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Blutwölfin
Tuesday, November 8th, 2005, 03:31 PM
‘..the Vanir are the gods of the farming population, and the Ęsir those of their warlike lords and their followers.’1

Yet when you take a look at the actual evidence you will wonder how this scholarly author could make such a simplistic and sweeping categorisation of the Vanir in the first place.

The Vanir may indeed have been especially valued by the farming communities, for their bestowal of fertility, (and by craftspeople, musicians and entertainers)2 but I would suggest the Ynglingar, the ancient ruling house of the Swedes, would have been surprised by this concept. A number of Icelandic chiefs, who were also Freysgošis, might too.

Freyr and Njöršr were also recorded as being blótgošar (sacrificial priests) and dķar to the Ęsir, according to Snorri.3 Whilst scholars have even surmised that this word might be derived from the Irish dia (god) it is generally agreed that it was used to indicate priests of a very exalted kind. A very odd image for gods of farmers ! Priestly and Sovereign functions being declared ‘the first function’ in the tri-partite theories of society.

However, is there any evidence for warriors following the Vanir too ? I believe the answer to that is “yes”.

The mythological imagery of the Vanir is not incongruous for those who follow a warrior way. You might say that the Vanir first appear mythologically in the first war ever recorded.. This was provoked when the Ęsir attacked Gullveig. So did the “farming” gods struggle against the warlike Ęsir ? Well no, the war ended in a truce: if you look at the Voluspį it says

“...should the Ęsir a truce with tribute buy,
or should all gods share in the feast.”4

On a more specific level Freyr is referred to as the ‘battle-skilled’ in traditional poetry listed in the Edda5. He slew Beli (though the complete myth itself is lost) with an antlers horn but it was noted that He could have done it with his bare fist. Originally He had a wondrous sword that could fight by itself though he gave it away for love. A late Icelandic tale has Freyja creating war between two parties on behalf of Odin (who has stolen her necklace to use as a lever for this).

Another indicator of martial folk likely to have been dedicated to the Vanir is the boar. Both Freyr and Freyja have boars but they are the only Norse deities to have these as a sacred animal. Freyr owns the dwarf crafted boar, Gullinbursti/Slidrugtanni which means “Golden Bristles/Cutting Tusks”, who pulls his chariot. Freyja rides her devotee Ottar as Hildsvinn or the “battle-boar” and she has a by-name of Sżr or sow. The boar emblem has been found in a number of ways on the battle helmet i.e. used by professional warriors as significant in battle. It can be seen in the artwork of warriors wearing helmets with a boar figure on top from Sweden. Also both the helmet at Benty Grange and the one in the gravel quarry in Northamptonshire (found late ‘90s) in England were topped with boar figures. The Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf gives the imagery of warriors wearing the boar figure:

“..Boar figures shone
above cheek protectors, adorned with gold,
colourful and fire-hardened, [each] watched over life
for the battle-brave man” 6

Another indicator warriors were welcomed is that Freyja herself was said to have the pick of the dead warriors from battle ground: “She has a dwelling in heaven called Folkvangar, and wherever she rides to battle she gets half the slain, and the other half Odin...” 7

One kenning I believed I had read (though I just couldn’t find it when searching and would love it if any reader could quote the source or put me straight) is something like “battle is the play or sport of Freyr”.

Freyr’s frith, or peace, requires active maintenance and a martial outlook can be necessary to stop those in society not inclined to keep the peace or who wish to abuse folk.

Those who have a warrior ethos are aware of the realities in nature - natural Vanatru.



