September 17, 2019
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The Cult of Freyr and Freyja


Hello friends, my name is Arith Härger and today I’m going to talk about the cult of Freyr and Freyja Since I’ve already made 3 videos about Freyja and the cults associated with this Norse goddess on this video I will focus much more on the cult of Freyr but obviously once in a while I have to talk about Freyja as well because the cults associated with these two deities of the Norse pantheon have loads of similarities, so speaking of Freyja is inevitable Even so, I advise you to go to this upper corner where you can see an Icon of information just click there and you will see videos I recommend you to watch to understand more about the Cult of Freyja alone With this being said, let’s get started Alright, let’s start with Freyja and close that chapter As I’ve said, for more information on Freyja and her Cult, please watch the videos I’ve recommended It is intriguing the fact that Snorri Sturluson in his Prose Edda fails to tell the story of Freyja in more detail One of the most important deities of Norse mythology and certainly the most important goddess of the Norse pantheon seems to have been put aside intentionally Perhaps her popularity was precisely the reason why in Christian Iceland, written sources intentionally failed to elaborate this goddess’ stories to progressively diminish her importance in the religious pagan sphere, and during the process of conversion to Christianity people would focus much more on other Norse deities which resembled Christian figures By the end of the Heathen period of Iceland, Freyja still retained a powerful following The worshipping of Freyja continued until the time of the Christian conversion, and heathen practices were sill allowed to continue as long as they occurred hidden from the public view which means even after Iceland declared Catholicism as the official religion, the cult of Freyja was still maintained However, it seems natural that her power diminished because the nature of this goddess, and what she represented sexuality, sorcery, women sexuality and magic, was a direct conflict with Christianity itself There is a very good example which I would like to share with you, which shows us the way Christians exercised the law to successfully diminish Freyja’s power, and to progressively take her out of heathen practices Freyja was associated with love and sexuality as I’ve said, and as such she was connected to love-poetry The Christian law-book Grágás, specifically prohibited such poetry to be made and recited Love-poetry also included a good amount of Love-magic, which is another trait of Freyja Another example is that Freyja was connected to – and called upon – to assist in childbirth and invoked in spells to cure a variety of ailments The early Christian law explicitly forbids the use of old healing charms, especially the ones connected with Freyja Although such practices continued in hiding, and even Christian members used such alternative methods because they were still too deeply rooted in Norse culture As I’ve said in previous videos, Freyja’s hall is Sessrumnir in Folkvangr In there she welcomes half of the warriors who fall in battle Odin receives the other half in Valhalla So Freyja was not only associated with procreation and childbirth, but also with death and the afterlife making her the very personification of a life-cycle from the process of creating life all the way till the very end This Norse concept of the afterlife related to Freyja was in direct competition with the early Catholic concepts of heaven and hell which was extremely offensive to Christians, having a woman ruling over a great portion of the afterlife, a goddess associated with magic, sorcery, sexuality, it was inconceivable This may be another reason why her cult was not described in detail The morality exhibited in mythology concerning this goddess, was often in direct conflict with Christian mentality Freyja and her brother, Freyr, are the children of Njördr the good of plenty, fisherman, seafaring and also associated with fertility These 3 deities are the foremost representative of the Vanir a tribe of gods most often characterized as gods of wealth and fertility The Vanir were widely popular divinities especially in Norway and Sweden, in agriculture districts, and there are a variety of place-names related to Freyr not just for fields and other areas connected to this deity, but also place-names that indicate places of public worship to Freyr As I’ve said in the previous video about Freyr he was characterized as a deity good to call upon on matters of fertility of the land, because he’s a god associated with rain and sunshine and therefore his association with agriculture People worshipped to him for peace and prosperity The Cult of Freyr was closely connected to that of Freyja Both cults were associated with nobility In the case of Freyr, to kingship throughout pagan Scandinavia and as such a powerful threat to the advances of a new religion You see, the peoples of Scandinavia were often converted to Christianity after the conversion of their Kings, there was a progressive conversion coming from the top First the Kings, then the Jarls and other people of noble birth, and then Hersar, landowners and military commanders, until it reached the common folk Many monarchs struggled to keep their newfound faith, most often against the will of the people they governed Christianity was slow to take hold, especially in Sweden, the swedes were not fully Christianised until the end of the 12th century The cult at Uppsala was ancient, strong, and it kept going Precisely the place where it was said that the god Freyr himself was buried, and for as long as he remained there and people continued to worship and sacrifice to him, the country would have peace and prosperity So it’s quite normal the reluctance of people accepting Christianity Yngvi-Freyr was long