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Thread: Danish Gefjun

  1. #1
    Senior Member Carl's Avatar
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    Danish Gefjun

    Gefjun

    taken from Wikipedia

    Gefjun, Gefjon, or Gefion (possibly from Old Norse geð fiá - meaning "chaste" is one of the Asynjur in Norse mythology. (?)

    She appears only a few times in surviving sources, and mediæval sources talk of her mainly as a goddess of chastity. However, modern scholarship suggests that she may originally have been a fertility goddess connected with ritual plowing, and even that she was originally the same fertility goddess as Freyja.

    It has also been suggested that she is the origin of Grendel's mother who appears in the epic Beowulf.

    Before the arrival of more secure tools in cartography, the shapes of Mälaren and Zealand were perceived as similar. This is a section of the Carta Marina from 1539 by Olaus Magnus. The island on the bottom left corner is Zealand and the lake on the upper right corner is Mälaren.

    The oldest surviving account of Gefjun deals with how she pulled a piece of land from Sweden and thereby created the Swedish lake Mälaren and the Danish island Zealand. This account is the 9th century skaldic poem Ragnarsdrápa which was composed in honour of Ragnar Lodbrok by Bragi the Old, the court skald of Björn at Haugi, the king of Sweden. This skaldic poem is preserved in Ynglinga saga, a part of the Heimskringla, and in Gylfaginning, a part of the Prose Edda. In these sources, the poem is inserted into prose sections with comments by Snorri Sturluson.

    Gefjon dró frá Gylfa
    glöð, djúpröðuls öðla,
    svá at af renniröknum
    rauk, Danmarkar auka;
    báru yxn, ok átta
    ennitungl, þar er géngu
    fyrir vineyjar víðri
    valrauf, fjögur höfuð.

    Gefjun drew from Gylfi
    gladly the wave-trove's free-hold,
    Till from the running beasts
    sweat reeked, to Denmark's increase;
    The oxen bore, moreover,
    eight eyes, gleaming brow-lights,
    O'er the field's wide: booty,
    and four heads in their plowing.


    In Gylfaginning (Prose Edda) , Snorri explains the stanza as follows:

    King Gylfi ruled the land that men now call Sweden. It is told of him that he gave to a wandering woman, in return for her merry-making, a plow-land in his realm, as much as four oxen might turn up in a day and a night. But this woman was of the kin of the Æsir (?); she was named Gefjun. She took from the north, out of Jötunheim, four oxen which were the sons of a certain giant and, herself, and set them before the plow. And the plow cut so wide and so deep that it loosened up the land; and the oxen drew the land out into the sea and to the westward, and stopped in a certain sound. There Gefjun set the land, and gave it a name, calling it Selund (Zealand) . And from that time on, the spot whence the land had been torn up is water: it is now called the Lögr [Løgrinn] in Sweden; and bays lie in that lake even as the headlands in Selund.

    The lake name Lögr is the translator's rendering of Løgrinn, the poetic name (heiti) of Lake Mälaren in Old Norse literature. This name is derived from lögr meaning "fluid", and it is a cognate of the English lake.

    In the Ynglinga saga, Snorri gives a more euhemeristic account adding the information that it was Odin who had sent Gefjun wandering to king Gylfi. He also adds that she married Skjöldr, a primordial Danish king (in the translation Zealand is rendered as Sealand and Mälaren as Laage):

    Then he [Odin] sent Gefion across the sound to the north to discover new countries; and she came to King Gylve (Gylfi), who gave her a ploughgate of land. Then she went to Jotunheim, and bore four sons to a giant, and transformed them into a yoke of oxen. She yoked them to a plough, and broke out the land into the ocean right opposite to Odins. This land was called Sealand, and there she afterwards settled and dwelt. Skjold, a son of Odin, married her, and they dwelt at Leidre. Where the ploughed land was is a lake or sea called Laage [Løgrinn]. In the Swedish land the fjords of Laage correspond to the nesses in Sealand............

    It is possible that there is a ritualistic plowing ceremony behind this myth, and that Gefjun is to be considered a fertility goddess. Similar stories also appear in different traditions and the oldest one is that of Dido.

    [ this became an important aspect of the fertility cults in the North , ploughing at the right time - and sowing the crops for increase. See also Grimm. C. ]

    The archaeologist Birger Nerman maintained that the myth of Gefjun's moving a part of Sweden to Denmark had a historic basis in a migration of a group of warriors from the Swedish heartland in the Mälaren basin to Zealand, where they had taken control, in the early 3rd century AD. This is based on Jordanes information that the Dani (Danes) were of the same stock as the Suehans (Swedes) and had taken the old land of the Heruli and expelled them from their lands. Nerman also referred to archaeological support for his theory.

    Possible connections with Frigg and Freyja

    Because Gefjun rarely appears in myths, modern scholars speculate much on this figure. In her only appearance in the Poetic Edda, when Loki claimed that she is not a virgin, Odin said:

    "Mad art thou, Loki, and little of wit,
    The wrath of Gefjun to rouse;
    For the fate that is set for all she sees,
    Even as I, methinks."