Footnotes:

1. Rudolf Simek, Dictionary of Northern Mythology, (DS Brewer 1996), p. 351
2. Edred, Witchdom of the True, (Runa Raven Press 1999), p. 2
3. As quoted in E.O.G. Turville-Petre, Myth and Religion of the North, (Weidenfeld & Nicolson 1964), p. 163
4. Lee M. Hollander (trans.), The Poetic Edda, (University of Texas Press 1994), p. 4
5. Snorri Sturluson (Anthony Faulkes (trans.), Edda, (Everyman 1987), p.75
6. As quoted in Stephen Pollington, The English Warrior, (Anglo-Saxon Books 1996), p.50
7. Snorri Sturluson, ibid., p.24



Source: The Wain, Issue No. 15

Blutwölfin
Tuesday, November 8th, 2005, 03:34 PM
The primary creature associated with the Vanir, both for Freyr and for Freyja, is the boar. This wild creature is biologically related to the domestic pig in the same way that the wolf is related to the domestic dog (i.e. it is the ancestor of them). Freyr's boar is called Gullinbursti or 'golden bristles' and Slišrugtanni or 'cutting tusks' and it is said to pull his chariot. A myth survives which explains how Freyr came to own this magical boar, which is one of the treasures of the gods.

Snorri tells of Loki cutting off Sif's hair and having to atone by sorting the problem out. Loki goes to the dwarves and gets them into a competition which creates two treasures for each of the main gods: Sif's hair from gold and Mjollnir - his sacred hammer - were created for Žórr, Gungnir - his spear - and Draupnir - his gold armring which dripped another eight gold rings on the ninth night - were created for Óšinn whilst Gullinbursti was created by Brokk for Freyr to run across the sky and sea faster than any horse and the light shed from its' bristles meant that nowhere it went was dark. The other treasure created for Freyr was Skišbladnir - the magical ship designed to take all the fully armed Ęsir and immediately sail but fold up, when not wanted, into a pocket.

Freyja also has a named boar: Hildisvini or 'battle-boar' which has golden bristles like her brother's boar. In Hyndluljóš she is described as disguising her devotee Ottar as her boar and then riding him to the giantess Hyndla to get Ottar the genealogical lore he needs. Freyja says in the eddic lay that Hildisvini was created by the dwarves Dain and Nabbi. The boar is known to have adorned military helmets in the Dark Ages and it is appropriate that Freyja, in her role as collector of the dead (She has the first choice of the fallen warriors) has a boar. One of her own by-names is Sżr or 'sow'. Interestingly Tacitus, in his first century account of the Germanic tribes (The Germania), wrote of the Aestii tribe who worshipped ..
'the Mother of the gods, and wear, as an emblem of this cult, the device of a wild boar ...' 1

Another very important animal associated with the Vanadis is the cat: Snorri says they pulled her chariot. The modern American Asatruar, Diana Paxson, has charmingly suggested the names Trégull or 'tree-gold/amber' and Bżgull or 'Bee-gold/honey' as appropriate for these cats. There is some archaeological evidence of the significance of cats in Scandinavia, although we cannot say these are definitely linked to Freyja: a small amber cat figure has been found at Birka and the sledge-posts found in the Oseberg burial have carved cat heads. I believe that it was the Romans introduced the domestic cat into Europe (having been developed in ancient Egypt) but Europe has always had its' own native wildcat, which still survives in Scotland today. In appearance it looks like a large, long-haired tabby cat and is a different form of the species to the domestic or feral cats found in Britain today.

One bird associated with Freyja is the falcon through the falcon 'cloak' which is said to carry her through all the worlds and which she loans a few times to Loki, such as in verses 3-4 of Žrymskiša or in Skaldskaparmal, where he loans her falcon shape to go to Thiassi to get Idun and the apples back.

Her brother Freyr also has other animals associated with him. One is the horse and his is/was called Blódughófi or 'bloody hooves'. It is not known precisely why he has this name but I would suggest that it comes from Freyr riding out to battle and his horse picking up the blood from the wounds of the injured on the battlefield. One fact known about it is that in the Lay of Skķrnir Frey says:

'My steed I lend thee to lift thee o'er weird
ring of flickering flame' 2

The sword, which was also lent for this adventure, was notoriously missing afterwards as this was said to be the reason why Freyr was without his sword at Ragnarok. However the horse is not so listed and presumably was given back when the reason for its' loan was finished.