remembered as a divine king of the Swedes He was believed to once have been a human king whose reign was one of peace and plenty and after he died people began to worship him as a god bringing him offerings of gold and other precious metals to ensure that their peace and prosperity continued After this king, other kings of Sweden took the title Yngvi after Freyr, and their decedents were known as the Ynglingar Freyr was the chief god of the Swedes and as such they called him Veraldar góð, the god of the world It’s very common to have that knowledge of Odin being the king of the gods of the old pagan Scandinavian peoples, but in truth things were quite different from place to place Ancient Scandinavians didn’t subscribe to the same faith, there wasn’t even a unique faith, a unique religion Odin was often seen as the god of the Germans, Thor as the god of the English and Freyr as the god of the Swedes I’ve said this a couple of times, and I don’t think there’s any harm in saying it again Before the introduction of the Cult of Odin in Scandinavia as you know neither Odin nor his cult were indigenous in the north Freyr was the Divine ruler, but of course his cult diminished and he progressively lost his title as Divine Lord Together with Odin and Thor, Freyr was the most prominent god of the Viking Age, but in here his power was already waning precisely due to the Cult of Odin Odin being the new divine lord, the king of the gods, Freyr mostly became a farmers’ god, a god of fertility, and his other traits were excluded Before the Viking Age, even before the Cult of Odin, Freyr wasn’t merely a fertility deity of a farming population, he also possessed the attributes of an ideal king: virility, military prowess and wealth the attributes required to maintain a throne The ability to guarantee the fertility of the land was an important quality of early Scandinavian rulers As Freyr was the lord of the harvests, the Swedes believed that the success or failure of crops depended on their king and his relationship with the gods There are accounts of famine and the failure of crops year after year and no matter how many animals and people were sacrificed, the crops kept failing, so it was finally attributed to the lack of worship from the king, and thus the king was sacrificed to the gods to stop the famine, and it actually worked This happened with a couple of kings, for instance King Domaldi and King Ólaf Trételga As I’ve said, it took a long time for Christianity to take root in Scandinavia People kept the old faith, especially people from remote areas, rural areas and people who wanted nothing to do with the faith of their king Which is interesting, we always have this idea that the king does what he wants, he’s the king! But the king became associated with the figure of god, associated with the divine only with Christianity, whereas in pagan times the king needed to have the attributes of certain deities to be considered a good ruler If the king failed to worship the divine, especially if he failed to worship Freyr, the people he ruled would eventually sacrifice him to ensure fertility and good crops in the land In pagan times, at least in Scandinavia, it seems people really held a lot of power, especially those who lived and worked near sacred places In the case of Sweden, the people from around Uppsala, the Upland Swedes, really had a thing or two to say to their kings There are cases that the people refused to have kings with Christian names It was common for Christianised kings to adopt biblical names There is the case of farmers rejecting a soon-to-be-king because his name was Jákob, a very biblical name This rejection not only can be interpreted as rejecting the new faith but also the fact that Swedish pagan kings adopted the name of Freyr and had come from a long line of Freyr’s decedents, and by breaking the lineage or breaking the connecting with the divine, peace and prosperity would be over and farmers would have none of that This entire event was discussed at an assembly of the Upland Swedes and because Jákob was not considered an appropriate name for a king of the Swedes, he was forced to change his name to Önund when he assumed the throne The Scandinavians, especially the Swedes, did their best to keep the old faith, to which they referred to as forn seð the old custom and their conversion to Christianity was referred to as Siðaskipti, or a change in customs You know why Önund was the name chosen to replace the name Jákob? Because Önund is a byname of Völund, the elf-smith Völund was a prince of the elves, and elves are closely associated with Freyr, who also rules in Alfheim or Ljosalfheim, the elven realm The fact that a Swedish king was required to carry a name derived from heathen lore associated with Freyr rather than the name of one of the Apostles demonstrates that heathenism remained a political force in Sweden even after the conversion Actually, the Swedes became pagan again after the first conversion when King Ólaf died, and remained pagan longer than in Iceland After the introduction of the Cult of Odin, things changed at Uppsala, but Freyr was still worshipped there, quite often The temple at Uppsala housed three idols: those of the god Wodan (Odin), Thunar (Thor) and Fricco (Freyr) Odin carried on war and imparted strength to man Thor presided over the air, governing thunder and lightning, the winds and rains, fair weather and crops, while Freyr bestowed peace and pleasure on mortals To each of these gods were appointed priests to offer sacrifices on behalf of the people If a plague and famine threatened, a libation was poured out to Thor if war was imminent, to Odin if marriages were to be celebrated, to Freyr It seems the cult of Freyr, according to some sources, the sacrifices dedicated to Freyr were also accompanied by effeminate gestures and tinkling bells and also a great phallus It’s possible that there was a wooden statue of Freyr with a big phallus