Hello my lovely readers, and welcome to another Femme Fatale Friday, here at White Rose of Avalon! Today it is a special Friday the 13th edition, where I will look at the Norse goddess Freya, and how she was demonized by the Church. Friday the 13th was the most sacred of her days, and all Fridays were sacred to this goddess.
Freya, as the primary goddess of the Norse pantheon, was widely worshipped throughout the Germanic world. She was especially important to women, and to the practice of magic and prophecy. Like Odin she was associated with the reading of runes (however it was Odin who hung from Yggdrasil to obtain them). In the myths it is said that Freya taught the practice of seidr to the gods. Seidr is a form of magic that allowed practitioners to know and change the future. Knowledge of this type of magic made Freya more than a goddess of love, lust, and beauty. She was also the goddess of witchcraft in the Norse myths!
Her role governing both life and death, fertility and war, made her an incredibly powerful and complex goddess. She is often said to have trained volvas (the Norse witches) in her sacred magics. She is likewise sometimes associated with the valkyries (those famed warrior women), and would be worshipped by shield maidens, who joined men in battle!
It is for all of these reasons that Freya was a goddess the Church had a hard time preventing women from worshipping. Apparently given her associations with love and lust, the church could not saint her (as was often done with old pagan gods and goddesses). Instead it was decided to try and demonize Freya as a goddess. This is where much of the more outrageous sounding information associated with her is largely rooted. Some of the stories that paint her as merely a sex charged gold digger (for want of better terms) were written during the period of Christian conversion of the areas where she was worshipped widely!
That brings us to the reason that Friday the 13th is now considered unlucky. As a day of the goddess, and Freya’s sacred day, the Church spread rumors of it being a day of ill omens and bad luck! This is both an interesting piece of history, and a truly tragic way of trying to stop goddess worship. As a woman, I proudly adore this day, and have ever since I was young. I loved Friday the 13th as special before I ever knew of its true origins, and never got a bad feeling from it!
Thank you for joining me, here at White Rose of Avalon for Femme Fatale Friday. I hope that this special Femme Fatale Friday post has encouraged some of you not to fear Friday the 13th! Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
Note on Image: The image at the top of the post is Freya and the Necklace by James Doyle Penrose. I found the image on mythopedia.com.
- Mythology by Edith Hamilton
- Bulfinch’s Mythology by Thomas Bulfinch
- Freyja, Lady, Vanadis by Patricia M. Lafayllve
- Fire Jewel: A Devotional for Freyja compiled by Gefion Vanirdottir