Freyr Tag - PaganSquare - Join the conversation! http://witchesandpagans.com/latest.html Mon, 22 May 2017 22:36:58 -0700 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb The Pagan Experience: Personal Practice http://witchesandpagans.com/pagan-culture-blogs/lokean-swamp-witch/the-pagan-experience-personal-practice.html http://witchesandpagans.com/pagan-culture-blogs/lokean-swamp-witch/the-pagan-experience-personal-practice.html

After some prodding by Himself and some encouragement from friends, I'm taking a stab at the Pagan Experience Project. I'm not necessarily going to do every prompt all the time, but if the prompt elicits good thinky thoughts, I'll share them. I've decided to start with week two's prompt on personal practices.

Loki's not a terribly formal Deity, and and so many of my practices are not either; I share morning coffee with Him every day; I meditate once a day; ideally I do yoga, but that practice is a work in progress.

For Freyr and Gerda, I have plants that I care for - mostly herbs; I have one particular bromeliad that is Loki's, because it was given to Him at a public ritual, but the rest are for Them. I am working my way toward a vertical garden, because I'd like to grow more of my own food.

Freyja wants self-care and self-love. (I hear y'all snickering) A lot of my practice with Her involves witchy stuff, and since it's Mystery work, and it's not really bloggable.

My kindred has a group practice that is (in)famous, and that is Dramatic Readings of poorly written erotica. This group practice can conducted in person or online (think Skype or Google Hangouts) and be augmented with alcoholic beverages if you're of age, inclined, and not driving. Pour Loki a drink, hail Him, and let the group begin. Participants take turns reading and making MST3Kstyle commentary.

It's all great fun...FOR HIM.


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lokisbruid@gmail.com (Heather Freysdottir) Culture Blogs Fri, 23 Jan 2015 14:55:49 -0800
Odin, Loki, Frey (and Tyr): Different Roles, Same God http://witchesandpagans.com/pagan-paths-blogs/one-eyed-cat/odin-loki-frey-and-tyr-different-roles-same-god.html http://witchesandpagans.com/pagan-paths-blogs/one-eyed-cat/odin-loki-frey-and-tyr-different-roles-same-god.html  

Please note that this is not a treatise on how all Gods are One God/dess— in Norse myth or otherwise. Norse myth contains distinct deified ancestors, locally-specific Gods and many other members of the pantheon such as Njordh, Mani, Baldr and Thor.


The Norse deities Odin, Loki, Frey and Tyr are the same God; their wife and sister Frigg, Sigyn, Gerd and Freyja are likewise the same being— in different roles, at different stages of their lives.

As we humans perceive them, these eight deities simultaneously exist as separate people, with separate histories and lives and so are portrayed in many ways as separate people in the myths. However, a closer look at the myths, surviving folklore, and scholarship will reveal remarkable similarities between them, a richness of moral complexity, fierce love for humanity, and a compelling depth of character and heroism worthy of our respect.

In my own experience as a seiðkona, a Norse seer, and that of many other modern worshipers, the hatred of Loki virulently present in Asatru is painful to him as the mourning father of two slain Gods, bound by his own intense grief— and damaging to all of us. Loki is ignored, denounced and maligned by Heathens who either have not met him, have not been exposed to enough recent scholarship, or who only work with a literal, dogmatic— and very Bible-like— understanding of the Icelandic Eddas, the largest corpus of Norse Lore available in modern times. Unfortunately, this viewpoint has been largely spread by Norse scholars themselves, influenced by Christianity, until very recently!

This will take awhile to unpack (probably a series of three or four blog posts, perhaps more), so I'll do it a point at a time and listen to responses along the way. I expect and welcome them, even if you vehemently disagree (and can state so in a respectful manner. If you cannot, expect no response.)

I will go by the lore in saying this, through his and her heiti (poetic use-names, describing a role), personality, objects of power, attributes, children and tales, using sources readily available in both the Icelandic Prose and Poetic Eddas. My analysis of available scholarship will include linguistic history, archaeology, art history, comparative mythology with three nearby cultures (continental Germanic, Celtic and Slavic— occasionally Classical) and folklore, with sources referenced. And, lastly, I will mention my own experience as a seiðkona and oracle, where applicable, which can be found woven throughout this blog.

