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The Sea-God Njord and his sister and wife Nerthus were members of a Norse tribe of nature and fertility deities known as the Vanir. They had two children: Freyja, the Goddess of Love, and her twin brother Freyj, the God of Peace and Plenty. Another tribe of Norse deities developed during the Iron Age, when they discovered how to use fire and the forge to make weapons and tools. That tribe was known as the Aesir, and it was a more warlike and patriarchal society then the Vanir. Odin was their leader.
Eventually, a great war took place between the two tribes. The Vanir, who were sorcerers, used spells and magick to help them fight the war, while the Aesir’s strategy was quite simple by comparrison. They just kept on fighting until either one side won, or else a truce was called and a settlement agreement was entered into. When it appeared as though the Aesir was going to be victorious, a settlement agreement was entered into, and as part of that agreement Njord, Nerthus and their children, Freyja and Freyj became members of the Aesir, which was a culture that forbid the brother-sister marriages that were so common among the Vanir. It was then that Freyja taught Odin the magickal arts, which had previously belonged solely to the Vanir.
Freyja had another side to her which was frequently associated with darker traits, and which she eventually shared with Odin. Those traits included war, death, conflict, magick and transformation.
The Norse and Germanic people believed that women have strong natural psychic abilities, and it was for that reason that female seers were frequently asked to sit on War Councils. Freyja was the Patron Goddess of the Norse Seers, known as Volvas or Seidkonas, who practiced a distinct form of magick that was known as Seidr. When translated, Seidr can mean "spell" or "enchantment," although it can also mean "boiling" or "seething." The practice of Seidr magick included the use of sex magick, curses, sendings, prophecy and shape-shifting. Seidr was a form of magick which had been practiced solely by women. Odin became the only God to practice it, and the only reason that he was able to do so was because he had learned it from Freyja.
Freyja was as beautiful as she was golden. Those are only two of the many attributes that belong to Sun Goddesses; and when she wept, she wept tears of gold. It seems as though Freyja was ruled by that precious metal, and in her own particular way, she actually worshipped gold.
Freyja was the Goddess of Creativity, Fertility, Love, Sex and Wealth. Her darker side could be extremely powerful, and it was especially so when she happened to be in one of her other darker aspects, such as the Goddess of War, Magick, and Witchcraft or the Goddess of Battle and Death. When Odin learned Seidr Magick from Freyja, he automatically gained many of those darker traits that had previously belonged solely to Freyja. Freyja was also the Patron Goddess of Crops and Birth, and since she represented sensuality and sexuality, people would frequently pray to her regarding matters of the heart. Freyja adored spring flowers, she loved music and frequently wrote love poetry. She also enjoyed spending much of her time visiting with the faeries.
Freyja had been married to the mysterious God Od, who had somehow disappeared, and who was believed by many to be another aspect of Odin. In fact, in Germany, Freyja was frequently believed to be an aspect of Odin’s second wife, Frigg. Legend tells us that when Freyja’s husband disappeared, her grief was so great that she shed tears of gold. Freyja and Od had two daughters, named Hnoss and Gersemi, and they were considered to be so beautiful, that anything that was considered valuable, was named treasure after them.
Freyja traveled around in a chariot that was drawn by two magickal grey male cats, and she was frequently seen flying across the evening sky. Freyja also owned a cape, which had been constructed from the skins and feathers of birds, and when worn, it allowed the wearer to change into a falcon and fly between the world and the Underworld. Freyja used this cape in much the same manner that a Shaman might, whenever she had to travel to the Underworld. This is just one more example of how birds have been used to travel to and from the Underworld, even though, in this particular case, all that happened to be used were the skins and feathers of birds. The most powerful members of the Aesir hierarchy were frequently known to borrow Freyja’s cape so that they would be protected, whenever they had to travel outside of Asgaard.
Freyja made her home in the celestial realm of Folkvang, and her hall was known as Sessrumnir. When warriors died in battle, it was Freyja's privilege to take first pick of one half of the warriors’ souls, which she would then take back with her to Sessrumnir. The other half of the warriors belonged to Odin, and he had them brought to him in his lofty realm of Valhalla by a group of iron clad Goddesses known as Valkyries. Freyja was believed to have been their leader. The Valkaries brought the dead bodies of the warriors from the battlefield to Valhalla, frequently deciding in advance, which warriors were going to die. The Valkyries, whose name means “Choosers of the Slain,” were actually Corpse Goddesses, and they frequently were envisioned as carrion-eating ravens. The Valkaries were also related to the Celtic Goddess of War, The Morrigan, who was also able to change her form into that of a raven or a crow.
The Valkyries carried out Odin’s wishes, which frequently included determining the outcome of a battle before it had even begun, or else deciding in much the same way that The Morrigan did, in her aspect as the Washer at the Ford, which warriors were going to die. The Valkaries’ primary role was to choose the bravest of the dead warriors. Then, they would gather up their souls and take them to Valhalla, where they would spend their afterlife.
The Valkyries had other duties in Valhalla as well. Once they had taken the souls that they had gathered to Valhalla, and then on to Asgaard, which was Odin’s Realm, they would change out of their armour and put on long white robes, so they could serve the chosen warriors. When the warriors arrived in Asgaard, their spent their days fighting and their nights feasting, until Ragnarok, which is believed to be the time when the final world battle will be fought; where the old Gods will be no more, and where a new realm of peace and love will reign.
The Valkyries were not warriors, although they were Odin’s messengers, and whenever they rode back and forth across the evening sky, the strange flickering of lights that bounced off their armor was known as the Aurora Borealis.
Even though Freyja greatly grieved over the loss of her husband, she was still extremely accommodating when it came to sexual matters. Freyja's attitude toward open sexuality appears quite evident in the following version of the famous tale, The Story of the Golden Necklace.
Once upon a time there were four Dwarves, who crafted the most beautiful golden necklace that was known as the Brisingamen. That necklace was actually so beautiful, that the Norse frequently referred to it as the "Milky Way." Freyja craved that golden necklace so badly, while just as badly the four Dwarves craved Freyja.
Freyja eventually entered into a bargain with the four Dwarves for the necklace, and they finally reached an agreement among them. That Barter Agreement stated that Freyja would spend one night with each of the four Dwarves, and once that had been accomplished, then the necklace would belong to Freyja.
Unfortunately for Freyja, Loki, the trickster demigod, learned about that Barter Agreement and immediately informed Odin about it. Odin apparently found that news to be disconcerting, because he ordered Loki to immediately go and steal the golden necklace from Freyja.
When Freyja discovered that her necklace had been stolen she was furious, and she demanded that Odin return it to her at once. Odin, however, refused to comply with Freyja’s wishes, and then suggested that if she really wanted the necklace that badly, then she would have to pay a price for its return.
Odin told Freyja that the golden necklace would be returned to her once she had carried out two of his wishes. Odin’s first wish was that Freyja start a war between two mortal kings; and his second wish was that she use her sorcery to revive the dead warriors, so that the fighting would be kept alive. Once Freyja had completed those two tasks, then the golden necklace would once again be hers. The Norse people have always believed that no knowledge, power or awareness can ever exist, without there being a price to be paid. The same thing was true in this particular matter, because Freyja was bartering magick for magick.
Fertility Goddesses are usually sexually active Goddesses, and Freyja was no exception to that rule. What is surprising, however, is the fact that Freyja was extremely particular regarding with whom she would share her bed. One time, the Aesir had tried to pressure her into sleeping with some giants, but she repeatedly refused to do so. When the Vanir became assimilated into the Aesir, Freyja refused to change her attitude and behave in the manner prescribed by the Aesir. Instead she stood tall and proud, as an independent woman and a prime example of the Divine Feminine, choosing her own lovers and making her own bargains, irrespective of what the Aesir might want her to do.
As part of an agreement among them, Freyja slept with the four Dwarves so that she might gain the golden necklace which, for whatever reason, made her feel complete or whole. Almost immediately after she had received the golden necklace, however, Odin and Loki stole the necklace from Freyja.
In this particular story, two separate agreements had been entered into. In the first agreement, Freyja exchanged sex magick with the Dwarves for the golden necklace, which she did through the use of her own free will. Then, Loki and Odin decided that Freyja's Agreement with the Dwarves was unacceptable to them, so they forced Freyja into a second barter, this time with Odin, wherein she had to use her sorcery as war magick, so that the golden necklace would be returned to her.
Freyja made her own choice in the first barter, through the use of her own free will. The second barter, however, was a completely different matter, because Odin had forced it upon her. Once she had completed the tasks that Odin set before her, Freyja, the Golden Goddess of the Sun, finally did get the golden necklace returned to her; but at what price? Did she use her own free will to gain the necklace in the first place, only to completely lose control over it by doing Odin’s bidding in the second; just so that the golden necklace would be hers?
This tale can be seen as an allegory regarding how high a price a person, or in this case a Goddess should pay, in order to get what she desires. It is also to a great extent about making choices. What price was too high a price for Freyja to pay, and was the price that Freyja did pay, the loss of control over her own free will, worth it in the end? Once the golden necklace had been returned to Freyja, did she finally stop to consider the choice she had made; and did she come to the conclusion that she had made the proper choice? I cannot help but wonder what Freyja's answer might be.