    These words really fit his wife, Frigg. (Freyja said the same thing:

    "Mad art thou, Loki, that known thou makest
    The wrong and shame thou hast wrought;
    The fate of all does Frigg know well,
    Though herself she says it not.")


    As there is little evidence that a goddess called Gefjun was ever worshipped, some scholars maintain that Gefjun is simply an avatar of Frigg or Freyja (who are often identified with each other). All three of them are fertility goddesses who served by women after death, and who practice magic and prophecy. In addition, all have a precious necklace.

    Freyja also has many names, indicating that she was worshipped under many aspects: Mardöll which is related to the sea, Hörn which is related to the field, Sýr which is related to the earth, and Gefn means "giver (of life)".
    In Latin, Friday is "Day of Venus", and in Germanic countries, Friday is the "Day of Freyja". Venus, the Roman goddess of love and beauty, in earlier times before she was identified with the Greek goddess Aphrodite, was a goddess of gardens and fields. She also had different functions: Venus Felix, the bringer of good fortune; Venus Victrix, the bringer of victory; and Venus Verticordia, the protector of feminine chastity. Freyja, the Norse goddess of fertility, love and beauty, is also a goddess of wealth and battle. Considering this pattern, scholars speculate that Gefjon may be an avatar* for Freyja, and only later was identified as an individual goddess.

    ===========================

    * or is it Hypostasis?

    I think the entire narrative is highly confused -- perhaps that's how it really was. But if Odinn was by then based on Fyn ( and proto-Odenso)... then 'making contacts' with the north east and into Sweden was surely the next move. After all, there was a time when Odin first came into Sweden.... perhaps after the coming of the cult of Ingvi-Frey ?

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    Hey Carl,

    Nice thread once again. How come it seems our Goddesses are of fertility..?? Where they always this way, the way we found them. Or, are they just parts in our heads that express themselves with stories like this..??

    Whatever the case may be, Gefjon is pretty interesting..

    What first pops into mind with the mention of Gefjon plowing is, of course, the Aecerbot..

    Take then that seed, set it on the plough's body, say then:

    Erce, Erce, Erce,* earth's mother,
    May the all-ruler grant you, the eternal lord,
    fields growing* and flourishing,
    propagating* and strengthening,
    tall shafts,* bright crops,
    and broad* barley crops,
    and white* wheat crops,
    and all* earth's crops.
    May the eternal lord* grant him,
    and his holy ones,* who are in heaven,
    that his produce be guarded* against any enemies whatsoever,
    and that it be safe* against any harm at all,
    from poisons [lyblaca]* sown around the land.
    Now I bid the Master,* who shaped this world,
    that there be no speaking-woman [cwidol wif]* nor artful man
    [craeftig man]
    that can overturn* these words thus spoken.
    Then let a man drive forth the plough and the first furrow cuts, say then:
    Whole may you be [Be well] earth,* mother of men!
    May you be growing* in God's embrace,
    with food filled* for the needs of men.

    http://www.stavacademy.co.uk/mimir/aecerbot.htm
    With mention of Dido..

    In the story of Gefjon, and the clever way in which she procured land from Gylfi to form her kingdom of Seeland, we have a reproduction of the story of Dido, who obtained by stratagem the land upon which she founded her city of Carthage. In both accounts oxen come into play, for while in the Northern myth these sturdy beasts draw the piece of land far out to sea, in the other an ox hide, cut into strips, serves to inclose the queen’s grant.

    Myths of Northern Lands, by H.A. Guerber, Page 280
    And with..

    Quote Originally Posted by Carl View Post
    It has also been suggested that she is the origin of Grendel's mother who appears in the epic Beowulf.
    I am reminded of..

    This ( Figure 14 )..


    And, this ( not exactly Figure 15 but close enough )..


    Figure 14, from the jeweled ornament on the lid of a purse from the Sutton Hoo ship-curial, almost certainly does not represent the monster-killer Beowulf between his two grisly victims, Grendel and Grendel’s dam; yet its theme suggests the possibility. It illustrates a variant of the ancient mythic theme of the Queller of Wild Beasts. Figure 15 is from a Cretan sea, c. 1600 B.C., and Figure 16 from a Chinese bronze, roughly c. 1200B.C.

    In the case of Beowulf the adventure commenced when his noble uncle, Hygelac, received word that the mead-hall of the King of the Danes was being harried by a monster, Grendal. When darkness fell this baneful wight, emerging from his moors and fens, would spy about the high warrior hall, wherein all would be asleep, and, entering, take where they rested thirty thanes, bear them off to his keep, and there consume them, exulting, Hygelac sent Beowulf to quell this demon of the giant race of Cain. ( For it was by Cain that all the elves and monsters were begotten that stray about as giants. ) And Beowulf achieved this task.