Thank you.


Photos of the Stora Hammars Image Stone I from Wikipedia. It's one of many such picture-stones depicting Norse myth, scattered throughout northern Europe.


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shirl.sazynski@gmail.com (Shirl Sazynski) Paths Blogs Tue, 10 Jun 2014 22:57:19 -0700
A Winter Solstice Prayer to Ingvi-Freyr, the Yule King http://witchesandpagans.com/pagan-paths-blogs/one-eyed-cat/a-winter-solstice-prayer-to-ingvi-freyr-the-yule-king.html http://witchesandpagans.com/pagan-paths-blogs/one-eyed-cat/a-winter-solstice-prayer-to-ingvi-freyr-the-yule-king.html

A Prayer to Ingvi

I.
Because I could not kiss your lips
I kissed my lover instead;
Because he never danced with me
I dance with you instead,
here on the far side of midnight
where sun hides
and moon cannot be jealous.

II.
Young Lord,
holly-crowned
blood-drops strung among crisp leaves
as you bend your head
to accept them.

III.
I will tell you a secret, child:
Freyja's tears are not gold, but amber
blood of the World Tree.

She roamed the world once, it's true—
but not in search of Odin.


This poem and icon were inspired by a vision of the Heathen God Freyr as Yngvi, the youth to-be-king, crowned on the Winter Solstice. My poem first appeared at Odin's Gift, where you can find many other modern Heathen hymns, prayers, poems, sheet music, mp3's, myths and stories.

The art style was inspired by by the ancient blend of peoples who passed through Poland and Scandinavia– Eurasian nomads, the Celts, the Balts, Scythians and Sarmatians speaking Persian dialects, Germanic peoples, Graeco-Romans and bringers of Mediterranean influence, and the Slavs. I adore bronze-age and Egyptian artwork, and interestingly enough, Osiris is also supposed to be awakened by Isis at about this time, to symbolize life returning to the land along with the lengthening of days.

The armlets are the horse and stag for the life and death of the God, and common symbols of Gods of virility in northern Europe. In some ancient northern cultures, a young woman or man was given a crown made from tree branches or flowers as a mark of coming of age and the right to court and marry. Jarilo, the youthful Slavic God of fertility, sunlight and life-giving rains, is depicted as wearing a crown of flowers in the spring. In a Saami myth, the Sun's youngest daughter who visits the earth is given a juniper crown by her adoptive human parents to mark her transition from a teenage maiden into womanhood, along with  her adult independence. Polish girls still perform traditional dances with flower crowns and ribbons to this day.


I practice spae-craft (Norse seership), paint icons and write devotional poems and fiction based upon my experiences.You can find more of my artwork, and links to published work available elsewhere, on my website: shirlsazynski.com.

There's another prayer to Freyr, along with harp music, in my earlier post Autumn Hymn to Freyr & some similarities between Slavic and Norse Myth.


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shirl.sazynski@gmail.com (Shirl Sazynski) Paths Blogs Mon, 02 Dec 2013 14:04:45 -0800
Love & (male) vulnerability in Norse myth: Freyr and the wooing of Gerda in Skirnismal http://witchesandpagans.com/pagan-paths-blogs/one-eyed-cat/love-male-vulnerability-in-norse-myth-freyr-and-the-wooing-of-gerd-in-skirnismal.html http://witchesandpagans.com/pagan-paths-blogs/one-eyed-cat/love-male-vulnerability-in-norse-myth-freyr-and-the-wooing-of-gerd-in-skirnismal.html We stereotype the peoples of Northern Europe as aggressive, looting, sea-faring warriors, hauling back pillaged booty or trade goods from abroad. We stereotype Odin (blame Wagner and his Victorian romanticism for this) as the stern, grim king: father of war. Thor as big-hearted, lustily drinking smiter of evil. While attitudes have recently begun changing, portraying the Vikings' "softer side", that aggressive image sticks-- both inside and outside of Heathenry.

