[Main Index] [About Jordsvin] [Asatru Information] [Young Heathens Page] [Fun Stuff] [Asatru Events] [Norse Links]
(first printed in "Idunna" Magazine)
Greatly inspired by Vol. V of The Road to Bifrost by Thor and Audrey Sheil, back in print at:
Ingvi Freyr, one of the handful of clearly identified Vanir Deities from Norse lore, is among the most popular Gods in the Heathen revival today. In addition to Freyr, his sister Freyja, and their father Njorð, the Earth Goddess Nerthus is known from 1st Century C.E. Germany. Some folks also consider Heimdallr a Van. Kvasir was a Van, too but didn’t live for very long after moving to Asgarð. His blood was used to brew the mead of poetic inspiration. That pretty much rounds out the list of the Vanir as it has come down to us.
Many theories have been offered about the origins of Freyr in general and the Vanir in particular. The earliest evidence of Freyr, or a God very like him, comes from rock carvings in Östergötland, Sweden dating back to the Bronze Age (Gundarsson, ed. Our Troth, 178). Snorri’s story about our Gods migrating from Troy may be something he used to reconcile the mythology of his ancestors with Classical mythology and by making the Gods into human beings mistakenly deified, with his Christian faith. It may also have been a literary device used to tell the old tales without getting into trouble with the Church. On the other hand, it may be a distorted, worn down memory of the movement of the worship of our Gods, or at least of some of them, into Scandinavia. Freyr’s cult evidently moved from Sweden (which remained his chief stronghold, so to speak) into Norway and thence to Iceland (Ellis Davidson, 100). This would be backed up by the evidence of place-names of which “Frey-“ is the first element. These are very numerous in Sweden, less numerous in Norway (although there are still over twenty of them), and scarce in Iceland, where they are only found in the east and south-east of the country (Turville-Petre, 168).
At least one scholar of Heathenism interprets the worship of Freyr as being directly derived from the cult of such Middle Eastern Gods as Adonis, Attis, Ba’al, and Tammuz, transmitted most probably by way of Dacia (Branston, 155). This is certainly within the realm of possibility as agriculture spread from one of its points of origin in the Fertile Crescent into the Northlands by more or less that route. However, I think it is and will in all probably remain an interesting and unproven, and probably unprovable hypothesis. “Ba’al,” like “Freyr” means “Lord,” and “Freyja” means “Lady.” I personally tend toward the idea that IF Gerald Gardner’s story of finding an extant Pagan group in 1940’s England is true, that the worship of the Wiccan “Lord” and “Lady” is more likely to be a surviving remnant of Freyr and Freyja worship than anything “Celtic.”
In Anglo-Saxon, the name of Freyr’s rune, Ingwaz, became “Ing,” and its verse in the Anglo-Saxon Rune Poem describes how Ing = Freyr was first seen by the East Danes. Afterwards, he left the people by ship over the waves, and his “wagon followed after.” This could possibly be a journey by ship after death. The rune poem contains allusions to myths known today only in a fragmentary way. The myth of Sceaf or Scyld Sce(a)fing (Sheaf or Shield Sheaf’s-son) tells how that hero came to the people as an infant of unknown origin, alone on a boat. He was raised by those who found him and later reigned as king. After death, his body, accompanied by many rich gifts, was sent out again over the waves in that same boat (Sheffield, 10; Branston, 18; Ellis Davidson, 104-5). The many similarities between the rune-verse just mentioned and the story of Sceaf/Scyld are very clear. Remember also that Freyr travels at times by his wondrous ship, Skiðblaðnir. Alternately, Ing/Freyr was buried at Gamla Uppsala in Sweden. The myth of Peace-Froði also has many similarities to that of Freyr (Sheffield, 4-5, 18-19).
Among the Nine Worlds, Freyr clearly “gets around.” Originally from Vanaheim, he moved to Ásgarð at the end of the hostilities between the Æsir and Vanir. He married Gerð of Jotunheim. In addition, he received Alfheim as a tooth-gift (Ellis Davidson, 107). There was evidently an old custom of giving a substantial gift to an infant who had just cut his or her first tooth. Perhaps this celebrated that the infant had lived that long (many didn’t) and gave him or her a reason to stay around Midgard to enjoy the gift. Speaking of Midgard, of course, Freyr’s functions there are well-known and will be covered in detail in this article.
