Posts Tagged ‘norse’
I recently underwent the mild trauma of my first bee sting. According to medieval French superstition, this means a stranger or a guest is en route. According to various ancient Mediterranean and Eastern European rituals, I ought to keep the poor little bumblebee. As the first bee I’ve personally encountered this year, he will bring me prosperity for the coming spring.
Bees, and the honey they so cleverly create, are sublimely steeped in magick and sacred ritual. From the dawn of time to the present, throughout religious turmoil, changing geopolitical borders, steps forward and steps back in morality and human behavior, bees and honey have been a mainstay of human society. Perhaps even more so than our canine companions, bees are man’s best friend (despite the occasional sting).
Though the relationship between man and bees is suspected to have begun earlier, the first appearance of bees in the archaeological record is in an Epipaleotlithic rock art depiction of a figure climbing a ladder to collect honey from a cluster of encircling bees in the Spider caves or Cuevas de la Araῆa, which date to approximately 8,000 years ago. So ancient is human involvement with bees, that the word for mead a( drink made from their honey), is so old that its base roots in proto-Indo European dialects affected its usage in a myriad of later tongues: from ancient Greek, to Sanskrit (where it is still used as madhu), to Chinese dialects and Old English, etc…The latter of which is where we get the current term of ‘mead.’
As the only natural sweetener humans of the Old World encountered until the Age of Exploration (circa 14th century AD, less than 700 years ago), when they discovered the wonders of sugar cane; honey had an early significance among the foods of the forest and later, the town. Typically, that significance falls into the sacred category. Honey appears prominently in early mythology, both as a physical offering of the gods and as something consumed by them. In ancient Babylonia, vows were sworn to the god of honey. Protection spells against evil magick made to the sorcerer-gods Ishtar and Marduk were sealed with gifts of honey. The Greek god Zeus, patriarch of his pantheon, was raised on the honey of sacred bees kept in the Cypriot cave he was raised in. The later Norse gods drank only magickal mead in their mythical Halls, as did the glorious dead they invited to join them there. In the ancient RigVeda, honey and soma are said to drip from the sacred fig tree which stands at the center of the universe. In other words, honey permeates world mythology, coating it in delicious sticky sweetness.
Human use of honey for ritual purposes is also significantly prevalent: from ancient times up until the modern day. Ancient texts and epigraphic evidence describe honey as a frequent offering to a variety of deities and spirits. It was either left out in a cup before an altar, poured on the ground as a libation, or burned. The Iliad describes its use as a funerary gift for the fallen warrior Patroclus. The Odyssey features it in Circe and Odysseyus’ necromantic ritual to ask advice of the spirit-seer Teiresias. The ancient Phoenicians would smear honey onto standing stones and burn it at their altars. The latter of which was later forboden by the Old Testament (Leviticus 2:11), indicating its former widespread use among the ancient Israelites and their attempt to cease such pagan rituals within their new, more monotheistic religion. The controversial use of honey within monotheistic rituals continued (almost begging the question ~ what is it about honey and bees that is so delightfully pagan the Church would consider it dangerous?), despite the initial covenant between God and Abraham featuring the promise of a land filled with milk and honey (Exodus 33:3). The Christian Synod of Auxere in 585 AD forbade the mixing of wine and honey (wine only!) for consecrated beverages. The Synod of 692 forbade the offering of milk and honey at saintly altars. The witch trials of the Burning Times occasionally centered around the magickal theft of honey by presumed witches who were charged both with the theft by demonic means and the use of the stolen honey for nefarious Sabbaths. Ironically, however, the art of beekeeping was most well developed in the Catholic monasteries of the early Medieval period.
Honey (and therefore bees) are particularly associated with happiness and sensuality of love and life. Honey was wildly popular in the ancient world as an aphrodisiac. The famous first doctor Hippocrates advocated the taking of milk and honey to induce love and ecstasy. The making and gifting of honeycakes, particularly in Eastern European traditions, was associated with rituals of courtship and romance. Conveniently, the use of honey, as advocated by the Kama Sutra, has resurfaced in the modern world; returning to its rightful place in erotic magicks. The prevalence of the term ‘honeymoon’ is a further continuing reflection of the associations between honey and the sacred act of sex and bond of marriage. With the exception of certain sub-Saharan tribes, honey has prevalently been considered a particularly suitable wedding gift and a particularly beneficial substance to be consumed at weddings, particularly by the bride and groom. The threshold of the honeymoon suite or first home of a couple is likewise best smeared with an offering of honey to encourage prosperity. Certain areas of Germany still perpetuate the ancient practice of decorating local beehives in honor of a wedding, so that the bees which created the honey for the wedding feast might also partake in the festivities.
