Frigg Norse Goddes
The wife of Odin and the queen of Asgard
While all the male gods constitute most of the Norse mythology, Frigg was one the few goddess’ who made it to the show, that too on her own. Frigg, also known as Frigga, Frida and Frea, means beloved. She was the wife of Odin, the Allfather of all the gods, and hence was the goddess, the queen of Asgard (the place where all gods, especially the clan of Aesir reside). She was known as the obedient and loyal wife of Odin. Unlike many other goddess’, she was allowed to sit next to her husband on his throne which allowed her to get a look of all the nine worlds and know what everyone in the world was upto. This shows that she was not treated as inferior but as equal. Despite her closeness with her husband, she did not use to live with him. Instead she lived in headquarter of Fensalir with her eleven maidens that were goddess too. Although she was not the mother of all the sons of Odin, she luckily was the mother of Balder, the most beloved and most dearest of all the gods. Although, she had the power of making prophecies, and is said to have predicted the tragic end of both, her husband and son, she could not change the fate. She was known as the goddess of love and marriage. The importance of her among Germanic people can be clearly described by the fact that the name of Friday was derived from her name Frida. On this account, people also considered this day lucky for marriages. Although, she was the most powerful goddess, the deity wept two times, first on the sudden death of her son Balder and second on the death of her husband, Odin who will die in Ragnarok. These deaths left her helpless in the hands of the situation.
The main powers of the Goddess
Frigg was the goddess of the sky and the moon. As described above, she also holds power over fates and destinies, telling that everything happens in a universe is preplanned. She can make predictions, but according to many sources, she does not reveal it to anyone. This might be because of the fact that she has no power to change it. She is considered as the goddess of love, marriage, motherhood, fertility, childbirth and most importantly, domestic affairs. It were the matters surrounding household and family that she cared the most. According to many sources, the goddess herself is involved in the task of spinning wool. Additionally, it is said that she uses the wool of cloud sheep to spin the garments of Aesir gods. Among her domains lies the power of maintaining peace and order. Her another title was “the lady of the hall”, whose task was to take mead horn around the feasts which were organized to welcome the warriors. Once she became associated with the task, the Norse gods started calling her for peaceful and productive bargaining. It is because of these powers and attributes that she began to be called as the most important Norse goddess in Norse mythology.
The appearance of Frigg
Frigg is usually portrayed as powerful, beautiful and tall woman. Her head was always and decorated with plumes, which symbolized clouds in the sky. A blue coat that she is always depicted wearing symbolizes blue sky. The keys that used to be hanging around her waist were the symbol of northern housewives, guarded by the deity, indicating that they remain under her protection and nothing can harm them. She is always pictured against light backgrounds which shows her calm and soft nature. Most of the time, she is pictured sitting beside her husband Odin, which symbolizes her strong and firm position and great level of respect among Norse gods. Since she is the goddess concerned with domestic affairs, she is always shown with spinning wheel, spinning garments. It is also said that many goddess’ used to seek her help when it came to domestic affairs. Other symbols of Frigg include sky, full moon, mistletoe and silver.
Frigg and Freya, same or not?
Although she was immensely popular among Norse gods, Frigg is also said to have a lot of similarities with the goddess Freya. Firstly, Freya was also referred as the goddess of love and fertility. Just like Frigg, Freya was also concerned with predicting the fate of the beings and according to many sources, she practices the form of Norse magic called Seidr, which involves discerning the fate and then working over it to bring about the change. Another similarity between the two deities include the presence of plumes on their heads, which aided them shapeshifting into the falcon bird with the help of the magic Seidr. Freya traveled from town to town, performing seidr in exchange of food and sometimes as compensation. According to many Norse resources, the name of Freya’s husband was Od which came from the same word and has the same meaning as that of the Odin. However, the name is rarely mentioned in norse mythology, Prose Edda (an authentic manuscript about Norse mythology) tells us that most of the time he was away from Asgard, wandering around the world. While he was away, Freya used to sob and the tears from her eyes were transformed into gold. Similarly, Odin also used to travel around the nine worlds. This allows us to see both the deities in same light or as one.
Apart from these similarities, both the deities are accused of having loose characters and having extra marital relations with other gods. According to the historian, Saxo Grammaticus, Freya slept with slave, if not many times then atleast once. And when Odin was exiled from Asgard, leaving behind his two brothers Vili and Veto take care of the throne, apart from performing their duty, the two often slept with Frigg until the return of Odin. It should also be noted that Freya was not from the Aesir but from the rival clan of Vanir who were taken as hostage. In the same way, Frigg was also not from Asgard and was married to Odin to strengthen the ties between the clans once the peace agreement after the long periods of wars was signed. It is also said that Frigg and Freya were the same character who, in later years was separated into two.