Like other Germanic Deities, Ingvi Freyr is multifaceted and multifunctional. Some still see him as “just” a “fertility God.” This is a relic of older scholarship, which tried to force Germanic Gods and Goddesses into the patterns of other, more southerly mythologies. Freyr can be seen as having four major functions: Divine Kingship and divine ancestor of the the Ynglingar royal family of Heathen Sweden; God of ár = good seasons (ár by the way is a later form of the Rune-name Jera); God of frið, which encompasses peace and much more; and in some sense a God of sexuality, a function which has been twisted in the records that have come down to us due to erotophobic Christian clergy (Sheffield, 3). Perhaps a faint whiff of sour grapes can be smelled down the centuries.
Ingvi Freyr is tutelary God of the Swedish people and divine ancestor of their old royal family, the Ynglinar. Note that Odin is the usual divine ancestor of Germanic royalty. The current British royal family still traces its genealogy to Woden! However, the Anglian kings of Berenicia in north-eastern England remembered “Ingui,” “Ingibrand,” and “Inguec” as names of the founder of their line (Ellis Davidson, 104). The first name seems to be “Ingvi” (“u” and “v” were not separate letters originally). The others, if not directly referring to Ing(vi) Freyr, are at least theophoric personal names incorporating the element “Ing.” An example of a theophoric personal name incorporating Thorr’s name would be “Thorstein.” The story of the Ynglings is told in the Ynglinga Saga, a part of Snorri’s Heimskringla, but keep in mind that non-Heathen perspectives have crept in.
The following comments by Ingeborg Svea Nordén, a leading Freyr devotee, may cast some light upon Ingvi Freyr as Divine King and ancestor of the Swedish Ynglingar kings: “In the original Old Norse, BTW, the word for "Sweden" (_Svíþjóð_) literally means the Swedish PEOPLE, not the place they inhabit. I don't believe in a folk-soul per se, nor do I believe that Freyr is as strictly attached to one place as a landwight would be. I don't necessarily believe that Freyr was buried in that mound at Gamla Uppsala either (if he was, any evidence is long gone by now). BUT...the Swedish *people* acknowledged that their peace and prosperity depended on Freyr's staying among them, even in death.”
“Ár,” or “good seasons/harvest,” is brought in by the Divine King (Sheffield, 14-15). Freyr is identified by scholars as a “god of plenty” (Ellis Davidson, 96). As a God of wealth, Freyr has ties with the Fehu rune, whose name refers to cattle or livestock, an important form of moveable wealth in ancient times. The surviving lore ascribes to Freyr the fertility of fields and flocks, but he is not depicted as a wildwood God. However, if not Freyr, then who takes that role in our religion? He does not seem to mind the additional duties today!
Certainly, the Heathen farmer would do especially well to seek out Freyr, as would nature-lovers, would-be parents, and men seeking aid with sexual function issues in general. However, then as now, Freyr’s appeal cuts across social classes (Sheil, The Road to Bifrost volume V, 54).
“Frið,” or an inviolable peace (Sheffield, 21) with overtones of well-being, is also associated with Freyr. The putting away of weapons for a time of peace is associated with the cult of the Vanir all the way back to Tacitus’ account of the worship of Nerthus (98 C.E.). In the lore, Freyr gave away his sword and his stallion to win Gerð, although at least one modern Heathen has provided him with a replacement sword via sacrifice, an act of devotion I wish I had thought of! We have one report from Anglo-Saxon sources that Heathen priests there were required to go unarmed (Sheffield, 25). As a Freysgoði, I don’t practice that myself, by the way. I take the advice in Hávamál verse 38 to always keep a weapon about you very seriously. I carry pepper spray and a nasty little knife, but of course will not try to take either one on board an airplane! I also leave them at the edge of an era where a blót to one of the Vanir is about to occur, and ask others to do likewise when I am leading the blót.
