrifice to the powers above. Before this occurred the cauldron had been taken apart. The rim and the large silver plates, which make up its sides, were taken off and placed in the bottom of the vessel. The Gundestrup Cauldron’s motifs draw the observer into an alien universe far from that of the people who deposited it in the bog in north Jutland. Elephants, lions and several unknown gods, represented in a foreign style, indicate that the cauldron originally came from a distant area to the south or southeast. Exactly where it was made is still open to question. After the Bronze Age, Scandinavian sun images as well as sun worship began to diminish and personified deities such as Freyja (Frøya) took the place of the Sun in fertility worship. In Iron Age, we can also find represented sun, but they usually appear together with human features. For example, on the Gundestrup Cauldron, there is an image of a woman sitting on a wagon, accompanied by two elephants, depicted like horses with trunks, two griffins and what seems to be a lion Compared with the solar myth recorded in Poetic Edda and Prose Edda, where the Sun travels across the heaven on a chariot dragged by two horses, the image here may indicate that a goddess on wagon/chariot became the new motif of this Scandinavian solar myth, and the Sun became a goddess.

Frøya (Freya, Freyja)

  Freyja, (Old Norse: “Lady”), or the Frowe is most renowned of the Norse goddesses, who was the sister and female counterpart of Freyr with great prowess over seiðr-craft and especially sexual love, fertility, battle but possibly even death. Her father was Njörd, the sea god. Pigs were sacred to her, and she rode a boar with golden bristles. A chariot drawn by cats was another of her vehicles. There remains debate on Freyja’s privilege to choose one-half of the heroes slain in battle for her great hall in the Fólkvangar (the god Odin took the other half to Valhalla). She possessed a famous necklace called Brísingamen (torc or necklace), which the trickster god Loki stole and Heimdall, the gods’ watchman, recovered. Greedy and lascivious, Freyja was also credited with the evil act of teaching witchcraft to the Aesir. Freyja (ON meaning Lady) As the mistress of magic and goddess of sexual love, Freyja is the owner of Brísingamen (possibly a torc or necklace) which Loki alleges in Lokesenna that she slept with four dwarfs in order to possess it, rides a chariot pulled by two cats, keeps the boar Hildisvíni by her side, possesses a cloak of falcon feathers, and, by her husband Óðr, is the mother of two daughters, Hnoss and Gersemi. Freyja is attested as having nine additional names; Gefn, Hörn, Mardöll, Skjálf, Sýr, Thröng, Thrungva, Valfreyja, and Vanadís. Along with her brother Freyr ON "Lord", her father Njörðr, and her mother (Njörðr's sister, unnamed in sources), she is a member of the Vanir. Stemming from Old Norse Freyja, modern forms of the name include Freya, Freija, Frejya, Freyia, Fröja, Frøya, Frøjya, Freia, Freja, Frua and Freiya. If you wish to gain her attention write her a love poem or song. Her two cats are not your household pussycats but rather Norwegian Forest Cat, wild and ferrule. This off course in in contrast to the Norse goddess Frigga, also a formidable sorceress who appears at the onset wholesome and safe but this is not entirely correct.

Sörla þáttr eða Heðins saga ok Högna The Tale of Sorli or of Heðin and Hogni

  Fryer austan Vanakvísl í Asía var kallat Asíaland eða Asíaheimr, en þat fólk var kallat Æsir, er þar byggðu, en höfuðborgina kölluðu þeir Ásgarð. Óðinn var þar nefndr konungr yfir. Þar var blótstaðr mikill. Njörð ok Frey setti Óðinn blótgoða. Dóttir Njarðar hét Freyja. Hún fylgdi Óðni ok var friðla hans. Menn þeir váru í Asía, er einn hét Álfrigg, annarr Dvalinn, þriði Berlingr, fjórði Grérr. Þeir áttu heima skammt frá höll konungs. Þeir váru menn svá hagir, at þeir lögðu á allt gerva hönd. Þess háttar menn, sem þeir váru, kölluðu menn dverga. Þeir byggðu einn stein. Þeir blönduðust þá meir við mannfólk en nú.

  To the East of Vanakvisl in Asia was a country called Asialand or Asiaheim.Its inhabitants were called Æsir and the chief city they called Asgarth.Othin was the name of their King, and it was a great place for heathen sacrifices.Othin appointed Njörth and Frey as priests. Njörth had a daughter called Freyja who accompanied Othin and was his mistress. There were four men in Asia called Alfregg,Dvalin, Berling and Grer, who dwelt not far from the King's hall, andwho were so clever that they could turn their hands to anything. Men of this kind were called dwarfs. They dwelt in a rock, but at that time they mixed more with men than they do now.

