Updated: Feb 20
Since Valentine’s Day was at the beginning of this week. I thought I would get ahead of myself, to tell you about the goddess of love, her husband, and their story. To start, let me introduce to you Freya and Odur.
Freya “Fray-ya” Other ways of spelling her names: Fraja or Freyia
Freya was the goddess of love and beauty (Some sources even say of fertility). With golden hair, and blue eyes, she was magnificent, admired by all. She was often garbed in a simple white dress and belt. With her magic cape, made of feathers, draped over her shoulders. It enabled her to soar through the sky like a hawk. Before all the gods were under one ruler, they were split into two families. The Vanir and the Aesir. The family “clans” fought wars with each other. Over time a peace treaty was formed. (I will tell you more about this war in another article). Freya was one of many traded to wed her enemy to broker peace. This is how she was bound with her husband. Odur. It is speculated that the couple bore two daughters Hnoss and Gersimi. Not much is known about the daughters, just that they took after their mother in beauty and kindness. As stated before, Freya was well loved by the other gods and goddess, she possessed a sweetness that was seldom seen amongst them. Since the gods were a tough, and warlike people, who seldom had time for pleasantries. Humans also tended to pray to Freya for help, and guidance. She was more likely to answer them with a kind outstretched hand. Although Freya is the goddess of love, she was not unseen on the battlefield. She fought alongside her sisters of war, the Valkyrie. (More on them in a later post). It had been arranged between her and Odin, that she would take up half of the heroes who died in battle to her home in Folkvang. The rest were taken to Alfheim, one of Odin’s dwellings. She was also praised for taking the heroes family up to Folkvang, after they died as well. Some of the gods are known for having fantastic pets, Freya was no exception. Her chariot was pulled by two Norwegian forest cats. Some accounts said the cats were larger than a normal house cat, and blue in colour. They were a gift from Thor. Another favourite pet of hers was a boar named Hildisvini. He would let her ride him when in want of a stead.
Odur “Oh-der” Other ways of spelling his name: Odr, Óðr, Od
Not much is known about this god. His name translates to: fury, frenzy or furious. So, some say he is the god of fury. While other sources say that he was the god of summer and sunshine, passion and ardour. There is not much written of him, except being mentioned briefly in the Edda poem, as well as his love story with Freya. He was said to often be restless in spirit and mind. He would disappear at odd times, going who knows where, and would be gone for who knows how long. It upset his wife greatly, who loved him deeply. When he was gone, a great change would come over the land, changing the season entirely. Whether it had to do with his powers or Freya’s it is not clear.
Brief side note I have read some sources that speculate Freya and Odur were originally Odin and Frigga (King and Queen of the gods). Somewhere in the past, when storytelling was verbal and not written down, the couple had been split into two separate couples. Creating Freya and Odur. Some parts of their story align with Odin and Frigga’s own timelines. For example, when Odur first disappears. It is at the same time that Odin abandons Frigga and their home after a dispute. It has been debated back and forth, whether the couple are the same people or not, we may never know for certain which one it is.
Freya and Odur’s story: When Freya was first wed to Odur, in an arranged marriage, she made her home among Odin’s family. With her generosity, she quickly won respect and honour as one of them. Freya being the goddess of love, and Odur the god of passion and summers, were not long in falling deeply in love with each other. Although Odur tried to remain by Freya’s side, and stay faithful to his wife. Overtime he grew restless in spirit. He longed for adventure, and the company of other women. Unable to bare it any longer, with no warning, Odur prepared his ship to traverse the yet unknown lands. He told no one where he was going, nor for how long he would be away. When he had vanished, Freya melted into deep mourning. Heart broken, she shed many tears. Whenever a tear rolled down her cheek, to splash the earth, it formed into a golden nugget. The earth turned cold and hard during this time, whether it was because the ground mourned with Freya, or because the god of summer had taken the warmth away with him, it was hard to tell. After a long period of mourning, realizing she would not be whole without her husband, and unable to do her duties without him. Freya set out to find Odur on her own. She donned many disguises as she wandered amongst the humans. Leaving behind many different names, and blessings, with whomever she spoke to. She kept her search a secret, worried Odur would run again, if he found out she was tracking him. After a long search, she found Odur in the far south, where it was always summer. It was the dead of night when she came upon him. He was fast asleep under an overhanging tree, unaware of her presence. Without waking him, Freya lay next to her love. With no words needing to be spoken, he wrapped his arms around his wife. They lay there close together until dawn. In truth, Odur had grown weary of his traveling, and being in company with other women. He ached to be with Freya once again. Uncertain if he would be welcomed back, he was hesitant to return. Together, the two travelled home. Bringing with them, a thaw to warm the earth. Flowers and green things sprang under their feet, to greet the lovely couple. Although happy with his wife and their life together, Odur was never able to fully quench his restless spirit. He would at times disappear, to explore the earth and other lands. When he did, Freya would become distraught. He would take with him the summer days, leaving behind cold, frozen winters. However, Odur, who forever after was faithful, would always return to Freya. Warm days would flood the earth once again, causing all to rejoice with the lovers.
Article written by, Billie-Gean Richard