Exploring the wider Eurasian influences on central and northern European religion, including Norse, Slavic, Celtic, Baltic, Siberian, Mediterranean and ancient Indo-European beliefs and applying them to contemporary practice.
Autumn Hymn to Freyr & some similarities between Slavic & Norse Myth
I wrote this hymn around the autumn equinox, for a blot to Freyr at a far northern latitude where the leaves had already turned and the lake was skinning with ice, as farmers were pulling in the last harvests. It's meant to welcome the Norse God Freyr (Baltic & Slavic "Yarilo/Jarilo"; also called "St. John/Ian" and "Caloian") as the harvest Lord, and say farewell to him with the change in seasons.
Autumn Hymn to Freyr
Hail Freyr, golden King
Lord of green and growing things!
He who gives us rain and sun,
life and peace for everyone
Son of Njordh and Nerthus, too
Gerda's love, we welcome you!
*Hail Freyr, Lord of the Vanir
King of elves and men
Lord of the land and Lord of the harvest
He who is slain each year and is reborn:
Ingvi, Frodi, Shining One, Lord
Be welcomed here and bless us with your presence.
Sheet Music PDF (for harp or strings):
While there is no direct Norse tale I know of that discusses Freyr's seasonal death, in Polish lore the young God Jarilo is slain by his sister and wife, Vesna, who becomes the lonely old goddess of winter and death, Moranna, mourning him. Jarilo returns to the underworld from which he came, to awaken again in the spring. His marriage brings peace between rivals (like Freyr, who marries the giant maiden Gerd). He is also associated with a white horse in festival processions.
Americans still haven't celebrated our secular harvest holiday yet (Thanksgiving)-- which marks the unofficial change from autumn to winter, even if the official shift falls on the Solstice. So I think it's still appropriate to honor Freyr, especially at lower latitudes. My next post will cover: Autumn Offerings to Freyr: Heathen Harvest Lord.
You can also find more poems at: A Winter Solstice Prayer to Ingvi-Freyr, the Yule King and The Lord is NOT my Shepherd.
Harp tune, lyrics and icon of Frey by me.
For more information on Freyr, I recommend reading the work of Hilda Ellis Davidson.
On the Slavic side, there's also an older book available in recent reprint or at libraries: The Mythology of All Races: Celtic/Slavic [Volume III] by John Arnott Macculloch/Jan Machal.
Yarilo/Caloian and much of interest regarding continental Goddess lore (including some startling Celtic similarities to the myth of Baldr's death, and the relevance of keys to a Goddess) is discussed in The Dancing Goddesses: Folklore, Archaeology and the History of European Dance by Elizabeth Wayland Barber.
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