Freya was the goddess of love and beauty. She was born in Vanaheim, and was the twin sister of Frey. She was considered by some to be the goddess Frigga under another name, but others saw her as an entirely separate deity. As one of the Vanir, and like Frigga, she was also a goddess of the earth and fertility.
The beautiful blue-eyed, golden-haired Freya would always listen to the prayers of lovers, and help them whenever she could. But she had other duties besides being the goddess of love. It was she who led the Valkyrs (choosers of the slain). She would lead them down from Valhalla to the blood-soaked battlefields below. Among the clashing shields and ringing swords they would weave their way, deciding upon who should fall and who should live. Half of the fallen heroes would go to Valhalla, and the remainder she would escort to her hall Folkvang, where they were met by their faithful wives and loved ones.
The tales of her hall were so inviting and so welcoming that some Northern women sought to accompany their men folk in death as in life. They were known to follow their husbands into battle. If a man was killed on the battlefield, then his wife too would hope to perish there. Failing this they might throw themselves upon their own swords or lie down across the burning funeral pyres of their husbands.
Freya married Odur and had two daughters, Hnoss and Gersemi. She was most happy to be married to her husband and led a contented life in her hall of Folkvang. One day, however, Odur went away, and she knew not where to find him. She wept in sadness, tears falling from her sorrowful eyes and splashing upon the rocks of the earth. The hard rocks became soft and allowed the warm tears to reach their very centres and there they solidified to become fine pieces of the purest gold. Other tears fell into the sea and became amber of the most beautiful quality. The weeks passed but he did not return. Eventually the day came when she could no longer bear to be without her beloved husband. So mounting her chariot which was drawn by two cats, she left her lonely hall, and bidding farewell to the Aesir passed out of Asgard. She travelled aver many lands, asking all she met for news of Odur. But no one had seen him pass by, no one had heard of his whereabouts. So on and on, shedding many tears as she journeyed through the nine worlds. As a result of her weeping gold may be found in all the lands of the earth.
Finally with the sun high in the Northern sky she found him. He was sitting silently under a myrtle tree, his mind on distant things. His face brightened when he saw her and without offering a word of explanation he gladly agreed to accompany her back to Asgard. As they travelled happily homewards together all of nature rejoiced at their smiling faces.
© copyright Clive Barrett 2012