and probably miniatures, also made of wood, which probably served for people to make small sacrifices, offerings or to take with them for fertility purposes or simply a souvenir, who knows? There are numerous anthropomorphic figures of various sizes of Freyr, carved from tree branches on sacrificial bogs and of course the famous one now on display at the Swedish Museum of National Antiquities The notion that Freyr’s idols possessed procreative power is emphasized in a 14th century Icelandic story found in the Flateyjarbók It’s the tale of a young Norwegian Christian named Gunnar, falsely accused of murder, who flees to Sweden where he encounters a young woman said to be the wife of the god Freyr He joins the woman, probably a priestess, as she rides through the countryside in a wagon near the end of the year accompanied by a wooden idol representing the god Freyr Caught in a snowstorm, Gunnar enters the wagon offending the god Freyr Gunnar calls on the Christian god for support, displaying the idol, causing Freyr himself to flee Later, when the priestess turns up pregnant with Gunnar’s child, the people regard this as a sign of Freyr’s potency This story has similarities with that of Nerthus, the Germanic goddess, who also drives through the countryside in a wagon accompanied by priests of the opposite sex Archaeological findings confirm the existence of such ceremonial vehicles Such ceremonies, processions of driving wagons with the representation of the fertility deity taking the figure into sacrificial bogs and sacred groves where sacrifices were held, seems to have been a common practice among Scandinavians and other Germanic peoples There were such ceremonies in honour of both Freyja and Freyr Carts played an important role in fertility symbolism These sacrifices, mainly in bogs, it was mostly animals that were sacrificed mainly horses, but also cattle and sheep showing signs of ritual slaughter Although the annual sacrifice to Freyr people were also sacrificed, and there are accounts that most of those people were of dark skin No, not because old Scandinavian pagans were racists, but because unlike in Christianity that black is the colour of death and evil, to the Indo-Europeans black was the colour of fertility and the soil in Old Europe There are references of dark coloured animals also being sacrificed for fertility deities, and for Freyr as well of course Speaking of animal sacrifices and since I told you on the previous video about the god Freyr that it’s difficult to track this god’s connection to horses well, it’s difficult to track in mythological accounts In the case of the Prose Edda and other mythological accounts created during the same period, written in a time culturally and religiously far away from the heathen period, it’s normal that people forgot about certain practices linked to specific deities Because Freyr lost his title as Divine Lord and Odin replaced him, in the mythological accounts much of the ceremonies, offerings, sacrifices etc. linked to Freyr were lost But if we look at the archaeological context, we will notice that once Freyr was very much connected to horses Horses were used for sacrifice in honour of Freyr, and their flesh, particularly the liver was consumed Remains of sacrificial horses are limited to skulls, lower legs and tails Most of the meat of ritually slaughtered horses, with a blow to the forehead, were consumed during the sacrificial feast But there are still a couple of Sagas and mythological accounts which show Freyr’s connection to horses We have Hrafnkel’s Saga, an entire saga of a man dedicated to the god Freyr, and if you ever read it, it’s filled with references to the Cult of Freyr and the use of horses as sacrificial animals to this deity In Ólafs Saga Helga, the Saga of St. Olaf, you will find a chapter there called Völsa þáttur which is in interesting reference to horses linked to the cult of both Freyr and Freyja In Lokasenna, Freyr himself is said to be the boldest of riders and he has an amazing war steed Well, the list could go on, but it’s just for you to know that there are still surviving accounts which show Freyr’s connection with horses Not only horses were sacrificed to Freyr, also boars I’ve said before, in harvest festivals the boar was sacrificed and there are also references of boar sacrifices performed in the name of Freyr at Yule before the boar was sacrificed, people would put their hands on the animal and made their solemn vows As I’ve said before, in other videos concerning both Freyr and Freyja these two deities are connected with boars and pigs It’s not hard to understand why, aside from the fact that the boar was once one of the most worshipped animals in Indo-European cultures, linked to war and nobility, and Freyr and Freyja are also linked to nobility, but if you see the nature of the animal, particularly the boar, you will see most of the traits of this animal are implicit in these two deities Pigs are not only fertile, producing many young, but are fierce fighters which bear tusks, which are likened to weapons The wild boar is a scavenger and will eat corpses; not surprisingly, it acquired a symbolic association with death They are also rooting animals, which symbolically connects them with the plow, making them appropriate symbols of the Vanir who not only are fertility gods but also warlike gods, as we can read in the mythological accounts concerning the war among the Vanir and the Aesir The Aesir are the gods mostly linked to war activities, but it was the Vanir who once defeated the more powerful Aesir in war So there seems to be a clear connection there, between the Vanir gods, death, war, fertility and the symbol of the boar, not to mention that both Freyr and Freyja have a boar as a war steed and also taken into ceremonies Alright my dear friends, I hope you have enjoyed this video thank you so much for watching and see you on the next video tack för idag!
(Thank you for today!)