On the flip side, honey has often been associated with death. The earlier discussed passages of the Iliad and Odyssey aptly reflect ancient usages of honey in death rituals: namely as offerings to the deceased and in death-involved magick. Funerary and spirit gifts were made of honey, logically, to literally sweeten the deal and the afterlife beyond. Honey was often used to bathe the dead prior to burning or burial. This is especially evident in ancient Egypt, where a ritual honey bath was a part of the expensive mummification process. The deceased are still offered a teaspoon of honey in some modern Hindu funerary rituals, often so that their language might be sweet and powerful in the next stage of existence.
The medicinal uses of honey, as a curative (i.e. to prevent death and discomfort, thereby increasing the likelihood of love and life ~ all of which it is associated with), are also noted in both ancient and modern sources. Its properties as an antiseptic for wounds made it a particularly powerful magickal curative in ancient poultices and medications, evidence for which is outlined from Egyptian magickal-medico texts onwards. The soothing nature of its consumption eases sore throats. Its quick metabolic dispersal rate makes it easy to digest and transfers a considerable amount of comparative energy to the consumer. Recent studies also indicate that consumption of local honey may ease certain allergies via an increased familiarity with the pollens used to create the honey.
Be it for medicinal or magickal purposes, honey is a potent ingredient. As one of the most natural and sacred of binding agents, it can be employed to increase the strength of any concoction. Its utility as a biological offering increases its power as an offering to the gods, and especially to localized house spirits. Spring offerings of honey are particularly effective, especially with regards to the latter creatures.
Bees, as the architects of honey and as creative industrial creatures in their own right, are also due considerable respect. Indeed, the bee, perhaps alone among insects, has been offered its own respected role within mankind’s understanding of ecology. The bee’s complex social formations and patterns of organization have long been lauded: from New Testament references to the honeycomb up through the social theorists of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Though rarely revered as deities in their own right, the bee as a provider of sweet goods to humans has been recognized from the designation of the Lower Kingdom of Egypt as the Land of the Bees, to modern usage of the bees image on consumer goods (like the Honey Nut Cheerios Bumble Bee). Though typically adverse to insects, the bumble is one of the odd exemptions: perhaps simply because there is something innately magickal to them which resonates with the magickal within all of us.
Magickal Traditions Hidden In the Mundane
It’s really rather pleasantly shocking how many customs with pagan or magickal roots are tucked amongst the seemingly Christian holiday season cheer. Indeed the entire premise of the Christmas holiday is deeply indebted to the ancient polytheistic festivals which could never quite be stamped out. And with mainstream Christmas upon us, I thought we might take a quick look at the continuing magickal trends you might not have noticed going on today and indeed throughout the holiday season and into the New Year ahead.
This Christmas, the story of the birth of the Christian semi-god Jesus Christ will be reenacted in churches and schools all over the world as part of the Nativity play. But did you know that this classic tale is actually a re-working of an even older myth concerning the Eastern deity Mithras, who also had a birthday on December 25th? The Apostle Paul, who’s version of the birth of Christ is the most heavily relied upon for the traditional Christmas story, hailed from Ephesus- a center of worship for Mithras in the later Roman Empire. His writing was highly influenced by his surroundings and thus incorporated several of the elements of the Mithras cult and birth story into his telling; including both the idea of the virgin birth and visit of the three wise men to his birth site (in a cave vs. a stable). Indeed it is likely that the early church fathers cast Jesus’s birthday in the winter to take advantage of the pre- pagan winter festivities in the first place.
The Eastern Star associated with the Nativity story, and its derivative decorative value over the holidays is likewise an element of older cults which was refashioned to suit monotheistic needs. Intriguingly, some of its greatest usage is attached to ancient mother goddess cults, including that of the goddess Asherah: the oft forgotten wife of the god Yahweh ~ the original version of the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim God celebrated on Christmas. Many other nature symbols, like snowflakes and poinsettias, which are also associated with the holidays were likewise used in older pagan cults. None more so than mistletoe. Added into the Christmas mythos through its Germanic and Norse usage during winter festivals, it is linked inevitably to the Norse gods through its appearance in the myth of Baldr, the dying god of Viking myth. Following a prophecy detailing Baldr’s impending death, his mother extracts promises from all of the plants and creatures of the world but forgets about the lowly mistletoe tucked up in the oak trees. And so when the mistletoe is unwittingly tricked into stinging Baldr at the behest of the trickster god Loki, the sting is fatal and Baldr is committed to the Afterlife until the end of the world (Ragnarok) when he will emerge to lead the new world order. The theme of the dying god appears over and over again throughout world mythology, indeed the story of Jesus Christ itself represents a ‘dying god’ myth. The re-use of mistletoe as part of the Christmas festival is therefore most fitting indeed.
