In honor of Friday, her name day, I would like to dedicated today’s blog post to the high queen of the Norse pantheon, Frigga. Frigga, or Frigg, is the wife of Odin, and she is associated with both fertility and prophecy. In some images she is seen weaving the clouds from her spindle. She lives in Fensalir, which is a fen, bog, or spring, and this aspect of her character leads us to a deeper understanding of both her fertility aspect and her relationship to the chthonic feminine.
Frigga has become an important character for me these past months, as she holds a crucial role in my current novel, as does her handmaiden Fulla, seen close by in many images of Frigga, always holding a small box. The plot of my novel revolves around this box.
Frigga is also considered by some scholars to be the alternate name for the goddess Saga. Saga is also described as living in a bog or fen, and she is often shown drinking with Odin, a drink meant to maintain immortality. It is from Saga that we get the word saga, a word that means a long story of heroic achievement. In some images Odin is seen dictating a story to Saga/Frigga, and the origins of the word lie in that particularly Norse style of tale, full of battles and bravery.
Frigga’s most well-known story revolves around the death of her son Baldr. Baldr is the god of light, purity, and beauty. He is similar to Apollo from the Greek tradition in many aspects. Baldr’s death starts a chain of events which leads to Ragnarok, the end of the world as described in Norse myth.
Frigga’s dreams prophesy Baldr’s death. Frigga is so distraught at the thought of her son’s death that she travels the world, asking every plant, stone and animal to keep Baldr safe. All agree, but Frigga forgets to ask the seemingly-harmless mistletoe for its promise. Of course, as must happen in myth, it is the mistletoe that is his downfall.
Loki is behind the death, of course. More on him later. The gods are having fun trying to kill Baldr in any way they could, knowing that nothing could harm him. Loki creates an arrow out of mistletoe and gives it to the blind god Hoor, who naturally throws it at Baldr, killing him.
Frigga’s grief in this moment is real and palpable. She had done everything she could think of to prevent Baldr’s death, but, like with the Greeks, what was prophesied must come to be.