    In the dark of night the door of the mead-hall gave way,a nd the manlike walker in shadow, Grendel, laughing in his heart, took up and tore a sleeping thane, bit into his bone-frame, swallowed him piece by piece, and reached for another. But never had his arm met a mightier grief than at that moment laid hand to it. For the man that he touched was Beowulf, and the lordly hall became clamorous. Gold-ornamented mead-benches fell about the floor, and at Grendel’s shoulder a wound began to show. The sinews sprang, the arm came off, the monster fled, and when morning came the marveling people tracked the trail of gore to a mere, of which the waters now were mingled red with blood.

    We note the Christian reading has been given to the monsters. They are sprung of the race of Cain. Thereby a sense of moral evil has been added to the old pagan one of natural terror. The lions of the Cretan seal of Figure 15 are quelled, not slain; and, even if slain, would not have been morally evil. Likewise in Figure 16, where the animals are tigers: in China the tiger is not evil but symbolic of the earth and in folklore a protecting spirit; for as one authority states, “he never nee4dlessly attacks human being, but destroys many pests to their fields.” And so the beasts of this early Chinese bronze must be guardians not antagonists; as may also be the pair from the Sutton Hoo ( Figure 14). It is thus even possible that originally in the Beowulf saga the monsters were conceived not as fiends but as the guardians of natural forces, to be not killed, but quelled and integrated. In fact, their residence in the Land below Waves suggest an association with those chtonic powers that have always been recognized as dangerous and frightening yet essential to all life. And in the subsequent adventure, of Beowulf against Grendel’s dam, a sense pervades the scene rather of nature’s terrible wonder than of a moral evil and crime.

    Creative Mythology, by Joseph Campbell, pages 116-118
    Now here, there could even be a connection drawn between Gefjon being the mother of Grendel, and with Gullveig the mother of say the Fenris wulf. With in both the case of the Eddas and Beowulf an “evilization” taking place..of natural forces..which can even be called Wyrd. That is what has Beowulf, and that is what has our Gods and Goddesses, and Us.

    Like Joseph Campbell goes on to say..

    His heart was sad,
    Uneasy and death-ready: wyrd immediately nigh.

    Now, this Anglo-Sason word wyrd has about it a sense of haunting doom that is recaptured in Shakespeare’s three Weird Sisters…

    Returning, however, to the Voluspo--which Wagner took as inspiration for his Goetterdaemmerung--we find that there the universe itself unfolds from within, organically, to its day of doom, when Garm, the dog of Hel, howls before the “Cliff-Cave,” Hel’s gate, giants, dwarfs, and elves break free, and the gods ( already knowing, as they do the destiny before them ) go to meet in mutual slaughter those monsters of the deep, at the close of the age.

    And so too the old King Beowulf, and the dragon of his doom, at the close of his life:..

    Creative Mythology, pages 121-122
    What could be wondered here is..just what is the connection between the Goddesses and Wyrd…cause and effect..good and evil..or beyond all that..?? It could be said that it is by Nerthus we are reborn, and that it is our doings here ( on Earth ) that shapes the world that will return by way of Wyrd ( ain't the Norns giantesses..??) . It could be Gimle hight.

    So, now what of the importance of the first war and the last war..?? And of the connection with fertility and..

    Then in the grass the golden figures,
    the far-famed ones, will be found again,
    which they had owned in olden days.

    On unsown acres the ears will grow,
    all ill grow better; will Baldr come then.
    Both he and Hoth will in Hropt's hall dwell,
    the war gods' fane do ye wit more, or how?

    Voluspa 60 & 61, Hollander trans.
    There just seems to be something of a dichotomy..??

    Later,
    -Lyfing

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    Senior Member Aemma's Avatar
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    I found this little nugget while surfing today:

    "Geofon
    by Swain Wodening

    There is no evidence for Geofon left in Old English literature, save for her name is a word for "ocean." This should not be taken to imply she was not worshiped however. One of her legends, told to us in the Ragnarsdrápa, preserved in the Heimskringla, would have been known to the Angles on the continent. The legend is that of the creation of the island of Zealand. She took her four sons by a giant, and as oxen plowed out the island, and gave it the name Zealand. We are further told in the Prose Edda, that she married the king, Scyld (Skjöldr) afterwards. Snorri holds that she recieved [sic] the souls of unmarried women while in the Lokasenna she is said to be as omniscient as Woden himself.

    Her name may derive from a word meaning "to give." And this would place her perhaps in the cult of the of mothers known amongst Germanic mercenaries in service to Rome in Great Britain. These goddesses usually had names like Garmangibi "giving." (source: http://www.englatheod.org/geofun.htm)

    I've bolded that which I found interesting in light of Oswiu's thread elsewhere.

    Additionally, Rudolf Simek, from his Dictionary of Northern Mythology, offers the following:

    "Gefjon (also Gefjun, ON). A Scandinavian goddess of whom Snorri tells stories in Ynglingasaga 5 and Gylfaginning 1: During Odin's migration to Scandinavia he stayed en route in Odenso (Odense) on Fyn and sent Gefjon to look for land to the north. The Swedish king Gylfi gives her land to plough and she turns her four sons, whom she has from a giant, into bulls. She puts these in front of a plough and thus ploughs Zealand free from Sweden. Snorri adds that Zealand used to lie where lake Malar is now in Sweden and that later Odin's son Skoldr married Gefjon and they lived together in Lejre.