Also stemming from northern European pagan traditions are the Yule log and Christmas ornaments. The giant Yule log was traditionally chosen to be burned on the Winter Solstice, the darkest and longest night of the year. The cheerful fire of the long burning log was intended to ward off the evil spirits that lurked in the dark. Families would gather together on this dark night both in fear of the darkness and in celebration of the upcoming new year ahead. The winter holidays were highly important in the pre-scientific world. In a time where you cannot fathom the astrological and natural reasoning behind the turning of the seasons, when all the plants die and the weather gets bad ~ you want to do everything you can to encourage a better season to come round.
Christmas ornaments, however, are perhaps the most gory of modern holiday traditions. Rumor has it that Germanic warriors would hang the heads and saddle gear of conquered foes on trees near their residence as trophies of their battle. These dark prizes eventually transitioned into more metaphorical baubles which in turn were placed on the first famous Christmas trees popularized by the Germanic Prince Albert at the court of Queen Victoria in nineteenth century England. Decorated vegetation was not however limited to Northern European traditions, decorated boughs of a variety of plants were common features of ancient Roman and Greek festivals, and were intended to both encourage the future bounty of the crops and protect the house from evil spirits.
Other household holiday decorations possess further overlooked magickal significance. Have you ever noticed how many anthropomorphic figures there are around Christmastime? Gingerbread men, snowmen, figurines of angels, the nativity characters and Santa and his crew: there are hundreds of thousands of little simulacra of people associated with the holidays. And while such representations of humanity may seem commonplace in today’s society, for thousands of years and indeed still in some cultures such things were and are forboden. From the ancient so-called Venus figurines of prehistoric Europe to the statues of the classical world, the recreation of the human form was considered sacred and powerful. Perhaps the most well known remnant of this concept are the voodoo dolls of Santeria and other Afro-Caribbean traditions. Their Christmas cousins may be just as powerful. From the helpful elf who watches over children’s good behavior to the angels atop the tree: these personifications of the human soul and spirit are no less powerful if one chooses to believe in them.
And finally, let us consider the concept of the infamous Santa Claus himself. The story of Santa is ripe with magickal elements. Ultimately, he is a semi-deity who lives in a magickal dimension on the northern fringes of the human world accompanied by a bevy of miraculous toy-making beings and flying creatures. And though the tradition of Santa is not very old in and of itself, the idea of powerful house spirits who bear gifts and good fortune goes back to the very beginning of time in almost every culture. In some cultures, particularly in Eastern Europe and Japan, these house spirits are still widely venerated in the modern world.
Ultimately, though Christmas is a monotheistic holiday. Its modern celebration is chock full of symbolism and traditions which hearken back to earlier times and brighter pagan customs. One needs only look closer to find them and celebrate their wonder.
With all the recent attention focused on Iceland and the eruption of the volcano Eyjafjalljökull, it seems fitting to devote an article to this beautiful but dangerous island nation’s pagan past.
Iceland was once a bastion of the Norse, often better known in pop culture (like the recent film How to Train Your Dragon), as the Vikings. The Norse were a culture of warriors and farmers, who controlled much of Northern Europe from approximately the 8th century to the 11th century AD. Much of what we know about these ancient people is from later medieval Icelandic texts which escaped the rising tide of Christianity that destroyed similar manuscripts on mainland Europe.
Of these, the Prose and Poetic Eddas, preserved primarily by historian and poet Snorri Sturluson or in compendium texts like the Codex Regius, reveal the most about ancient Norse religious beliefs, mythology, and ethics than any other historical sources. Whole tomes could be, and have been, written on these lovely Icelandic texts, but I would like to draw your attention here to the Hàvamàl, my particular favorite section of the Poetic Edda and one of the most understated but important ancient texts from around the world in terms of learning to live a spiritually fulfilling and magickal life.