  Óðinn unni mikit Freyju, enda var hún allra kvenna fegrst í þann tíma. Hún átti sér eina skemmu. Hún var, bæði fögr ok sterk, svá at þat segja menn, at ef hurðin var aftr ok læst, at engi maðr mætti koma í skemmmuna án vilja Freyju.Þat var einn dag, er Freyju varð gengit til steinsins, hann var þá opinn. Dvergarnir váru at smíða eitt gullmen. Þat var þá mjök fullgert. Freyju leist vel á menit. Dvergunum leist ok vel á Freyju. Hún falaði menit at dvergunum, bauð í móti gull ok silfr ok aðra góða gripi. Þeir kváðust ekki féþurfi, sagðist hverr vilja sjálfr sinn part selja í meninu ok ekki annat fyrir vilja hafa en hún lægi sína nótt hjá hverjum þeira. Ok hvárt sem hún lét at þessu komast betr eða verr, þa keyptu þau þessu. Ok at liðnum fjórum náttum ok enduðum öllum skildaga, afhenda þeir Freyju menit. Fór hún heim í skemmu sína ok lét kyrrt yfir sér, sem ekki hefði í orðit.

  Othin loved Freyja very much, and she was the fairest of all women in her day.She had a bower of her own which was beautiful and strong, and it was said that if the door was closed and bolted, no one could enter the bower against her will. It chanced one day that Freyja went to the rock and found it open and the dwarfs were forging a gold necklace, which was almost finished. Freyja was charmed with the necklace, and the dwarfs with Freyja. She asked them to sell it, offering gold and silver and other costly treasures in exchange for it. The dwarfs replied that they were not in need of money, but each one said that he would give up his share in the necklace.And at the end of four nights they handed it to Freyja.She went home to her bower and kept silence about it as if nothing had happened.

Ref: Sörla þáttr eða Heðins saga ok Högna
  The Sörla þáttr is a short story in the later and extended version of the Saga of Olaf Tryggvason in the manuscript of the Flateyjarbók, which was written and compiled by two Christian priests, Jon Thordson and Magnus Thorhalson, in the late 14th century.Freyja's most famous and referred to affectation is her necklace Brisingamen although it's exact design and meaning have been debated for generations.

Battle Magic does not always involve weapons of iron
  It has been suggested that the Elder Norse goddess Freyja is a goddess of love or perhaps even the family. Other suggestions are that Freyja is a war goddess somewhat like the all-father Othinn. It is my contention that the Vanic goddess sexual prowess and mind bending abilities in seiδr makes her both a war goddess and a potent sorceress with great sexual abilities to win over the hearts/minds of men and gods alike. Freyja wields dark magic rather than cold steel but she certainly is not the goddess of love.

Freyja and Vanadis or Dis of the Vans
  The Nordic goddess Freyja is also known by nine other additional names: Gefn, Hörn, Mardöll, Skjálf, Sýr, Thröng, Thrungva, Valfreyja, and Vanadís. Of all those names, Vanadis or the dís of the Vanir appeals to me the most in part because of its connection with newborn children, the vans but especially the fate they have to live out during their lifetime. Dis it has been argued may also refer to early Scandinavian fertility goddesses, personal guardians, but also warrior-goddessesThe term dís has been regarded as cognate with Old High German itis, Old Saxon idis and the Anglo-Saxon ides, all meaning "lady. So could it just be that Vanadis simply refers to Lady of the dísir? The disir on the other hand were quite possibly the ancestral spirits of dead women?
"I thought dead women came hither into the hall ,not poorly decked out.They wished to choose you,would've invited you quickly to their benches;I declare of no value these dísir to you."
Ref: Atlamál

Gullveig is also Frøya(Freya)?

  Gullveig vs Freyja is a age old argument that still persists on Asatru forums mainly perpetuated by the lesser read. They are not the same! The current scholarship disagrees with your findings and arguments thus far. For the record consider: As I recollect what National Romanticist Victor Rydberg suggested was: It can, in fact, be demonstrated that Aurboda is identical with Gulveig-Heid. The evidence is given below in two divisions: (a) Evidence that Gullveig-Heid is identical with Angerboda, "the ancient one in the Ironwood"; (b) evidence that Gullveig-Heid-Angerboda is identical with Aurboda, Gerd's mother. Here is one secondary source, there are others: "These stanzas are obscure, but it is hardly going too far to say that Gullveig came to the hall of Odin (Har), was attacked but could not be killed, and under the name Heid went about performing seiðr. Since Ynglinga Saga says that Freyja first brought seiðr to the Ǽsir, it is not impossible that Gullveig is not Freyja"
Ref: Norse Mythology: A Guide to the Gods, Heroes, Rituals, and Beliefs by John Lindow pgs 155   

But perhaps this Saga Conference article by John McKinnell throws some convincing light on the subject matter. It is fairly obvious that the narratives in Vǫluspá and Baldr's draumar resemble these two patterns in some respects, but that they do not altogether fit into them. In Vǫluspá stanza's 22 we encounter another Vǫlva called Heiðr, who is usually supposed to be a transformation of a figure called Gullveig (apparently one of the Vanir).  I feel strongly this is a mistaken interpretation, and that Heiðr is more probably the narrating Vǫlva of the poem. The name also appears at the end of Hyndluljóð 32, among a list of giants of both sexes, where it is immediately followed by a line about the mythological ancestry of völur. This poem (or at least this section of it) is referred to by Snorri as Vǫluspá in skamma, and it shows clear textual echoes of the longer Vǫluspá; for its poet, Heiðr was clearly a giantess (like the narrating Vǫlva of Vǫluspá) whose name prompted a line about völur in general.