Another animal which could be reasonably associated with Freyr is the stag. Freyr was said to have killed Beli with just a stag's antler in Snorri's Prose Edda. Thorskegga Thorn suggested in her 'Lay of Beli, published ' in issue no. 3 of 'The Wain', that this was used as a wand and that Freyr used natural Vanic magic to overcome Beli. Whilst in 'Our Troth' by Ring of Troth, it has been suggested as a sign of his singular fighting skills and that Freyr could be taken as a patron of martial artists.

When it comes to Njoršr, there are a few creatures which are mentioned in connection with him. Pat Deegan, in Noatun Notes of issue no. 6 of 'The Wain, has pointed out that the whale can be seen as Njoršr's animal (mammal) from a consideration of a kenning listed by Snorri. The story of Skadi's unsuccessful marriage to Njoršr also suggests a couple of birds: the swan and the seagull.

When Njoršr complains of his time in Thrymheim, he specifically compares unfavourably the howling of the wolves with the song of the swan, which he obviously loves, whilst Skadi complained of the cry of the gulls in the morning when she was Njoršr's place.

There are other possibly Vanic, or Vanically linked, figures who could be considered: Nerthus who might be argued as the missing sister of Njoršr, the etin brides of the Van gods, Skaši and Gerš, or even the enigmatic Heimdall who has been suggested as a Van.3 But that can wait ......

Endnotes
1 Tacitus [H. Mattingly trans.], The Agricola and The Germania, (Penguin 1970), 45.
2 Lee M. Hollander [trans.], The Poetic Edda, (University of Texas Press 1994), v8
3 E.O.G. Turville-Petre notes that the author of Žrymskviša thought that Heimdall belonged to the Vanir - pg. 154, Myth and Religion of the North, (Wiedenfeld & Nicolson 1964)


Source: The Wain, Issue No. 7

Frans_Jozef
Sunday, December 11th, 2005, 04:30 PM
The Vanir and the Gods/Goddesses of the Northern Tradition from a Pan-European Perspective

Robert L. Reid

Freya has sometimes been identified with Nerthus, who, according to Edred Thorsson ("Futhark"), was the original castrating and devouring Mother-consort of Ing (before Gerd). Nerthus had a wain drawn by cattle, which makes her comparable to Gefjon, a Danish hypostasis of Freya-Gefn, who ploughed out the Danish isle of Zealand (which contains Naerum = Niartharus = the sacred sanctuary of Nerthus) with a team of oxen (her sons), and there settled down at Lerje with Skjöld Odinsson (a hypostasis of Uller or Ing-Frea ?) - becoming the Clan Mother (Dis) of the Danish monarchy (from whom my own highland clan incidentally appears to be descended).