    Snorri's reference to lake Malar is certainly secondary, and originally this was an aetiological legend of the origin of the Oresound between Scania and Zealand which Snorri linked with reference to Gefjon and Gylfi in Bragi's Ragnarsdrapa 13 (9th century), although in this work it is not necessarily the same legend that is being referred to.

    Older scholarship tended to consider Gefjon as a name for Freyja (or else Frigg) because in the Lokasenna 20 Loki blames Gefjon for having given herself to a 'white youth' for the sake of a gift. The Lokasenna however is a late composition and the reproach is too much of a stereotype to carry much weight. Nevertheless, even if Gefjon should not be identified as Freyja, she could be considered as being one of the fertility and protective goddesses because of the meaning of her name ('the giving one'). Admittedly most of the Germanic goddesses have this function, but in Stjon Gefjon is equated with Aphrodite." (Simek, pp. 101-102)

    A bit more info to add to the fray.

    Frith...Aemma

  4. #4
    Senior Member Hrafnmann's Avatar
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    The few stories we have about this goddess serves as a good example of the muddled post-heathen understanding of the lore that had survived. On one hand we have Gefjon the 'virgin goddess' where unmarried women (assumed to be maidens) go when they die, and on the other a bearer of four sons by a giant. The first instance to me seems unlikely since it was the xians who were so obsessed with virginity and it is a good chance that the xian compilers/composers inserted this tidbit. You could also reconcile this by saying she was more of a 'patroness' of maidens and was not one herself.

    It is interesting to note that there is some speculation we may have an even earlier account of Gefjon in the guise of the Swabian “Garmangabi”. This is based upon the linguistic element of gabi=gef from P.Gmc. *gebanan ‘to give’. . .which of course renders the wiki article a bit in error on this account with regards to the etymology of Gefjon. The gabi=gef mutation can be accounted for with phonological rules however, the big BUT remains of how far can you stretch this with any degree of certainty we are dealing with the same deity. And of course you are going to have to ask about the Garman- element, and a light treatment of it etymologically may be nothing more then gar- (‘spear’ from P.Gmc. *gaizo-) and -man (‘man’ P.Gmc. *manwaz) being mindful that man is neutral. Given this etymology and the context of the inscription in which Garmangabi was found, reveals an implied vigourously martial aspect to this goddess.

    I particularly like the story of Gefjon and King Gylfi since it also serves as a good example of how our gods indeed stride upon Middangeard and interact with all wights. They are not an aloof lot lazing about in their lofty abodes. Nay, they are dynamic and enduring which makes them so sexy to non-Germanics and do pose a threat to those with contrary ways. The is a reason why xianity paid special attention to either subsume certain beliefs, demote others, or tried their damnedest to eradicate where possible. This of course failed and will always fail for in all their foolishness it is not within human power to kill off our gods. Folk may have turned away for a time but the gods remain and will continue to strive, making their presence felt in various ways and granting their blessings to those folk who renew those ancient bonds between the folk and our indigenous gods.

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    Senior Member Psychonaut's Avatar
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    Here's a bit of what John Lindow has to say about Gefjon:

    Quote Originally Posted by Norse Mythology p.136
    These varying conceptions and stories are not easy to reconcile. We are faced with a prostitute who is said to be a virgin goddess, and a goddess--virgin or not--who is said to have had children with a giant, which should disqualify her as a goddess because the sexual traffic is all in the opposite direction. In other words, we have both physical and mythological impossibilities. Some of the inconsistencies recede if we understand Gefjon as a figure of prehistory, a member of the aesir not in their roles as gods but in their role as "Asia-men," as the Icelandic Learned Prehistory understood them, and as Snorri presented them in the Prologue to his Edda, the frame to Gylfaginning, and the Yngling saga. This Gefjon had a clear association with Denmark, especially Sjaelland, even if no other texts support a marriage with Skjold, the founder of the Danish royal family known as the Skjoldungar in medieval Scandinavian tradition and the Scyldingas in Old English. Her interaction with the giants would have been on the order of other such human-supernatural interactions. However, many scholars have found themselves persuaded that Gefjon originally was a goddess. They believe that her name has to do etymologically with gifts or giving and that she was therefore a fertility deity, perhaps localized to Denmark. It is also possible that her name was the source of a Finnish word meaning "bride's outfit, trousseau." Finally, in some translations of the lives of the saints into medieval Icelandic, the translator substituted the name of Gefjon for a pagan Roman god or used it in a list of pagan Scandinavian gods where there was a list of pagan Roman gods in the original text. Sometimes Diana is the Roman goddess in question, and that has led to the idea that Gefjon's split between virgin and whore may have originated in an analogy with Diana.
    "Ocean is more ancient than the mountains, and freighted with the memories and the dreams of Time."
    -H.P. Lovecraft