Most of the surviving Norse sources does not give a clear account of lives of both the deities. Therefore, the conclusion that the two goddess were one is purely a result of speculation.
The handmaidens of Frigg Norse Goddes
As mentioned above, Frigg did not use to live with her husband. Instead she lived in the palace of mists called Fensalir where she kept herself busy working on spinning wheel. There she was surrounded by eleven maidens who, too, were goddess and were assigned with different tasks by Frigg. For example, one of the maidens used to heal others while one was given the duty to remove all the obstacles and hindrances from the path of lovers. Out of these eleven maidens, three enjoyed her favour. Their names were Hlin, Fulla and Gna. Hlin means protector and her duty was to guard and save human beings whom Frigg wanted to defend. Fulla was the favourite of Frigg Norse Goddes who used to hold hand casket of the deity and knew all her secrets. Guna used to cover journeys in different worlds for her and used to ride the horse Hofvarpnir through air as well as water.
The loss of Balder
Among all the stories related to Frigg Norse Goddes and her powers, the story related to her son, balder is by far the most famous. Balder happened to be the most loved and admired of all gods. He was known for his kind and soft nature who was merciful too. This made him the beloved of all, especially of his mother whose whole world seemed to revolve around him. Frigg Norse Goddes dedicated her whole life to the growth and nourishment of Balder. She became even more pampering and protective when Balder predicted his own death. His prophecy left her in utmost shock and she became more than ever determined to protect her son from everything or everyone from the world.
In her attempt to make Balder immortal, she traveled around the cosmos world, securing oath from everything not to harm her beloved and not even assist anything else in harming him. She considered mistletoe too innocent to harm him and therefore did not take promise from it.
Due to the oath, no object seemed to harm Balder and the gods in Asgard realized it when they threw something and it bounced off him with hurting him. Soon it became the game among all the gods, who used to throw everything at him and get amused at watching things return without even giving him a minor scratch, no matter how heavy and large the object is.
Loki, the chaotic and mischievous, could not see all this. He began to search about the ways that how could he kill Balder. In his attempt to do so, he went to Frigg one day and inquired if there is something that she overlooked while taking oath. Having no idea of what evil thing was brewing in his dirty mind, Frigg, without any hesitation, told him that there is a mistletoe plant she did not secure promise from. Grabbing the opportunity, Loki quickly made a dart of the plant. He then made a plan of tricking Balder’s twin brother Hoor. He went to Hoor and encouraged him to participate in game of throwing things at Balder. When he told him that he can not play because of his blindness, Loki offered to help him. In this way, he tricked Hoor to throw the dart at Balder, which instead of bouncing, pierced through his heart, killing him instantly.
When Frigg got to know about Balder’s death, she was immensely grieved. Soon she composed herself and became adamant to bring him back to life. Therefore, she sent Hermodr to the underworld, Helheim where Balder’s soul had gone, in an attempt to bargain with Hel, the queen of Helheim, to return his soul to Frigg. She agreed to return his soul on condition that the whole world would cry for him. This is because Frigg had claimed that her son was the beloved of all.
Frigg Norse Goddes immediately went to all the creatures and one by one requested all to weep for her son. All of them agreed until she approached the last being, the giant named Thokk, who refused to weep for him saying, “Living or dead, I love not the churl’s son. Let hel hold to that she hath.” It is said that it was Loki impersonating giant. Whether it was true or not, the denial to weep for Balder ultimately sent him to underworld until Ragnarok, where he will fight alongside his father and family.
Frigg Norse Goddes outsmarts Odin
In one of the stories of Norse mythology, Frigg Norse Goddes proves to be clever than her husband. Once a conflict broke out between two Germanic tribes, the Vandals and the Winnilars. Odin supported Vandals while Frigg Norse Goddes favored Winnilars more. Both had their strong and genuine reasons to support their tribes.
Once, while explaining each other that their tribe should win, the two broke into heated argument. Upon this, Odin declared that he would grant victory to the tribe he would see first in the morning. Frigg Norse Goddes knew that Odin had said so because from his side of the bed, it would be the Vandals he will see first, and she could not accept that. Therefore, she waited for him to sleep and then went to the Winnilars and asked them to tie their hair with their chin so that they would appear as bearded people. She also turned their bed so that Odin would wake up on the other side of the window. The next morning, he was surprised to see Winnilars from the window. He had to keep his promise and hence granted them victory. Very soon, he realized that Frigg was right in supporting Winnilars.