Freyja | Griselda Steiner | Scene4 Magazine | June 2016 |

Griselda Steiner

"Komm zu Mir"
("Come To Me")

When the pale sun shone above the pinewoods glistening in the morning wind, Freyja woke from her bed of grass leaving mother earth's embrace to bathe in a cold stream. In the water's changeless clang against the rocks echoed the eternal scream of a woman with an unborn child, "Komm zu mir!" Freyja's falcon flew from the depths of forest branches like a brown arrow shot from Nerthus' bow to perch on her arm, her eyes piercing the empty blue sky. Freyja robbed the winds to lift her falcon wings and rise above the forest arc across the yellow fields. She swooped down on a herd of wild horses and seized the power of their racing hoofs from the ground, then glided below a mountain capturing a torrent of falling water. She then flew to the sky darkened with thunderclouds and grasped a bolt of lightening in her beak. She dove under ocean cliffs into the waves pulling the tides from the shore. In her vision, a young woman lay crying in the dusk, her body still with no strength to push her child into the world. Freyja flew to her side and when her lightening cracked the air, the woman's water broke. The ocean tides surged into her womb to induce spasms of labor, then Freyja pulled the baby's head from her loins with the roar of horse's hoofs. As she cut the cord with her beak, the afterbirth flowed like a waterfall to the floor. Freyja slapped the child's back who drew his first breath. She built a fire and cleaned the baby, wrapping him in warm cloths and lay him on his mother's breasts. When night fell she sang a song of healing and rest. After days when the boy's eyes opened, Freyja summoned her cat drawn chariot and took the boy from his sleeping mother. They ascended above flocks of migrating birds and followed the sun's journey over the lands. Across the globe they looked down on swirling clouds, vast blue seas, green continents, glaciers, mountains, deserts, jungles, jeweled islands. When they returned, Freyja gave the boy to his mother and kissed him

Now your soul has seen the world
(Jezt hat diene Seele die welt gesehen)

Now you know the world
(Jezt kennst die welt)

Now you are the world
(Jezt bist du die welt)


As Freyja's fertility cult spread among the Northern tribes, many became her aspects and names. In the myths and sagas of the Norse, Anglo-Saxons, Germans and Scandinavians, tales of the adventures of the divine earth mother Freyja, Friga and Frigg are part of ancient folklore. Storytellers held her to the role of mother and wife, but her powers were not limited. Beautiful, ample in body and generous with her passions and gifts, she gave her love freely to both gods and mortals. Where one found her followers there were fertile fields bearing her name, fruitful marriages and brave warriors.

Daughter of Njord, the god of fair winds, Freyja was Odin's Queen in the heavenly land of Asgard. She lived with the gods, but visited earth on her cat drawn chariot with her boar wearing a feathered cloak. In varied forms; she came many times to protect women in childbirth and warriors on the battlefield. When warriors were slain, half came to rest in her field Folkvangr and the rest to Odin's Valhalla. In winter skies, she could be seen as a flying falcon, symbol of the journeying spirit and the trance of the seeress.

* * *

Freyja's allure was so great, she became an object of barter; a reward exchanged for whatever the gods desired. When Thor's hammer was stolen by the giant, Thrym, she was promised as his bride for its return. Without his lightning hammer, Thor became weak. But Freyja refused to be dutiful and had Loki, the trickster, take her place in Thrym's marriage bed. The gods soon learned that Freyja could decide for herself when and to whom she would bestow her gifts.

* * *

Once in the underground kingdom, a glint of gold shining through a basement window of a metal workshop caught Freyja's eye. Walking through the door, she saw four dwarfs, each skillfully molding a section of a fine gold necklace. "Oh," she thought, "only my breasts could do credit to such a beautiful ornament." She offered the dwarfs all the gold and silver they wished for the necklace, but they laughed. They were Lords of the Mines and owned all treasures buried beneath the earth. They would give it to her only if she spent a night with each of them. "Why not?" Freyja had granted her favors to many gods and mortals. "Are not dwarfs men?" Now her gold necklace (called the Brisingamen in German) was her symbol. She never took it off. Even at night it glowed on her ivory skin like the stars in heaven.

One morning Freyja found her spouse, Odin, enjoying a huge breakfast. Freyja thrust her bosom under his chin. "When I woke up my necklace was gone. Where is it?"

Odin was angry, "How did you get that necklace?"

Freyja towered over him. "You are jealous of the little dwarfs. Shame on you!"

Odin admitted, "Loki, the trickster, stole it. He became a fly to enter your bedroom, then as a flea he bit you to open the clasp. But I will return it if you do me one favor. Two kings among mortals are becoming so powerful they threaten us. If they start a war and destroy each other, we have no fears. By arousing lust, you could easily inspire a war." Freyja sighed, but she missed her golden necklace. She did as Odin bid and her bosom was adorned forever.

* * *

King Rerir and his Queen longed for a child and prayed to Freyja. It brought tears to her eyes to see a barren marriage and she sent the daughter of Hrimniri, the giant, to earth with an apple. As the King stood gazing at the snowcapped mountains on his lands, longing to share his wonder with an heir, the red fruit dropped into his hand. The King brought it home to his Queen and they ate it together. Not long after, she bore him a son with whom they spent many happy days.

* * *

As a Goddess among gods, Freyja knew that she was not immortal and that her world would not last forever. The day of the last cosmic battle, Ragnorak the doom of the gods in Norse mythology arrived. According to old tradition, a field of war was designated. The opposing sides took their place. Gods, giants, wolves, dragons and countless warriors fought courageously to the death. Soon all the great gods were gone. Freyja's grief for her dead spouse, Odin, was boundless. Earthquakes, fires, floods and scorching heat ravaged the earth. The lakes sank into the sea, which itself burst into flames. The stars fell into a void and the earth lost its shape. All earthlings were destroyed. For ages Freyja lay immobile in her grief.

Long after the great catastrophe, natural forces began afresh. The earth, sun and stars regained their shape and a new generation of gods and mortals came into being. Freyja was of the Old Order and there was no longer any need for the ancients. Her cult faded away. But one day Freyja heard a woman crying, "Frija, Komm Zu Mir!" Swiftly her falcon spirit flew to the woman's side to aid in childbirth. Now, Freyja was ready to serve any woman.

Today her day is still a part of our calendar. In Swedish, Fredag; in German, Freitag; and English, Friday. She is remembered.

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Griselda Steiner is a poet, dramatist and a freelance writer and Senior Writer for Scene4.
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