Frigg is Freyja. I’m sure of it. I’ve been sure of it since my teens. I don’t know how I became associated with this idea among my friends. Maybe I’ve just been a bit on the vocal side. But I am associated with it, and I accept that. I’m even judgmental about people who disagree with me on this issue, and I’m okay with that too.
So you can imagine how pleased I was the other day when Jackson Crawford (my favorite Colorado cowboy but really Old Norse Specialist at University of Colorado) published a video Frigg and Freyja, where he looks at the arguments. He does say the majority position among experts is probably that the two goddesses are different in the late Norse tradition. But then he gives good arguments against it.
The essential idea is that Odin’s wife Frigg might originally have been the goddess of love and sex, as well as the domestic household goddess. Freyja, which means lady, might have been her title. Then in late Norse times, at least in some areas, she became separated into two different goddesses.
Probably the main argument is the Frigg is married to Odin (Óðinn), while Freyja is married to Óðr. These are essentially the same name. Further, both Óðinn and Óðr are noteworthy for taking long trips and being absent from their wives for long periods of time.
The elements that convinced me are more domestic.
Freyja chooses half the dead, and Odin gets the other half. To me this small detail strongly implies they are husband and wife, but makes almost no sense if they are not. In one story Odin favors the Vandals while his wife Frigg favors the Lombards (Winnilers). To me, this is an obvious sort of story in a world where they are also dividing the dead between them.
Then too, Freyja was the first practitioner of seidh magic, which she taught to Odin. Seidh was a shamanic magic that was considered unmanly (ergi), probably because it was centered on spinning. It’s easy enough to understand why Odin, that master of magic, would want to learn and use it (to predict and influence the outcome of battles), but I think not so easy to understand why Freyja would teach it to him unless she was his wife.
After Crawford published his video I thought it would be worth spending some time catching up on “current thinking” among Norse neo-pagans. I was pleased to find in one of Arith Härger’s videos (The Divine Lady Freyja) an explanation of how the goddess might have become separated into two different characters. It’s Härger’s idea that it might have facilitated conversion to Christianity if Frigg, the king’s wife and the model of domestic virtue, was analogized to the Virgin Mary, thus emphasizing the virtue of married women, while sexy Freyja was demonized.
Arith makes the point they were the same everywhere except the Norse.
I like to point to Ynglinga saga §13 as proof “Freyja alone yet lives”. What the passage really says is “Freya alone remained of the gods” (after the death of Frey).
Iain Moncrieffe believed the kings at Uppsala (Sweden) were ritual incarnations of Frey, married successively to the goddess Freyja, from whom they derived their right to the throne. Frey and Freyja were children of Njörd and his unnamed sister. (I think it’s obvious she must have been Jörd. That kind of rhyme permeates Norse genealogical myth.) If so, and I think there is some evidence centering around Brísingamen, then it seems this must have been either an earlier tradition or a regional variation. And what then of Freyja? Odin and Jörd were the parents of Thor. I’ve never been able to puzzle out whether Odin then married Jörd’s daughter Freyja or whether in some way Jörd and Frigg might be the same person, and also still have Frigg be the same person as Freyja.
- Jackson Crawford, “Frigg and Freyja“, YouTube <youtube.com> (Mar. 6, 2019), visited Mar. 23, 2019.
- Jackson Crawford, “Wagon of the Vanir“, YouTube <youtube.com> (Oct. 26, 2019), visited Oct. 27, 2019.
- Arith Härger, “The Cult of Freyr and Freyja“, YouTube <youtube.com> (May 16, 2018), visited Mar. 23, 2019.
- Arith Härger, “The Divine Lady Freyja“, YouTube <youtube.com> (May 9, 2018), visited Mar. 23, 2019.
- Arith Härger, “The Divine Lord Freyr“, YouTube <youtube.com> (May 2, 2018), visited Mar. 23, 2019.
- Arith Härger, “Frigg and Freyja are the same Goddess?“, YouTube <youtube.com> (June 27, 2018), visited Mar. 23, 2019.
- Arith Härger, “Frigg the Earth Goddess“, YouTube <youtube.com> (June 20, 2018), visited Mar. 23, 2019.
- Sir Iain Moncrieffe of that Ilk, Blood Royal (1956).
- William P. Reaves, “The Cult of Freyr and Freyja” (2008), Academia.edu <academia.edu>, visited Mar. 23, 2019.
- Snorri Sturluson, Ynglinga saga (c1225).
Revised to add links.