Gefjon was the patron of maidens who may not necessarily have been virgins, since Gefjon, like Freya, once sold her favours in return for a necklace. Premarital prostitution was once a sacred institution in the Mediterranean, which had trading links with Bronze Age Scandinavia. However, in the translation of Latin legends, her name was consistently used to translate that of the classical virgin huntress Diana. Though she is perhaps closer in nature to the great maternal 'Diana' (or 'Artemis') of the Ephesians.
At her great temple at Ephesus (one of the seven wonders of the ancient world) she received offerings from all over the world including amber necklaces (like Freya's Brisingamen) from the Baltic. Her cult was the historical prototype of the cult of the deified aspect of the Christian Virgin Mary, as the Venusian 'Star of the Sea' (Mardoll) and the Theotokos or 'Mother of God'. (NB some consider the 'Maiden' Mary to have been a temple prostitute before the birth of Jesus, avatar of Attis). This 'Diana' was a manifestation of the Anatolian Magna Mater Cybele, goddess of the earth and sky, whose cult (like that of Freya-Nerthus in the north) dates back to the stone age. It is interesting that the sacred image of Cybele was ritually bathed once a year, as was that of Nerthus on her sacred isle. Also Cybele rides in a chariot drawn by felines (totems of her invert priests ?) as does the Norse goddess Freya (whose seiš-men may have had cat fetches). Like the cognate near eastern goddess Inanna/ Ishtar/Astarte/Astoreth, she was also depicted riding on the back of a lion, just as the Roman Diana-Lucifera has been represented riding a horned, winged panther, and Freya was depicted in the Schleswiger Dom riding on the back of a Siberian tiger.
Freya the Queen of Heaven's cat drawn wain, known as 'The Lady's Wagon', gave its name in the north to Ursa Minor, and as the Old Norse word fres meant both bear and cat, this celestial 'little bear' could also be seen as Freya herself in cat form drawing the starry wheel of the heavens (and hence also the seasons and fates) around with her; for Polaris, the celestial axis is set in the point of her tail (really too long for a bear's tail). Also her rune in this aspect would be Raido ('riding' or 'wagon'), which corresponds to the Vedic Rta, the principle of dynamic regulation common to all the gods including Varuna (Odin), Mitra (Tyr) and their joint executives Indra (Thor) and Agni (Loki). The wheel she turns is shown in diagram 1. Rta animates and controls all things as the Vedic psychological uniting symbol, cognate with the Taoist Ying-Yang and the western Holy Grail - not to mention the New Age flying saucer (cf. Ezekiel's Merkaba vision). Freya, the celestial expansion or emanation of the manifold might of the Earth Mother (Nerthus-Fjorgyn), herself unites opposites within herself: for she is both the chief valkyrie battle maid and the Vanic love-goddess (Thanatos and Eros), helping with birth and also claiming half the battle slain dead, and ruling both the waxing and waning halves of the solar round of the year, which is symbolised by her golden Brisingamen, which the opposite creative and destructive powers of Heimdall and Loki fight to possess. Like her supreme totem animal, the cat, Freya is both tender and fierce, prolific and murderous, sensual and supernatural, earthy and otherworldly. (NB according to the Chaldean Oracles the ultimate symbol of the universal fiery Ether is the form of a Lion).
Cybele also unites opposites with herself since she was originally a hermaphrodite - the multiple breasts on her statue at Ephesus have been identified as bull's testicles. This is echoed in the theory that the Norse Nerthus originally possessed a hermaphroditic unity with her 'brother' Njord, and the theory that Mary was a self fertilising Vir-gyne or Andro-gyne = 'Man-Woman'.


From the blood of the severed testicles of Cybele's androgynous avatar (Agdistis) there sprang a pomegranate tree which fertilised the mother of her sacred 'son-consort' Papa (Pope) Attis, who corresponds to Syrian Adonis and Mesopotamian Tammuz. The Norse equivalent of Attis is the symbolically emasculated goddess-lover Yngvi-Frey (Ing) who gave away his phallic sword and horse to win his beloved: though Frey's originally maternal 'castrating' beloved was replaced with an Etin maid (Gerd), and his mother-lover (Nerthus) became his sister Freya, who was then respectably married off to Odur/Odin. Like Cybele, Attis castrated himself (or she did it to him) as the model and spiritual father of Cybele's prophetic and sorcerous eunuch priests, and sacred passive-homosexual prostitutes, the Galli - who have been equated with the Corybantes and the Curetes of Rhea. (NB in the first few centuries of the Christian era the Galli's ritual castration was sometimes replaced with symbolic bull sacrifice, which may have been reflected in Freyic horse sacrifice in the north). sometimes replaced with symbolic bull sacrifice, which may have been reflected in Freyic horse sacrifice in the north). As Rhea (mother of the Olympian gods) the divine mother of Attis also turned her grandson Dionysus (Aegean equivalent of Odin as god of ecstasy) effeminate when she initiated him into the supposedly primal Phrygian mysteries. She even gave him her dress to wear, making him a priestly transvestite like the Galli of Cybele. It is implied that when Odin learned the primal shamanic mysteries of Seiš-craft from the goddess Freya (a manifestation of his great grandmother, Audumla, dam of Buri) he also suffered the 'shame' of temporary sexual effeminization, indulging in periodic ergi - hence his by-name Jalk or 'gelding', and the report that he behaved as a female witch, or Seiškona, at Sams Isle.
One theory holds that the original shamans were female shamankas, and that to assimilate their powers, upstart male would-be shamans had to impersonate their femininity. However, it may be that certain womanly types of homosexual men have always had a 'natural' affinity with female sorcerers ? There is also some evidence that the primal creative deities at the centre of all things were originally womanly or androgyne, like the Orphic hermaphroditic Eros-Phanes, an all powerful love-deity like Freya, and also the Gnostic Sophia-Barbelo-Cybele, sole parent of the Devilish Trickster Demiurge.