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    Hey Aemma and everyone else,

    I found this while I was roaming around ( beforehand ),

    Gefeon (Gefjun)
    Gefjun is a Danish Goddess whose name appears in Old English as Geofon, a word for “ocean.” There are Danish place names for her such as Gentofte and Genvnö. Her name derives from the verb “to give” and is related to words seen amongst the Cult of Mothers practised by Roman mercenaries in Britain and on the continent. They usually had names like Garmangibi “Giving.” In the Prose Edda Snorri relates the following tale of the creation of the island of Zealand:

    “It is told of him that he gave a ploughland in his kingdom, the size four oxen could plough in a day and a night, to a beggar-woman as a reward for the way she had entertained him. This woman, however, was of the family of the Æsir; her name was Gefjun. From the north of Giantland she took four oxen and yoked them to a plough, but those were her sons by a giant. The plough went in so hard and deep that it loosened the land and the oxen dragged it westwards into the sea, stopping in a certain sound. There Gefjun set the land for good and gave it a name, calling it Zealand. But the place where the land had been torn up was afterwards a lake. It is now known in Sweden as “The Lake.” [Malar].”
    (Young translation)

    In the Ynglinga Saga, Snorri also tells the tale, and adds that Geofon married Skjold, first king of Denmark and son of Wóden. Skjold, founder of Skjoldung royal dynasty is the same as Scyld Sceafing mentioned in Béowulf, and ancestor of Hrothgar. Looking at this myth it becomes apparent that Geofon was associated with the tilling of soil, as having some connections with the sea (she created the lake), and the marking off perhaps of boundaries. Snorri also attributes her in the Prose Edda with receiving all women that die unmarried into her hall (this despite the fact she is married). In the Lokasenna Loki accuses Geofon of having sold herself to a youth for a ring or a jewel.

    Geofon seems to be the only literary evidence of a group of Goddesses that were known to be giving and open handed. As stated above names associated with giving appear frequently on the Roman-Germanic altars in England and on the mainland, and H. R. Davidson maintains that the Old English Charm A Field Remedy or Acer-Bot which is considered to contain a prayer to a pagan Earth Goddess, may well be to such a Goddess. We do see the same elements in Geofon in the lines of the Acer-Bot, the plow, the asking of the one praying for the gift of a good harvest. In some areas of Germany there were plow processions instead of those using wagons (as Fréa’s) or ships (as in the Germanic Isis mentioned by Grimm), and plow blessings in the spring were nearly universal in Northern Europe.

    Source: Miercinga Rice
    Copyright © 1997-2006 by Miercinga Théod

    http://www.freefolk.org/gods/gefeon.html
    Of course with the “Roman-Germanic alters” I thought of Oswiu’s threads as well. Particularly what he said in this thread ( although maybe not the same one ) ..

    Quote Originally Posted by Oswiu View Post
    Hmmm, Cartimandua and Boudicca were women, though. Medb (the Goddess of Sovereignty at Teamhair in Ireland), Brigantia and Epona were quite prominent. Locally we had Sulis, Arnemetia, Senuna, Belisama, and hosts of minor river goddesses. Druidry had various suborders and filiated callings, some open to or exclusively for women. Tacitus mentions them at the taking of Mona. None of this challenges your general point, of course, all these examples have their own peculiar rationale behind them, but the devil is in the detail, so beware of generalisation! Even if we were to exaggerate their significance, though, the Celts are probably too westernised to be of use to such analogies...

    http://forums.skadi.net/showpost.php...68&postcount=3
    Queen Meave and the Cattle-Raid of Cooley..??

    I think of Joseph Campbell’s notion of Mother Right, which is pretty much the women having the right after they are taken over by a patriarchy what they had before..?? ( those are my words so they might not be what he way saying ) This goes with Gefjon because of chastity even though she is married. I won’t even bring up Freya here. Sounds like Isis too because of the lifting of the veil..? Tacitus mentions that, but maybe only because of the ship..Njord was later of the ship, and Frey had Skidbladnir. And with Beowulf we have Sceaf.

    It also makes me think of something else I was reading ( about the river goddesses that they may all be of non-indo-European origin (?) which I‘m not really very sure of..as we all have Mothers and maybe even Wives and Daughters and they all seem like the Mother Goddesses we worship, so they’ve always been with us and I can‘t really see any mythology leaving it out just because they are a patriarchy or fight for a living..we all still come home to our wives or even Valhalla‘s Valkyries...maybe I’m wrong though and they were all like those of the Islamic persuasion..?? That can’t be right though as what Tacitus also says about us worshiping our women and taking their council to heart. Maybe seidhr can be thought of here…?? Or just simply women’s intuition..??

    Donu
    Donu is the special case. According to Miriam Robbins Dexter (1990b), she seems to be a non-Indo-European river and earth goddess who was adopted at an early stage of Proto-Indo-European religion. This makes her Proto-Indo-European enough for our purposes, though. She is found throughout the Indo-European domains, from the Irish goddess Danu to the Vedic Danu to the Danube, Don, Dniester, Donets, and Dniepr rivers. The Greeks were called the Danaans, and the Danes are descended from Dana. She is not found among the Hittites, which may be evidence that she is late Proto-Indo-European, but even to the Hittites the deities of rivers and springs were female.

