Freya, goddess of the earth and fertility
A goddess who will leave no one indifferent, we go to meet Freya the Nordic goddess of the earth and fertility. But as we will see she has many other important roles to play. Let us begin by noting that Freya means "Lady" or "Sovereign" in Old Norse, the Viking language written with the Futhark runes.
She has several other names such as Vanadis or Valkyria, depending on the context in which she is spoken. Freya is her name when talking about the goddess of fertility while Valkyria will be for her role as the goddess of war. Vanadis means "Goddess", which may suggest her paramount importance in Norse mythology.
She is often described as a very beautiful woman which will establish her as the benchmark of pure beauty, wearing long blonde hair and blue eyes that would make men and gods from all walks of life cringe.
Freya's place in the Norse pantheon
The Family of Freya
We can distinguish two groups of Gods in the Norse pantheon, the Ases and the Vanes. We know the Vanes for their connection to nature and the essential things in life. So you might suspect that Freya as the goddess of the earth and fertility is in the lineage of the Vanes.
She is the daughter of Njörd, the chief god of the Vanes family. He is the god of the sea and the winds and is said to be a god who accompanies sailors by bringing them luck. He is considered to be a very good god, and with a great complicity with men. Indeed, it was not uncommon for the people of Midgard to start praying to Njord at the slightest problem on the sea.
Freya has a twin brother who is called Freyr, he is the god of light, of rain, but also of prosperity. Many believe that Freyr is of Aesir lineage as he was traded as a peace token at the end of the conflict between the Aesir and the Vanes.
Freya married the god Od (Odur) with whom she would have two daughters Nossa and Gersimi. However, Od will disappear in a strange way, so much so that some say it was actually Odin himself, who could not resist the beauty of the goddess. He would then transform to live by the goddess' side before returning to his responsibilities on Asgard.
Let's talk a little about Freya's beauty. She is described as unparalleled, so much so that reactions to her were all out of the ordinary. Some find themselves paralyzed while others cry with happiness. She is the benchmark of female beauty for the Vikings.
Freya is not named the goddess of fertility for nothing, she is granted a power to heal and accompany women through pregnancy. You will note for example that Lagertha in the Viking series learning that she can no longer have children, will be led to pray to Freya. Freya is then the one who protects the home, the family and the children.
The Earth Goddess is very popular, everyone loves her and describes her as just, merciful and good. However, there is another label that sticks to her. Her beauty turning the heads of men and creating a good number of fantasms, including among the gods. She will therefore also be given other labels such as "goddess of lust". In addition she will have many love affairs with gods, dwarfs, giants in particular to fill the void that her husband Od to leave by disappearing.
Freya's powers are numerous, but most of them come from magical objects that we will list a little further down in this article.
Freya's various roles
As Freya is at the forefront of Norse mythology, she occupies many places and roles. Each of the names she is given carries one of her roles.
Valkyria takes the dead to her palace
Valkyria is the name given to the goddess of war who is actually Freya. She is the first and thus the leader of the Valkyries. She therefore leads the Valkyries on the battlefields. She is said to be a very great warrior.
She has the power to choose which side will win the battles in the world of men. Thanks to a magical necklace which we will talk about a little later. This power will make her the deity that everyone will try to curry favor with in hopes of winning the battle.
The dead on these battlefields will be taken by Odin to the Valhalla, but Valkyria will take other dead to her palace Folkvang. This role of accompanying men in life into death will also give her the status of "Goddess of Death", not to be confused, however, with Hel who rules over the realm of the dead.
The role of the dead taken by Valkyria is not the same as the warriors of Valhalla. The warriors Odin welcomes will feast with the gods until the day of Ragnarok when Odin's legendary army takes up arms. While Valkyria's army aims to protect the homes.
Vanadis offers abundance and prosperity
Vanadis is another name given to Freya, it is her title when we want to talk about the goddess of abundance, wealth, security and project building.
Vanadis' attributes falling within a range of luxury and comfort, and her role being to protect and accompany. Indeed whether it is her everyday attire described as beautiful and distinguished or her gold armour and weapons, she will always appear wealthy.
Besides her first daughter Hnoss means "preciousness" and her second daughter Gersimi means "treasure" in Old Norse. All these elements make Freya considered a source of treasure of all kinds.
Freya goddess of love and fertility
Freya under her original name symbolises fertility and love. In a way, we can approach these qualifiers to see her as a kind of Cupid, who is the origin of love stories, romances and commitment with fidelity. This indeed reflects one of her roles
But concerning Freya we are also on natural aspects, a sexuality free and relaxed. By fertility we mean that her beauty would make all men capable of ensuring when they share her bed. And by love is meant a form of polyamory where it is normal to have many affairs.
Freya by the way will share her bed with 4 dwarves in turn to obtain her magical Brisingamen necklace.
Thus, this makes her the goddess one consults when seeking advice on relationships.
Freya and her array of accessories
Beyond her divine powers, Freya has many powers that are bestowed upon her by the magical items she possesses.
The theft of the magic necklace Brisingamen
The magical brisingamen necklace is given to Freya after she has shared her bed with 4 dwarves in turn. In more romantic versions it is said that she married each dwarf 1 day. This necklace made of amber and gold gives her an unusual power of seduction, but also the power to favour a side in battle.
It will be stolen from her by Loki at the behest of Odin, who could not bear that she could have so much importance in wars. Loki will transform himself into a fly to go and steal the necklace from Freya. He stung her on the hand to divert her attention before snatching the necklace from her.
Freya's Magic Cloak
Freya possesses a magical cloak made of a hawk's feather that gives her the ability to transform into a Hawk and travel between the nine worlds of Yggdrasil. It is also by transforming into a hawk that she guides the Valkyries to war.
The falcon being a majestic bird, this transformation fueled her posture as a goddess of beauty.
Thor and the Chariot of Freya
Among the best-known stories is that of Freya's Chariot.
One day Thor on his way to fish stopped in front of Freya's house with his chariot pulled by two giant goats. He made an unbelievable racket and apologized to Freya.
Further on, he met two blue cats with their father. He thought that giving Freya a chariot pulled by two giant blue cats would be a good way to get pardoned. He then asked the cats' father, who refused on the grounds that his kittens deserved better. Thor filled with anger routed the father and took the two kittens away. Thus Freya was given a gift of a chariot by Thor, pulled by two giant cats.
Freya is often depicted on her chariot travelling through the cosmos.