Publicada por Arith Härger / 4:19 PM /
Freya also has two halls; the famous Sessrumnir in Asgard and her home hall in Vanaheim. This hall is tended for most of the year by four of her eight sisters. Three others of her sisters - Bjart (Shining), Blid (Mild) and Frid (Pretty), are handmaidens of Mengloth in Jotunheim. Eir, the eldest of her eight sisters, is Frigga's handmaiden in Asgard and a goddess of healing. Her hall in Vanaheim is simply referred to as Freya's Home, even though she is not there most of the time.
Like her brother, she is a hostage for the continued peace between the Aesir and the Vanir, and she is allowed to come home only when her father and brother are absent. She travels from world to world in a chariot pulled by large golden cats; in some traditions there are four of them and in others two, named Beegold and Treegold, symbolizing honey and amber, her favorite substances. She can also fly through the air in dove form, or wearing a cloak of falcon feathers which can change her into that bird as well.
Much has been said about Freya, the Goddess of Love and Fertility, Lady of the Vanir. She is one of the most popular deities in the northern tradition, and with good reason. She is also an extremely versatile woman. Her sacred activities fall into four categories - she wears four "hats", as it were. First, she is a love goddess; this is her best-known attribute, and the one that marks her appearance. Like her brother Frey, she is tall, blond, and gorgeous. She can go back and forth from coolly poised to emotionally volatile, although her temperament mostly lends itself to being sunny. In her love-goddess persona, she grants the boon of love to some of those who apply to her...but not all; no love goddess ever gave anyone everything that they wanted.
When she appears in her aspect as Love Goddess, she wears Brisingamen, the most beautiful necklace in the Nine Worlds, made by four duergar smith-brothers. She traded four nights of her favors for it, thus proving that her charms really were worth the greatest piece of jewelry, and was serenely immune to the catty remarks of the Aesir about her whoring. Indeed, she has an aspect as Sacred Prostitute, wherein she teaches people to value themselves and their favors rather than desperately selling themselves cheaply to whoever comes by and looks interested. Freya's lesson as Goddess of Love is that of self-esteem, and that the Universe will give you what are willing to settle for.
In her aspect as mistress of seidhr, the mystical art of the oracle, she appears in her mysterious-woman aspect, usually dressed in some form of traditional clothing. She teaches the arts of seid-magic to those she deems worthy, although she does have a preference for women and non-gender-conforming men.
In her warrior aspect, she has the same job as a Valkyrie, except that the Valkyries choose the brave dead for Valhalla. Sometime shortly after arriving as a hostage in Asgard, Freya cut a deal with Odin whereby she would teach him her wisdom in return for the first pick of the noble slain, of which she could take up to a third. Inevitably, she chooses the best of the crop, including all the women warriors (except those sworn personally to Odin or one of his liege-vassal deities). She can be seen alongside of the Valkyries during battle, for those with the eyes to see, in her white armor. But this side of her is never expressed in Vanaheim, only Asgard.
The side of her which is most tied to Vanaheim - and for which she always comes home in the early spring - is that of goddess of fertility. Like Frey, her touch makes the crops flourish, but her special time is that of the early seedling, coaxing it into the full-blown plant. When she is home for her ritual duties, she wears a gown covered in flowers and grains, the magical embroidery of which changes as the plants grow.
There are various stories about Freya's various husbands, all of whom seem to be dead of various disasters. Although she has taken many husbands and lovers, it seems that none of them were able to hold her for long, much less make her monogamous. She wept tears for all of them, which became droplets of amber before they hit the ground. By one of her late husbands, Od, she had two daughters, Hnoss and Gersimi. Each of them have their own halls in Vanaheim, within sight of her own. Unlike her, they mostly take after their father and are round and brown and merry and bouncing. Gersimi means "jewelry" and she is a patron of jewelry-makers, as it is one of her arts, and she often supplies her beautiful mother with strings of beads.
Offerings to Freya include honey, flowers, fine drink, sweet breads and cakes, fruits, and anything lovely. She is partial to elaborate handiwork that someone slaved over. Jewelry, of course, is always welcome, as are natural perfumes.
Frodi is a very old Vanir gold whose name means "Fruitful One". According to the lore of the Vanir, he is the father of Njord by Nott, the sky-etin of the night. He is a grey-haired, bearded, wrinkled old man who lives in a small wooden hall surrounded by orchards and berry-brambles. While elderly and private, he will welcome you if you come willing to sing or tell tales, and lend him a strong back to help with the fruit-picking. As an offering, plant berry-bushes or small fruit trees and shrubs.
Nehallenia, whose name also means "Fruitful One", is a goddess of vegetation and the sea. While it is unclear as to what pantheon she was originally from, she does have a hall in Vanaheim. It is by the ocean, facing Asgard as Njord's hall is, and just down the coast from his place. It is made of woven branches, made to be in the shape of a cornucopia, which is her symbol. She is a goddess of good fishing and plenty, and her specialty is those things which flourish within half a mile of the coast in either direction - shellfish, seaweed, beach plums, and produce that loves the salt air. She is especially fond of rosemary as an offering.
Holda is a Germanic goddess, and her actual home is in some strange underworld place that isn't Helheim, but people accidentally fall down a well in order to get to it. However, I am told that she does have a hall in Vanaheim, where she is practically the center of the flax-weaving industry. Vanaheim is famed for its linen, whereas the spinners in Asgard under Frigga's eye generally spin wool. Holda's cottage sits in the middle of many fields of waving blue and white flax flowers, with an extensive culinary herb garden spread about it.
Holda is a goddess of the household arts; many folk who have worked with her report that she loves a clean, neat house, and will make those who call on her suddenly feel the urge to go on a mad cleaning spree, scrubbing floors and dusting shelves even if they have never done such things before. Cleaning is a good way to welcome her, anyway; it shows that you value what she's about. As one can imagine, her home in Vanaheim is spotless, but still warm and homey. Her food never burns, her milk never sours, her fruits and vegetables never spoil, and her hands are never idle; while she talks to you she is likely to be spinning or weaving or doing some other sort of small craft.
She has a small flock of handmaidens to whom she teaches the homely arts; unlike other deities, she does not have a permanent staff, but rather rotates young girls who then go off to run their own households when they have learned enough. The exception is a handmaiden called Harn, who
is an expert in flax-dressing (the long and ungainly process of turning flax into linen thread) and she aids those who wish to learn this art.
For an offering to Holda, clean your house! If your home is already in order - including all the nooks and crannies such as the inside of refrigerators and the backs of attics - go to the home of someone who has difficulty keeping their place clean and commit an act of cleanliness there. It is especially good to help out disabled people, the elderly, or mothers with small children who are overrun and overwhelmed. Don't worry about actually bringing anything to Holda. She'll know what you've done. If you didn't think to do any cleaning before you visit, ask to help out with something. She'll put you to work.
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