Freya's affinity with Gefjon and Nerthus links her to the bovine symbol of the primal All-Mother, who Egyptian name was Hathor. This Freya like cow-headed goddess of young women, love, music, dance and intoxication was herself identified with all the other goddesses. In one aspect Hathor was seen as the intoxicated and thus pacified form of the all devouring, terrible lioness-goddess Sekmet. Likewise Cybele first appeared as a terrible hermaphrodite monster (Agdistis) who had to be pacified with alcohol. In identity with the primal creatrix Neith, Hathor was said to be two-thirds male and one-third female, and hence an Androgyne like Cybele-Agdistis and Nerthus-Njord, whose primal form would be Audumla, the great cow mother of Etins and Gods (Ęsir and Vanir) alike. She is herself also threefold as Freya, the (Vanic) maiden-whore and battle-maid; Frigg, the (quasi Aesic) mother-wife; and Heid/Angurboda, the (quasi Etinish) crone-witch - a reflection of the 'male' magical trinity of lover and battle-god Odin; father Heimdall; and shaman-trickster Loki.


It is also noteworthy that if this primal Mother and her initiated priestly functionary, or 'son', were originally both androgynes or transsexuals and womanly lovers of men (Gefjon was equated with the Cypriot, 'man eating', sacred prostitute goddess Aphrodite in "Stjórn"; and the Ing derived English word ingle meant young, passive homosexual) then the loving/erotic union between the two must have been in essential reality the mystical possession of the latter by the former following on from the latter's sex changing sacrifice of his outward masculinity ? In this process, the great goddess Freya-Nerthus -Gefjon is the archetype of the all potential Higher Self and transcendent cosmic consciousness which the devotee aims to become mystically merged with and to magically express or incarnate; and the effeminized gods: Frey (as expressed by his ergi-priests), Odin (as best expressed by his 'shadow' Loki) and perhaps even Thor (in his impersonation of Freya) are the models of the aspirant magician-priest in this Great Work.
Finally I would like to point out that my own sex changing and sorcerous patron god Loki (who vanically flies in Freya's hawk robe and who underwent a mock castration in place of Njord) may himself be seen as the fiery son of the Terra Mater/Nerthus, for his mother's name Laufey, 'the leafy (wooded) isle', is a kenning for Mother Earth, and may also refer to the cult site of Nerthus on an island grove. Laufey's alias Nal, 'needle', may suggest that her manifestations included the pine tree sacred to Cybele, and Loki is himself runically linked to Freya-Frigg's sacred birch tree in the Old Norwegian Rune Rhyme.
Loki's matronymic surname Laufeyarson may be of Aryan antiquity, for it is paralleled by that of the Vedic fire god Agni, who is likewise called garbhas vanam, 'fruit of the womb of the woods'. Jung etymologically linked Old Indian van, vana = 'wood' to Germanic words related to the rune Wunjo and possibly also to the name of the Vanir themselves. Note in Tacitus that the Vanic Earth god/dess was the parent of Tuisto = Teiwaz/Tyr, the original heavenly All Father before Odin the Sigtyr. Furthermore Fjorgyn/Jord, mother of Thor (alias Fjorgynn 'father' of Frigg), is also 'Mother Earth' (like Nerthus); and Indra, the Indian Thor, was sometimes said to be the twin of Agni (Loki). According to Snorri's Edda, the name of Thor's wife Sif (mother of Uller, wintry shadow of summery Frey, the other Alci/Hadding) is also an alias of Jord. So Loki's stealing (reaping) of Sif's corn gold hair is parallel to Plutarch's account of Horus snatching the magical head-dress of his mother Isis, as an act of divine, heroic rebellion. He had to atone to the Mother's frosty, Etinish 'shadow' (= Skadi) however by tying his testicles to the beard of a nanny-goat (Heidrun ? = Freya ?) and then playing a painful game of tug of war in order to warm the goddess into laughing fertility. The change in Skadi's character from wintry harshness to summery happiness is not permanent however. For when Loki is bound under the earth for his alleged part in the slaying of Balder, it is she who ties the venom dripping serpent above his face. This in turn enrages Loki and transforms him from a Puckish figure of fun into a destructive, chthonic force of volcano and earthquake. Also, when he breaks free at the Ragnarok, Loki will have his final revenge by setting ablaze the maternal cosmic tree of life, which contains all the worlds and their wights. But from another point of view this universal destruction can be seen as a loving work of renewal, for from the regenerated Yggdrasil will be born a new humanity, and to it's crown the fallen gods will at last return from Hel.


