During the month of December I worked with the Norse Goddess Freyja, in the company of the Teaching Team for CloudCatcher WitchCamp 2013. It was a month of overwhelm. Parts of Freyja’s story that especially interest me include her – transition status – how she moves between the older and new pantheons of Norse Gods (via the time-honoured method of trading class, marriage) and how she endeavors to maintain her links with the earthier, more embodied tradition she originally belonged to. I had quite an intellectual approach to her before I began this work.
The minute we began working with Freyja, I was swamped by emotion. I did have a lot going on in my life, that overlapped, certainly, with some of Freyja’s story; but this never seems to be entirely co-incidental, and I had to believe that what I was experiencing was related, in various ways, to Freyja; as well as to the stories of my own life playing out. I felt I was drowning in Freyja; that I could not even get my head up above the surface long enough to take a look at her; it was all internal, all experience, and the experience was so vast and so overwhelming all I could do was pant through it, like that breath you are supposed to use when giving birth, that little panting breath that keeps you so focused in the present your mind can’t go anywhere else.
So it was all feeling. I felt her pride, in being – selected, chosen, married into this echelon of Gods, what she would bring them, what she could offer. I caught a glimpse of her standing there, alone, between the two groups of Gods, herself the offering, herself the marriage price. I felt her frustration, bound into a contract that demanded everything from her – her teaching, magic, love – but did not begin to recognise her depths, her vibrant connection to the living earth or the nature of her soul. I felt her increasing, creeping alienation, from everything… what she had left behind and what she had married into until, one day, it all changes.
She wakes up and is bound no longer, she sets out on a journey and the journey takes her back to the earthly realms. There a necklace is revealed to her; one that has been crafted to reveal her own essence; she not only has to have the necklace, in some ways she is the necklace. Magic, of course, is needed to release it into her keeping; after all she has betrayed her essence, inadvertently, already. The magic is the magic of love, and she is the Goddess of Love; she gives it freely. But when she returns with this great emblem of her power, another betrayal awaits her. The great Revealer of Truth, the one who strips away the veils of deceit and illusion, sometimes known as the trickster, or the untrustworthy or even wicked one, Loki; reveals everything to Odin, Freyja’s husband, student in magic and lover; and between them, they steal the necklace from her…
I felt her anger, her fear – terror, almost, at the loss of this part of her self – her rage and helplessness. With her, I was held in waves of shock, that greeted me every morning in my own life, and that I could only assume in some way reflected her shock. Just when she claimed her power, it was ripped away from her; just when she had learnt who she was and how to wear that, she is denied it again. And Freyja… she will strike any bargain to regain this necklace, this self – in the story it is written as if the nights of love with the Dwarves were the hard bargain, but I think it is the second one, her deal with Odin that does return the necklace to her, but also binds her to him and his agenda that was the difficult one… and that is where I want to break with the story, and change it.