An Exploration- Part 1: Frija

Over the past few weeks, I have begun calling Frigg at my altar by more than one name. I have begun calling to her, rather, by three. From all of the readings I have done and my own communication with her, I understand and practice with these three names are the same entity.

The first name I call into sacred space is Frija.

Calling Frigg Frija has also helped reconcile the Frigg-Freya discrepancy that I’ve been holding, for at one point in time, both Frigg and Freya energies were one within Frija.

While mowing the lawn in mid-September, I mused the idea that Frigg and Freya, as we know them, have switched much of their roles. The powerful leader of the valkyrjur, with war and carnage at the forefront, using harsh magic to ensure who they chose to die in battle indeed died, who weave the destiny of the warriors using intestines for thread, severed heads for weights, and spears for beaters in their gruesome loom. This focus on war and death is the focus of an Aesir god. Yet, Freya is listed as Vanir- fertility-centric earth goddess. This description does not reconcile with the description of Freya as she is known today. She is aligned across cultures with The Morrigan and Badb.

The image of Freya has since been “santized” to not only highlight the pleasant qualities of her and her Valkeries but also perhaps to focus on the inter-cultural exchange which the Germanic travelers were establishing with trade routes through to the Middle East. With this sanitation, the Lore shifted from the magical weaving choosers of the slain and instead focused on love affairs with human men and merely assisting Odin with getting his favorite slain to Valhalla.

Frigg, alternatively, is seen as a loving wife and mother who watches over all domestic affairs. She is a weaver- of the clouds and of the fates of humans. She is able to best Odin in wits at least twice- once in the introduction of Longbeards and once when her chosen brother- the kind brother- eventually rose to the throne.

Both goddesses wear cloaks of falcon plumes for disguise and transformation. Both goddesses partake in the act of seidr, as volvas, which was commonly done by the warband cheifton’s wife at the beginning of the Migration period. Both women take on this role as the veleda. At this point in time, there was likely one large clan, who, with migration, broke off into two or more clans. With the migration, differing customs were developed. It was at this point, I believe, Frija, original warrior/mother goddess, broke off into two forms: Frigg and Freya.

When the Migration Period led to the Viking Age, and the warbands became leaderless groups, Odin was no longer cheiften, but rather wonderer and poet. The need for the veleda was also no longer necessary, and so the role was reinterpreted and eventually evolved to what we now see as Frigg- the Vanir-esque Aesir weaver wife of Odin, the wanderer, and Freya- the Aesir-esque Vanir warrior wife of Odr, the wanderer. Yes, both are beyond those aspects, but everything beyond those aspects (love, beauty, childbirth), they continue to share.

I struggle to wrap my mind around the fractured, split goddesses. I am unable to see the angst in Frigg, who is the wife of the god of war (and poetry) because so much of her surviving lore has to do with the death of Baldr. I am unable to really connect with Freya because so much of her surviving lore gives me the feelings of lustful anger. 

I can wrap my mind around the two, back as one. Witchlette, wise beyond her years, continues to confuse the two in name and in likeness, also understands Frija better.  I can easily see Frija, devoted mother, dependable wife, skilled seeress, powerful warrior. I can reconcile the two seemingly flipped personas back in their original form.

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Bedtime life lessons

Mostly every night, Witchlette asks for Asguard stories before her lullaby. 

Tuesday night, she asked for me to read from her Asguard Stories Book the creation of man. 

This one

Within the three pages of the retelling of the lore, a handful of stanzas from The Havamal are included. 

This is one of them

I remember, pre kids, listening to Louis C. K. and how realistically he discusses being a parent. One in particular is about his daughter who sees wild ponies, is bitten by one, and looks up more information about why they bite to learn it happens all the time. Over the course of the conversation with his daughter, Louis lets slip that one day, she will die. This breaks her heart and her mind. She is 8-10 and just learned that people die. Classic loss of innocence moment. 

Witchlette isn’t going to have that. We don’t speak of death daily and it’s not something we obsess over, but it’s also not something we shy away from. I have never directly stated, “One day, you will die,” but we have discussed death and our version of an afterlife. What we talked about in years past actually lines up pretty closely with what was depicted in Moana, which we just saw this summer. 