It ignores that there is a third strong image of masculinity, from a triad of Gods honored at the ancient temple of Upsala, Sweden: Odin, Thor and Freyr.


b2ap3_thumbnail_Day-spring_finds_Mengld--Svipdagsmal_Collingwood.jpg

Freyr is not just the God of "Fertility" and "Farming", but the Lord of peace. And a very wise God and king at that. He's also a God of love, courtship and marriage. This shouldn't be surprising, considering that his dynamic sister, Freya, is a mistress of sexuality who ardently appreciates love songs.

Most of what we know story-wise about Freyr comes from the dramatic poem Skirnismal  and a story covering much the same elements recounted by Snorri Sturleson in the prose Edda. While there is a later heroic poem Svipdagsmal (which may, in fact, be about Freyr or Odin in the form of a humanized hero seeking his love), Freyr's wooing of the Giant maiden Gerd is the only Norse myth covering the courtship of two deities. The other marriage myth involves Freyr's father Njordh and stepmother Skadi, their arranged peacemaking union, and, ultimately, their amiable divorce.

In the pursuit of love, Freyr is brave enough to give away both his sword and an emblem of his kingship (the arm ring, Draupnir, given by Freyr in Skirnismal) and become very vulnerable. In other words, he's willing to offer up both his status and his role as a warrior to be united with his wife. He's also willing to undergo a rigorous trial, akin to the initiatory sacrifice of Odin hanging nine nights on the world tree to gain the runes, by honoring his future wife's wishes and awaiting nine nights, alone, before he can finally meet her. This from the God who is depicted in ancient sculpture and histories as displaying quite a proud erection. Freyr's not the poster-child for sexual restraint.

Freyr does all of this without anyone's blessing, too. No one wants him to marry Gerd. The Gods are opposed. The Jotuns don't seem too keen on this suit, either.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Freyr_Gerda_kissing-gold-foil_Norway.jpg

Oh those unromantic Vikings! What could they possibly know, faring far abroad, about falling in love with foreigners? What could they possibly know, in a culture built from webs of kinship and regional loyalty about opposition to a love match from both families? Possibly your enemies? Especially in lands your own people had just spread out into and colonized from an isolated trading post? Not to mention that the prose version of this tale finally got recorded in medieval Iceland-- a harsh land colonized by Norwegians, Scotts, Danes and other separate peoples seeking independence from their homeland rulers.

Further back in history, one of the common archaeological finds from the iron age to the Viking era are little gold foil stamps of kissing couples, commonly thought by scholars to depict Freyr and Gerd. They're simple and touchingly to the point. They've also primarily been found in Sweden, where Freyr (and not Odin), was predominantly worshiped.

Freyr's sacrifice here to win Gerd is equal to any of the host of other things a deity gives up in attaining a greater worthiness, as mentioned in my previous post on Heathen Gods and Sacrifice (and Transformation).

True love-- a bond between equals that strengthens you both-- is totally worth it. It's worth as much as wisdom, as valor, and it crosses otherwise unshakeable boundaries.


 

There's an excellent essay on the "Sacred Marriage" of Gerd and Frey as an initiation (and not a power-play) with references here. I also suggest some comparisons with the Celtic myths of Grainne and Diarmuid, and Dierdre and Naoise-- two pairs of "impossible" lovers-- where genders are reversed and very similar motifs involving cursing and opposition occur.

But the best possible thing, if you want to know more about Gerd and Frey, is simply to read the primary source materials rather than secondary explanations or retellings of them. I recommend Carolyne Larrington's translation of The Poetic Edda and Jesse Byock's version of The Prose Edda as easily-found and enjoyable modern sources. Several older free translations can also be found online, but newer versions are preferable.