The function of Freyr as a God of sexuality, it seems to me, can tie in with the previous three functions. Freyr’s sex life established the Ynglingar lineage, at the least mythologically if you don’t take the myth literally (I am agnostic on whether such things actually, factually have happened). It is noteworthy that Freyr does not have children among the Gods. The kings whose lines he founded are his children (Ellis Davidson, 110). Sexual intercourse is of course necessary for the production of livestock, or at least it was until recent “advances” in artificial insemination and cloning! Sexuality could be tied in with the well-being of frið as well, since frið’s secondary meaning is erotic love (Sheffield, 31). It is known from the Christian cleric Adam of Bremen’s account that Freyr was associated with sexual delight (Sheffield, 31-32). His image in the temple at Gamla Uppsala was phallic, and a couple of phallic (probable) Freyr images have actually come down to us, one in metal and the other, a slightly modified three-forked branch, can be seen in Glob’s The Bog People (182, 186-187). I found such a piece of wood and had it carved into Freyr’s likeness.
Freyr has many associates and associations. Ingvi Freyr is Njorðr’s son. His mother was said to be Njorðr’s sister, who did not move to Asgard from Vanaheim when her husband, son and daughter did. Nerthus gets my vote for Freyr’s mother, and this seems to be the modern Heathen consensus as well. Gerð is his Etin-Bride. Beyla and Byggvir, whose names seem to tie in with grain and milk, the main foods of Northern folks, are his companions (Sheffield, 15). Skirnir seems to function as his right-hand man. Horses (Sheffield, 25); boars (Sheffield, 18); stags (Gundarsson, Teutonic Religion, 94); remember the antler he used to kill Beli; and cattle (Sheffield, 17) are his beasts.
Freyr is a God with more than one name. His reconstructed Common Germanic name is *Fraujaz Ingwaz. “Engus” is also attested from the Gothic (Gundarsson, ed. Our Troth, 178). Later on, he was known by Ingvi, Freyr, Ingvi Freyr, and even Ingvi Freyr inn Froði. The modern name, “Fro Ing,” I believe was coined by Kveldulf Gundarsson as what his name would have become in English had it remained in common use and evolved along with the language. I like that name alright but don’t use it much. Run it together and you get “Froing,” that rhymes with “boing,” and it’s a short trip to the gutter from there. “May the Moernir accept this sacrifice.” The “Moernir” are often interpreted as Etin-Brides. One family passed around a mummified horse-penis (hence the link with Freyr) and composed naughty verses in their honor. That happened with cans of beer and an impromptu naughty joke and poetry contest at a Heathen get-together I was at a couple of years back. My sex life got interesting in pleasant but surprising ways for a while after that, and we DID say that phrase about the Moernir after each “offering”!
Kveldulf has, however, reconstructed a couple of names I really don’t like. One is “The Frowe” for Freyja, which I don’t care for because for me it recalls the word “frowsy,” meaning unkempt or untidy. That she ain’t. Wan for Van (singular of Vanir) calls to mind a word for pallid, which is the last thing I’d associate with the Vanir as Deities with close associations with the natural world in all its glorious colors.
While none of our Gods comes close to the number of by-names (heiti) claimed by Oðinn, Frey has his share in the extant lore. These include “most renowned,” “best of Gods,” “Beli’s bane” (he fights Beli with an antler, having given away his sword), “sacrifice-priest,” “bright,” “energetic,” “providing,” and many others (Sheffield, 22-23).
On a more personal note, Freyr is a very good choice to invoke for good luck, protection, and peace. He can help you provide for home and family. He is a good friend for horse-lovers, travelers, hunters, and animal breeders. He is a relatively easy and safe God to invoke. His personality is pleasant, and he brings good things. Pine makes a good incense to use in his workings. Appropriate colors are greens, gold and brown. His presence is very “sunny” and readily felt, and will often inspire feelings of fun, optimism, and happiness (Sheil, Road to Bifrost vol. V, 56). Some Heathens, the Sheils included, see Saturday as Freyr’s special day, perhaps since Saturday is named after a primeval Roman God Saturn and some see links between him and Freyr.
The worship of Ingvi Freyr has been attested from Heathen England (Angle-Land not Ing-Land), where he was known as Ing, and from Scandinavia, but only indirectly from the continental Germanic areas. The “Ingvaeones” (Gundarsson, Teutonic Religion, 90) mentioned by Tacitus evidently bear his name. Please note that “Ingvaeones” is evidently a misspelling of “Ingaevones” (Tacitus, Germania, ch. 2).
