Calling in Freyja - Boldness, Way-faring, Passion
Freyja is such a powerful feminine archetype. She holds and protects many aspects of the healed and fully embodied feminine, and her qualities, energy and stories can help us learn to embody them more fully within ourselves. She holds the magic and patterns of the straight-backed, ferocious shield maiden, ready to leap into any fray, as well as the soft and sensual woman, able to allow herself to fully surrender to love without compromising or sacrificing any aspect of herself. For me, Freyja is who I call upon her when I am in need of help maintaining healthy boundaries, when I really need to back myself in a belief or dispute, or when i am at risk of folding my needs or desires to make someone else happy or ok at my expense. She sets me straight (I literally feel myself standing taller after calling her!) and reminds me of the hows and whys I need to follow my heart and mind. She is also a close sister when I am struggling to step into an element of my sexuality, or if I'm feeling shy in my body, and gives me the confidence and self-belief to strongly soften into myself. Many times she has empowered me to clear a path to find myself, and then protect and defend myself with everything I have.
In this article we'll discover who she was and is in Mythology, how her energy and no-shit-taken attitude translates into a lesson for our modern lives, the deep magics she nurtures and protects, and one of her most famous stories. There is also a ritual at the end for you to use and amend as you like to help you call on her, get to know her, and learn to embody her many beautiful and powerful aspects.
WHO IS FREYJA?
A Norse Goddess of many attributes and talents, Freyja is one of the most prominent divinities of the Norse Pantheon and Northern Shamanic culture. She has been known to represent spring time and fertility, yet also takes part in guiding half of the fallen heroes of the battlefield to her hall, Folkvangr, with the help of her all-female band of warrior maidens, the Valkyries. She is bold, ferocious, discerning, and utterly courageous and strong. Freyja crossed is not an aspect anyone would care to be on the receiving end of. She is a perfect representation of how well-channeled anger is an UBER important tool for us to maintain boundaries and protect our sovereignty, and not something to be stifled or packed away for another time (all I can hear in my head right now is a line from one of my favourite Rx Bandits songs - 'you wanna be the storm then be the storm!').
She is passionate and a fierce and sensual lover, fully within and of her own sexuality, and always chooses her partners with full willingness and enthusiasm. However this is an aspect of Freyja that can be misinterpreted - goddess of love and sexuality she may be, but never has there been a less frivolous deity. She demands to be met with full presence, openness, and an unrelenting, piercing honesty that may feel like both blessing and curse. Her wisdom and gifts she shares, but never lightly, and never without the respect for power it demands. If you have love in your heart, a no-bullshit attitude, and are ready for the strength of backbone needed to stand tall and proud in your authentic self, it will be nothing but a blessing. She is also associated very strongly with abundance, wealth and fertility of both land and body, and is said to have wept tears of amber and gold in grief over the disappearance of her husband. One of her most famous stories depicts her journey to acquiring the most beautiful jewellery in the world, the Brisingamen, from four dwarves, said to represent each of the four elements and directions.
As both warrior and lover, she can also be seen as an example of the divine union between polarities within the self, be they masculine and feminine, warmth and coolness, open and closed, dark and light. She exists in the fullness of her shadow, as much as in her own light, and that is what I adore about her. Sacred union is shown again in her marriage to Odin, All-father God of the sky and heavens. She encourages a depth of self-understanding beyond the typical archetypal structures and categories, and has both the strength and the softness to witness herself and others alike - and what a potent gift that is. As she carries the ability to shape-shift and way-fare (described in more detail shortly), she is also a patron deity for astral travellers and journeyers, prophetesses and priestesses, and is the holder of many powerful magics and mysteries. It is a beautiful combination of being able to offer total presence, a memory that serves to protect and inform, and a casting out into the future to write the maps of her journeys and stories yet to come.
SEIDR, WAY-FARER, SHAPE-SHIFTER, RUNE CASTER
If old magics and ways make your heart sing, then you will want to get to know Freyja better. She is a beacon of light and example to all us witches trying to reclaim our power and confidence in our magics. The holder of many deep, old magics, and particularly women's mystical practices, Freyja's magic and skills are known collectively as Seidr, and were practised by priestesses (female shaman) known as Volva. A Volva would enter a trance like state in order to deliver prophecy or to divine the future. They are also said to have journeyed and battled in animal form, cast spells and curses, and performed weather-working and healing, as seen in many of the shamanic practices of other indigenous cultures.
