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Freyja and the necklace

I was thinking about how to use readings in ritual--bits of the lore, stories from mythology that underline the ritual purpose, or emphasize something in particular about the god or gods being honored.

For example, at May Day I really like the story of Freyja and the winning of Brisingamen. But just try to find a retelling that doesn't totally miss the point! They're all about the slut-shaming. Unsurprising considering that they were mostly written down post-conversion. (Although a lot of heathens do seem to embrace that--I've heard folks assume that the reason Freyja's husband Od left to wander was because of the dwarf incident, but I've not seen anything in the lore that supports that, and I have looked.)

The story of Freyja and Brisingamen is, I think, almost directly comparable with Odin's bedding of Gunnlod to win the mead of inspiration. Both used sex to gain something of great value, and while neither is exactly proud of the action (as Odin says in Havamal, "Gunnlod sat me in the golden seat, Poured me precious mead: Ill reward she had from me for that"), neither regrets it.

Brisingamen isn't just a pretty bauble. And Freyja doesn't just wear it, she wields it. The necklace is a symbol of her might, but also a tool--just as Thor's hammer is both symbol and tool. Both are items of great power.

Traditional interpretation of the myth says that Freyja slept with icky dwarves so they'd give her a pretty necklace--vain, shallow, promiscuous. What I see is that in order to gain something of incomparable value and power, she traded the only thing that could begin to compare in value and power.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
lwood
Dec. 30th, 2010 06:57 pm (UTC)
Just so--when there is a thing you want more than anything else, paying with your self's own coin will seem a fair trade.

And...there are some who think more of both Odin and Gunnlod than the sources' treatment suggests. 8-)

-- Lorrie
zydee
Dec. 30th, 2010 10:37 pm (UTC)
Thoughtfully written. I like that story too, but it's really hard to find a lot of contemporary info about it. Ah, for a time travel machine...!
brujaoscura
Dec. 31st, 2010 03:57 am (UTC)
I hear you loud and clear! I've heard slut-shaming versions myself but having..(ok this is going to sound concieted) spoken with Her- She pointed that the highest gift a person can give- is THEMSELVES- whether it is a sacrifice, and act of love, paying with one's body for something very important- not just a pretty thing to have- but something that is a VITAL thing...

I have given of myself a number of times and a number of ways- I gave my love, my physical support and care to a person who desperately needed it- and in return- I held his heart. He gave his whole unreserved love to me- I gave my heart to him.

Have I done this sexually- yes- and what I gained from it made it worth it. (please don't ask it was in ritual context)
hagazusa
Dec. 31st, 2010 10:59 am (UTC)
The story of Freyja and Brisingamen is, I think, almost directly comparable with Odin's bedding of Gunnlod to win the mead of inspiration. Both used sex to gain something of great value, and while neither is exactly proud of the action (as Odin says in Havamal, "Gunnlod sat me in the golden seat, Poured me precious mead: Ill reward she had from me for that"), neither regrets it.

Yes, this.

When Odin does it, people see him as cunning. When Freyja does it, she's slutty and demeans herself. With *dwarves*, omg! I think these interpretations reflect the interpreter's own limited vision of male and female sexuality and power relationships . . .

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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