Hàvamàl means “words of the wise one,” and given some of the text’s content is devoted to Odin and it is located within the Poetic Edda surrounded by further tales of Odin, is it assumed that this ‘wise one’ is the great god of the Norse pantheon, Odin. Within the Hàvamàl are two particularly magickal sections devoted exclusively to Odin. The first of these, comprising the 138th to 146th stanzas is entitled the Rúnatal and features, among other tales of Odin, a first person narrative of Odin’s blót (sacrifice) on the world tree Yggsdrasil, which earned him the secrets of the runes.
“I know that I hung on the windy tree
Nine whole nights, wounded with the spear,
Given to Odin, myself to myself,
On the tree that sprang from roots
No man knows of.
They gave me neither bread, nor drink from the horn.
I peered down.
I took up runes, howling I took them,
And then fell back.
Nine monstrous songs I learnt from the glorious
Son of Bolthor, Bestla’s father.
And one draught I took of the glorious mead
Poured from Odrerir.
Then I began to quicken, to become fertile,
To grow tall and to thrive.
From a word, one word led to another.
From a deed, one deed let to another.”
It is one of the most mysterious and evocative passages among Norse manuscripts. The esoteric ritual it represents may or may not have been a dramatization of an actual ritual used to initiate students into the secrets of runology, which therefore would have most likely featured more modest elements: perhaps a nine day fast while meditating beneath a sacred tree which culminated in the singing of certain songs, the drinking of mead, and an introductory first throwing of the rune stones accompanied by a howl of passion. The story and the potential ritual elements it features are both anthropologically conceivable for Norse culture but at the same time strikingly reminiscent of other religious elements, particularly the figure of the god crucified on the tree, pierced by a spear; which smacks a bit of Christian influence and may have been added to the story at a later date.
The second portion of the Hàvamàl relating to Odin, and the conclusion of the Regius Codex version of the Hàvamàl, the Ljóđatal (stanzas 147-163-5), is often referred to as “a catalogue of chants.” However it is not so much a compendium of magickal spells as it is Odin boasting of the eighteen magickal powers only he knows the spell-chants for (or only sixteen, depending on which manuscript one consults). The concluding of these is one of the most amusing bits of religious texts:
“This eighteenth I know, I shall never tell
To maid, to man’s wife-
Better it is if only one knows;
It is the last of my chants –
Except perhaps for she who holds me in her arms,
Or perchance my sister.”
Odin keeps the purpose of the eighteenth charm a secret, one he says he will only share with his own wife or his sister. However Frigg, Odin’s wife, is also an adept at divine magick like Odin so will presumably not need to be told this final secret. And Odin has no sister. So when he promises he will tell the secret only to her or his wife, he is cunningly saying he will tell no one.
It is, however, the opening two sections of the Hàvamàl, which I find particularly appealing and useful in the day to day art of living. The latter, the Loddfáfnismál (stanzas 111-137) is directed to the “stray singer,” perhaps a wandering bard type figure; and gives him a series of moral and ethical advice as to how he specifically should react in rather specialized circumstances. The former section, that which in fact opens the Hàvamàl is the Gestapáttr or “Guest’s section” (stanzas 1-79). It too offers moral advice to the reader. What is important to realize is that the ancient Norse religion was not a dogmatic one. It did not have organized priesthoods watching over the people, dictating how they should live. It was a more personal experience than that. Each man, was, to a certain extent, his own priest. And as such believed not only in a shared knowledge of the stories of the gods, but in a way of living: a way of conducting their daily lives and their interactions with their fellow man.As a collection of proverbs, these sections advocate both the need to live well and wise in order to be fulfilled and the need for conducting oneself using common sense. It emphasizes a spiritual awareness of one’s own practical wisdom in order to succeed in the world. It also uniquely stresses the notion that man is ultimately a social creature, and in order to achieve fulfillment within one’s culture, one must acknowledge that and be aware of the rules of engagement between friends, enemies, and strangers. It specifically offers sage words of wisdom on how to treat guests, how to be a guest (hence the section’s title as ‘the guest’s section’), how to treat friends and enemies, and contains admittedly outdated advice on how to interact with members of the opposite sex. It advises its Vikings not to overeat and get fat, to gain as much wisdom as possible in all matters of the world, and to appreciate what you have rather than lust after what you don’t. The moral codes emphasized in the Hàvamàl went on to form the basis of Icelandic law, a system which included the first parliamentary system and has been a model for most other democratic nations in the world.