Freyja is known as a shape-shifter, and was often depicted flying through the air in her cloak of falcon feathers, enabling her to change her form and travel to and through other worlds. This portrays one of her key strengths - adaptability. It is also why she is though of as a matron goddess of what we now refer to as Astral Travel, which has also been known as way-faring, journeying or pathwalking. To me this shows that finding her way and navigation is an important part of her power, and complements the backbone like strength she epitomises, that doggedness sometimes needed to find and walk difficult paths.
Freyja is very much associated with the knowledge of the runes and their casting, and the first Aett (group of 8 runes) is known as belonging to her. The rune most commonly associated with her is Fehu, which represents abundance, wealth, cattle/the sow, exchange, mobility and luck.
As she is the keeper of so many prophetic magics, Freyja can be called upon when you are working with trance states and journeying, astral travel and prophetic dreams, divination and clear seeing. I also find her a potent ally to call upon if I start to feel shy or insecure in my magic and medicine weaving, particularly in public - she helps me stand tall and proud in the fullness of who I am and how that manifests in the world.
LESSONS ON FIERCELY DEFENDING & STANDING IN YOUR TRUTH
Freyja holds a unique medicine. She holds a soft, sensual heart, as well as the ability to fearlessly defend herself, and fight for what she needs, desires and believes in. To effortlessly stand in her truth, know her heart and mind clearly, and not flinch if the time comes to defend it. To be able to embody compassion while not shying away from wielding the anger or self-respect needed to defend ourselves is largely a lost art. Particularly for women in Western culture anger is unattractive, and usually means we've somehow worked ourselves up to become too sensitive or overly emotional. Honouring our feelings and boundaries makes us needy, bitchy or self-centered. We have been taught to honour the needs of others before the needs of ourselves, making self-respect a luxury we often can't afford.
And as if there aren't challenges enough in our modern day to day lives, we're usually so busy trying to keep our family, friends, work colleagues and society happy by walking our designated paths, that we fail to see the unrealistic expectations that drive us. You know, to be the perfect mother, diplomatic sister, perky-titted partner, perpetually emotionally available friend, good-lookin smart-talkin hard-workin sexy but not-too-sexual-woman and who knows what else to god only knows who cares. Hells, that was exhausting just typing it, led alone attempting it. Sound familiar? If so, Freyja is here to deliver you a very important, delicate, well thought out message.
Fuck that shit.
Yep, straight from the goddesses mouth. Fuck. That. Shit. In our world, to be in touch with the authentic self that resides beneath the conditioning, the destructive beliefs, the patterns of should and can't and don't know how, is an act of defiance. It is an act of defiance even just to find this self beneath all the layers of years of not knowing, of distrusting and gainsaying, of deferring to someone or something else that knows better how to decide for you. It is an act of defiance to love your body, respect your desires, follow your passions, maintain your boundaries. I can think of almost no better deity than Freyja to represent the sheer strength of self and warrior spirit sometimes needed to protect who we are, and speak our truths unabashedly. But what makes her so powerful, is that she is also a fierce lover, and has an open heartedness that allows her to see and feel into her own sense of rightness. She is adaptable and fearless, as capable of laying down her weapons for love as she is fighting toe to toe for a cause she knows deep in her bones to be right.
For me, the Queen of Swords from the Tarot comes to mind when I think of Freyja, often depicted on her throne, one hand holding her sword, and the other hand extended out to receive, ready to hear with her mind and her heart. She can then use her razor sharp discernment and deep intuitive abilities to decide how to speak her truth, and whether the sword is needed to cut the binding ties, protect herself and/or her loved ones, or if her weapon needs to be lain down, and the second hand also to be extended for mutual exchange and trade. This is a deep lesson of the heart and throat chakra, and the way in which good boundaries, discernment and authenticity can be woven together for a stronger sense of self, better relationships, and deeper clarity. She is also often associated with The High Priestess, which is representative of the intuitive feminine spirit, of women's mysteries and knowing thyself. These archetypes and energies combined are extraordinarily powerful, and Freyja teaches us how to harmonically embody these qualities, and to truly sit on throne of our sovereign selves. You may want to do some of your own reading and exploring of these two figures of the tarot for a deeper understanding of Freyja's themes and magic.
