Frigga is a mighty goddess, and considered equal in power to her husband, Óðin. She is rather like the first lady of the Æsir and her name means “Beloved.” Her father is the jötunn Fjörgynn, her mother possibly Jörð, and like Óðin, she is a first generation goddess, born of the elder race of giants. Her children are the twin gods Baldr and Höðr, the gods of light and dark, and Hœnir the god who travels between Ásgard and Hel.
Frigga knows all fates, but says nothing. She is a goddess of wisdom and foreknowledge, and is the only other deity other than Óðin who is permitted to sit in the High Tower of Hliðskjálf. Thus, like him, she observes all that happens in Nine Worlds. This is how the ancients described Óðin and Frigga as being essentially omniscient. She accompanies Óðin and Ullr as they ride out during the Wild Hunt.
Frigga is attested to in the Poetic and Prose Eddas, the Second Merseburg Incantation, the Gesta Danorum, and in all of the Sagas, with particular emphasis in Heimskringla. Evidence of her may also be seen in archaeological records.
Frigga is described as having a garment of falcon feathers which allows her to fly (and always brings to mind the figure of the Sorceress from He-Man for me). Frigga’s chariot is pulled by her sacred animals, rams and sheep. She is a goddess of the atmosphere and precipitation, presiding over clouds, mist and fog, which she is said to weave from her spindle – and the rain, which is said to be the tears she weeps for the loss of her sons.
Perhaps her most famous myth is the story of her relationship with her son Baldr, and the spell she cast on all of creation. To protect Baldr, the god of peace and beauty, Frigga traveled the world taking oaths from everything in creation, that none should ever cause harm to her son. She missed mistletoe (or alternately, mistletoe wasn’t considered a threat, or was too young to make an oath) and Loki tricked this information out of her. He then tricked Höðr into murdering Baldr with a mistletoe dart.
Hel agreed to release Baldr from her realm if everything in creation would weep for him. Frigga’s tears of mourning were so plentiful, that all things cried with her – even the little mistletoe who had caused his death wept. Its white berries were said in folklore to be formed from her tears. However, Loki tricked Frigga again, and Baldr remained in Hel.
In some versions of this myth, the story of Frigga and her son Baldr are cyclical, not apocalyptic, in which Baldr dies and is reborn yearly. In this version of the tale, Frigga decrees that all must promise a kiss under the mistletoe, to commemorate the event and the power of love to survive even death.
Saxo Grammiticus conflates Frigga with Freyja, and relays a story of how Ollerus (Ullr) and her have an affair. Although he is not the last to compare Frigga and Freya, most modern Norse pagans distinguish them, with Frigga as a goddess of fidelity and marriage, and Freya a goddess of a freer, wilder love.
Thoughts on Frigga
Frigga is particularly motherly, and many modern heathens call her the All-Mother and revere her as the mother goddess of the tradition. She is an Æsir, and although her surviving stories tell of no direct warrior aspects that we know of, it may be assumed that she can kick ass with the rest of them.
Frigga’s particular might is her power to foresee events, strategize, protect and ward. “Protectress” is one of her epithets and like Thor, she is thought a guardian of women and children. In the lore, Frigga blesses with spells of protection men who would fight in her name, dramatically tipping the scales of battle. The linden is sacred to her, and was the wood used for Germanic shields to invoke her blessings.
Frigga is strongly associated with spinning and weaving, as well as with the Nornir. Some modern heathens have speculated that Frigga may be a Norn, as there were said to be many, beyond the three who guard the Well of Urðr. Like Norns, Frigga protects and watches over babies, children and mothers. Frigga is also strongly associated with the dísir, the female elves – ancestors, aunts and grandmothers of any family. She is seen by some modern heathens as the leader of, or first of the dísir, in the same way that Freyr is the lord of the Alfar.
As with her potent husband, moody weather is a sign of her presence. At the same time, clouds which part for a starry sky are a sign of Frigga, and can be likened to her handmaid Syn, who opens and closes the curtains of her lady’s personal chambers. Frigga’s sacred places in Miðgarðr are wetlands, marshes, swamps, ponds and other places of water that teem with life: cradles of life, places naturally associated with mother energy. Her own heavenly hall, Fensalir, is a watery abode within the fens of Ásgard. All water fowl are hers, including herons, cranes, osprey, ducks, swans, and especially geese. It is from Frigga that we get our beloved character Mother Goose, who weaves cautionary tales, meant to inform and protect children.
Frigga is a goddess of all societal relationships, and her myths and stories highlight inter-dependence, companionship, social contracts and community involvement. Frigga is attended by twelve ladies in waiting (or they may be aspects of her influence, the lore is conflicting) called her Handmaidens. While they are often goddesses in their own right, they can be sent by Frigga to handle certain situations when she is called upon. These are the things that they represent and help with:
Sága – all things literary: research, writing, and history, as well as remembering things.
Eir – the divine physician of Northern tradition, she helps with the healing of body and mind, including addictions.
Gefjion – help with teenage girls, independence, and entrepreneurial ventures, especially concerning women. Gefjion with her plow is basically the “We Can Do It!” goddess.
Fulla – help with financial abundance and female friendships.
Sjöfn – help with sibling and family relations.
Lofn – she blesses lesbian, bisexual and queer women, and all same-sex relationships, or any adult, consensual relationship that may be forbidden by family or community.
Var – helps with weddings, commitment, and long-term relationship arrangements, such as living together. She keeps score of the oaths mortals break.
Vör – help with intuition and spiritual vision.
Syn – help with interpersonal and physical boundaries.
Hlín – who Frigga likely sends for protection, and who especially helps for the protection of children.
Snotra – help with social skills and social occasions, from hostessing family dinners, having fun at a party, or coordinating coporate events.
Gná – help with communication, messages, listening, and perhaps all things social media.
Frigga bears a striking resemblance to the Celtic weaver-goddess of fate, Arianrhod. Indeed, both goddesses are indicated as star goddesses, represented by the constellations Orion’s Belt (or “Frigga’s Distaff”) and the Northern Crown (or “Caer Arianrhod”) respectively. Both goddess are associated with the giving of names and titles, conveying authority and adult social power.
Her holy day is “Mother’s Night,” which has been absorbed as Christmas Eve, but in earlier times was the eve of the Winter Solstice. Mother’s Night was an auspicious night for oracles to be cast, as Frigga was also thought to sit at her spindle, weaving the destinies of men and gods alike.
With the arrival of Christanity, her worship was diverted to the Virgin Mary and St. Lucy/Lucia, who’s holy day is December 13. Images of a blonde, Nordic Madonna, in Frigga’s traditional colours (corn flower blue and white) seem like Frigga in Mary-drag.
Signs and Symbols
Water-wading birds, sheep, cows, and falcons. Wetlands, cattails, clouds and mist. Spinning and weaving, fabric and textiles, house keys. Winter Solstice and Christmas Eve. Midwives and mothers. Birch and linden trees. The runes Bjarkan and Peorð.
Frig, Frija, Perchte, Berchet, Frau Holda, Frau Gode, Frige, and Mother Goose!