  Whether we give the narrator of Vǫluspá a name or not, she was brought up (or brought forth) by giants and remembers nine worlds (stanza's 2) - probably the nine worlds of the dead, into which human beings die out of Hel, According to Vafþrúðnismál 43.  She is paid for her prophecy with hringa ok men (st. 29). Her magic is performed in a trance (leikin, st. 22) and her prophecy is delivered in vatic fornyðislag verse to a patriarchal figure, in this case Óðinn; it represents a truth which she `sees' (the verb is also used by the völur called Heiðr in Hrólfs saga and Örvar Odds saga), and one of her refrains - vitu› ér enn, e›a hvat? - is echoed several times by the giantess Heiðr in Hyndluljóð (viltu ennlengra?)50 and once by the enchantress Busla in Bósa saga (e›a viltu flulu lengri?). The patriarch has three sons (by different mothers, so that they are half-brothers to each other) who figure in a central episode of the action (the killing of Balδr and the revenge for it). The Vǫlva's prophecy includes the death of the patriarch figure (though not at the hands of his sons), and fire is involved, although it is not the actual cause of his death.

  For the protégé stories, this may be best illustrated by the sheer variety of magical tasks accomplished by the Vǫlva on the protagonist's behalf: informing him of the magical spells he needs (Svípdagsmál), or of his opponent's movements (Gull-fióris saga); raising a storm to make the opponent vulnerable to the hero (Gull-fióris saga); making her protegé invulnerable to weapons (Fóstbræðra saga 9-10); making him invisible to pursuers after he has carried out a wounding (Fóstbræðra saga 9-10) or a killing (Fóstbræðra saga 23); reciting a poem to give him a fair wind (Fóstbræðra saga 10); healing his wounds (Fóstbræðra saga 23, Hauks fláttr); travelling with gandar in her sleep in order to discover a danger threatening him (Fóstbræðra saga 23); supplying him with a magic weapon (Hauksfláttr); raising up a dead man to discover the future (Saxo). Ynglinga saga ch. 13 (and Ynglingatal 3, narrative verse, fornyrðislag). 43 ed. Finnur Jónsson, 20-1; Flateyjarbók I,81-2.
Ref: Encounters with Völur by John McKinnell University of Durham
11th International Saga Conference

  Turville-Petre's suggested identification of Gullveigr with Freyja was based on Dumezil, whose eagerness to force all of Norse mythology to fit into his tri-functional model has been rapidly losing support over the past couple of decades. For a good review and critique of this and other theories, see the entry for Gullveig in Rudolf Simek's "Dictionary of Northern Mythology," pp. 123-24. A novel theory which I find intuitively appealing was advanced by Lotte Motz in her 1993 article, Gullveig's Ordeal: A New Interpretation," ANF vol. 108, pp. 80-92. Based mainly on etymological clues, Lotte Motz hypothesized that the reference to Gullveig's repeated deaths in Vǫluspa was an early form of the "John Barleycorn" folk motif - and Gullveigr is a personification of the golden mead of the gods. No relation to Freyja. Hel no! Müllenhoff, and modern scholars like Gabriel Turville-Petre suggested that Gullveig is also a name for the goddess Freyja. In my view, sadly, this myth has been passed around internet forums for decades but here follows a learned opinion.  Since Snorri says that Freyja brought seiðr  to the Ǽsir, many scholars have assumed that Gullveig/Heid is actually Freyja, one of the Vanir, and that her corruption of the Æsir precipitated the war.

  The stanzas sequences in Vǫluspá 21-24 are IMO anything but clear? The suggestions however may lead to a false conclusion that a character called Gullveig or possibly Heid entered the arena on what was war on folk/ people/ army.... the descriptions vary depending on whose take you happen to support. We also must remember that Snorri's ultimate goal was to preserve the "prose" and not the lore actual and there is a subtle difference. It seems to me that both linguist, scholars and enthusiasts have all fallen into the trap of assuming Snorri preserved the lore he did not! Snorri preserved prose. And we all know that prose is very open to broad interpretation and has no real historical time line. It is by far much more likely that these events were totally separate incidents over a vast expanse of time centuries perhaps that was fused together into fragmentary prose to make poetic sense. Turville-Petre's suggested identification of Gullveigr with Freyja was based on Dumezil, whose eagerness to force all of Norse mythology into his tri-functional model has been rapidly losing support over the past couple of decades. For a good review and critique of this and other theories, see the entry for Gullveigr in Rudolf Simek's "Dictionary of Northern Mythology," pp. 123-24.