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Freya, Goddess of Love, 19th century chromolithographic trade card advertising Liebig Beef Extract, artist unknown

Freya, also known as Freyja, whose name means "Lady," is a Norse goddess of the Vanir tribe venerated within the Pagan and Neo-Pagan Tradition as a deity of love and sexuality, but not of fertility as such. Like the goddess Frigga, Freya is associated with the Norse father-god Odin -- Frigga as his legitimate wife and Freya as his lover -- yet although she has two children by her legitimate husband, Freya is not known as a mother-goddess. Rather, she is an independent woman who takes pleasure in sex, enjoying both the physical experience itself and receiving gifts from a partner in exchange for her favors. In one well-known story Freya sells her body to four dwarves in exchange for the necklace they were forging. In another, the god Loki accuses her of sleeping with every male guest at a party, including her own brother Freyr. In still a third tale a giant-woman accuses Freya of riding her shape-shifted lover to Asgard and, given the meaning of "ride" in Norse slang, this is likely another sexual accusation. Freya's sexuality is entirely her own to command: When giants demand her hand in marriage, she refuses them emphatically, and when the giant-king who has stolen Thor's hammer wants Freya in exchange for it, she becomes so angry that her necklace bursts, flying off her neck in pieces.

Freya is also a goddess of prosperity, strongly associated with gold. Her tears turn to gold as they fall; her necklace is made of gold; and even the Boar she rides in one poem has glowing golden bristles. Freya's daughters, too, are apparently personifications of wealth, for their names are Hnoss ("Precious Thing") and Gersimi ("Treasure"). As a goddess of war, Freya leads the Valkyries ("Choosers of the Fallen") and shares half of the battle-slain dead with Odin. Her chosen heroes have a hall of their own in Asgard, distinct from Valhalla. It is called Folkvangr, or "Field of the People." Freya is skilled in magic -- specifically, a kind of spell-casting called seidhr, which includes techniques such as trancework and shape-shifting.

Freya's chariot is drawn by Cats. She may be shown carrying a distaff and accompanied by Geese (visual attributes of Frigga as well). She owns a cloak trimmed with Falcon feathers, which allows her to assume the form of that bird. Freya is called upon for assistance with love drawing and sexuality as well as prosperity and wealth. She is the general patroness of spell-casters and because she taught Odin the secrets of seidhr in exchange for his teaching her the secrets of runecraft, she and Odin may be called upon by rune casters to improve their skills and insights.


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