Freya and Frigga

There has been a lot of confusion in the Ásatrú community about the difference or lack thereof between Freya and Frigga and their various analogues in the non-Norse Germanic dialects. In the hope of clearing up some of this confusion the following discussion is offered.


Herewith a brief table of the history of these names (note that here "j" is pronounced as our "y"):

Root *fraw- "foremost; lordly" Root *fri- "to love"
Language "Lord"
(as goddess)
Proto-Germanic *fraujan *fraujôn *frijjôn
Visigothic frauja *fraujô *friddjô
Old Norse Freyr Freya Frigg(a)
Old High German Frô Frouwa Frîja
Old English Frêa Frêo Frîge
Would be
Modern English
Frea Free Fry (cf. Fri-day,
Would be
Modern German
(cf. Fron-leichnam
"Lord's body"
= "Corpus Christi")
("woman," "Mrs.")
Frei (cf. Frei-tag,
freien "to court")

Frigg was known as the wife of Oðin and mother by him of Baldr. Among other things, she plays a significant role in the naming of the Langobards ("Long Beards"). In the fourth century her name was used in naming the sixth day of the week as a Germanic loan translation of the Latin Veneris dies ("day of Venus") which in its turn had been translated from Greek Aphrodítês hêméra ("day of Aphrodite"). From these two facts it can be gathered that the name was cultically prominent especially in the earlier centuries of Germanic history. In the later North she was upstaged by Freya.

By 1000 the name of Frigg was apparently masculinized into Fricco in Uppsala, Sweden, where it designated a god or vital force represented by a gigantic, erect penis. Adam of Bremen writes that

In this temple [at Uppsala], entirely covered with gold, there are statues of three gods, which the people worship, so arranged that the mightiest of them, Thor, occupies a throne in the middle of the chamber, while Wodan and Fricco have places on either side. He goes on to say that Wodan is the patron of war and courage, Thor that of the weather, and Fricco of peace and pleasure. This last god was invoked at weddings.

In marked contrast to the sexual repression and cultivated guilt of the Mediterranean religions, Germanic religion celebrated and even exulted in sex, both marital and extramarital. In Snorri Sturlusson's Ynglinga Saga, Oðin shares all his belongings, including Frigg, with his brothers Vili and Vé during his absence. In the Lokasenna ("Loki's Taunts"), Loki taunts her with having slept with her brothers-in-law. Saxo Grammaticus (around 1200) relates that she slept with a slave in order to get even with Oðin.

Freya, too, is known for her sexual promiscuity. In fact, she may be considered as the goddess par excellence of sexual intercourse. Although she has a husband, Ód, he is relatively unimportant; she, on the other hand, slept with all and sundry. According to the Sörla Þáttr, she even copulated with four dwarves over four successive nights in order to get her beautiful necklace, the Brísingamen.

Freya's brother, Freyr, is often thought to have also been another of her husbands. In consonance with the emphasis on sexuality in these divine siblings, a famous copper figurine from Rällinge in Sweden represents a cross-legged male figure with an erect penis, and is usually taken to be a fertility god, specifically Freyr.

Freya also had a number of shamanic characteristics, such as a cloak of falcon feathers and the fact that she took half of all of those slain in battle. (Oðin took the rest.)

Thus, if there is anything which distinguishes Ásatrú from Christianity, it is its attitude toward sex and women, as seen in the stories of the goddesses Frigg and Freya. And while these two divinities are clearly separate personalities, they show similar traits of independence and sexual uninhibitedness. Perhaps that is why the Northern European women who showed such traits in the later, Christian centuries had to be put to death as witches sexually devoted to non-Christian devils.

— Þeedrich reachable at