FREYJA, THE BRISINGAMEN & AN ANCIENT ACCOUNT OF SLUT-SHAMING
How is THAT title for a provocative melding of the ancient and the modern? It's both hilarious and tragic when you start to realise that the tales of woe we are living now are virtually identical to those of the distant past, and can also be stemmed back to the same poison. The condemning of women for fulfilling their most basic sexual and intuitive needs isn't new, and thanks to Christianity introducing themselves all over the traditional Norse pagan beliefs, we can see it in one of her stories. To illustrate, let's look at this very old medicine story of Freyja's - that of her acquisition of the Brisingamen, which translates almost literally to the fiery/amber/golden necklace.
Freyja was wandering, as earthly inclined goddesses are clearly wont to do, when she came upon a cave lit by fire within. Inside dwelled The Brisings -four dwarves renowned for their incredible skill in smithing and metal working. It was then that she spied their most recent creation, the Brisingamen. It was a necklace so beautiful and powerful that there was no comparison in any of the nine worlds. It was made of gold and amber that gleamed and glowed with a life of it's own. Upon seeing this work of art, Freyja knew she must make it hers. When attempting to pay the dwarves for their creation, they would not accept her gold or silver, and, recognising her as the goddess of love, instead demanded she spend the night with each of them in turn. This agreement she willingly accepted, and after four nights, the Brisingamen was hers.
Now, there are other parts to this story about Loki stealing it and Odin demanding certain tasks to be fulfilled to ensure it's return to her, but they are not of any relevance here, so I haven't included it. What is interesting, is the way the story changed when religion and patriarchy started retelling these stories. Rather than a sovereign woman who had made a choice for herself, Freyja becomes a shameful harlot, debasing herself for material gain. This is particularly interesting, when we bring in some of the potential deeper meanings beneath the story itself. In one way of looking at it, Freyja connects intimately with the four dwarves - who are representative of the four elements and/or four directions - for a prize the likes of which she has never become so enamoured for. She has spent time learning the way of these earthly elements and directions, paying them homage, love and attention, and she is awarded her what was promised her. Instead she is vilified and judged for her promiscuous, immoral behaviour. Suddenly the goddess of love and passion is too sexual, and labelled a slut.
We can speculate as to whether she wanted the Brisingamen for beauties sake, or that it represented some deeper enlightenment or understanding, or perhaps that it is even a physical manifestation of the passion and magic that she is known to embody. Either way, to me this story illustrates a woman knowing herself so well that she can manifest whatever the hell she pleases by being intimate with the workings and turnings of the earth. And this is exactly the kind of embodiment and feminine potency that we can be too scared, too self-conscious, or too self-doubting to tap into and unleash, thanks to our cultural structure and understanding of women's roles and acceptable identities. Freyja eats this bullshit for breakfast. She don't abide no chumps peddling body-shame, menstrual taboo, or any other lady-power depriving outfit or power structure! She is a powerful ally for anyone stepping into the fullness of their sexuality, sexual autonomy, and full feminine power, whatever that means to them, and will defend you from these divisive structure that have been built for us (not by us) both internally and externally.
Calling freyja - a ritual
Calling on Freyja is to call on strength, love, beauty, fertility, boldness, abundance, sensuality, visions & prophecy. As a matron goddess of shape-shifting and astral travel, she is particularly powerful if these are your aims.
Before you get started, you may wish to do the following:
- Write down any specific intentions, questions or attributes you wish to focus on
- Make yourself comfortable, have your journal on hand, put your phone on silent
- Create some sacred space such as an altar, light some candles or incense, cast a circle, create a crystal grid
- Spend some time grounding yourself, meditating, or taking some deep breaths for centering
- If you have any of the Freyja Goddess Essence products, use them now
Remember when working with energies such as these to always assume respect, and to listen carefully for your answers. Not everything is given freely, and that is as it should be. You can alter this ritual and it’s words in any way that feels good to you.
When you are comfortable and grounded, start by making the following statement, with your own name and ancestors/guides.
