Frige-daeg, Friday, is further equated with dies
veneris, the day of Venus, the love-goddess so revered by the Romans.
Frigg was the direct daughter of Fjorgyn, the Goddess of Earth. She kept her
own hall, called Fensalir. She was wife to Odin, All-Father, and is herself an
Women prayed to her for children and prayed again for safe labour and
Frigg gave birth to the perfectly good and beautiful Baldr, and tried to
protect her son from death itself by requesting a pledge from every thing in the
world not to harm him. She neglected however to ask the mistletoe, and it was
with a small dart of this symbol of Winter resurrection that Baldr was felled.
She is thus the Sorrowing Mother as well as the lusty bed companion. But when
Frigg wept, her tears were of pure gold.
FREYA - BELOVED OF WARRIORS
Goddess of sex, battle, and pleasure, most beautiful and desirable of
white-armed women, Freyja was sister to the male fertility god Freyr. Freyja had
unusual parity with Odin, for they divided the heroic dead amongst themselves.
Half went to live eternally in Odin's hall, and half in Freyja's hall
Sessrumnir- and the goddess got first pick.
As befits a goddess, Freyja owned potent magical equipment. Like Frigg, she
possessed a falcon skin, which when pulled over her shoulders, allowed her to
take the form of that raptor.This also provided a useful disguise when needed -
important to a goddess whose personage made her instantly recognisable.
Freyja's most wonderful adornment was her necklace (or possibly a jewelled
belt), Brisingamen.It was crafted by four dwarfs, and was of exceptional
beauty.Freyja so longed for it that she consented to spend one night each in the
arms of its makers as her payment.This was a just recompense in the eyes of the
goddess, for as the necklace was the finest of all things the dwarfs could
produce, the utter summation of their skill, why not repay them with an equally
precious example of her love-art?
Freyja always wished to give her love freely.Her beauty and desirability
often attracted the attention of those she did not want, such as the giant who
offered to build an impregnable defensive wall around Asgard, the dwelling of
the gods, in exchange for taking Freyja away as his wife. The goddess knew
nothing of this agreement, and her outraged indignation at being so wagered grew
the greater as the wall grew taller. Never believing they would have to forfeit
Freyja, the gods grew more and more uneasy in their wager, until Loki ,who had
urged the agreement, was forced to utilise his trickster ability to the fullest.
Three animals are associated with Freyja. She is pulled about in a cart to
which two cats are harnessed. Their sinuous beauty and comfort-loving nature
recall one side of the goddess. The other two animals are direct symbols of
sexuality and strength. Her golden-bristled boar is called Battle Swine
(Hildisvini), and recalls her role as the receiver of heroic dead. Battle
helmets topped with iron and bronze images of boars have been found throughout
England and Scandinavia, for the boar's savage and cunning nature was widely
revered. The other animal is the mare, associated with night, unbridled
sexuality, and dangerous magical power. To "ride the night-mare" meant then, as
now, to have bad dreams.
SIF - THE GOLDEN HAIRED
Of the lovely Sif, little is known. Her abundant yellow hair suggests she was
a fertility goddess, her hair representing ripe grain. She was the wife of Thor,
most popular of all gods. As his chosen beloved she may have been the consummate
form of the ideal woman for the common man.
Sif had exceptionally beautiful long hair, which her husband treasured. One
morning upon awaking she discovered to her horror that the spiteful Loki had
shorn it all off during the night. The bald and mortified goddess appealed to
Thor, who sought Loki out and started the trickster god on a search to repair
his mischief. Only drawfs possessed the skill required to replace hair so
They spun fibres of dazzling sheen and baby-soft fineness, and Loki carried
lengths of it back to the despondent Sif. When she held the fibres to her scalp,
they took root and grew live upon her head, and once again Sif possessed
magnificent hair, for the drawfs had spun it from the finest gold.
The Valkyrie is, in the oldest strata of belief, a corpse goddess,
represented by the carrion-eating raven. The name in Old Norse, valkyrja, as
well as Old English w lcyrge means literally, "chooser of the slain." The word
for valkyrie was used by Anglo-Saxon scholars to gloss the names of the
Greco-Roman goddeses of vengeance and retribution, the Furies or Erinyes, as
well as for the Roman goddess of war, Bellona.
The Valkyrie is related to the Celtic warrior-goddess, the Morrigan, who
likewise may assume the form of the raven. The Irish badb is at one and the same
time a seeress foretelling the fate of men upon the battlefield and is also the
carrion-crow or raven. (Rooth 228). At times the female seeress was replaced by
the work of women's hands in the form of a Raven banner ...woven of the cleanest
and whitest silk and no picture of any figure was found upon it. In case of war,
however, a raven was always to be seen upon it, as if woven into it. If the
Danes were going to win the battle, the raven appeared, beak wide open, flapping
its wings and restless on its feet. If they were going to be defeated, the raven
did not stir at all, and its limbs hung motionless.
The Amazing Vikings
May 8, 2000 - Time Magazine
They earned their brutal reputation--but the Norse were also craftsmen,
explorers and believers in democracy.
Ravagers, despoilers, pagans, heathens--such epithets pretty well summed up
the Vikings for those who lived in the British Isles during medieval times. For
hundreds of years after their bloody appearance at the end of the 8th century
A.D., these ruthless raiders would periodically sweep in from the sea to kill,
plunder and destroy, essentially at will.