Don't keep the Gods trapped in the past!

You know what I want to see more of? Images of our gods in the modern age. They’re not just our ancestors’ gods, they’re ours too.

I want to see Freyr blessing migrant farmer laborers. I want to see Freyja watching over sex workers. I want to see Odin camped out under an overpass, swapping stories. I want Tyr marching with protesters and Thor fighting tyrants. I want Frigga as a high powered lady executive or attorney, Eir as a nurse in an overcrowded and underfunded inner city hospital

Our gods our more than gleaming steel and mead halls. Humanity has grown and changed, and of course the gods have come along with us!

“There sits Sigurdr
Blood-besprinkled,
Fáfnir’s heart
With flame he roasteth:
Wise seemed to me
The Spoiler of Rings
If the gleaming
Life-fibre he ate.

There lies Reginn–sang another–
Rede he ponders,
Would betray the youth
Who trusteth in him:
In his wrath he plots
Wrong accusation;
The smith of bale
Would avenge his brother.”
– Prose Edda, Skaldskaprmal

5

Heathen New Year (5th January 2015)

As Sól’s light falls on the final day,
A year on Miðgarðr is washed away,
A brand new chance to show Óðinn my deed,
In Yggdrasil’s branches a new year takes seed,
Hail Frey, prosperity and virility,
Hail Freyja, lust and fertility,
Hail Þórr, strength and protection,
Hail Óðinn, wisdom and intention,
Hail Skaði, valour and redemption,
Hail to the powers as the days start to lengthen.

- hedendom

Gods of Winter: Frigg

  • Frigg (“Lover”) is a Norse goddess of time. She doles out tasks for other gods and monitors Their progress, because She sees the future and therefore knows the best course of action to take. Her consort is Odin, whose name means something along the lines of “Eccstatic Spirit Possession” (it has the same etymological origins as Odr, so Their names have a similar meaning). Though She is not a goddess of love, She is described as physically attractive and very sensual.
  • She has the ability to increase fertility of humans, animals, and plants. Accordingly, She protects children and pregnant women, and She can assist in healing people and animals.
  • She wears gold jewelry, keys on Her belt, and heron feathers in Her hair. The feathers represent clouds and speak to Her ability to exert some control over the weather. I assume the keys speak to Her ability to unlock mysteries by means of her knowledge of the future. In Scandinavia, mistletoe branches are folklorically described as keys that open treasure chests, so perhaps mistletoe is sacred to Frigg and/or perhaps Frigg’s ‘keys’ are a garland of mistletoe. In that scenario, the branches could be magickal wands and the treasure could be mystical wisdom obtained through magick or shamanism and by invoking Frigg’s assistance.
  • The Grimm Brothers’s fairy tales mention that Frau Holle/Mother Hulda lives in another realm that is accessible by bloodletting on top of a spindle and tossing the spindle into a wishing well. Frau Holle/Mother Hulda in Grimm and in European folklore is mostly based on Freyja, but I would attribute this ritual to Frigg. I assume the well in Grimm is based on Urda’s Well, which contains water that is not for drinking. The gods use it to see what is going on in the various realms. I assume it is also used for water divination because the well is guarded by the Norns (“The Ones Who Twine”), who determine Fate - Urda (“The Past”), Verdandi (“The Present”), and Skuld (“The Future”). Frigg spends the majority of Her time in Fensalir (“Wet Place”). Since Freyja says that Frigg does not tell people what their future holds, I assume that information is intended to be obtained through invocation of Frigg followed by divination, rather than direct communication with the goddess. Perhaps through water divination.

Don’t Prick Your Finger On The Spindle

  • At night, Frigg spins gold thread on a jeweled spinning wheel, with the jewels being analogous to stars in the night sky. The Norns weave the yarn into tapestries of people’s destinies before those people are born. Frigg is a weaver as well, so people and gods alike turned to Her to change their fate. Though Her capacity to change things is limited, She can influence the course of events.
  • Watching over the realms, She and Odin noticed a man named Geirrod sought to rule a kingdom. Odin thought he was a good fit, but Frigg said that would have a bad outcome. Concerned, Frigg tweaked things so that Geirrod revealed his cruel nature. Thus, Frigg could not simply change the heir to the throne or kill Geirrod, but She could contribute to the events leading up to his coronation.
  • Something She could not change was Her son Baldr’s 'death.’ To protect Him, She had granted Him immunity to arrows made of all types of wood in the area. Since mistletoe rarely grew in Fensalir (and since mistletoe are not native to Scandinavia), Baldr (“Shining One”) was afforded no protection against them. He ended up getting 'killed’ by the trickster god Loki (“Air”). Frigg warned Loki that if She were accompanied by a warrior, She would have Him killed, so He should make no attempt to see Her again. Freyja, who was present, advised He listen because Frigg knows the outcome of all possible scenarios. Frigg attempted to bargain with Loki’s daughter, Hel (“Hidden”; Krampus’s mother), who is the ruler of the underworld realm Hel (which is part of Niflheim, “Misty Place”), where Balder now resides. Hel said that if She saw enough grieving on behalf of Balder, She would send Him home, but Loki disguised Himself as a woman and said Balder would not be missed. I think this may have been Hel’s plan all along, as I assume it is beneficial to Hel to have a great warrior in Her realm. Note that the death of a solar deity (in this case, Baldr) echoes the waning of sunlight hours after the summer solstice. The least amount of sunlight hours are in December, which could be part of the reason why mistletoe is associated with the winter solstice and the holiday season.

Painting Details

Evening Mood by William-Adolphe Bouguereau, 1882

Photo Source

Topic Sources: Dictionary of Nature Myths: Legends of the Earth, Sea, and Sky by Tamra Andrews; Maiden, Mother, Crone: The Myth & Reality of the Triple Goddess by D. J. Conway; Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes (2nd Ed.) by Edith Hamilton; Myths of the Norsemen: Retold from the Old Norse Poems and Tales by Roger Lancelyn Green; Norse Mythology: A Guide to Gods, Heroes, Rituals, and Beliefs by John Lindow; Pagan Christmas: The Plants, Spirits, and Rituals at the Origins of Yuletide by Christian Rätsch & Claudia Müller-Ebeling (Trans. Katja Lueders); The Winter Solstice: The Sacred Traditions of Christmas by John Matthews

What are your thoughts?