"I am Rebecca Holly, daughter of _____, Granddaughter of _____. I am fully present, and of an open mind and a clear heart. I ask that my guides and helpers in spirit be present with me now."
With your arms loosely by your sides, palms facing in front of you if standing, or resting on your legs if seated, straighten your back and tilt up your chin. Feel into your spine and back muscles, roll your shoulders around, shift the weight in your hips from side to side. In your minds eye, take yourself to a safe place in nature you love, and prepare to call on Freyja to meet you there. When you are ready, speak the following words out loud:
"I call upon Freyja - Valkyrie, Shield Maiden, Goddess of Love & Beauty, Falcon-cloaked Lady of the Sky, Warrior & Lover, the Bold and Embodied Feminine. I am here to stand strong and tall and true, to speak loud and proud and fierce. I ask Freyja to be present with me now, and ask for her blessing of ______ (strength, prophecy, love etc). With fierce love and trust in my heart, I am here to _______ (find clarity / gather courage / embody my sexuality / other intention or desire). I promise that with the gift of your presence and strength, I will act with integrity, self-honesty and compassion for myself and others."
Take some time to sit with these words. In your minds eye, imagine that what you have asked for has been gifted to you in the form of a symbol, gift, piece of clothing, a crystal, a plant etc. This item is a link between you, and the medicine you have called upon. You can use it to invoke this energy at any time. If you have a particular question to ask Freyja or something to add, do so now.
When you are finished, thank her and any guides that were present with you, and say your goodbyes with your hands over your heart. Take a little time to ground yourself and write down anything you’d like to remember. Close your circle, and consider having something little to eat or drink to help you ground back in. You have completed the ritual.
AN INVOKATION FOR Way-finding
As a way-farer and shape-changer, Freyja is a powerful deity to call upon when you have lost your way, or need to get your bearings and reclaim a sense of direction and purpose. She did, after all, intimately acquaint herself with the four directions! There is also a powerful symbol call the 'Vegvisir' (veg-vee-seer), as pictured below, which is said to "show the path forward in any weather". Combining these powerful magics can help us navigate turbulent weather within us or without us. It is also something that could be used when journeying with a drum or during meditation, or other similar adventures out of body.
VEGVISIR TALISMAN ritual
Start by grounding yourself and making sone sacred space (and time). You may like to refer to the recommendations from the ritual above before you get started.
Find something to draw on and draw with - I recommend using a marker and a smallish flat stone, but you can use paper and a pen or whatever you have on hand. You could even get totally fancy and creative and burn it into a piece of wood, or carve it in a more traditional runic style.
Ground yourself and mark that you are about to enter a sacred ritual in anyway you like, such as lighting a candle or incense, calling the elements and/or directions etc. When you are settled and feeling clear, starting marking the Vegvisir symbol into your stone/paper/etc. As you do so, repeat the following phrase as often as feels right:
"While I carry this sign, may my way be clear and my path certain. I see the way forward, and any clouds of uncertainty or doubt part before me."
When you are finished, spend a little time sitting with your talisman held on your chest, so it can attune to your heart beat and breath. You may also want to anoint it with a special oil, take it to meet the sea, or leave it under the full moon. To connect it to you deeply, you could consider adding a small drop of you blood/menstrual blood to it. Keep in mind that this would make it very precious and powerful, and should be looked after with great care.
You have completed the ritual. You may want to keep it in on your person via a special pouch or medicine bag, wearing it as a necklace, or tucking it inside your bra.
If you are ever to lose your talisman, repeat the following blessing of parting:
"My talisman is returned to the earth, and is no longer bound to me. I release it's magics with love and gratitude, and give thanks for its time with me. So shall it be."
freyja goddess essence range
Conway, D.J, 1995, Falcon Feather & Valkyrie Sword
Dintino, T, 2016, 'Freyja and the Dwarves of the Four Directions', http://ritualgoddess.com/freyja-and-the-dwarves-of-the-four-directions/
Flowers, S, Weise, S, 1989, The Galdrabók - An Icelandic Grimoire
Kaldera, R, 2010, Northern Shamanism, http://www.northernshamanism.org/welcome.html
Paxon, D, 1993, 'The Return of the Völva: Recovering the Practice of Seiðr', https://seidh.org/articles/seidh/