The cult of Ingvi Freyr was complex and included many elements. As mentioned in the surviving rune-verse for Ingwaz, these included a sacred cart. The cart transported his image and its attendant at least in one case a priestess, although priests of Frey are also well-known from extant lore (Sheffield, 8-9). I suggest that you also read my article “On Being a Freysgodhi,” whose URL is in the book-hoard at the end of this article. Burial mounds were also associated with Freyr (Ellis Davidson, 154).
Renowned scholar H. R. Ellis Davidson, in her classic Gods and Myths of Northern Europe, which has been republished with the more accurate title of Gods and Myths of the Viking Age, has some comments on the “cult” of Freyr (from the Latin for “religious worship,” a meaning the word has retained in French and Spanish, as opposed to the derogatory English meaning). Like that of a number of our other Gods and Goddesses, human sacrifice may have been involved (Ellis Davidson, 97). Needless to say, these days a charged breadman fills that need.
In the “old days,” worship of Freyr as a special divine friend or patron God evidently ran in some families (Ellis Davidson, 101), as did the cult of Odin in others. Freyr’s cult of peace and plenty is contrasted with Oðin’s more warlike one (Ellis Davidson, 102). Freyr as a “fertility God” evidently replaced the earlier cult of Nerthus as “fertility Goddess.” Ellis Davidson comments on this (Ellis Davidson, 96) but never really offers any concrete theories as to why. Much has been made of Vanir worship as possibly being the remnants of pre-Indo-European religion which remained as was absorbed by the people who brought the Indo-European languages, including the ancestor of Proto-Germanic, into Northern Europe. While this is possible, it is easy to wander over the line into ideologically-based speculation here, as in the later works of Marija Gimbutas, which featured a single, monotheistic “Great Goddess” and imagined the pre-Indo-European peoples of “Old Europe” as dwelling in a sort of matriarchal, pacifistic Eden. I don’t buy that for the Vanir. They managed to hold their own just fine in the war against the Æsir, which I don’t think pacifists or even inexperienced warriors would have been able to do.
On the other hand, Norse society was indeed very male-oriented in the Viking Age (although less so than in Christian countries), and it is possible that Germanic society became more male-centered between the time of Tacitus and the Viking Age. Brian Branston, in any case, attributes the eclipse of Nerthus by Njorðr and Freyr to Germanic cultures becoming more male-centered over the centuries (Branston, 135-136).
In pre-Christian times, Freyr received the sacrifice of a boar at Yule. The Boar’s Head carols and processions in medieval feasts may have been a remnant of this (Branston, 151). Of course, Oðin, one of whose by-names is “Jolnir,” and other Deities as well were and are honored at Yule. Heathens today often sacrifice pork to Freyr at Yule, although he is often remembered in spring at the Charming of the Plow and at harvest-time at Freyfaxi or Loaf-Fest in modern Heathenism.
My own dedication to and worship of Freyr has taken many forms over the years. I have images of him which I use in worship. I make offerings to him and the other Vanir in a small bog near my home. I am tattooed with his Rune (the Anglo-Saxon form, for aesthetic reasons). I remember him every Saturday in my own personal religious calendar (Buck, “Worship and Spirituality…”).
The gifts of Ingvi Freyr are many. Freyr is known as “God of the World,” and according to Ingeborg Nordén, “The word for "world" does NOT mean the earth or the environment. (If that were what Snorri had meant, the Old Norse would have called Freyr _heimsins goð_, not _veraldar goð_!) The word _veröld_ literally translates as "man-age" or "human lifetime". ("God of everyday life" or "god of the here and now" would be more accurate, though less formal, translations!) Those tie in with your comments.” (Jordsvin’s note, in my Rune article on Ingwaz, accessible from my main web page: http://home.earthlink.net/~jordsvin) ‘This is a very GOOD rune. 'Good sex', as Dr. Ruth would put it, as well as good food, good friends, and a good home life all fall under Ingwaz in some way.’ Very appropriate for a god of everyday life at its best!”
