Wayfaring Woman: The Faces of Freyja – More Than a Love Goddess

Wayfaring Woman: The Faces of Freyja – More Than a Love Goddess February 14, 2016
Photo by the Author
Photo by the Author

I am a devotee of the Goddess Freyja. Over the years my practice with her has shifted and morphed, taking many forms. At present, I celebrate Freyja on holy days throughout the year, and I acknowledge her on Valentine’s Day as well. For a long time, I struggled with doing anything for her on Valentine’s Day because it is a highly commercial, secular day. But, be that as it may, each passing year since I started working with Freyja it seemed inappropriate for me to allow such an upwelling of amorous feeling to pass without at least a small observance for her. Now each year I make offerings as an expression of my devotion and as an acknowledgement of my bond with her.

Freyja is the Lady of Love whose entire being sets hearts ablaze with passion and rouses mortal desire. A bountiful love life is her gift to bestow, but in case it has to be said, Freyja cannot and should not be glossed over as The Norse Goddess of Love. She is most definitely that, but she is a complex, dynamic, and powerful goddess with might that stretches beyond the narrow label of “love goddess”. Freyja is the most glorious and approachable of the goddesses as stated in the Lore, having many spheres of influence.

By Carl Emil Doepler (1824-1905) - Wägner, Wilhelm. 1882. Nordisch-germanische Götter und Helden. Otto Spamer, Leipzig & Berlin. Page 214., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5251502
By Carl Emil Doepler (1824-1905) – Wägner, Wilhelm. 1882. Nordisch-germanische Götter und Helden. Otto Spamer, Leipzig & Berlin. Page 214., Public Domain

To give a little background, Freyja is the daughter of Njörðr, Lord of the Sea, and though her mother is not mentioned in the Lore, some say that Nerthus, the Holy Earth Mother, bore her. Her shining brother is Glorious Freyr, God of Good Seasons. Freyja and her family lead the god-clan known as the Vanir who have ties to agriculture, wealth, health, and fertility. Freyja is known as Vanadís, meaning wise goddess or wise female spirit of the Vanir. As such, she has power to influence fate. That is not shocking given that she is the desire that stokes the fires of life, the caress that coaxes the sap to rise, and the substance of beauty in the world.

Freyja is also Sýr, the sow goddess and Battle-Maiden. This is a powerful counterpoint to her position as Vana-Goddess of Life and Love, The sow is one of the most holy animals of the Vanir along with its male counterpart, the boar. Swine are known for their strength and ferocity. In addition, Freyja is Lady of the Slain, choosing half of the worthy-fallen to sup in her hall. Women are admitted into her roomy hall as well, where all may feast until the End, and possibly beyond.

Freyja’s might also fills the spaces in between love, life, and death. She is Lady of Seidhr and Prophesy, the cunning arts that reveal the threads holding love, mind, life, and death together. She reads Wyrd, changes minds, works the fates of men, fools the senses, foretells the future, influences the weather, remembers the past, travels the worlds, and sings the songs that ward the soul in flight. Magic is hers.

By Lorenz Frølich - Published in Gjellerup, Karl (1895). Den ældre Eddas Gudesange. Photographed from a 2001 reprint by bloodofox (talk · contribs)., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5404544
By Lorenz Frølich – Published in Gjellerup, Karl (1895). Den ældre Eddas Gudesange. Photographed from a 2001 reprint by bloodofox (talk · contribs). Public Domain.

Freyja’s faces are many. In my encounters with her over the years, she has appeared falcon-eyed and wise with knots in her hair, and cat-eyed and cunning with not a care, and armored and armed with blood on her hands. Freyja has also been warm and welcoming, offering grace, counsel, and hospitality. No matter how Freyja presents, she is always whole unto herself, honoring her own nature, and in so doing lifting up the gods and the people around her. Over the years, Freyja has inspired me to do the same. She encourages authenticity in every aspect of life, the kind that can only emerge from knowing one’s worth and valuing all of the facets of one’s self. Freyja can be who and what she pleases exactly when and how she pleases. She can be the wild and free woman on the edges of Asgard or the cool, collected mistress of Sessrúmnir in Fólkvangr. She can be the sultry maker and breaker of hearts or the irate goddess violently rejecting attempts by the (male) gods to sell her off into a marriage that she has no interest in. Her faces are many and she owns them fully, yet none of them define her and none of them contain her. She is the essence of all of them and yet she transcends them. The Norse Goddess of Love moniker insults her and fails us because it obscures the glorious diversity within her. She is complex, dynamic, and powerful, and she leads by example. When I honor her on Valentine’s Day, or any festival day, I show my love for all of who she is.

By John Bauer - www.uppsalaauktion.se, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7504331
By John Bauer – www.uppsalaauktion.se, Public Domain

 


Patheos Pagan
Click here to like
Patheos Pagan on Facebook.
The Agora
Click here to like
the Agora on Facebook

Wayfaring Woman is published bi-monthly on Sundays here on the Agora.  You can subscribe by RSS or via e-mail.

Please use the links to the right to keep on top of activities here on the Agora as well as across the entire Patheos Pagan channel.

"Thank you! What a beautiful example of why keeping your name is powerful. <3"

3 Pagans & A Cat: For ..."
"Excellent article! Personally I use my regular name but for a very different reason. I ..."

3 Pagans & A Cat: For ..."
"I took my magickal name from a T-Shirt I really like. Shows a little bald ..."

3 Pagans & A Cat: For ..."
"don't worry - the entire blog is nonsensical spam."

Radical Pantheist: One Energy, Many Frequencies ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!


TRENDING AT PATHEOS Pagan
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment