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Author Topic: Loremongers - was Freya really a goddess of love?  (Read 2939 times)

Juniperberry

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Re: Loremongers - was Freya really a goddess of love?
« Reply #15 on: August 06, 2015, 11:49:34 am »
Quote from: Elding;178177

 
That's a fair guess. My personal view of the Vanir are that they are more associated with the animal realm (the Aesir representing the conscious mind, with Odin being the foremost of them).. which would explain Freyas promiscuity, and Frey going to battle at Ragnarök armed with nothing but a deer antler. I do like your theory, though. ;)


That's my view. If you do a search on AL, you'll see my post on it.

To very briefly summarize, the fluid sexual relationships and questionable morals of the Vanir are more compatible with our understanding of animal behavior then human behavior. Animals often bear multiple offspring in one gestational period, making them an obvious symbol of heightened fertility. Freyja as Dis has some ties to the concept of Fylgja. There is a precedent for Germanic  animal gods in the divine sibling/twin cult of the Alcis. Freyja is associated with seider and ecstasy rituals often involved the wearing of animal masks and shape-shifting.  These are just a few generalized examples.

I also think to understand Freyja's role as a "love" goddess, we should question what love meant in pre-Christian times compared to what love means to people now. Modern romantic love is...well, modern. Love/marriage was an investment for the future, solidified by duty, loyalty and honor. (And obviously sexual attraction was a useful tool for producing future generations.)

Devotion and loyalty are all things that we see heightened in the animal kingdom, often towards man in domesticated animals and often towards each other in the wild.
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Holdasown

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Re: Loremongers - was Freya really a goddess of love?
« Reply #16 on: August 06, 2015, 02:23:15 pm »
Quote from: Elding;178169
This might be an odd question for many, because Freya as the 'goddess of sex and beauty' is a very fundamental idea in modern heathenism. Pick up a book on vikings and you'll probably see that little tidbit of information mentioned in there somewhere. However, I have never once come across a source in the sagas that states this to be the case, nor any archaeological evidence of it. This is frankly befuddling me, because there are clearly poems that describe her as a goddess of magic, war and death, so why do modern interpretations of her focus so much on sexuality and beauty?

It is true that Freya did some sleeping around in the old stories, but no more than the rest of the gods, like Odin for example who seemed to have children in pretty much every realm... or Loki, who was the father of a wolf and the MOTHER of a horse! She might be seen as a fertility goddess because her brother was Frey, who WAS indeed a fertility god and stated as such in the sources. But unlike Frey (who had names such as 'Seed'), none of Freyas heiti's are hinting towards a role of a fertility goddess. The closest heiti of Freya is Gefn ('giver') or Hörn (flax, which sure it is a plant and might therefore be associated with fields, but it is also used to make threads and weave fabric, so, more in the realm of seidr if you ask me..), but even from that it is a very long stretch to say she's a fertility goddess. (On the other hand, she DOES have names such as 'Shaker', 'Throng' and 'Lady of the Slain' which to me suggest that she is more of a counterpart to Frey, as death is a counterpart to life, rather than sharing his role as a fertility deity.)

Are there any loremongers out there who might help me? What am I missing? WHY is Freya depicted as the goddess of love, sex and beauty, and WHERE, in the written sources or the archaeological finds? Because I'm frankly starting to think it was all made up by some modern viking-romantic scholar who liked the idea of having a Norse Venus or something. I'm really scratching my head here.

 
I think of her as a goddess of passion in all things. Magic, love, lust and life. She cries amber tears for her love so it's not just about sex. Self love. Self respect. Self confidence.

BlueHorse

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Re: Loremongers - was Freya really a goddess of love?
« Reply #17 on: April 05, 2016, 02:49:34 pm »
Quote from: Elding;178178
Yes, this is actually why I am asking. Reading the lore, it seems to me like sex and fertility should frankly be more of an afterthought to the more important stuff - like getting first pick from the dead (getting her pick even before Odin choose his Einherjar) and teaching magic to all of mankind. But reading conteporary books, it seems to be the other way around - "Oh, Freya is the goddess of LOVE and BEAUTY and FERTILITY. Look, she slept with all of these people! I guess she might've had something to do with death, though... hmm, and there was this part about magic, I think, but that's not really as important..."

Frankly, that is the part that confuse me. The lore tells me one thing, contemporary writing another thing entirely. But I guess it all boils down to history being written by men, lol :B

It was an interesting parallel you drew to Cybele, however. If I remember correctly, Cybele had a trangender magic cult... hmmm... :D:


TLDR: Yes, I consider her a goddess of love.

Long version:
 
I have the exact same reading of her as you do. She is more akin not only to Cybele, but also to Ishtar and Isis.

Besides, the accusation of promiscuity seems rather to come from Loki's quarrel, where he accuses all the gods gathered of all kinds of things. It is one perspective, and need not be the one you choose.

I have chosen another perspective: According to one version of the legend of Brisingamen, she slept with the four dwarves who created the necklace as a trade-off for the necklace. It was hardly out of desire for the dwarves that she did so, but rather as payment for her necklace of power. Does that make her payment equal to prostitution? That could be a matter of discussion, but it sure did not make her a prostitute - no one could come to Frøya and demand to have sex with her for money - or anything else for that matter.

I guess it varies what aspect individual Åsatruarar connect with Frøya, but to me she is not at all like, for instance, Venus or Aphrodite. She is more like a warrior who also enjoys sex and nature. A real woman, in other words.

Besides, consider her situation: Odr, her husband among the Æsir, left her to go traveling and never returned and, according to the mythology, she cries golden tears as she searches for him, weeping. Is she to confine herself to celibacy in his chosen and seemingly never-ending absence? Frøya, according to this myth, has known heartbreak - she, the most beautiful among all the gods, a goddess of fertility, war, wisdom, divination... she was left, and for what? Exploration, apparently.

Here, I think is a lesson for all who have been left by their partners without any real explanation or reason, or just that to their partners the grass apparently seemed greener elsewhere; if it happens to the most awesome of female goddesses (in my opinion), no wonder it happens to others.

That said, some consider Odr to more likely have been Odin in one of his many disguises, or that Odr is Odin and Frøya was originally Frigg. There are many theories.

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