    As a river goddess, Donu is the giver of fertility to the land. "Donu" may have been carried along with the Indo-Europeans as a title rather than a personality, being applied to a river or earth goddess in each new land. She may be worshiped effectively at local rivers, especially the major river in a watershed, and especially at that river's source. The local goddess may be worshiped under her own name, or called "Donu," or even "the Donu" as a title or name. Or she may be called by a combination of names; the Charles river here in Massachusetts, called Quinobequin by the Indians, may be the abode of Donu Quinobequin.

    http://www.ceisiwrserith.com/pier/deities.htm
    I wonder if there isn’t some connection with the Rune Gyfu..?? It is an X, we do cross our fingers when we are looking for luck, we do make our own luck, a gift demands a gift, it takes two to tango ( Ragnarok )..??. It’s the rune of marriage..Bor married Bestla..??

    I must say..

    Hail Freya..

    Folkvang the ninth, where Freya chooses
    Who seats shall have in her hall:
    Half of the slain are hers each day
    And half are Othin’s own.

    Grimnismal 14, Hollander trans.
    Anyhow..

    Later,
    -Lyfing

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    Senior Member Carl's Avatar
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    Well I am impressed 'cause I didnt think it would lead too far... there is little real information about Gefjon and what there is seems heavily spun. So you have found some interesting links ... some more contentious than others



    You know my slow thinking here ; Woden-Odin finally makes it into Danish Jutland and the central Island of Fyn - and then we have to think about the transmission to Sweden. In between, we have now the great Island of Zealand... and really its not so far across the water to the coast of Sweden ( especially in the north beyond Copenhagen ). Really , it might even be called a strait - which is clearly the origin of the myth, Gefjon and her great oxen-sons ploughed it off Sweden and pulled it away [ it could have even been a ship ?? ] !

    I have no idea just how old the myth itself could be - but Odin is said to appear in Sweden itself in the Vendel period - say c. 5-6th Century?? Its all very preLiterate and scribed records just dont exist at this early date. The whole story is neatly encapsulated in the later Saga of Snorri - although I wouldnt want to 'trust' some of the rest of it!


    The story fits well into the earlier myths concerning Ploughing - though in this case it is hard to see any link with the Aecerbot - which , after all, is concerned more with the restoration of fields. But who knows - we cant ignore the fact of the plough.

    From Grimm's Chapter on the Goddesses (TM) -- and the section dealing with the "Isis" ship cult of the Suebi (originally , of course, a people on the northeast German Baltic - Tacitus's Mare Suebicum )), we have a very interesting parallel of ship and plough fertility cults . I really wasnt so far away!

    =================


    ""Probably among the common people of that region there still survived some recollections of an ancient heathen worship, which, though checked and circumscribed for centuries, had never yet been entirely uprooted. I consider this ship, travelling about the country, welcomed by streaming multitudes, and honoured with festive song and dance, to be the Wagon of the God, or rather of that goddess whom Tacitus identifies with Isis, and who (like Nerthus) brought peace and fertility to mortals. As the car was covered up, so entrance to the interior of the ship seems to have been denied to men; there need not have been an image of the divinity inside. Her name the people had long ago forgotten, it was only the learned monks that still fancied something about Neptune or Mars, Bacchus or Venus: but to the externals of the old festivity the people's appetite kept returning from time to time. How should that 'pauper rusticus' in the wood at Inden have lighted on the thought of building a ship, had there not been floating in his mind recollections of former processions, perhaps of some in neighbouring districts?

    [ ..... all this when the Suebi themselves had already perhaps migrated well to the south away from the Baltic! - C. ]
    .............................

    There are traces to be found of similar ship-processions at the beginning of spring in other parts of Germany, especially in Swabia, which had then became the seat of those very Suevi of Tacitus . A minute of the town-council of Ulm, dated St. Nicholas' eve 1530, contains this prohibition:

    'Item, there shall none, by day nor night, trick or disguise him, nor put on any carnival raiment, moreover shall keep him from the going about of the plough and with ships on pain of 1 gulden'. ( )

    The custom of drawing the plough about seems to have been the more widely spread, having originally no doubt been performed in honour of the divinity from whom a fruitful year and the thriving of crops was looked for. Like the ship-procession, it was accompanied by dances and bonfires. Sebast. Frank, of his Weltbuch:

    'On the Rhine, Franconia and divers other places, the young men do gather all the dance-maidens and put them in a plough, and draw their piper, who sitteth on the plough, piping, into the water; in other parts they draw a fiery plough kindled with a fire very artificial made thereon, until it fall to wrack.' Enoch Wiedemann's chronik von Hof tells how 'On Shrove-Tuesday evil-minded lads drove a plough about, yoking to it such damsels as did not pay ransom ; others went behind them sprinkling chopped straw and sawdust.' ...................


