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Goddess Freyja: The Lady

Freyja & her Bŕsingamen

Have you ever noticed how many powerful goddesses are worshiped by warrior societies? It’s as if  a female entity encompasses everything human warriors find most mysterious. And, so for this last week of Women’s History Month, I bring the Norse goddess Freyja to your attention.

Freyja is the goddess of Love, Beauty, Fertility, Sex, War, Gold, and seiố (a type of magic that can see and influence the future). Her Hall is at Fólkvangr, the heavenly field where she receives half of the valiant heroes who fall in battle. The other half go to Odin’s Hall at Valhalla. Leaders and warriors with extra distinction go to Valhalla; the remaining valiant fighters go to Fólkvangr.

Another interpretation says Freyja selects her warriors first, and then the Valkyries take the remainder to Valhalla. Odin let Freyja make the first selection as a sign of diplomatic friendliness. Each myth has some validity when stories live in the mists of time.

Freyja Drives Cat Chariot

Freyja’s favored animals are pigs and cats. She is known to ride a boar with golden bristles when she isn’t steering her chariot drawn by two grey cats.

She has a cloak of falcon feathers that allows her to transform into the bird and fly between worlds. Sometimes, Freyja lends the magical cloak to her associates. Freyja is also known by her Bŕsingamen necklace created by four dwarves. 

Freyja Acquires Her Bŕsingamen

Freyja in the Cave of the Dwarves

According to myth, Freyja was staying with her lover Odin in a beautiful and secure house. One day, she encountered four dwarves who were inside a rock creating an exquisite necklace. Freyja offered them gold and silver for the necklace, but the small men turned her down. They wouldn’t give Freyja the necklace unless she agreed to spend one night with each of them. A deal was struck. After spending a night with each of the four dwarves, Freyja took her new necklace home, and told no one about her adventure.

But Loki, the trickster god, found out about Freyja’s acquisition and told Odin, who ordered Loki to bring him the necklace.

Loki Steals Freyja's necklace

When Loki arrived at Freyja’s house, he discovered the door was locked. Undeterred Loki turned himself into a fly and searched every lock and joint he could find in or on the house until he found a small hole. The trickster crept inside the hole and made his way to Freyja’s bedroom. The goddess slept while wearing the necklace. Loki became a flea and bit Freyja’s cheek, so she would roll over. Loki opened the necklace’s clasp and escaped with his prize.

When Freyja woke up, her door was open, and the necklace was gone. Deducing what must have happened, the goddess asked Odin to return it. Odin agreed provided she cast a spell for him. The spell forced two kings to battle each other for eternity . . . but that is a different story.

Frejya & Thor’s Hammer

Thor's Fight with the Giants

Another story featuring Frejya and Loki concerns Thor’s hammer. It seems Thor put down his hammer and went away. The giant Thrym found the hammer, and took it to Jotunheim where he buried it in a hole eight miles deep. When Thor returned for his hammer, it was gone. Given the hammer’s size, Thor knew only a giant could have taken it, and this was a problem because the gods worried giants might be able to enter their stronghold at Asgard.

Freyja Presents Thor & Loki with Falcon Cloak

Thor asked Loki to find his hammer. Loki borrowed Frejya’s falcon feathers and flew to Jotunheim to look around. The first giant Loki encountered was Thrym who asked Loki why he was in Jotunheim.

Loki replied he came for Thor’s hammer.

Thrym laughed and said he would only give the hammer to the being who brought him Frejya for a wife.

Loki flew back to Thor who hurried to Frejya and asked her to go to Jotunheim with him. The fact Thor would ask her such a thing made Frejya so angry, Thor left her presence.

Thor Dressed as Freyja

What was he to do? Loki suggested Thor disguise himself as Freyja.

Expecting his bride, Thrym prepared a wedding fest with a whole oxen and ten salmon. Thrym could hardly believe how much his bride ate and drank.

But Loki, disguised as Frejya’s maid, assured Thrym his bride’s large appetite was only because she had been filled with too much excitement to eat.

Thrym's Wedding Feast

Thrym looked in his bride’s face, only to see blazing eyes. But Loki told him her eyes blazed because in her anticipation, Thrym’s bride had not slept for a week.

When the feasted ended, Thrym retrieved Thor’s hammer and laid it in his bride’s lap. The moment Thor touched his hammer, he jumped up, tore back the bridal veil, drew back his hammer and killed Thrym with one blow.

It may seem this tale has little to do with Freyja, but if Thrym had not been so entranced by her beauty, he would not have demanded her in exchange for Thor’s hammer.

Frejya is a figure in many myths, but seldom plays a prominent role. As shown in these two myths, Frejya’s beauty can incite a giant’s lust. Her sexual adventures bring her gifts. She shelters valiant warriors in her Hall, but only because Odin allows it. Frejya’s attributes are powerful, yet contained. Perhaps Frejya is a metaphor for the proper social order of Norse society, and not really powerful at all.

As Women’s History Month draws to a close, Frejya’s symbolism is a metaphor worth contemplating.

👑 👑 👑

Sandra’s Books: Ambition, Arrogance & PrideSaxon HeroinesTwo CoinsRama’s Labyrinth.

Illustrations & A Few Sources

Freyja & the Necklace by James Doyle Penrose 1890. Freyja Drives Cat Chariot 1905. Freyja in the Cave of the Dwarves by HLM 1905. Loki Steals Freyja’s Necklace by Wilhelm Wagner 1882. Thor’s Fight with the Giants by Mårten Eskil Winge. Freyja Presents Thor & Loki with Falcon Cloak. 1895. Thor Dressed as Freyja 1893. Thrym’s Wedding Feast by W G Collingwood 1908. Freyja by John Bauer 1905. Åsa Trulsson. “The Legend About the Norse Goddess Freya.” Soldiser. Thomas Apel. “Freya”. Mythopedia. Mar 8 2023

Author Sandra Wagner Wright

Sandra Wagner-Wright holds the doctoral degree in history and taught women’s and global history at the University of Hawai`i. Sandra travels for her research, most recently to Salem, Massachusetts, the setting of her new Salem Stories series. She also enjoys traveling for new experiences. Recent trips include Antarctica and a river cruise on the Rhine from Amsterdam to Basel.

 Sandra particularly likes writing about strong women who make a difference. She lives in Hilo, Hawai`i with her family and writes a blog relating to history, travel, and the idiosyncrasies of life.


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