Post by heathenhammer on Jun 19, 2006 18:15:12 GMT -5
OK, since I have been so remiss, I'll return for a moment and offer words on Freya, since she's become a focus of the topic.
Goddess with great fame, Freya is presented as taking on many attributes, but her beauty and sexuality are often focused on. She is Njord's daughter, handed over to the Aesir [she is a Vanir] as an aforementioned hostage, but here's an intersting detail: she was a peace-hostage ffom a war she herself is credited with starting! Although she has had secual relations with many a man and god, she is also credited with an unusual fidelity to her first true love, Od.
The unsurpassed beauty of Asgard marries this lesser god, and someone takes offense. He, Od, disappeares; though some say he is actually another shape of Odin, being removed from his own kingdom, makes little sense for this claim if it truely were the Old Man. The jealous Aesir banish Od in secret.
In any case, Freya flies round the worlds searching for him, with her enchanted cloak that gives her a falcon's shape. She discovers himm, but a bit late: his banishment to the sea has turned him into a sea monster. She nonetheless stays by his side. However, the monster is later set upon by hunters and slain. Freya is enraged and might take her revenge by striking back at the Aesir [who banished Od in the 1st place and might have set up his killing], for she is a warrior goddess of incredible skill. To placate her, the Aesir allow Od's soul to enter Valhalla, and thus the most beautiful goddess may visit him at any time.
Freya's beauty is her foil and part of her power, for pursuit of her favors instigated a great many things that are part and parcel of the Norse myths. The giant builder's of Valhalla's wall desired her; Thor's hammer stolen for want of her; her necklace Bising; and several scuffles between deities.
As I said though, she is as beautiful as she is a skilled warrior. For this reason she shares half the battle-slain with Odin himself, and takes them to live with her. It is said she is a generous heart, and the slain she claims can even have their family and wives come to join them at her hall, named Sessrumnir. Her rides to battlefields with her valkyrie attendants causes the Northern Lights.
Her skill also extended to feminine Norse magic: she is the teacher of seidr, Norse magic and shamanism, to the Aesir [who naturally then gave it to Man]. She undergoes a shamanistic rebirth in a tale where she appears to the Aesir as Gullveig,a beautiful witch, whom the Aesir strike with spears and burn; she arises untouched from these trials and then possesses shamanic methods and wisdom - an odd echo of Odin's experience in some small way.
Her great popularity suggests that much lore about her was lost, for she was likely written about extensively. Many artifacts showing her have been found.
Silence becomes the son of a prince To be silent, but brave in battle. It befits a man to be merry and glad Until the day of his death
Well this looks like the best place for my little tid-bit. This is mostly about Loki and it's taken from The Friendly Guide to Mythology by Nancy Hathaway.
In Greek mythology, the gods are by definition immortal. Not so in Nordic mythology, where the immortality of the gods is fragile and easily threatened, thanks to the trickster Loki. He could become a flea, a flame, a fish, a polar bear, an old woman, or anything he wanted. Yet he was careless with the lives of his fellow deities.
One time, for instance, Odin, Hoenir, and Loki were traveling when they stopped to eat. They stole an ox from a nearby herd and tried to roast it. But no matter how long they prodded the fire, the meat would not cook. An eagle watching from an oak tree- actually the frost giant Thjazi in the shape of an eagle- offered to help if the three gods would share the meal with him. The gods were willing, and soon the meat was cooked to perfection. However, when they sat down to enjoy it, Thjazi took an unfairly large portion, which made Loki so angry that he picked up a stick and clobbered him with it. To protect himself from Loki's blows, Thjazi grabbed the stick and tried to wrest it out of Loki's hands. No matter how hard he pulled, Loki held on. At last Thjazi flapped his wings and flew into the air with Loki still clutching the stick.
Loki screamed to be let down but Thjazi was now in a bargaining position. He agreed to let him down only if Loki promised to get him something in return: the lovely goddess Idun and her golden apples of youth. Loki agreed. So Thjazi flew to Asgard, the home of the gods, and Loki disembarked.
When he found Idun, he told her that he had discovered some miraculous apples that were as delicious as her own. Naturally, she was curious, even when he told her that the fruit was hanging on a tree in the woods. Intrigued, she picked up her basket of apples and followed him into the woods. As soon as she was out of sight of the other gods, Thjazi swooped down, picked her up, and flew to Jotunheim, the home of the frost giants.
Idun was captive in Jotunheim for a long time. In Asgard, her absence quickly became a serious problem, for the gods were used to partaking of the apples on a daily basis. The apples kept them young. Without them, they started to age. Gray hair sprouted on their heads, their faces became wrinkled, their steps faltered, and they became afraid of death. Everyone wondered where Idun was, and Loki pretended to be as mystified as everyone else. Odin wasn't fooled. Knowing that Loki was to blame, Odin threatened to kill him unless he brought the goddess back. Loki had to comply. He borrowed Freya's magical falcon skin, took the form of a falcon, and flew to Jotunheim. When he arrived, Thjazi was fishing, which gave Loki the chance he needed. He turned Idun into a nut, popped her into his mouth, and flew back to Asgard. By the time Thjazi noticed that she was gone, Loki had a strong head start.
But eagles also fly swiftly, and soon Thjazi was right behind him. Fortunately, the other gods, desperate to get the apples back, were watching. Once Loki soared safely over the wall, they lit a bonfire, and moments later, Thjazi flew over the wall. The flames licked his feathers, scorched his flesh, and sent him tumbling to the ground, where the other gods killed him.
Equilibrium returned. And yet, by his actions, Loki established the possibility that even the gods can grow old and die.
Loki, always the stinker eh, but he teaches us IMO about ourselves in many ways. The human condition I suppose for lack of a better term. According to my own studies Loki is something of an odd man out in that sources give that he isn't really a god so much not being a member of the two classes of Norse gods. Perhaps on some level this was his reason for being such a trickster. Loki is also associated with shapeshifting. To me when a god is associated with transformation, or shapeshifting it is often a metaphor for the changes and dances taking place within the self, as well as more obvious associations with totem and spirit animals to be met in other plains of consciousness. I've heard that Loki *might* somehow be associated further with the god Lugh, though I can't begin to imagine why...I've still not found much in the way of evidence on that one, but I'll keep looking.
Thanks for an interesting read CW.
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