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Knowing Freya. Part 3: Her Brother

How does one even begin to speak of Freyr, this great Lord of peace, abundance and growth? He gifts humanity with all that gives pleasure and joy. Of Him, Týr said in the Lokasenna:

”Freyr is best of all the exalted Gods in the Æsir’s courts:
no maid he makes to weep,
no wife of man,
and from bonds looses all.”
Lokasenna 37

Freya’s Brother would need to have an entire series of posts of His own but I will write here mostly about Him in relation to His Sister.

The Lord Freyr. Art work by Jacques Reich.

Freyr and Freya are often assumed to be twins, although it isn’t specifically mentioned anywhere. It would fit well within a pattern of Divine Twinship reoccurring throughout Indo-European religion. As far as the lore mentions, They are each other’s only full sibling. Depending on Their Mother’s identity (see previous post), They could have half-siblings on Their maternal side.

Freyr is like Freya associated with fertility and was therefore often loved and worshipped by farmers. The trio Thor, Odin and Freyr were the most popular of all the Gods in southern Scandinavia and each had Their own statue in the great temple in Uppsala, which was the center of the cult of Freyr.

The Rällinge statue. Believed to represent Freyr as He is often depicted with a large, erect phallus.

Freyr’s Wife is Gerd, a Jötunn associated with fertile soil. But He is also described as a lover to Freya. Considering that They are fertility Deities, this could be symbolic of Their united power of creation and growth. Their twinship – if indeed They are twins – could be symbolic of Them being two equals parts in one purpose, Their dance a balance of masculine and feminine creative energy.

One interesting aspect of Freyr is that while He is in a way the very image of the masculine, He is not exactly a warrior Deity. He is described as a God of peace and is known to have given up His sword to win over Gerd (see the Eddic poem Skírnismál for that account). So, He can be seen as representing a different kind of masculinity, one not attached to the warrior ethos so common in Heathenry.

But alas, His lack of a sword will also be His undoing. In Ragnarök, He will be forced to fight with a pair of deer antlers. While He will succeed in killing the Jötunn Beli, He will then die at the hands of the Jötunn Surtr. Whatever ”dying” means to a God. But that’s a topic for another post.

Many who work with either Freya or Freyr say that the other is never too far behind. Of course, with UPG you can’t really prove anything one way or another. But it would make sense considering Freyr and Freya’s closeness. It has also been my personal experience.

Something I find quite interesting is that both Freyr and Freya are associated with types of spirits present in Midgård. Freyr is the Lord of the elves and Freya is referred to as a Vanadís, or the dís of the Vanir. Dísir are feminine spirits, many of them ancestor spirits, and since it was believed humans could become elves after death, there is likely a big overlap between elves and dísir. For a Divine Pair so heavily associated with earthly things to be rulers over nature and ancestral spirits just makes perfect sense.

Freyr and Freya are very much a Lord and a Lady (Their names actually mean ‘Lord’ and ‘Lady’) of this world where humans live. Although from Vanaheim, Their presence permeates Midgård and perhaps for this reason, They are considered some of the easiest Norse Deities to connect with.

Viking Age rune from Gotland believed to represent the Gods Odin, Thor and Freyr.

Freyr is dear to Freya and vice versa. Even if you are more dedicated to one of Them, the Vanir pair are kind of a package deal. One is rarely far behind the other and so to truly know Lady Freya, you should know the great Lord Freyr.

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