In Norse mythology, Freyja (/ˈfreɪə/; Old Norse for "(the) Lady") is a goddess associated with war, death, love, sex, beauty, fertility, gold, and seiðr. Freyja is the owner of the necklace Brísingamen, rides a chariot pulled by two cats, is accompanied by the boar Hildisvíni, and possesses a cloak of falcon feathers. By her husband Óðr, she is the mother of two daughters, Hnoss and Gersemi. Along with her brother Freyr, her father Njörðr, and her mother (Njörðr's sister, unnamed in sources), she is a member of the Vanir. Stemming from Old Norse Freyja, modern forms of the name include Freya, Freyia, and Freja.
Freyja rules over her heavenly field, Fólkvangr, where she receives half of those who die in battle. The other half go to the god Óðinn's hall, Valhöll. Within Fólkvangr lies her hall, Sessrúmnir. Freyja assists other deities by allowing them to use her feathered cloak, is invoked in matters of fertility and love, and is frequently sought after by powerful jötnar who wish to make her their wife. Freyja's husband, the god Óðr, is frequently absent. She cries tears of red gold for him, and searches for him under assumed names. Freyja has numerous names, including Gefn, Hörn, Mardöll, Sýr, Valfreyja, and Vanadís.
Freyja is attested in the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources; in the Prose Edda and Heimskringla, composed by Snorri Sturluson in the 13th century; in several Sagas of Icelanders; in the short story "Sörla þáttr"; in the poetry of skalds; and into the modern age in Scandinavian folklore.
Scholars have debated whether Freyja and the goddess Frigg ultimately stem from a single goddess common among the Germanic peoples; connected her to the valkyries, female battlefield choosers of the slain; and analyzed her relation to other goddesses and figures in Germanic mythology, including the thrice-burnt and thrice-reborn Gullveig/Heiðr, the goddesses Gefjon, Skaði, Þorgerðr Hölgabrúðr and Irpa, Menglöð, and the 1st century CE "Isis" of the Suebi. Freyja's name appears in numerous place names in Scandinavia, with a high concentration in southern Sweden. Various plants in Scandinavia once bore her name, but it was replaced with the name of the Virgin Mary during the process of Christianization. Rural Scandinavians continued to acknowledge Freyja as a supernatural figure into the 19th century, and Freyja has inspired various works of art.
Völuspá contains a stanza that mentions Freyja, referring to her as "Óð's girl"; Freyja being the wife of her husband, Óðr. The stanza recounts that Freyja was once promised to an unnamed builder, later revealed to be a jötunn and subsequently killed by Þórr (recounted in detail in Gylfaginning chapter 42; see Prose Edda section below). In the poem Grímnismál, Óðinn (disguised as Grímnir) tells the young Agnarr that every day Freyja allots seats to half of those that are slain in her hall Fólkvangr, while Óðinn owns the other half.
In the poem Lokasenna, where Loki accuses nearly every female in attendance of promiscuity or unfaithfulness, an aggressive exchange occurs between Loki and Freyja. The introduction to the poem notes that among other gods and goddesses, Freyja attends a celebration held by Ægir. In verse, after Loki has flyted with the goddess Frigg, Freyja interjects, telling Loki that he is insane for dredging up his terrible deeds, and that Frigg knows the fate of everyone, though she does not tell it. Loki tells her to be silent, and says that he knows all about her—that Freyja is not lacking in blame, for each of the gods and elves in the hall have been her lover. Freyja objects. She says that Loki is lying, that he is just looking to blather about misdeeds, and since the gods and goddesses are furious at him, he can expect to go home defeated. Loki tells Freyja to be silent, calls her a malicious witch, and conjures a scenario where Freyja was once astride her brother when all of the gods, laughing, surprised the two. Njörðr interjects—he says that a woman having a lover other than her husband is harmless, and he points out that Loki has borne children, and calls Loki a pervert. The poem continues in turn.
- Absolute beauty
- Absolute charisma
- Fertility inducement
- Gold manipulation
- Love manipulation
- Death inducement
- Sexual inducement
- War manipulation
- War inducement
In modern descriptions
One of the persocoms in the manga Chobits, is named after Freyja.
|Gods and goddesses in Norse mythology|
|Gods||Andhrímnir • Baldr • Bragi • Dellingr • Freyr (Ingunar-Freyr • Yngvi) • Forseti • Heimdallr • Hermóðr • Hǫðr • Hœnir • Ítreksjóð • Kvasir • Lóðurr • Loki • Máni • Meili • Mímir • Móði and Magni • Njǫrðr • Óðinn • Óðr • Týr • Ullr • Váli • Víðarr • Vili and Vé • Þórr • Ægir|
|Goddesses||Bil • Eir • Freyja • Frigg • Fulla • Gefjon • Gerðr • Gersemi • Gullveig • Gná • Hlín • Hnoss • Iðunn • Ilmr • Irpa • Lofn • Nanna • Njǫrun • Rán • Rindr • Sága • Sif • Sigyn • Sjǫfn • Skaði • Sister-wife of Njǫrðr • Snotra • Sól • Syn • Vár • Vǫr • Þorgerðr Hǫlgabrúðr • Þrúðr|