Otis Rodgers

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38 COMMENTS

  1. Dr Mahlek Posted on May 16, 2018 at 9:57 am

    I didn’t know Thor was considered the god of the English? Could I ask where you read that?

    Not criticising, great video again. Keep up the great work, you’ll get more subscribers

    Reply
  2. Ratatoskr I Posted on May 16, 2018 at 2:45 pm

    Thank you Arith for making these videos. I have much connection to the Vanir. It's a treat for me to watch your work.

    Reply
  3. D Roberts Posted on May 16, 2018 at 2:53 pm

    Thank you, your videos are very informative!

    Reply
  4. Dr Mahlek Posted on May 16, 2018 at 3:20 pm

    In Scandinavian folklore, Mares and Werewolves were created if a woman used magic to ease birth. Mares if they were Female, and Werewolves if they were Male.

    Clever way to dissuade Freyja’s magical practice.

    Reply
  5. Grecia Villar Posted on May 16, 2018 at 3:43 pm

    Do you have Patreon?

    Reply
  6. Berkley Pearl Posted on May 16, 2018 at 4:34 pm

    I love your videos. They make me really happy and I love to learn new things. Although it’s almost ironic to me that today you talk about gods of fertility and peace because I just got news that 6 of my dad’s puppies have died. Freya takes good care of cats. I hope she does the same for puppies too.

    Reply
  7. colin Paterson Posted on May 16, 2018 at 5:29 pm

    In Britain I don't think that the horse was sacrificed as the animal was reveered by the ancient Britons. There are still "White Horses", figures of horses carved out of the turf on chalky hillsides in the countryside.
    Arith when you say plough please say it as plow, to rhyme with now.
    We have some strange variations in our pronunciation that can be confusing.

    Reply
  8. Bartłomiej Kaleciński Posted on May 16, 2018 at 5:36 pm

    🙂

    Reply
  9. Ben Eames Posted on May 16, 2018 at 7:34 pm

    Thank you Arith for making such entertaining and informative videos. You have a gift for storytelling and of bringing the ways of our our ancestors to life, and I always look forward to listening to you.