Sources & Images:

  • Skirnismal (The Poetic Edda), translated by Carolyne Larrington
  • The Prose Edda, Snorri Sturleson, translated by Jesse Byock
  • Svipdag and Menglodd by R.G. Collingwood, courtesy of Wikipedia
  • A "guldsgrubber" gold foil decorative stamp or amulet, courtesy of Wikipedia

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shirl.sazynski@gmail.com (Shirl Sazynski) Paths Blogs Mon, 18 Nov 2013 07:57:04 -0800
Autumn Offerings to Freyr: Heathen Harvest Lord http://witchesandpagans.com/pagan-paths-blogs/one-eyed-cat/autumn-offerings-to-freyr.html http://witchesandpagans.com/pagan-paths-blogs/one-eyed-cat/autumn-offerings-to-freyr.html 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.


b2ap3_thumbnail_freyr-altar-with-offerings.jpg

Some seasonal-appropriate offerings:  

  • alcohol (mead or honey wine, barley liquor, and golden wines work nicely)
  • honey or maple syrup (raw honey with pollen is more potent)
  • grain (barley, cracked wheat, oats, a prepared bowl of oatmeal or a sheaf of grain)
  • late harvest fruits (such as apples or persimmons)
  • bread or baked goods
  • incense (masculine and earthy, can be slightly sweet; cedar and piñon work well)
  • beeswax candles
  • yellow flowers (chrysanthemums, late roses or sunflowers)
  • a "corn dolly", wheat weaving or wreath (golden ribbons are excellent)

Offerings that you've grown or made yourself work best; if you can't grow flowers, potted ones that you can plant later are appreciated. To dedicate an offering, you can simply place it on an altar or private place outdoors and say, "I dedicate this offering of [x] to [x]."

When it's time to remove the offerings, I recommend putting them into your garden, at the base of plants (particularly ones that could use a little help), or scattering them somewhere unobtrusive outdoors, such as a field, under a bush, or base of a tree.

And please don't ever leave a burning candle unattended.


The photo comes from a previous year's autumn altar to the Vanir, Thor and Sif, with an icon, sheaf and braided wheat crown I made.

For more information on Freyr, I recommend reading the work of Hilda Ellis Davidson.

 


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shirl.sazynski@gmail.com (Shirl Sazynski) Paths Blogs Thu, 14 Nov 2013 14:14:30 -0800
Autumn Hymn to Freyr & some similarities between Slavic & Norse Myth http://witchesandpagans.com/pagan-paths-blogs/one-eyed-cat/autumn-hymn-to-freyr-seasonal-offerings.html http://witchesandpagans.com/pagan-paths-blogs/one-eyed-cat/autumn-hymn-to-freyr-seasonal-offerings.html b2ap3_thumbnail_freyr-by-Shirl-Sazynski.jpgb2ap3_thumbnail_freyr-by-Shirl-Sazynski.jpgI 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!

Spoken:

*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):

Autumn-hymn-to-Freyr


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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shirl.sazynski@gmail.com (Shirl Sazynski) Paths Blogs Mon, 11 Nov 2013 22:18:55 -0800
The Lord is NOT my shepherd http://witchesandpagans.com/pagan-paths-blogs/one-eyed-cat/the-lord-is-not-my-shepherd.html http://witchesandpagans.com/pagan-paths-blogs/one-eyed-cat/the-lord-is-not-my-shepherd.html Freyr is literally one of the words for 'Lord' in old Norse. In other words, it's not just a well-known God's name but his title. One of Odin's many heiti (by-names and titles) is Herjan-- also another word for 'Lord' with a warrior connotation, 'leader of hosts'. While both Gods are associated with kingship in Scandinavia, Freyr is mythically attributed in Ynglinga Saga as the ancestor of the royal house of Sweden (much as Egyptian pharoahs claimed descent from or symbolic right to rule as inherited from Osiris-- which also means 'Sire').


 

Freyr icon by Shirl Sazynski
 

A Heathen Prayer

The Lord is not my shepherd.
He teaches not submission but resilience.
In the face of the impossible, there are no guarantees. Not even for Him.
But victory was never born without valor. Even love has a sacred price:
nothing worth striving for is easily won.
Trickster, sage, lover, father, brother, husband, nephew, son;
warrior and peace-maker, hunter and grower, slayer and slain:
Wise-one, show me the way
Not to follow but to be inspired
To both grow in worthiness and to recognize the abundant worth in others.
I am not a sheep, nor was I bred for docility:
I am a falcon, a hart, a wolf.


Both the icon and prayer above were created by me.


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shirl.sazynski@gmail.com (Shirl Sazynski) Paths Blogs Sat, 14 Sep 2013 13:47:24 -0700