Freyja, Goddess of Love and War

Freya, Frejya, Freyia, Frøya, Frøjya, Freia

Freyja is a Norse goddess of love, beauty, fertility, crops, war, wealth, divination and magic.  Famed for her great beauty, with blue eyes and golden hair, she has been referred to as ‘The Fair One’.  She was the symbol of sensuality and was called upon in matters of love.  Freyja was also known as ‘The Lady’ (Frau), ‘The Seer’, ‘Great Goddess’, ‘The Sage’, ‘Freyja of the Black Swordhand’, ‘Queen of the Valkyries’ and ‘Mistress of the Slain’.

Freyja is the daughter of the God of Wealth, Njord (Njörðr), and even though her mother’s identity is generally unknown, some say it was Njord’s sister or the earth goddess Nerthus.  She is the twin sister of Frey/Freyr (‘The Lord’) and together they were the chief gods of the Vanir.

File:Ring5.jpg

The Vanir were a group of gods and goddesses associated with the earth and sea, nature, fertility, sorcery and magic, and unseen realms.  The other group of gods were the Aesir (Æsir), the gods of the sky and intellect, order and justice, power, wisdom and war.

The Aesir and Vanir went to war, but eventually called a truce.  As a sign of peace and sacrifice, it was decided that Njord and Freyr would live with the Aesir in Asgard.  Freyja left Vanaheim to join her father and brother, settling in Folkvang (Fólkvangr) in her palace Sessrúmnir (“the many seated”).

Freyja married the god Od (Óðr), who many argue is same god as Odin. This confusion has also lead to suggestions that Frigg and Freyja are the same Goddess as both were married to Odin.  Her two daughters by Od are Gersimi/Gersemi and Hnossi/ Hnoss (‘Jewel’ and ‘Treasure’).

Freyja and Her Chariot

Freyja was the leader of the Valkyries, the Choosers of the Slain.  The Valkyries were demi-goddesses who would ride over battlefields on winged horses, selecting noble warriors killed in battle.  The souls of the slain warriors were divided between her and Odin; half go to feast in Odin’s hall in Valhalla, while the rest would go to Freyja’s hall Sessrumnir.  Women warriors who were slain, as well as the wives and lovers of the male warriors, were also invited to go to Freyja’s hall.

Freyja wore a beautiful gold and amber necklace named Brísingamen (“fire jewellery”).  She received it from four dwarf brothers who traded the necklace in return for a night each with Freyja.

Freyja and the Dwarves

Freyja was associated with magic and divination, particularly Seidr, a type of trance magic which includes shape shifting and astral projection.  She taught the magic of Seidr to Odin in exchange for his knowledge of the Runes.  She also had a magical cloak of falcon feathers which allowed her to shape shift into a bird to travel into other realms. This cloak was often borrowed by Loki when he still worked to save the Aesir.

While Freyja was thought to have had many affairs, she loved her husband deeply.  Od would go on long travels, and when he went missing she cried tears of red gold.  She would transform herself into a bird using her magical cloak and set out to find him.  Freyja had many different names she adopted when looking for Od amongst the strange people of other worlds.

File:Freyja riding with her cats (1874).jpg

Her sacred symbols include cats, boars, horses, ravens, the full moon, swords, daisies and primrose, and amber.  She rode her gold-bristled boar Hildisvíni (“battle swine”) into battle.  It is said that also she rode a chariot driven by two large blue cats, given to her by Thor.

Cats hold even more meaning as they are thought to travel to her lands in Folkvang after death, spending their afterlives frolicking in the fields around Sessrumnir.  Cats were also thought to carry messages from Freyja (when they weren’t stopping for cat-naps).

Goddess Guide – Freyja
Pantheon – Freyja
Goddess Freyja
Thalia Took – Freyja
Wiki – Freyja

© A Year And A Day (2013)

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Bast, Goddess of Cats

Bast (Pagan Blog Project)
Bastet, Baast, Baset, Ubasti, Pasch, Pasht, Ailuros, Aelurus

  • A popular ancient Egyptian feline goddess.
  • Patron of the sun, the moon, lions, cats, women, sex, fertility, passion and secrets.  Also associated with perfume and protective ointments.
  • Bast is also known as a war goddess, protector of the lands.

