Is Freya only a Goddess of Pleasure and Beauty?

Q. Rota: “Coming from a progressive (read; NOT universalist) heathen, I find your views on women and heathenry to reek of monotheist baggage and otherwise antiquated views, not to mention some information on here is either appropriated for your own views/purposes (i.e Freya as only a goddess of pleasure and beauty) or just super made-up (i.e your World Elements chart). It saddens me that some groups of heathenry have come to this.”

A. Andrew: Regarding your comments on “Freya,” I was merely attempting to summarize emphatic aspects of her influence and activities in a thumbnail sketch. I was not trying to “limit” her to those things. I have had many people in our kindred who have trouble “seeing” or comprehending multiple aspects and functions of the gods and goddesses of the North. So they asked me to reduce them down for easier comprehension. The Prose Edda by Young says of Freya and Frey, “They were beautiful to look at, and powerful” (p.52). Of Freya individually it says, “She enjoys love poetry, and it is good to call on her for help in love affairs.” Surely you would agree that Freya inspires desire for her beauty and pleasure in the gods, giants, elves and men. For example, in Lokisenna 30, it says, “…all Aesir and alfs within this hall thou hast lured to love with thee.” In Thrymskvida 11, it says Thrym the giant offers the stolen hammer Mjollnir in exchange for Freya. In the Prose Edda, p.103, “Hrungnir” the giant wants to take Freya home with him. In the Prose Edda, p.66, it says the giant builder of Asgard’s walls wants Freya in exchange for his work. In Hyndluljod 6 the man called “Ottar the Young” is called Freya’s “lover.” Clearly Freya’s beauty and the pleasure she brings inspires the desire for it in gods, giants, elves and men.

The Vanir are nature gods and goddesses. They influence all of nature. So many of their functions overlap, but to distinguish Freya from Frey, Freya from Njorth, etc., there are aspects and functions that set her apart. Namely, the beauty she brings to the world and the pleasures experienced in nature. Those are not elements of Frey or Njorth’s functions. Would you disagree with that?

Freya also has functions that overlap with Odin. She chooses half the slain in a battle and Odin the other half (Prose Edda, p.53). Both her and Odin practice magic, but here again to distinguish her from those functions she shares with Odin, I would point out that Odin clearly has little to do with inspiring the beauty of the world and its natural pleasures, as much as, Freya does.

Much of what I do is introductory for people who know nothing about the gods and goddesses of the North. So I have to summarize to start somewhere. In other words, I can’t say everything if I am trying to say something. I was merely identifying Freya’s primary differences from the other gods and goddesses, not limit her to those differences.
Sincerely, Gothi Andrew Webb

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