Continued the topic of Frey and Freya the twin gods of fertility in Germanic and Scandinavian mythology.
1/. Frey – means lord
According to Snorri Sturluson he was good, gentle, beautiful to look at, had power over sunshine and rain. He had a boar which pulled his chariot. Frey was venerated particularly in Uppsala in Sweden where there were great celebrations including wild dancing, men dressing as women, laying down of weapons. The people doing it believed it was vital to do or Spring would not be able to come again.
We had a look at the story of Gunnar Helming where Gunnar due to a twist in the plot impersonated Frey. Olaf Tryggvason the King of Norway who has a role in this story features in historical records.
Frey was married to Gerd the daughter of a Frost Giant. There is a tale about how their marriage came about where gifts were offered and threats given before she gave in and married Frey. This can be seen as Winter marrying Spring after a confrontation.
2/. Freya – means lady
Freya is a female version of Frey and they are very similar but Freya also has influence over love and affairs of the heart. She visited the world of men regularly. Some say she was married to Frey but in other myths she is married to Odr in perfect happiness. However she was insatiably lustful and had a passion for jewels. Loki said that she had worked her way through the men of the nine worlds. She had a chariot pulled by cats. She travelled in her chariot to every battle scene. Odin took half of the fallen to Valhalla and Freya took half to Asgard. There is some of the Great Goddess Mythology life and death, responsibility for wnter/spring, creator destroyer.
In the story of Dvalin and his Three Brothers, who were dwarves, she is tricked into buying a beautiful necklace in exchange for marrying each of them for a day. Dwarves were seen as very low status in these myths. When Odr finds this out he leaves and she wanders the world looking for him, shedding tears of pure red gold.
Thunor the Germanic weather god and Thor the Scandinavian weather god are much the same thing.
Thor is a god of the people and a way of explaining the world around them. He was a huge red haired figure, boaster and drinker, ruler of thunder lightning and storms and by extensions a god of battle. A powerful protector of the gods. Protector of humans, giver of good weather for agriculture.
His chariot was pulled by 2 goats. Thunder rumbled as Thor passed by. He was married to the goddess Sif who had golden hair like a field of corn. If brute force was needed they called on Thor, for cunning Odin and Loki.
He had three treasures, a magic strength doubling belt, iron rock shattering gauntlets and a mighty hammer Mjollnir. If the hammer was thrown it would return to his hand and was his thunderbolt. The hammer was the most important as it kept the universe safe and secure.
The Greeks, Romans and Celtic people viewed oak trees as sacred, in Germanic myths oak trees are linked to Thor.
When people travelled to live in new places they would take soil from beneath his shrine to scatter on the newly tilled fields to ensure a good crop.
There are lots of tales of battles with the Frost Giants. These were not presented as monumental battles, much more down to earth and humorous. We started looking at three tales recorded by Snorri Sturluson’s Prose.
i/ Thor’s Duel with Hrungir where Thor was brought in to use his strength to fight the strongest of all the Frost Giants.
When we re-convene after the covid-19 break we shall look at ii/ Freya the Bride and iii/. Thor’s Visit to Utgard.
The Prose Edda by Snorri Sturluson – A 12 century Icelandic historian – there are translations and reference books of his work available online and good bookshops.