File:British Museum Egypt 101-black.jpg

  • Originally, Bast was viewed as a fierce lioness, protector goddess of Lower Egypt.  She defended the pharaoh and the male deity Ra, giving her the names Lady of the Flame and Eye of Ra.  She was also seen as the daughter of Ra.
  • Once the Egyptian cultures unified, the fierce lioness war deity Sekhmet became more dominant.  Bast was renamed Bastet and began to be associated with domesticated cats and seen as a mother deity.
  • The Greeks later associated her with the moon and children, and likened her to Artemis.

Bast - Emily Balivet

  • Bast was sometimes depicted holding a ceremonial sistrum (rattle) in one hand and an aegis in the other, the aegis usually resembling a collar or gorget embellished with a lioness head.  She is also associated with the all-seeing eye (the utchat).
  • Bast was known for her wrath, and was thought to punish the sinful and enemies of Egypt.

Bast -_Susan Seddon-Boulet

  • Cats were revered in Egypt, especially due to their connection with stopping the spread of disease by killing vermin.
  • As cats were sacred to Bast, and harming one was a great crime.
  • Although Bast was widely worshipped, the powerful city of Bubastis (Per-Bast in Egyptian, “House of Bastet”) was the centre of her cult.
  • More than 300,000 mummified cats were discovered when Bast’s temple at Bubastis/Per-Bast was excavated.

Bast

  • Call upon Bast when you feel in danger and need of protection, or when you would like to bring passion into your life.

http://www.touregypt.net/godsofegypt/bast.htm
http://www.crystalinks.com/bast.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bastet
http://spells-witchcraft.org/Cat%20Goddess.htm

© A Year And A Day (2013)

The Enchanted Cat

“The Enchanted Cat” Ellen Dugan

Witches, Pagans, and other magick-minded folks will love the dozens of charms, spells, and meditations included for working with feline power. A naming ceremony, lists of magickal cat names and correspondences, and spells and charms for your cat’s collar are just a sampling of the feline-friendly magick inside. Cat astrology, tarot, and even a discussion of feline feng shui make The Enchanted Cat a uniquely magickal exploration of our enduring fascination with the feline mystique. (Amazon)

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When I saw this book, I knew I had to have it!  As a true cat fancier (and most likely a cat in my previous life), I thought anything to do with cats must be absorbed.  This was my first Ellen Dugan book, but probably not my last.  The Introduction was cute, describing how she ‘didn’t want to write about cats’ and was planning another topic when the Goddess spoke and made her intentions known.  The book has some good chapters on cat mythology, history, folklore, as well as charms, spells and divination to do with your cat and without.  It also included a smattering of cute cat quotes, some which I’ve included below.  I found this book ok, but maybe I was expecting more.  I am definately going to try some of the spells with my own beloved grey furball, if he will let me.  I recommend this book to any true cat lovers out there who are interested in reading more about cat folklore and mythology, and trying a few magical workings with their kitty of choice.

“I have studied many philosphers and many cats.  The wisdom of cats is infinitely superior.”  Hippolyte Taine

“Thousands of years ago, cats were worshipped as gods.  Cats have never forgotten this.”  familiar saying

“Cats are a mysterious kind of folk.  There is more passing in their minds than we are aware of.” Sir Walter Scott

“A cat is nature’s beauty.” French proverb

“There are no ordinary cats.” Colette

“Time spent with cats is never wasted.” May Sarton

“You can’t own a cat.  The best you can do it be partners.” Sir Harry Swanson

“What greater gift than the love of a cat?” Charles Dickens

“Happy is the home with at least one cat.” Italian proverb

“No amount of time can erase the memory of a good cat, and no amount of masking tape can ever totally remove his fur from your couch.” Leo Dworken

“My cat knows the song in my heart and purrs it to me when my memory fails.” Unknown

“If you want to know the character of a man, find out what his cat thinks of him.” Anonymous

“People who hate cats will come back as mice in their next life.” Faith Resnick