Freyr

Freyr was also known as Frey, Ingvi, or Ingvi-Freyr, and had the title Skirr, which means “shining”. He was the son of Njörd and twin brother of Freya, and one of the Vanir before he went to live in Asgard with his father and sister as part of the peace agreement between the Aesir and the Vanir. There, he became one of the principal gods, along with Odin and Thor. Freyr was the god of light and sunshine, rain, fertility, and peace. He lived in Alfheim as the ruler of the elves there, and had three servants: Byggvir, Beyla, and Skirnir. As a fertility god and Freya’s brother, he was portrayed as virile and handsome. The statue of Freyr found in his temple in Uppsala, Sweden, was noted for the size of its penis as late as 1200 AD.

448px-Freyr_by_Johannes_GehrtsHe was a noble and benign god, bringing peace and prosperity as well as fertility, both in the home and on the fields. The Norsemen revered him in this capacity, and made sacrifices to him to ask for fruitfulness and peace.

As a result of one of Loki’s misadventures, Freyr possessed a dwarf-made magical ship called Skidbladnir, which was big enough to carry all the gods, but could be folded up small enough to fit into his pocket. The same adventure also resulted in Freyr getting a boar called Gullinbursti, made by the dwarves Brokk and Eitri. It had golden bristles and could run faster than any horse, and drew Freyr’s chariot.

Freyr also had a magic sword which could fight giants on its own, and he was a mighty warrior among the Vanir, but he lost his blade. He fell in love with a beautiful giantess called Gerda, so much so that he became ill with longing for her. His father grew worried about him and asked Freyr’s servant, Skirnir, to find out what was wrong. Skirnir agreed to help Freyr woo Gerda in return for his magical sword. He traveled to Jotunheim and tried to persuade Gerda to marry Freyr, first by offering her gifts — first Idunn’s apples of youth, then one of Odin’s arm rings. Gerda was unimpressed, and she only grew more stubborn when Skirnir told her that he would kill her with Freyr’s magical sword. Resorting to magic, Skirnir threatened her with an unbreakable, terrible curse: she would never have pleasure from a man, be outcast to live among three-headed giants, drink only goat’s urine, and be raped outside the gates of Hel. Faced with that, Gerda finally gave in and agreed to meet Freyr in a forest in nine days’ time.

The two later married and had a son named Fiolnir.Unfortunately, the affair cost Freyr his sword, which he would sorely miss in the final battle at Ragnarok. He was fated to face off against the fire giant Surt, and without his sword, he would only have a stag’s antler as his weapon. Perhaps because of this, Freyr was destined to be the first to die in the battle.

 

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