    ...............I only wish at present to shew that the driving of the plough and that of the ship over the country seem both to rest on the same old heathen idea, which after the dislodgement of the gods by christianity could only maintain itself in unintelligible customs of the people, and so by degrees evaporate: namely, on the visible manifestation of a beneficent benign divinity among men, who everywhere approached it with demonstrations of joy, when in springtime the soil was loose again and the rivers released from ice, so that agriculture and navigation could begin anew. In this way the Sueves of Tacitus's time must have done honour to their goddess by carrying her ship about. The forcing of unmarried young women to take part in the festival is like the constraint put upon the weavers in Rupuaria, and seems to indicate that the divine mother in her progress at once looked kindly on the bond of love and wedlock, and punished the backward; in this sense she might fairly stand for Dame Venus, Holda and Frecke .................. ""

    =============

    Whichever! .

    And here she is from the great statue in Copenhagen.... driving her oxen to plough off Danish Zealand across the water ...

    (not such a good picture alas... - but she is ploughing across water I see!!)



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    Quote Originally Posted by Carl View Post
    I have no idea just how old the myth itself could be - but Odin is said to appear in Sweden itself in the Vendel period - say c. 5-6th Century??
    According to Snorri, the mid 1st century BCE is more likely...

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    Hey Carl,

    Quote Originally Posted by Carl View Post
    Possible connections with Frigg and Freyja

    Because Gefjun rarely appears in myths, modern scholars speculate much on this figure. In her only appearance in the Poetic Edda, when Loki claimed that she is not a virgin, Odin said:

    "Mad art thou, Loki, and little of wit,
    The wrath of Gefjun to rouse;
    For the fate that is set for all she sees,
    Even as I, methinks."

    These words really fit his wife, Frigg. (Freyja said the same thing:

    "Mad art thou, Loki, that known thou makest
    The wrong and shame thou hast wrought;
    The fate of all does Frigg know well,
    Though herself she says it not.")


    As there is little evidence that a goddess called Gefjun was ever worshipped, some scholars maintain that Gefjun is simply an avatar of Frigg or Freyja (who are often identified with each other). All three of them are fertility goddesses who served by women after death, and who practice magic and prophecy. In addition, all have a precious necklace.

    Freyja also has many names, indicating that she was worshipped under many aspects: Mardöll which is related to the sea, Hörn which is related to the field, Sýr which is related to the earth, and Gefn means "giver (of life)".
    In Latin, Friday is "Day of Venus", and in Germanic countries, Friday is the "Day of Freyja". Venus, the Roman goddess of love and beauty, in earlier times before she was identified with the Greek goddess Aphrodite, was a goddess of gardens and fields. She also had different functions: Venus Felix, the bringer of good fortune; Venus Victrix, the bringer of victory; and Venus Verticordia, the protector of feminine chastity. Freyja, the Norse goddess of fertility, love and beauty, is also a goddess of wealth and battle. Considering this pattern, scholars speculate that Gefjon may be an avatar* for Freyja, and only later was identified as an individual goddess.
    Here are some thoughts on this..

    Gefjon said:
    Ye Aesir twain, within this hall
    Why do ye war with words?
    For Loki knoweth what nag he bears:
    He loathes all living things.

    Loki said:
    Hush thee, Gefjon, I have in mind
    Who lured thee to lust:
    The fair-haired swain ( Heimdall ) sold thee the necklace,
    Ere thou threwest about him thy thighs.

    Othin said:
    Bereft of reason and raving thou art,
    To earn thee Gefjon’s grudge;
    For the world’s weird she, I ween, doth know
    Even as well as I.

    Lokaseena 19-21, Hollander trans.
    So, here, we have Gefjon being with Heimdall for Brisinga-men? Maybe like Freya with the four dwarfs?

    Heimdall once fought with Loki for Brising-men..they fight again during Ragnarok ( the world’s weird that Gefjon doth know ?) Valfreya leads the Valkyries and chooses half the battle-slain for herself ( even as well as I ( Othin ) )