However, rejecting or abusing Freyr’s gifts could have very serious consequences. A horrible curse was promised Gerð if she rejected Freyr’s proposal of marriage. “It promises both to excite ‘unbearable desire’ and to deny its satisfaction. To reject Frey is to be deprived of good food, good drink, good sex, and good company – all the pleasures that Frey provides (Sheffield, 35). This is something no Trú Heathen should do. Leave the fasting, celibacy, vows of silence, etc. to other faiths! Many of the Ynglingar kings died deaths that, despite later tampering, sound suspiciously like sacrifices. Kveldulf Gundarsson’s warning bears repeating: “Let no man take the might of Fro Ing into himself who is not willing to pay the price” (Gundarsson, Teutonic Religion, 91).
Although less blunt than Týr, who nearly broke my hand once, Freyr is very capable of making his presence, thoughts, and wishes known by way of signs. In the old days, swine were often involved (Gundarsson, ed. Our Troth, 180). Those of us interested in building a living tradition of Freyr work and worship from the bits and pieces of surviving lore would do well to listen for such messages to help us with the ongoing process. Methods such as “discussion, intuition, meditation, ritual, deity procession (sic for ‘possession’?), and inspiration” (Gundarsson, ed. Our Troth, 194) can help fill in the gaps when checked against each other by different people with different Heathen perspectives.
Before moving on to Freyr’s Rune, Ingwaz, I feel that I must address the issue of Freyr and homosexuality. One Heathen webring operator online makes it clear he wants no “Frey the gay” websites submitted to it. Truth to tell, I’ve never seen one. If you have, please email the URL to email@example.com. There is no doubt, however, that the cult of the Vanir in general and of Freyr in particular has quite an appeal to contemporary gay Heathens. Saxo Grammaticus makes reference to cross-dressed priests, “effeminate gestures,” “unmanly clatter of bells,” and “clapping of mimes upon the stage” (Gundarsson, ed. Our Troth, 189) in Freyr’s temple at Gamla Uppsala. Thus while there is absolutely NO evidence that Freyr is anything but heterosexual, some of his priests today are not and there is a good chance some of the ones back in the old days were in the same boat, so to speak! By the way, I’m strictly a jeans and t-shirt guy and bear no resemblance to the above description of Freyr-worshippers, except for the bells on my robe, which at least one other gay Heathen I know absolutely can’t stand!
Those interested in the possible but by no means proven presence of gay/transgendered people conducting ritual drama in ancient Northern European worship would do well to research surviving folk ritual dramas, especially in the British Isles. The books by Alan Brody and Roy Judge in the book-hoard of this article would be a good place to start. While by no means certain, there is a very real chance that such customs depicted in these books, along with Morris Dancing and other folk survivals, may contain remnants of old Heathen rites. I seriously doubt that medieval Christianity would have spawned such things!
As a gay man and a Freysgoði, however, I must state that my own link with Freyr is decidedly non-sexual, and has more to do with shared viewpoints and interests than anything else. I am an avid fish-breeder, gardener, and naturalist. I am interested in environmental causes. Freyr doesn’t want Nerthus, his mother, trashed, and even more than most Heathens, neither do I!
I suspect that the reason that many gay people wind up in Vanir worship is that the Vanir are, even more so than the Æsir, very earthy and practical. Freyr’s title “God of the World” is a good example of this. They deal with what is, rather than with what someone might think things ought to be. Gay people happen, so rather than make a fuss over it one way or another, the Vanic way seems to be to put us to work doing something useful. This is speculative on my part but energy, including sexual energy, not put to work reproducing might well be put to use elsewhere, hence the cross-dressed priests of the “fertility cult.”
The following information is derived mostly from The Road to Bifrost Volume III: the Runes and Holy Signs by Thor and Audrey Sheil. Like Tiwaz/Tiw/Tyr, Ing(vi) Freyr is mentioned by name in the Elder Futhark. Thus, a treatise on the Rune Ingwaz can also easily become one on the God Ingvi Freyr, and vice-versa. Ingwaz is the sixth rune of the third aett, and the twenty-second rune of the Elder Futhark as a whole. The other Runes directly touching upon the Gods and Goddesses are Ansuz, which stands for the Divine Powers, the Æsir in particular, and Odin specifically, as shown in the Old Norwegian Rune Rhyme.
