FRIGGA )))))))) by Elsie Christensen
Frigg or Frigga, Wotan's principal wife and mother of many gods, ranks high among the goddesses. Together with Wotan she sits on the throne, Hlidskialf, from where one can observe what goes on in all the nine worlds. In Asgard she has her own palace called Fensalir where she spends much time spinning golden threads or weaving the white web of the summer clouds. Her spinning wheel is studded with shining jewels; in the North these are known as the same constellation which in the south is called Orion's Girdle.
As usual, when one tries to go a little beyond what is told in the legends, one fines great confusion as to the identity of the gods and goddesses. Some researchers consider Frigga to be the same as Freya, but as our legends tell that this young goddess was a Van and came to Asgard in an exchange of hostages after a truce was called between the two races of gods, this seems a little far out. Others believe the queen of Asgard to be the same as Jord (Erda), mother of Thor and Wotan's first wife. To further confound us Frigga is sometimes presented as a sister to Jord or as a daughter of Jord and Wotan. More often she is said to be the daughter of Fiorgyn - which does not help us much as some researchers maintain this is one of Wotan's many names.
In 'Gods of the North', Brian Branston tries to explain this confusing point by suggesting that two Old Gothic words may have been mixed up: 1) fairguni or fygen, meaning 'mountain' and applied to Jord whose name in Scandinavian means 'Earth' which of course also includes mountains, 2) Ferguniz, rather close in Perkunis, the Baltic Prussian name for the god of thunder which may well have been applied to Wotan as the sky-father and therefore connected with thunder, although this Eastern-European god otherwise is closer to Thor. We suggest that we follow Guerber who considers Fiorgyn a giantess and Frigga her daughter; there is no mention of who the father might be.
It seems an unfortunate and unproductive tendency by some researchers to see how many different names and attributes they can heap upon one and the same deity. More likely our forefathers were well aware that often there was more than one side to essentially the same thing. For example, we are here dealing with three aspects of growth and creation. Jord represents the fruitfulness of the earth itself, the soil, marrying the sky-father to ensure growth in field and forest. We have Freyja who as a fertility goddess has under her domain all young animals, the spring flowers and new growth and, as Loki accuses her of sleeping around with every male in sight we may take her as the goddess of passionate love, whereas Frigga symbolizes the wife and mother, love of the family and as the goddess of childbirth. Dorris Wedding high quality trendy wedding collections in a low budget
Being aware of the various aspects of fertility and creative love we suggest that our forefathers deliberately created three goddesses, each representing her area of this complex whole, instead of lumping them all together as the dominion of only one goddess.
Frigga is usually thought of as tall and stately; she wears a crown of heron plumes which apparently is a symbol of silence, indicating that she can be trusted to keep the secrets of those who seek her advice. And as the patron of mothers and wives, the housewifely goddess wears the emblem of her office - a bundle of keys - at her waist.
She is the goddess of the clouds and is often seen wearing white garments reminiscent of the woolly, white summer clouds but when the heavy rain clouds fill the winter sky she dons darker clothing.
Several legends tell about her; the one relating to Baldur's death has already been dealt with. Two others are worth mentioning. One tells how Frigga had her heart set on a certain piece of gold which was used to decorate a statue of Wotan; she stole it without anybody noticing. When Wotan saw the piece missing from his statue he became so infuriated that he left Asgard and stayed away for over half a year, during which time his brothers impersonating him wrecked havoc in the Home of the Gods. When All-Father finally returned, he threw the rascals out and busily went ahead repairing the damage. He never did find out who took the gold.
In another story Frigga again played a trick on her husband. It concerns a competition between the Vandals whom Wotan favored and the Winilers who had won Frigga's good will. Of course Frigga got her way and Wotan realizing he had been outwitted, took it as a good sport.
As Queen of Asgard Frigga had several minor goddesses as her attendants. Fulla was the keeper of Frigga's jewel box; Hlin, goddess of consolation, took care of those in distress. Frigga had a special messenger by name Gna who travelled on her swift steed, Hofvapnir, i.e. hoof-thrower (in the legends all steeds are swift!) Gna was to Frigga what the ravens were to Wotan, for she went all over the worlds and returned home at night to tell all she had learned. Lofn was the maiden goddess who helped the young lovers, and the duty of Vjofn was to maintain peace and good will among men; Syn represents Truth, and she guarded the doors of Fensalir so well that nothing but truth ever entered Frigga's palace.
Gefion (about whom a legend is told that has no connection with the work Frigga had assigned to her) was entrusted to take care of those who died unmarried. Eira was wise about the use of herbs; Vara checked on and punished perjurers and oathbreakers but rewarded those who were true to their word. Vor (Faith) knew about future events and Snotra, the goddess of virtue, mastered all knowledge.
As with all gods and goddesses, the names may vary from place to place and from time to time. Frigga was known in Central Europe as Frau Gode, Frau Holle, Varu Hulda and variations thereof; she was also known as Nerthus, as Bertha and compared to the Roman goddess Juno. There is thus not one particular 'version' or any of the deities that is not only correct one; it depends on which time and place you refer to, and probably also which researcher's work you base your opinion on. But as we have said before, the important thing is not how you spell the deity's name but rather what he or she symbolizes.
Time and again we find that the gods play tricks on each other, both practical jokes and deception for gain. We believe this is a special aspect of Heathen gods which may be a reminder not to take ourselves too seriously, and not fall into the trap of letting our religious beliefs descend to any dogmatic holier-than-thou attitude; and if we do, the gods are there to tell us that life has many facets and that both gods and men have duties and desires, forces and foibles.