Just as it is still referenced in modern Iceland on a day to day basis, many of its creeds are still applicable today in your personal life.
The first example from this section I am offering up to you is my personal favorite. I actually have it written on a card I keep tucked away in my passport case:
“He is truly wise
Who’s travelled far
And knows the ways of the
He who has travelled
Can tell the spirit which
Governs the men he meets.“
This next exemplifies the good natured but battle hardened warriors Norse culture is often represented as.
“A King’s son should be
Thorough and silent
Brave in battle.
A man should be happy
And in good humor
To his dying day.“
And here is a bit of ancient psychoanalysis which very much holds true today.
“He is unhappy
Who meets all with mockery.
What he doesn’t know,
But needs to,
Are his own familiar faults.”
Almost Hallmark in its message, copy this next antique platitude into cards to your friends to let them know you care: trod the proverbial postal “road” to them. Nothing says you love them like a pretty bit of stationary with a heartfelt message. And I’m very serious about that. I absolutely adore getting cards in the post.
“A bad friend
Is far away
Though his cottage is close.
To a true friend
Lies a trodden road
Though his farm lies far away.“
And finally, some rather harsh ancient dieting advice:
“The glutton does not
Eats till he’s ill.
A fool’s fat belly.“
Although seemingly a collection of platitudes and maxims, it is actually much more, in that it reveals the deep running moral and spiritual mode of conduct and ethos of the Norse people, a facet of philosophical and anthropological study not often available for ancient cultures. Analysis of the moral philosophy represented in these two sections of the Hàvamàl has revealed that it was not borrowed from afar, but was rather a home grown moral common sense developed on the farms, forests, and battlefields of the North. Despite the indigenous origin of the code, it is not, however, exclusive to the Norse. Several components of the philosophies of the Hàvamàl, such as its emphasis on the need for understanding human nature and living life to your own moral compass rather than an easier path lesser company might accept from you, are quite similar to the ideas put forth by the Greek philosopher Aristotle, and to some extent his predecessors, Socrates and Plato. What was philosophy to the Greeks was applied common sense to the Norse. It is indicative of earlier men’s spot-on understanding of themselves, their fellow men, and how best to live a spiritually fulfilling and happy life.
Johnson, B., (1992). Hàvamàl: The Sayings of the Vikings. Oslo: Gudrun. (translations featured above)
Johnson, S., (1938). Old Norse and Ancient Greek Ideals. Ethics 49(1) 18-36. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Jones, G., (1998). The Vikings. London: The Folio Society.
Page, R.I., (2000). Chronicles of the Vikings: Records, Memorials, Myths. London: The British Museum Press. (translations featured above)
I’d like to take a moment to first thank everyone that emailed and commented on the post asking about what you’d like to see in the blog posts in the coming weeks and months. There were some fantastic suggestions, and born of those suggestions, will be a new Monday feature post on the Goddess of the Week. Each week I’ll share some information on a particular Goddess including information about their histories, myths, rituals and information about honoring them today. With each of these posts I encourage you to share in the comments some of your own thoughts, especially of these are Goddesses you have personal experience and relationships with. My posts are never meant to be the last word on any subject and with these Goddess posts I hope to give you all a place to chat about your thoughts and experiences as well as ask questions. So please, participate in these discussions and enjoy!
Freya is a Goddess who comes to us from the Northern traditions and is commonly honored in the Norse traditions of Paganism, such as Asatru, as well as being a popular Godde
Within the Norse pantheon the deities are grouped into two groups, the Vanir and the the Aesir. The Gods and Goddesses of the Vanir are connected with the earth; the are deities that are associated with fertility in all aspects of the people and animals of earth, they have the ability to see into the future and are connected to all aspects of wisdom. The Gods and Goddesses of the Aesir are connected to the sky and are associated with the larger aspects of working with the Universe (these can be somewhat seen as the larger, mythical themes of the deities, the things that are often too expansive for most humans to understand easily).
Freya is a Goddess of the Vanir; she is a Goddess who is specifically associated with love, sex and sexuality, desire, power, magick/sorcery, war and death. Because of her associations with death some also see her as a bridge or deity of connection between ourselves and our Ancestors, especially if we have connections to the Germanic people. In a lot of neo-Wiccan traditions where she is honored or worked with today she is sometimes relegated to just a Goddess of benevolent love and pleasure with her aspects as a powerful Goddess of war and battle are all but forgotten. Freya’s power and ability to gain what she desires is so strong that at one point she works out a deal with Odin that allows her to not only be entitled to claiming half the souls of fallen men on the battle field, but to also have first pick of them. Remember, she’s seen as the Queen of the Valkyries, so even though she has her aspects of love, she has a fierce side as well.
