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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The God Freyr

Also known as: Frey, Fro, Frothi; Frodis, Yngvi; Ing
Titles: Lord; Master; The Generous One; Wise Fruitful
  • Origin: Norse
  • Classification: Vanir
  • Animal: Boar
  • Colors: Brown; Gold; Green
  • Favored people: Seafarers; Lovers; Brewers
  • Runes: Ehwaz, Fehu, Ingwaz
Freyr is the Lord of Peace, Plenty, Prosperity, and Pleasure. Worshipped as a phallic fertility god, Freyr "bestows peace and pleasure on mortals". He rules over the rain, the shining of the sun and the produce of the fields.

 He is one of the Vanir, the son of the sea god Njörðr and brother of the love goddess Freyja. The gods gave him Álfheimr, the realm of the Elves, as a teething present, and so he is the Elven King, ruler of the land of the light elves, "Alfheim". He rides the shining dwarf-made boar Gullinbursti and possesses the ship Skíðblaðnir which always has a favourable breeze and can be folded together and carried in a pouch when it is not being used. He has the servants Skírnir, Byggvir and Beyla.

He dispenses wealth, love, and fertility to adults and good luck to children.

In comparison to Thor and Odin, relatively little is known regarding Freyr. Later chroniclers of Norse myth were less interested or identified less with Vanir spirits, or perhaps the Vanir are just innately more shadowy and mysterious.

The most extensive Freyr myth relates Freyr's falling in love with the giantess Gerðr. Eventually she becomes his wife but first Freyr has to give away his magic sword, that would on its own, rise from its sheath and spread a field with carnage whenever the owner desired it ("if wise be he who wields it"). Deprived of this weapon Freyr defeats the giant Beli with an antler.

Freyr is a divine ancestor, a spirit of growth. He is venerated as a hallic deity. Although Freyr is a lover, he's a fierce warrior, too. His nature may be epitomized by the fierce, virile boars that are his sacred animal.

Freyr's shield bearer and servant is Skirnir, to whom he gave his sword, which Skirnir requested as a reward for making Gerd his wife. On the day of Ragnarok, Freyr will battle without a weapon (having given his sword away to Skirnir), and will be the first to be killed by the fire giant Surt.

Freyr was especially popular in Sweden where, in ceremonies similar to those dedicated to his mother, Herta, his sacred image was carried from farm to farm annually in a wagon. It was expected to stimulate abundance, fertility, prosperity, and good fortune. Freyr was considered an ancestral spirit by the kings of Uppsala, who may have used his name as a title. (Freyr literally means "Lord" and is a title.) Some Icelandic chiefs bore the title "Priest of Freyr."

Place: Freyr was especially associated with Sweden and seen as an ancestor of the Swedish royal house. His center of veneration was in Uppsala, Sweden, where it continued long after most of Scandinavia had converted to Christianity.

Iconography: An image thought to represent him depicts a man in a pointy cap, holding his beard in his hand. In his shrine at Uppsala, Freyr was represented as a virile man with a large, erect penis. An alternative image portrayed him as a young boy traveling across the sea. His image was featured on armor and weapons.

Attributes: A sword, which emerges independently from its scabbard, creating a field of carriage wherever its owner directs; a ship whose sails always attract favorable winds but could be folded up and carried.

Mounts: A golden boar named Golden Bristles. Freyr's chariot is drawn by two boars. He also rides a horse named Bloody Hooves.

Appropriate offerings: The Yule boar, or male pig, commemorates the annual sacrificial boar offered to Freyr in winter. Serve Freyr libations of fresh water, barley wine, ale, or mead.
 
From: Encyclopedia of Spirits and various other sources
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