Bibliography
Edred Thorsson : 'Futhark'
Kveldulf Gundarsson :'Teutonic Magic'
The Ring of Troth : 'Our Troth'
Nigel Pennick : 'Runic Astrology'
H.R. Ellis Davidson :'Gods & Myths of Northern Europe'
John Ferguson : 'The Religions of the Roman Empire'
Lucie Lamy : 'Egyptian Mysteries'
Veronica Lons : 'Egyptian Mythology'
Hans George Wunderlich :'The Secret of Crete'
Benjamin Walker : 'Gnosticism'
Anne Baring & Jules Cashford :'The Myth of the Goddess'
Randy P. Conner : 'Blossom of Bone' .
G. Jung : 'Symbols of Transformation'
C.G. Jung :'Psychology & Religion West & East'


link (http://homepages.nildram.co.uk/%7Efealcen/wain5.htm)

Frans_Jozef
Sunday, December 11th, 2005, 04:31 PM
Sacred Animals Connected With the Vanir

Thorunn Freysfriend


The primary creature associated with the Vanir, both for Freyr and for Freyja, is the boar. This wild creature is biologically related to the domestic pig in the same way that the wolf is related to the domestic dog (i.e. it is the ancestor of them). Freyr's boar is called Gullinbursti or 'golden bristles' and Slišrugtanni or 'cutting tusks' and it is said to pull his chariot. A myth survives which explains how Freyr came to own this magical boar, which is one of the treasures of the gods.

Snorri tells of Loki cutting off Sif's hair and having to atone by sorting the problem out. Loki goes to the dwarves and gets them into a competition which creates two treasures for each of the main gods: Sif's hair from gold and Mjollnir - his sacred hammer - were created for Žórr, Gungnir - his spear - and Draupnir - his gold armring which dripped another eight gold rings on the ninth night - were created for Óšinn whilst Gullinbursti was created by Brokk for Freyr to run across the sky and sea faster than any horse and the light shed from its' bristles meant that nowhere it went was dark. The other treasure created for Freyr was Skišbladnir - the magical ship designed to take all the fully armed Ęsir and immediately sail but fold up, when not wanted, into a pocket.

Freyja also has a named boar: Hildisvini or 'battle-boar' which has golden bristles like her brother's boar. In Hyndluljóš she is described as disguising her devotee Ottar as her boar and then riding him to the giantess Hyndla to get Ottar the genealogical lore he needs. Freyja says in the eddic lay that Hildisvini was created by the dwarves Dain and Nabbi. The boar is known to have adorned military helmets in the Dark Ages and it is appropriate that Freyja, in her role as collector of the dead (She has the first choice of the fallen warriors) has a boar. One of her own by-names is Sżr or 'sow'. Interestingly Tacitus, in his first century account of the Germanic tribes (The Germania), wrote of the Aestii tribe who worshipped ..
'the Mother of the gods, and wear, as an emblem of this cult, the device of a wild boar ...' 1

