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Dhumavati of India Thor of Scandinavia
Freya of Scandinavia - Strange Deities
1299    Dibyendu Banerjee    05/07/2020

In Norse mythology, Freya is the goddess of love, sex, lust, beauty, fertility and gold. However, at times she is also associated with war and death. In Old Norse her name stands for lady and can be spelled differently like, Freya, Freija, Frejya, Freyia and others. Born to Njord, the sea god and an unnamed mother, Freya belonged to the Vanir tribe of deities, but became an honorary member of the Aesir gods after the Aesir-Vanir War, when she and two other Gods were sent to the Aesir by the Vanir as a token of truce and in return, the Aesir also sent two Gods to the Vanir.

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Freya is the twin sister of Freyr and in late Old Norse literature, Odr is named as the husband of Freya, who is no other than Odin and accordingly, Freya is almost certainly identical with Frigg and may be associated with the sixth day of the week, Friday.

Freya was believed to be incredibly beautiful and she had a number of admirers, not just among the gods and goddesses but also among the dwarfs and giants. She was the central character of several Sagas of Icelanders and in the poetry of skalds, which were the storytellers of the Viking Age. She loved and grieved passionately and when left by her lover, she cried tears that turned into amber or gold.

freya of scandinavia

Freya is commonly associated with the sparkling Brisingamen Necklace, which attract the eyes of all. According to legend, while wandering at night into the land of the Dwarfs, Freya found four of them making the most beautiful golden necklace. When she proposes to purchase the wonderful necklace, they refused and said that she would get the Brisingamen, only if she agrees to sleep with each one of them. Although Freya loathed the idea of sleeping with the hideous Dwarfs, the burning desire in her heart for the Brisingamen compelled her to agree and after four nights of sleeping with each one them, she got the much desired necklace.

Freya rides a golden chariot pulled by two blue cats, a gift from Thor, but she can also fly by using her cloak of falcon feathers. She is accompanied by the boar Hildisvini, which she rides when she is not using her cat-drawn chariot. The boar is said to be Freya’s human lover, Ottar in disguise and that is the reason why Loki, a nominal member of the gods, accuses her of being immoral by riding her lover in public.

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Freya was, probably accurately, accused by Loki of having slept with all of the gods and dwarfs, even with her brother. Similarly, legend has it that Frigg slept with Odin’s brothers, Vili and Ve. Probably, the infidelity took place when Odin or Odr was away. Odin was known to travel far and wide within the Nine Worlds of Norse cosmology. However, Freya is said to have cried tears of red gold over her husband’s absence and despite her infidelity, she searched for him wearing her magical feathered cloak, which allowed her to cover big distances quickly in the air.

freya of scandinavia
Freya, by John Bauer

However, although Freya was passionate and seeker after pleasures and thrills, she also had a passion for poems and loved to sit and listen to songs for many hours. It is believed that she was the first to bring the art of Seidr, the most organized form of Norse magic practiced during the Late Scandinavian Iron Age, to the gods. She had the knowledge and the power to control others’ good fortune and desires.

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Freya lives in her house named Sessrumnir, located by the field Folkvang, which is her realm, where half of the people who die in a battle go for their afterlife, while Odin will receive the other half. Freya always had the first chance to choose among the fallen brave warriors and after her turn, the rest were sent to Odin.

Freya was thought to be a supernatural figure in rural Scandinavia, until the 19th century. The name Freya or other variants of the name, is still a popular name for girls in Scandinavian countries. Alone in Norway around 500 women have the first name Freya.

freya of scandinavia
Freya, by Arthur Rackham
Dhumavati of India Thor of Scandinavia
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Author Details
Dibyendu Banerjee
Ex student of Scottish Church College. Served a Nationalised Bank for nearly 35 years. Authored novels in Bengali. Translated into Bengali novels/short stories of Leo Tolstoy, Eric Maria Remarque, D.H.Lawrence, Harold Robbins, Guy de Maupassant, Somerset Maugham and others. Also compiled collections of short stories from Africa and Third World. Interested in literature, history, music, sports and international films.
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