    Reply
  10. crowsbaneful Posted on May 16, 2018 at 10:31 pm

    One of the saddest things is knowing that Sweden once fought to retain their culture and roots being the last to do so against an invading hateful force..familiar? Keep spreading the truth about the heart and soul of our roots Arith and when I get to build that Viking village you will be the first guest speaker, there will be no animal sacrifice allowed though, so bring plenty of mead with you! Hail!

    Reply
  11. Pika Nikoboo Posted on May 17, 2018 at 6:04 pm

    I am so sad when I see how small your audience is. You should create Patreon profile, some of us would like to support your amazing work. Also you look like a cute puppy!

    Reply
  12. Steve Chappelle Posted on May 17, 2018 at 9:06 pm

    I found it interesting that, while Freyr was buried at Uppsala, Sweden remained safe. This has an English parallel in the burial of the head of Bran and (I believe I am correct in this), later, the protective burial of Arthur. They watched over that land as did Freyr. However, wasn't it a bit strange thinking their God was actually buried there? Or was it symbolic, like the Eucharist?

    Reply
  13. teresa branquinho figueiredo Posted on May 17, 2018 at 10:44 pm

    Estava a espera deste vídeo, e valeu a pena esperar! Muita informação e de qualidade, com conteúdos culturais muito interessantes, como sempre aliás, perspectivas que nos abrem outros horizontes, sinto mesmo uma agradável sensação de satisfação por aprender contigo! Parabéns continua, investe no Patreon, os teus fiéis subscritores merecem todo o teu empenho em passar a mensagem!

    Reply
  14. Alian Anjum Posted on May 18, 2018 at 6:17 am

    Please make a video about Northern and Viking tattoo and symbols

    Reply
  15. Marcelo Leal Posted on May 19, 2018 at 1:02 am

    Você deveria legendar seus vídeos em português, e aí iria conseguir atingir um público maior, e um público carente de informação de qualidade, que é o brasileiro.

    Reply
  16. Samm Hyde Posted on May 21, 2018 at 2:47 pm

    The kings and queens were considered to be incarnations of the gods [avatars], or at the very least were considered to be holy/heiliger. The titles waned and grew depending on the gods and people at the time, but the gods exist outside of the rulership.
    Please be more apt on the religious aspects rather than the informational aspects; if you could combine the two, that'd make for a great info piece.

    Reply
  17. Theylor Oliveira Posted on May 22, 2018 at 12:52 am

    Hey friend, and your channel is very good, I'm from Brazil, but unfortunately I'm not totally fluent in english yet, but I have seen that some of your videos are with subtitles in Portuguese, so if you can always put the subtitles in Portuguese too, it will be of great help. Heil, my friend.

    Reply
  18. TacticalHeathen556 Posted on June 3, 2018 at 3:21 am

    Recently found your channel and love it, would love to see a video on Thor. Keep up the good work, brother!

    Reply
  19. kelly green Posted on June 9, 2018 at 12:54 am

    Your videos are wonderful and very informative. I wonder, have you come across the term "Fylgja" in your studies and if so would you consider making a video? Thank you again for dedicating your time to making these videos they bring much information and joy to those of us who love to learn.

    Reply
  20. 1kevin field1 Posted on June 23, 2018 at 8:35 pm

    Just discovered you channel and am enjoying it very much. Wonderful videos!

    Reply
  21. Downfall Posted on November 3, 2018 at 12:03 am

    Wow it actually works love the rune magick

    Reply
  22. Downfall Posted on November 3, 2018 at 12:18 am

    How do you say the tree in nord?

    Reply
  23. Thelma Lynne Posted on November 14, 2018 at 10:40 pm

    kultur or culture.Tur means luck or a tour or a trip.Kul means funny.Thus the word kultur means a funny trip.The cult or kult of Frey and Freya was the kultur.Today the word cult has a negative meaning but it is not at all.