Freya’s home in Asgard, the relam of the Gods, is called Folkvang, “Field of the Folk”, and her all is called Sessrumnir, “a space with many seats”. Freya’s name is Old Norse for “Lady” and she has a twin brother Freyr who’s name mean’s “Lord”. Some who practice Norse Paganism use these two as their Lord and Lady figures in their rites as, while they are connected in a bloodline sense, they were also seen as consorts and lovers in some myths, coming together to ensure the continued fertility of the earth. Together they are sometimes seen as the Lord and Lady who unite to bring fertlity back to the earth through their union at Beltane.
As part of her knowledge she was blessed with the gift of magick, known as Seidr. Seidr is often associated with shifting and changing reality. Shapeshifting is often said to be a mark of someone who has knowlege or access to Seidr and, since spell-craft is about changing and reshaping reality, it also falls under the realm of Seidr. It is said that Freya and Odin worked together to exchange their magickal knowledge and wisdom; Freya gave him knowledge of her magick and Odin shared with her the widsom of the runes. Some modern Norse Pagans see this as the birth of rune magick as it is sometimes practiced today.
Working with and honor Freya requires that you be open and honest with yourself, your desires and your primal nature. If you’re having a hard time dealing with sexuality, she is the one to call on to help open you up to understand and expressing yourself fully. But beware, she WILL transform you! If you need to come out of your shell with regards to your sexuality and you’re really welling to be “out there” with it, call on Freya and she’ll help you gladly.She’s not a “light” Goddess of sexuality and she’s not afraid to use her sexuality and her assets, as it were, to get what she wants; she traded sex for her gold and amber necklace Brisingamen, and she used her “womanly charms” on Odin more than once to get what she wanted from him, including her due on the battle field. To some this might seem like a dishonorable way to look at a Goddess, but again, she’s not a gentle Goddess of motherly love, she’s a Goddess of raw power, both in the sense of love and sexuality and in her aspects of war and death. So if you need to come out of your shell with regards to your sexuality and you’re really welling to be “out there” with it, call on Freya and she’ll help you gladly.
In the Poetic Edda (not to be confused with the Prose Edda), a collection of medieval Icelandic poems, we see a tale called “Lokasenna”, which tells the story of Loki essentially crashing a party of the Aesir that he was not invited to, with the intention of causing trouble among the Gods (as is always know to do). In the process of saying horribly nasty things about each person there Freya decides to stand up to Loki after he argues with Odin’s wife Frigg. When Freya tries to speak of Loki’s misdeeds, Loki retaliates.
Mad are thou, Loki,
That known thow makest
The wrong and shame thou has wrought;
The fate of all does Frigg know well,
Though herself she says it not.
Be silent Freya! for fully I know thee,
Sinless thou are not thyself;
Of the gods and elves who are gathered here,
Each one as they lover has lain.
False is thy tongue,
And soon shalt thou find
That it sings thee an evil song;
The gods are wroth and the goddesses all,
And in grief shalt thou homeward go.
Be silent Freya! thou foulest witch,
And steeped full sore in sin:
In the arms of thy brother the bright gods caught thee
When Freya her wind set free.
Njorth (Freyr and Freya’s father):
Small ill does it work
Though a woman may have,
a lord or a lover or both;
But a wonder it is
That this womanish god comes hither,
Though babes he has borne.
If you wish to work with Freya, here are some suggestions for themes, correspondences and offerings that can help you along with a few resources for learning more about her story.
Her sacred day of the week is Friday, which is named for her, and is an idea day for working love or sex magick with her assistance.
Work with her specifically for help with:
Cat magick as cats were sacred to her
Dealing with anger or aggression (including getting more in touch with your own)
Death and honor the spirits of the dead and the Ancestors
Blessing magickal jewlery
Help in all areas of the magickal arts, but especially shapeshifting
Protection against physical harm
Women’s empowerment/protection of women
Colors associated with Freya:
Stones and Metals:
Raspberry wine (or juice)
Some Links and Resources:
A page with various retellings of some of Freya’s myths:
Some information on working with Freya and the Valkyries for protection:
The Poetic Edda
The Prose Edda