As Ingwaz did not carry over into the Younger Futhark, only the Old English Rune Poem has a verse for Ingwaz. Ing was known as a God of peace and plenty, but has his warrior aspect as well. Note that his horse is known as Blóðughófi = Bloody-Hoof” and an alternative name for his boar Gullinbursti is Slíðrugtanni = Cutting-Tusked (Gundarsson, Teutonic Religion, 95). He traded his self-propelled sword for his Jotun-bride Gerð, so he fights with an antler at Ragnarok. Some have attempted to equate him with Cernunnos, the horned Celtic God of Wiccan fame. While there are ties, this has, in my opinion, been overdone. Some represent Ing as the Green Man or Foliate Mask seen in medieval churches. These carvings have been given both Christian and Pagan interpretations by modern scholars, but the one or two which have written labels are identified as Pagan nature Gods (Faunus and Sylvanus, if memory serves me). The idea that Ing = the Green Man is by no means proven, but strikes a chord with many and I myself have a Green Man carving with an Anglo-Saxon Ing rune on his forehead.
Herne the Hunter is an Anglo-Saxon folklore survival. He has similarities both to Odin and Ing, and his name is cognate with Cernunnos, with the “C” becoming an “H” via the first Germanic sound shift. Heathens view Herne in various ways. He rides with the Wild Hunt like Odin, but I tend to look at him as a different side of Freyr than the peace and fertility hypostasis which stands out in contemporary Heathenism. This makes sense, since death is necessary to nourish new fertility. In winter, many of the animals born in spring must die.
While Ing is not a “Sun God,” he IS a Deity with Solar aspects, as is Freya (Sheil, The Road to Bifrost vol. V, 54). Their golden boars are dead give-aways. By the way, there were evidently swine-warriors (Svinfylking) similar to the Berserkers (bear-warriors) and wolf-warriors (Ulfhednar). The swine-warriors wore helmets with the image of a boar as their crest, a number of which have been found. Tacitus mentions these helmets in Germania, by the way. The warriors who wore them were evidently dedicated to Frey, Freya and/or Nerthus.
Magical and divinatory meanings for Ingwaz (I will use this reconstructed Common Germanic name for the rune and Ing or Ingvi and/or Freyr for the God) include: good luck, protection, a man or men, husband, well-being, hearth (and home), male sexuality, fatherhood, a happy surprise, and a happy home.
Ingwaz has links to several other runes. The phallic God is full of “seed,” as it were. Hence, he gives increase of herds and flocks. The very best is kept for seed grain and breeding stock, and the rest becomes Fehu. Money can be both seed grain (if invested) or Fehu (if spent). Like an offspring emerging from its mother’s womb or a seed sprouting from the soil, Ingwaz bursts into the open. It has its own inner glow, which is at first hidden in Laguz. Later, when it becomes manifest, it ties into Sowilo. Berkano is the feminine counterpart to Ingwaz. Ingwaz is also the treasure hidden in the well of Perthro. Handle Ingwaz, like all runes, with care. It tends toward pregnancy. If you are looking for a significant other but not to start a family, at least not right off, it is best to invoke Freya rather than Freyr. Ingwaz requires careful handling here.
Ingwaz can, however, bring out things other than literal, biological fertility. It improves everything in its range. Ingwaz can help uncover “fruits” of the inner life such as inspiration, magical ability, mystical insight, and great idea. These can be wisely employed for practical results in many cases. Starting a business or a degree program is like sowing seed. Ingwaz is helpful in all of these!
In the search for religious/spiritual understanding, Ingwaz can be a great help. It supports life and health. Ingwaz wards off illness. Ingwaz is orderly and gently motivates. In this, it contrasts markedly with Tiwaz, which includes an element of force. Ingwaz is a remedy for entropy and apathy. It can help re-instill the will to live. Here, Wunjo can also be of help.
One of the Laws of Magic is that Like draws Like. Unlike tends to repel. Since Ingwaz is so sane, healthy and happy in its effects, it tends to repel insanity, crazy folks, and anything tending toward destruction, chaos and deception. This is good to know, since there are plenty of seriously disturbed folks in the world and unfortunately the Pagan and Heathen communities have their share!
Ingwaz facilitates healthy male sexuality, both in attitude and in physical function. Ingwaz has protective overtones, although it works differently than Elhaz in this aspect and very differently than Thurisaz when it is so employed. According to the Sheils, Kenaz/Kaunaz and Ehwaz have ties to Ingwaz, although they do not elaborate. I understand about Ehwaz, the “Horse-Rune,” but not about Kenaz/Kaunaz. However, this would be worth your further exploration.
