the dictionary of norse mythology


FREYA Lady The goddess of love and fertility. Freya was the daughter of the vanir god niord and his sister-wife, nerthus, and the sister of frey. Freya came to asgard with her brother and father after the war between the aesir and the vanir ended Freya had a chariot pulled by two cats. Anthony Mercatantein an eternal peace treaty. Freya's home in Asgard was in folkvanger in a hall named sessrumnir.Freya was married to od, but this mysterious character whose name means roamer disap-peared. Freya was said to roam the earth looking for him and shedding tears that turned to pure gold. Freya and Od had a daughter named hnossa, which means jewel. Freya was exceedingly beauti-ful and many fell in love with her, including giants, dwarfs, and humans.Like most of the Vanir, Freya had a talent for witchcraft. It is said that when she came to Asgard, she instructed the gods in the magical arts of seid.Freya also had a warlike side and shared Odin's love of battle. It is said that she and Odin divided the slain heroes between them so that some went to Odin's valhalla while others went to Sessrumnir. Freya's boar, the gold-bristled hildisvini, was a symbol of war. Its name means Battle Boar.Freya possessed a boar chariot and a chariot pulled by two gray or black cats. She also had a fal-con skin that she sometimes donned to fly away. She lent the falcon skin to loki, the trickster god, in the stories Idunn's Apples see under idunn and The Theft of Thor's Hammer see under thor. Her most precious possession was the brisingamen.The sixth day of the week, friday, is named after Freya.Freya, Ottar, and the Giantess Hyndla Freya, goddess of love and fertility, was loved by many, including the human male ottar. In the lay of hyndla see hyndluljoth from the poetic edda, Freya transforms Ottar into the shape of her boar, Hildisvini, and visits the giantess hyndla in her cave. Hyndla is a powerful seeress. Freya cajoles and bullies Hindla into telling Ottar all about his ances-tors from far back so that he may win a wager with another mortal, Angantyr. In Norse times, it was very important to know one's lineage proof of it was often used to settle disputes over land and other property. One of Ottar's ancestors turned out to be sigurd, the greatest of Germanie heroes, so he was sure to win his bet.Once Hyndla had finished reciting the list of Ottar's ancestors, she wanted to leave Freya and her boar. Freya used witchcraft to persuade Hyndla to brew some memory beer for Ottar, so that he would remember every detail of what Hyndla had told him. Freya caused flames to dance around the giantess until she gave Ottar the brew.Freya and the Golden Necklace Freya had an enormous greed for gold and jewelry of all kinds. One day she went to the cave of the black dwarfs alfrigg, berling, dvalin, and grerr. These master craftsmen had made a golden necklace of outstanding beauty. Freya knew at once that she would do any-thing to get the necklace that the dwarfs called the Brisingamen.She offered the dwarfs gold and silver, but as Dvalin pointed out, they already had all the precious metals and gems of the underworld for the taking. Freya began to weep golden tears. At last Dvalin said they would give her the necklace if she would agree to spend a day and a night with each of the dwarfs. Freya was so overcome with greed that she gave her-self to the company of the four ugly little creatures for four days and four nights. When she went back to her palace at Folkvanger, she was wearing the Brisinga-men around her neck.Now Loki, the mischief maker, had followed Freya to svartalfheim, the home of the dwarfs, and had seen everything that had happened. He ran to tell odin. Odin was furious when he heard the story. He bade Loki to take the necklace from Freya and bring it to him.Loki had a hard time getting into Freya's sleeping chamber at Sessrumnir, her palace, for all the doors and windows were tightly shut. At last the shape-changer turned himself into a small fly and entered the room through a hole as small as a nee-dle's eye. Loki saw that Freya was wearing the neck-lace around her neck, with the clasp underneath her so that he could not reach it. Never at a loss, Loki turned himself into a flea and bit the goddess on her cheek. She turned restlessly in her sleep and exposed the clasp. Quickly Loki turned back into his own shape, removed the necklace, unlocked the door, and crept out.When Freya discovered her loss she ran to Odin and told her story, weeping bitterly. Cold with anger at Freya's tale of greed and lust, Odin said that he would retrieve the jewel for her only if she would agree to stir Freya visited the dwarfs to obtain the Brisingamen, her golden necklace. AnthonyMercatante

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