    Reply
  24. jose sergio Posted on November 17, 2018 at 11:33 pm

    um grande abraço do Brasil!

    Reply
  25. Lugdag - Misterios Infinitos Posted on November 20, 2018 at 7:00 pm

    thanks very good information, thanks for enabling the subtitles in Spanish

    Reply
  26. BobCat Mountain Posted on November 29, 2018 at 7:18 am

    Thx Arith

    Reply
  27. Ole Larsen Posted on December 11, 2018 at 12:56 am

    Now-a-days it is fashion sick, half naked women, mixed with muslim immigrants. And who can spread the legs the most.

    Reply
  28. XpoiledX Posted on December 16, 2018 at 8:06 pm

    i need help. im type völva..

    Reply
  29. Brendan Hall Posted on December 29, 2018 at 10:39 pm

    No wonder the kings went for the Christianity first – they would not have to worry about becoming a human sacrifice.

    Reply
  30. pedalen Posted on January 3, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    another great vid, glad to have found this channel.

    as I commented on another video, some people from Norway went to Sweden to form Jämtland. Here is also Frösön – Frej's Island. On this island there is a church, and ofc archeologist have found a stump of a tree under this church, with lots and lots of offerings around it. But as you point out in the video, the Jämt's were not that easily converted, as this text shows;

    "In the beginning of the Christian doctrine's entry into the village, Norrviksborne were very wicked, why the priest in the town vehemently reproached them for their evil. In anger over the Norrviks, in agreement with the inhabitants of Sörviken (Grönviken's), took the priest and rowed him out to a large, over. water-raising stone, in the middle of the lake between Norrviken and Sörviken, which today is called the Prieststone, put the priest on the stone and left him there, the intention was to let him starve to death. [1]

    But the priest was swimmersome and swam ashore at Monäset (previously also called "Mordnäset"). [1] The Norrvik residents, however, had been alerted to him, and fit him at the beach where they killed him. For this reason, the village was forever carrying the nasty name Mordviken".
    The only proper way to treat a christian, really…

    Sad really, what could have been instead of some magical desert god taking hold of our minds. all because of greed.

    Reply
  31. Gary Chynne Posted on February 11, 2019 at 7:01 am

    out in the grove with friggin freyja, riding the boar is never boring. your insights are out of sight. thank yew arith. enjoyed. gare

    Reply
  32. William Reaves Posted on March 13, 2019 at 3:02 am

    This video has been plagiarized from my article "The Cult of Freyr and Freyja" (c) 2008. Please acknowledge your source or remove it. My original research can be found at: http://germanicmythology.com/original/Freyja%20and%20Odr%202008%20CULT%20OF%20FREYR%20AND%20FREYJA.pdf

    Reply
  33. Paul Heidnische Posted on March 28, 2019 at 10:12 am

    I like your videos, you must be well read! Any reccomendations for books to pick up? I'm a Folkish Asatruar in Vinland and trying to build up my own library. 🙂

    Reply
  34. Gavin Gauddard Posted on April 8, 2019 at 1:18 am

    Is there more information on the practices of the cult of Freyr?
    I've heard many stories, but can find so little evidence to back up the claims…

    Reply
  35. Leonardo S. Carmo Posted on May 16, 2019 at 12:08 am

    Gosto muito dos vídeos
    Acho que já falei uma vez aqui, tenho bastante devoção a Freyr, considero ele minha divindade principal, seguido depois de Thor e Odin. Eu tava tentando conciliar o culto desses três e você me deu uma boa dica.

    Reply
  36. Thelma Lynne Posted on May 19, 2019 at 5:43 pm

    In ancient hedning or heathen times folks lived according to 8 nature Powers…Hel,Bock,i,Oden,Ra,Tor,Fey and Freya in the Finnish language Frey is called Sampo and Freya is called Aino..

    Reply
  37. Andreia Reminiec Posted on May 24, 2019 at 7:12 am

    Isn't Tyr the original chief God of the ancient Norse ?

    Reply
  38. Wilhelm Posted on July 3, 2019 at 7:46 am

    Glad that you're around, so much information you give us 🙂

    Reply
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