Vanadís, Sýr, Gefn, Valfreyja, Mardöll … Lady of the Vanir. Freyja. Hail to you!
"Njördr in Nóatún begot afterward two children: the son was called Freyr, and the daughter Freyja; they were fair of face and mighty….. Freyja is the most renowned of the goddesses; she has in heaven the dwelling called Fólkvangr, and wheresoever she rides to the strife, she has one-half of the kill, and Odin half, as is here said:
Fólkvangr 't is called, | where Freyja rules
Degrees of seats in the hall;
Half the kill | she keepeth each day,
And half Odin hath.
Her hall Sessrúmnir is great and fair. When she goes forth, she drives her cats and sits in a chariot; she is most conformable to man's prayers, and from her name comes the name of honor, Frú, by which noblewomen are called. Songs of love are well-pleasing to her; it is good to call on her for furtherance in love."
Gylfaginning, Prose Edda
Freyja is a complex goddess, associated equally with fertility, love, passion, beauty, sex, and seiðr, as well as battle, war, frenzy and death. Her name means, simply, Lady and she is of the Vanir, daughter of Njordr. Her mother remains a mystery, though many see Nerthus – a goddess mentioned in Tacitus’ Germania – as being a potential candidate. She is associated with amber, gold, cats and falcons through her appearances in the sagas and Eddas. Like her brother, Freyr, she too is associated with a boar named Hildisvíni.
Across the sagas and Eddas, Freyja is often the subject of desire, used as a bargaining chip to secure (temporary) allegiances between the Æsir and jötnar, much to her own disapproval and chagrin. The goddess also possesses Brisingamen, a torc or necklace of incredible craftmanship.
Together, along with Odin, she receives half of the valkyries’ chosen dead, and on occasion ‘rides into the strife’ herself. She too taught Odin the Vanir magic of seiðr, a powerful tool with almost endless possibilities for those that could master it – which Odin endeavoured to do.
There are many heathens that see Freyja as being none other than Gullveig too, she who was burned and pierced three times by the Aesir before the ‘Great War’ of the Gods. Though, that is certainly wide open for interpretation. Indeed, much ink could be spilled over Freyja and her vast potential and connections, but let’s stop there. How do you see this important goddess?