In conclusion, Freyr’s importance in contemporary Heathenism should come as no surprise. Although most of us no longer live under kings, legitimate government remains necessary. While most of us eat (too) well even in years of poor harvests, poverty and environmental concerns remain with us. By Dark Age standards, these are peaceful times, but war and absence of frið remain serious concerns. Although people today are more likely to be sexually healthy than before as fundamentalist Christian influences fade, Freyr’s gifts in that realm remain as necessary as ever. Modern devotees of this God have no problem in seeing his influences all around us (Sheffield, 38). His lessons, as I understand them, are important ones in any age: that the world we live in is, despite its necessary imperfections, a wonderful thing; that enjoying everyday life is good, even holy and while the worlds beyond the grave are very real, we aren’t going to do any better there by not enjoying the here and now; and finally, that while there are parts of us which can travel the Nine Worlds, we are still part of Midgard and should keep its well-being in mind as we, individually and collectively, make our choices!
Branston, Brian. The Lost Gods of England. New York: Oxford University Press, 1974.
One of my very favorites.
Brody, Alan. The English Mummers and Their Plays: Traces of Ancient Mystery.
London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, n.d. ISBN 0 7100 7067 5.
Buck, Patrick “Jordsvin.” “On Being a Freysgodhi.”
-----. “Worship and Spirituality During and Between the Asatru Holidays.”
Ellis Davidson, Hilda. Gods and Myths of the Viking Age. New York: Barnes & Noble
Books, 1996. Originally published in 1964 as Gods and Myths of Northern Europe.
The newer title is the more accurate.
Glob, P. V., trans. Rupert Bruce-Mitford. The Bog People: Iron-Age Man Preserved.
Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 1969. Note the humorous but accidental
link between the author’s last name and the condition of the bog bodies. Some of the
bogs were used as holy sites and offerings were found around a carved image of a
God or Goddess.
Gundarsson, Kveldulf, ed. Our Troth. n.p.: The (Ring of) Troth, 1993. Most of this
work is available online at http://www.thetroth.org; go to the “Resources” link at
the bottom of the page and click there. A revised and updated edition is in
preparation and will be published.
-----. Teutonic Religion: Folk Beliefs & Practices of the Northern
Tradition. St. Paul: Llewellyn Press, 1993. n.b.: this book is again in print as an
ebook at http://www.aswynn.runeschool.org/recommended.html for US $12. I
believe that it can also be purchased there as a paper copy for an additional charge.
Judge, Roy. The Jack-in-the-Green: A May Day custom. Cambridge, England:
D. S. Brewer, Ltd., 1979.
Sheffield, Ann Gróa. Frey, God of the World. Meadville, PA: Medoburg Kindred, 2002.
This fine treatise is approximately 50 pp. long and you may order a copy for US $7
(check or money order to Ann Sheffield) which includes shipping from:
Ann Sheffield, c/o Medoburg Kindred, PO Box 30, Meadville PA 16335.
For international orders and multiple copies e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
A tip of the mead horn to Gróa for making excellent Heathen scholarship available
at a fair price!
Sheil, Thor and Audrey. The Road to Bifrost Volume III: The Runes and Holy Signs.
New York: Trollwise Press, 1991.
-----. The Road to Bifrost Volume V: The Mysteries on Bifrost’s
Path. New York: Trollwise Press, 1991.
Tacitus. On Britain and Germany. Trans. H. Mattingly. Harmondsworth, Middlesex:
Penguin Books, 1948. One of the first books on the Germanic peoples. Written in
C.E. 98! The book is divided into two parts. One is entitled “Agricola” and deals
with the Celtic inhabitants of the British Isles. The second book, “Germania,” is the
one of particular interest to Heathens.
Thorsson, Edred. At the Well of Wyrd: A Handbook of Runic Divination. York Beach,
Maine: Samuel Weiser, Inc., 1988. The translations of the Rune Poems alone are
Are worth the price of the book.
Turville-Petre, E. O. G. Myth and Religion of the North: The Religion of Ancient
Scandinavia. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc., 1964. One of the most
important books in English on the subject of Germanic religion.
last modified 08/14/2007