A Visit with the Asynjur: Frigga’s Handmaidens

I have been delving deeper into seeking out lesser-known goddesses for this little project of mine, and decided that the Asynjur, also known as the Handmaidens of the Norse Goddess Frigga were certainly deserving of attention. I began to try and read through Snorri Sturluson and the Eddas as my first source for Norse lore, however it because abundantly clear that something was probably missing. Anyone who has tried to view these ancient writings with a modern eye can discern that most of these stories were re-told by Christian monks with an eye to selling them as pre-cursors to Christianity. Naturally, preserving the stories of female characters was not at the forefront of their minds. I do not consider myself Asatru, nor do I consider myself a reconstructionist of any kind, so I will apologize in advance for any unintended offenses I may make in my own re-interpretation of these Goddesses. I have a love for deities whose stories are not fully known or told, and as such, I am also open to UPG. As I create my own images of the Goddesses, please know I do so with utter respect and love for the cultures from which they came.

So having said all of the above, my first task was figuring out just how many of the handmaidens to depict. How many exactly were there? The lore could be a little confusing. As I mentioned in the last paragraph, I don’t consider myself to be an expert in the subject matter, so I did what I do whenever I need to find an expert… I went to my Facebook friends who encompass many areas of expertise. Responses were enlightening, although not entirely helpful to my purpose. D Christopher Gillette said, “In my experience, every woman I've ever met is one, one way or another.” Hm. Nice outlook, but I can’t draw all those women. Caroline Dechert responded, “There's lore, of course, but who wants to live in a world where Frigg isn't still recruiting?” Ooh! I could create a recruiting poster for Frigga! That would be fun…. But still not exactly what I had in mind for this particular project. Michael Gorman said, “I would say as many as she decides she wants at any particular time,” and Caroline Kenner said, “a multitude. Actual numbers vary due to poetry. A bunch. As many as Frigga needs for any given job at any time.” Once again – there’s that whole issue on how many drawings I can realistically create! Several people suggested nine, and then Maire Barbara Durkan said, “But 12 is also a holy number. LOL Heathens love to debate. Patty L goes with 10, many other sources list 12. I've experienced the energies of 12.”

In the end, I decided I would do what I had begun to do….. research for myself and decide how many I want to create!  And of course, time flew past, events happened, and once again…. I am so far behind, I am ahead of me. So now…. I present to you my own personal visual version of the Asynjur!

I will start with Saga, who according to Snorri, was first amongst the Asynjur, and second only to Frigga. She is the storyteller of the Gods, a "sayer of sagas." 

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Next up is Eir, the Healer of the Gods, and a shaper of Fate:

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Here is Gefjon, who welcomes all maidens who die unmarried. Perhaps, however, her greatest re known should come from having given birth to four sons who she tuned into oxen and charged with ploughing the land of Zealand.

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(OK so there are two oxen here. I only have so much time!!)


Fulla is the keeper of Frigga's treasures, including her secrets.

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Sfojn is a Goddess of Love - the kind of love that binds people together through hardships.

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Lofn follows Sjofn as a Goddess of forbidden love. In Norse lore, she would open the way for couples whose marriages were not accepted. In modern times, she has been embraced as an advocate for same sex marriage. I have shown her here as a breaker of chains.

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Var is called upon to witness oaths and contracts.

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Vor is the Seeress of the Asynjur, and the Power of Intuition.

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Syn guards the gate to Frigga's hall. She is the keeper of boundaries.

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Hlin is the Protectress who provides refuge.

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Snotra is the Goddess of Hospitality. Her symbol is a white kerchief.

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Finally, we have Gna, Frigga's messenger. She rides a winged horse!

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I hope you have enjoyed this journey through the Asynjur. Below I am listing the sources from which I drew my information.

From the lovely Diana Paxson: https://hrafnar.org/articles/dpaxson/asynjur/frigg/

This website from Northern Paganism was also very helpful: http://www.northernpaganism.org/shrines/handmaidens/information/welcome.html

And so was this website from Lofn's Bard: https://lofnbard.wordpress.com/handmaidens/