Freyja Lore From Snorri Sturluson's Edda
translated by Anthony Faulkes
Niord of Noatun had afterward two children. The son was called Freyr and the daughter Freyia. They were beautiful in appearence and mighty. Freyr is the most glorious of the Æsir. He is ruler of rain and sunshine and thus of the produce of the earth, and it is good to pray to him for prosperity and peace. He also rules over the wealth of men. Anf Freyia is the most glorious of the Asyniur. She has a dwelling in heaven called Folkvangar, and whenever she rides into battle she gets half the slain. The other half Odin. It says here:
There is a place called Folkvang, and there Freyia is in
charge of allotting seats in the hall. Half the slain she
chooses each day, and half has Odin.
Sessrumnir, her hall, it is large and beautiful. And when she travels she drives two cats and sits in a chariot. She is the most approachable one for people to pray to, and from her name is derived the honorific title whereby noble ladies are called frovur [noble ladies]. She was very fond of love songs. It is good to pray to her concerning love affairs.
In answer to 'Who are the Asyniur?'
Freyia is highest in rank next to Frigg. She was married to someone called Od. Hnoss is the name of their daughter. She is so beautiful that from her name whatever is beautiful and precious is called hnossir [treasures]. Od went off on long travels, and Freyia stayed behind weeping, and her tears are red gold. Freyia has many names, and the reason for this is that she adopted various names when she was travelling among strange peoples looking for Od. She is called Mardoll and Horn, Gefn, Syr. Freyia owned the Brisings' necklace. She is known as Lady of the Vanir.
Here begins the story of the building of Asgard
It was right at the beginning of the gods' settlement, when the gods had established Midgard and built Val-hall, there came a certain builder and offered to build them them a fortification in three seasons so good that it would be reliable and secure against mountain-giants and frost giants even though they should come in over Midgard. And he stipulated as his payment that he should get Freyia as his wife, and he wished to have the sun and moon. Then the Æsir went into discussion and held a conference, and this bargain was made with the builder that he should get what he demanded if he managed to build the fortification in one winter, but on the first day of summer if there was anything unfinished in the fortification then he should forfeit his payment. He was to receive from no man help with the work. And when they told him these terms, then he asked that they should permit him to have the help of his stallion called Svadilfæri. And it was Loki that was responsible for this being granted him. [...] And as winter passed the building of the fortification advanced rapidly and it was so high and strong that it could not be stormed. And when summer was three days away then he had almost got round to the entrance of the fortification. Then the gods took their places on their judgement seats and tried to think of what to do and asked each other who had been responsible for the decision to marry Freyia into Giantland and to spoil the sky and heaven by taking away the sun and the moon and giving them to giants. And there was agreement among them all that he must have been responsible for this decision who is responsible for most evil, Loki Laufeyiarson, and declared he would deserve an evil death if he did not find a scheme whereby the builder would forfeit his payment. [Loki turns himself into a mare to distract the builder's stallion from work. The builder is overcome by "giant rage" and the gods recognise him as a mountain-giant and send Thor to bash his head in. Loki gives birth to a foal, Sleipnir.]
At Baldr's Funeral
This burning was attended by beings of many different kinds: firstly to tell of Odin, that with him went Frigg and valkyries and his ravens, while Freyr drove in a chariot with a boar called Gullinbursti or Slidrugtanni. But Heimdall rode a horse called Gulltopp and Freya her cats.
Then Loki was arrested and brought to the parliament and he was threatened with death or torture. Being filled with terror, he said he would go in search of Idunn in Giantland if Freyia would lend him a falcon shape of hers. And when he got the falcon shape he flew north to Giantland.
How shall Heimdall be referred to? By calling him son of nine mothers, guardian of the gods, as was written above, or the white As, Loki's enemy, recoverer of Freyia's necklace. [...] He is also the visitor to Vagasker and Singastein; on that occassion he contended with Loki for the Brisingamen.
Hrungnir was in such a great giant fury that the first thing he knew was that he had rushed in through the As-gates. And when he got to the hall doors, Æsir invited him in for a drink. Then the goblets that Thor normally drank out of were brought out, and Hrungnir drained each one. And when he became drunk there was no lack of big words: he said he was going to remove Val-hall and take it to giantland, but bury Asgard and kill all the gods, except that he was going to take Freyia and Sif home with him, and Freyia was the only one then who dared to bring him drink, and he declared he was going to drink all the Æsir's ale. And when the Æsir got tired of his boasting they invoked the name of Thor. Immediately Thor entered the hall with hammer raised up and in great anger and asked who was responsible for the cunning giant's being there drinking, and who had guarenteed Hrungnir safety while he was in Val-hall and why Freyia should be serving him drink as if at the Æsir's banquet. [Needless to say, Thor ends up shattering Hrungnir's skull with his hammer.]
How shall Freyia be referred to? By calling her daughter of Njord, sister of Freyr, wife of Od, mother of Hnoss, possessor of the fallen slain and of Sessrummnir and tom-cats, of Brisingamen, Van-deity, Van-lady, fair-tear deity.
How shall gold be referred to? By calling it Æir's fire and Glasir's foliage, Sif's hair, Fulla's snood, Freyia's weeping...
Gold is called Freyia's weeping, as was said above. Skuli Thorsteinsson said this: 'Many a death-flame- [sword-] damage- [battle-] challenger [warrior] got the more Freyia's tears in the morning where we felled each other. We were there.'
And as Einar Skulason said: 'With Mardoll's [Freyia's] weeping lying between the grooves [inlaid] we carry the damager [axe] of Gaut's [Odin's] mighty gate [shield], bulging with valley-trout's [serpent's] lair [gold, on which serpents lie]'.
And in this poem Einar has further referred to Freyia by calling her Hnoss's mother or Odd's wife; thus it says here: 'The strong ice [axe] of Rodi's roof [shield] is not the worse for Od's bedfellow's [Freyia's] eye-rain [tears]. With such actions [gifts] may the king reach old age.'
And also: 'I am able to possess Horn's [Freyia's] gold-wrapped glorious child [Hnoss; hnoss=treasure]. Ocean's fire [gold] rests on shield's damager [axe]. Freyr's niece [Hnoss] bears her mother's eyelash-rain [tears]. Battle-swan's [raven's] feeder [warrior] granted me Frodi's servants' [Fenia and Menia's] seed [gold].
Here it is also implied that Freyia can be referred to by calling her Freyr's sister. And also: 'The ruler's helpful protection was all offered to me. This was close to the sea-hall. I praise highly this child of Niord's daughter [Hnoss].'
Here she is called Niord's daughter. And also: 'The battle-gallant urger [warrior] of Valfud's [Odin's] assembly [battle] who achieves doughtiness gave me a mighty Van-bride's [Freyia's] daughter [Hnoss]. The powerful controller of sword-meetings [battles] led Gefn's [Freyia's] maid to the poet's [my] bed covered with Gautrek's swan's [ships'] road [sea] embers [fire, gold].' Here she is called Gefn and Van-bride. It is normal to qualify weeping by any of the names for Freyia, and to call gold that, and these kennings are varied in many ways, calling it hail or rain or storm or drops or showers or cascades of her eyes or cheeks or jowls or eyelashes or eyelids.
Snorri also includes Freyia in three lists of Asyniur