Freyr (Old Norse Freyr, “Lord”) is one of the Vanir gods and is also counted among the Aesir gods as a hostage after the Aesir-Vanir War.
Fryer’s father is the Vanir god Njord. Freyr has been the lover of numerous goddesses and giantesses and rumoured to include his own sister, Freya. Incest seems a common practice among the Vanir deities but not the Aesir.
Freyr was one of the most widely venerated divinities amongst the pagan Norse and other Germanic peoples. The reasons are easy to understand with the well-being and prosperity dependent on his benevolence which manifested in sexual and ecological fertility, bountiful harvests, wealth, and peace. His role governing fertility is symbolised in his golden-bristled boar Gullinborsti and its enormous, erect phallus.
It shouldn’t be surprising, then, that Freyr was a frequent recipient of sacrifices at the blessing of a wedding or the celebration of a harvest. During harvest festivals, the sacrifice traditionally took the form of his favored animal, the boar.
His prominence even among the Aesir is clear in being included among the receiptients of prized dwarf-made gifts like Skíðblaðnir, a ship which always has a favorable wind and can be folded up and carried in a small bag.
Freyr dwells is Alfheim – the homeland of the elves. Freyr is never stated as a ruler of the elves and the relationship between the gods and the elves is ambiguous in many cases.
On land, Freyr travels in a chariot drawn by boars. This is another mythological feature that was reflected in historical ritual. From medieval Icelandic sources, priestesses and/or priests of Freyr traveled throughout the country on a chariot which contained a statue of the god. A similar practice occurred with the early Germanic goddess Nerthus – a Proto-Germanic form of Freyr’s father’s name, Njord.
During Ragnarok at the doom of the gods, it is Freyr and the fire giant Surt who are fated to destroy each other.
Also known as: Frey; Fro; Frothi; Frodi; Yngvi; Ing
Classification: Vanir god
Favoured people: Seafarers; lovers; brewers
Iconography: In his shrine at Uppsala, Freyr was represented as a virile man with a large, erect penis. An alternative image portrayed him as a young boy traveling across the sea. His image was often featured on armor and weapons.
Attributes: A sword that is removed independently from its scabbard and creates carnage wherever it is directed at. A ship whose sails always attract favourable winds but could be folded up and carried.
Associates Colours: Brown, gold, green.
Mounts: A chariot drawn by two boars. A massive, golden-bristled boar. A horse named Bloody Hooves.
Place of Veneration: Shrine in Uppsala, Sweden, where it continued to be a place of veneration to Freyr long after most of Scandinavia had converted to Christianity.
Associated Runes: Ehwaz, Fehu, and Ingwaz.
Offerings to Freyr: The Yule boar, or a male pig, is the annual sacrificial boar offered to Freyr in winter. Libations of fresh water, barley wine, ale, or mead.
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