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Deities & Heros >> Nordic & Germanic
land spirits, anglo saxon, old norse, ancestral spirits

Frey

Author: The Troth

Copyright © 1994 by The Troth.

Son of Njord, twin brother of Freya. "Frey" is a title simply meaning "Lord"; his original name was apparently some form of Yngvi/Ing. Together with Thor, Frey was one of the best-loved gods of the Viking Age. Frey was the main god of kingship among the Swedes, whose royal family, the Ynglings, was descended from him. His holy animal was the boar, which appears several times on richly decorated helmets from the sixth century through the eighth. Frey was called on for protection in battle, for frith (fruitful peace) at home, and for good weather and gentle rains. He was, and is, often thought of as a giver of riches, whose blessing is called on for fruitfulness and growth in all fields of endeavor. His priests at Uppsala were said to ring bells and clap their hands with effeminate gestures, and it has been suggested that this cryptic reference hints at a tradition involving shamanic cross-dressing. Frey is the lord of the elves, and is especially connected with the blessings and worship given to the ancestral spirits and possibly land-spirits. His image was often shown with an enlarged phallus; like his twin sister, he is sometimes seen today as a deity of love and pleasure. Frey owns a gold boar called Gullinbursti (Gold-Bristled) on which he can ride over air and water. He once had a horse named Bloody-Hooved (perhaps having to do with his role as battle-god) and a sword, but these he gave to his man servant Skírnir (the Shining One) for winning the giant-maiden Gerd for him. At Ragnarok, he will fight Surt with a stag's antler. Old Norse Freyr or Yngvi-Freyr, Ingunar-Freyr; Anglo-Saxon Ing or Frea, Old High German Fro, Modern German (Wagnerian) Froh, Proto-Germanic *Ingwaz, also called Fro Ing (Lord Ing).