Another very important animal associated with the Vanadis is the cat: Snorri says they pulled her chariot. The modern American Asatruar, Diana Paxson, has charmingly suggested the names Trégull or 'tree-gold/amber' and Bżgull or 'Bee-gold/honey' as appropriate for these cats. There is some archaeological evidence of the significance of cats in Scandinavia, although we cannot say these are definitely linked to Freyja: a small amber cat figure has been found at Birka and the sledge-posts found in the Oseberg burial have carved cat heads. I believe that it was the Romans introduced the domestic cat into Europe (having been developed in ancient Egypt) but Europe has always had its' own native wildcat, which still survives in Scotland today. In appearance it looks like a large, long-haired tabby cat and is a different form of the species to the domestic or feral cats found in Britain today.

One bird associated with Freyja is the falcon through the falcon 'cloak' which is said to carry her through all the worlds and which she loans a few times to Loki, such as in verses 3-4 of Žrymskiša or in Skaldskaparmal, where he loans her falcon shape to go to Thiassi to get Idun and the apples back.

Her brother Freyr also has other animals associated with him. One is the horse and his is/was called Blódughófi or 'bloody hooves'. It is not known precisely why he has this name but I would suggest that it comes from Freyr riding out to battle and his horse picking up the blood from the wounds of the injured on the battlefield. One fact known about it is that in the Lay of Skķrnir Frey says:

'My steed I lend thee to lift thee o'er weird
ring of flickering flame' 2

The sword, which was also lent for this adventure, was notoriously missing afterwards as this was said to be the reason why Freyr was without his sword at Ragnarok. However the horse is not so listed and presumably was given back when the reason for its' loan was finished.

Another animal which could be reasonably associated with Freyr is the stag. Freyr was said to have killed Beli with just a stag's antler in Snorri's Prose Edda. Thorskegga Thorn suggested in her 'Lay of Beli, published ' in issue no. 3 of 'The Wain', that this was used as a wand and that Freyr used natural Vanic magic to overcome Beli. Whilst in 'Our Troth' by Ring of Troth, it has been suggested as a sign of his singular fighting skills and that Freyr could be taken as a patron of martial artists.

When it comes to Njoršr, there are a few creatures which are mentioned in connection with him. Pat Deegan, in Noatun Notes of issue no. 6 of 'The Wain, has pointed out that the whale can be seen as Njoršr's animal (mammal) from a consideration of a kenning listed by Snorri. The story of Skadi's unsuccessful marriage to Njoršr also suggests a couple of birds: the swan and the seagull.

When Njoršr complains of his time in Thrymheim, he specifically compares unfavourably the howling of the wolves with the song of the swan, which he obviously loves, whilst Skadi complained of the cry of the gulls in the morning when she was Njoršr's place.

There are other possibly Vanic, or Vanically linked, figures who could be considered: Nerthus who might be argued as the missing sister of Njoršr, the etin brides of the Van gods, Skaši and Gerš, or even the enigmatic Heimdall who has been suggested as a Van.3 But that can wait ......

Endnotes
1 Tacitus [H. Mattingly trans.], The Agricola and The Germania, (Penguin 1970), 45.
2 Lee M. Hollander [trans.], The Poetic Edda, (University of Texas Press 1994), v8
3 E.O.G. Turville-Petre notes that the author of Žrymskviša thought that Heimdall belonged to the Vanir - pg. 154, Myth and Religion of the North, (Wiedenfeld & Nicolson 1964)

__________


Additional Bibliography
Andy Orchard, Dictionary of Norse Myth and Legend, (Cassell 1997)
Rudolf Simek, Dictionary of Northern Mythology, (D.S. Brewer 1993)
Snorri Sturluson [Antony Faulkes trans.], Edda, (Everyman 1992)
Ring of Troth (Kveldulfr H. Gundarrson ed.), Our Troth, (Private 1993)
'The Wain' (issues 3 1997 and issue 6 1998)



link (http://homepages.nildram.co.uk/%7Efealcen/wain7.htm)