She experienced death with my mom’s dog. She understands that plants die and the flowers we see the following spring are new. She understands animals and people die as a part of life, and that it’s just what happens. 

Maybe it’s the world view in which I was raised. Perhaps it’s just the way I’m wired, but I didn’t come to that conclusion until my late 20s. Death was something to be feared. 

Perhaps it’s still too far removed for her to really understand, but perhaps it’s her Pagan upbringing that is making things right. 

Stories of my life

Hubby and I like TV. TV is our thing. 

We are rewatching Alias, halfway through season 3. Between seasons 2 and 3, we caught up with most of Vikings, which we lost track of as the Littles got bigger. 

Then the two merged. 

First, this is Rambaldi. 

If you’re not familiar with the premise, Milo Rambaldi is like Leonardo da Vinci, but his stuff is workable in present time and is laying the ground work for major stuff. Terror organizations do all they can to get his artifacts and the CIA does all they can to stop them. 

Yesterday morning, this shows up in my Instagram feed while waiting for my coffee. 

Holy crap. That’s Rambaldi. 

Naturally, I shared it with Hubby. 

Returning to my roots

Three weeks ago, I spent the non-student work days setting up my workspace and the beginnings of my instructional materials. 

This year, after a two-year hiatus, I am returning to my roots and going back to what I know best. 

I’m going back to the classroom. 

A few weeks ago, at the CotE Urban Paganism workshop, I hit on an idea I hadn’t thought of before: setting up sacred space at my place of work. 

I had mini Mason jars filled and set for rituals without candles, but they are now present at work. 

Additionally, I collected the two crow feathers I have gathered from work the last few years and places them within the frames of my kids’ pictures. 

Perhaps one for Hunnin and one for Munnin?

When I find something unobtrusive that would make a good Frigg totem, that will be added as well. Perhaps also something for Thor, Sif, and Idunn. 

Reconciling the whole thing

Not directly Swedish. No significant amount of Scandinavian. Not a strong heritage tie to my gods as I thought there was. But every area report included a section about the Vikings. 

Thursday night, as I was initially processing the  whole thing, I was reminded by a dear friend: 

We are who we choose to be. You’ve made your choice, and I think whether you’re kith or kin to the Vikings of old, you’re still invited into the hall. 

Friday morning, I meditated with Frigg, Thor, Odin, Heimdall, Loki, Braggi, Idunn… and thanked them for calling to me, knowing I was kith and not kin. It felt right. It felt whole. 

It also had really good timing, as I’ve been trying to balance my Witch practice with the Pantheon of my deities. Now I fully see they called to me for me, and I will continue to incorporate them into my Magick, rather than change my Magick to match them. 

Skal and Blessed Be. 

Revised purpose

I started the #30daysmagicalroots challenge to get back to basic Magick and build up a practice which incorporated my heathenness. 

To some extent, with the challenge itself, that was successful. 

When it came to some of the specific challnges, plants and stones, spellwriting…it felt forced for my purpose. 

My daily practice started to slip away as the summer break wound down. Daily libations began to feel rote and routine which made them lose their meaning. 

My libations aren’t what are connecting me to the gods. My thoughts and actions done with meaningful integrity in my daily life. Who I am to my children is the best honor I can give to Frigg. Who I am to my husband is another honor to Frigg. How I interact with those around me: am I hospitable and generous? Do I take a stand and follow what I believe in? 

I realized something while I was spending a quiet, tech-free weekend at a lake house with family: my crocheting has increased exponentially since I started again…and it’s been 4+ years. I could almost make a straight edge rectangle years ago. Now, I can make intricate designs without following a pattern. 

This crocheting, this wool work, is a libation to Frigg. Every time I look at the sky and see wispy clouds and am reminded of her weaving is a libation to her. 

Every time there is a storm, and I recognize Thor at it’s center is a libation to him. 

Every night at beg time when I share and Asgard story with my daughter is a gift to them. 

This week, I will be bringing a large crow feather, which I found on campus many years ago, into my classroom and inviting Odin to join me as I return to my instructional position. 

Intentions of this challenge have been met. Keep on going with my practice and my gnosis. It may not always be a clean fit, but if done with integrity, it will be done right for myself and for my honoring of the gods.