    Loki and Freya
    Owing to his extreme acuteness of hearing, Heimdall was greatly disturbed one night by hearing soft, catlike footsteps in the direction of Freya’s palace, Folkvang. Gazing fixedly towards that side with his eagle eyes, Heimdall soon perceived, in spite of the darkness, that the sound was produced by Loki, who stealthily entered the palace as a fly, stole to Freya’s bedside, and strove to purloin her shining golden necklace Brisinga-men, the emblem of the fruitfulness of the earth.
    As it happened, however, the goddess had turned in her sleep in such a way that he could not possibly unclasp the necklace without awaking her. Loki stood hesitatingly by the bedside for a few moments, and then rapidly began to mutter the runes which enabled the gods to change their form at will. As he was doing this, Heimdall saw him shrivel up until he was changed to the size and form of a flea, when he crept under the bedclothes and bit Freya’s side, thus making her change her position without really rousing her.
    The clasp was now free, and Loki, cautiously unfastening it, secured the coveted ornament, with which he proceeded to steal away. Heimdall immediately started out in pursuit of the midnight thief, and drawing his sword from its scabbard, was about to cut off his head when the god suddenly transformed himself into a flickering blue flame. Quick as thought, Heimdall changed himself into a cloud and sent down a deluge of rain to quench the fire; but Loki as promptly altered his form to that of a huge polar bear, and opened wide his jaws to swallow the water. Heimdall, nothing daunted, then assumed the form of a bear also, and fought fiercely with him; but the combat threatening to end disastrously for Loki, he changed himself into a seal, and, Heimdall imitating him, a last struggle took place, at the end of which Loki, vanquished, was forced to give up the necklace, which was duly restored to Freya.
    In this myth, Loki is an emblem of the drought, or of the baleful effects of the too ardent heat of the sun, which comes to rob the earth (Freya) of its most cherished ornament (Brisinga-men). Heimdall is a personification of the gentle rain and dew, which, after struggling for a while with his foe the drought, manages to conquer him and force him to relinquish his prize.

    Myths of Northern Lands, Pages 140-141
    ( He was a polar bear and a seal too, I wonder if this isn’t even something of the old fire-theft story? )

    Also,

    Quote Originally Posted by Carl View Post
    ...............I only wish at present to shew that the driving of the plough and that of the ship over the country seem both to rest on the same old heathen idea, which after the dislodgement of the gods by christianity could only maintain itself in unintelligible customs of the people, and so by degrees evaporate: namely, on the visible manifestation of a beneficent benign divinity among men, who everywhere approached it with demonstrations of joy, when in springtime the soil was loose again and the rivers released from ice, so that agriculture and navigation could begin anew.
    Maybe with the above a connection can be found with Scef ( who is Heimdall ), his ship, and Gefjon.

    One day it came to pass that a ship was seen sailing near the coast of Scedeland or Scani, [* The Beowulf poem has the name Scedeland (Scandia): compare the name Skådan in De origine Longobardorum. Ethelwerd writes: "Ipse Skef cum uno dromone advectus est in insulam Oceani, quæ dicitur Scani, armis circumdatus," &c.] and it approached the land without being propelled either by oars or sails. The ship came to the sea-beach, and there was seen lying in it a little boy, who was sleeping with his head on a sheaf of grain, surrounded by treasures and tools, by glaives and coats of mail. The boat itself was stately and beautifully decorated. Who he was and whence he came nobody had any idea, but the little boy was received as if he had been a kinsman, and he received the most constant and tender care. As he came with a sheaf of grain to their country the people called him Scef, Sceaf. [* Matthæus Westmonasteriensis translates this name with frumenti manipulus, a sheaf.] (The Beowulf poem calls him Scyld, son of Sceaf, and gives Scyld the son Beowulf, which originally was another name of Scyld.) Scef grew up among this people, became their benefactor and king, and ruled most honourably for many years. He died far advanced in age. In accordance with his own directions, his body was borne down to the strand where he had landed as a child. There in a little harbour lay the same boat in which he had come. Glittering from hoar-frost and ice, and eager to return to the sea, the boat was waiting to receive the dead king, and around him the grateful and sorrowing people laid no fewer treasures than those with which Scef had come. And when all was finished the boat went out upon the sea, and no one knows where it landed. He left a son Scyld (according to the Beowulf poem, Beowulf son of Scyld), who ruled after him. Grandson of the boy who came with the sheaf was Healfdene-Halfdan, king of the Danes (that is, according to the Beowulf poem).

    Rydberg's Teutonic Mythology, 20.THE CREATION OF MAN. THE PRIMEVAL COUNTRY. SCEF THE BRINGER OF CULTURE.
    Later,
    -Lyfing

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    Senior Member Carl's Avatar
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    Well, there is so much here, so many aspects to consider. I think it is useful to identify a particular piece of the vast complexity of the northern Gods and to stay with it without being to drawn aside into other things . It is far too easy for threads like these to go off course and loose any advantage of whatever research emerges.


    I think its right to bring in the Rune GEBO (OE Gyfu) generally given as gift. It is this name that links Gefjon to the Vanadis Freyja ( as Gefn). I wouldnt want to conclude that Gefjon = Freyja - any more that I think Freyja = Gullveig (....who , by the way, is certainly not the mother of Fenris!! ). But for both of these, some link to Freyja seems very reasonable from what the old sources tell us. After all, it is appropriate to think of the Vanir having their roots in the Ingaevone north, especially therefore in Denmark. 'Ingvi-Frey' moves through the islands into Sweden, his sister appears with him at some stage.... Snorri was after all looking back in time when he wrote the revevant Saga. Both Freyja and Gefjon are working with Odin by this time ( - I have already said that Gullveig may well have been the very first Vana contact with the Odin 'court'... and I think that Freyja was never too far away from that!). So , here with Gefjon perhaps; Odin too, already wiser than before, sending her northwards into Sweden to meet King Gylfi.

    And the Rune Gebo? The Runeguild say that Odin is very much part of its power, that the ultimate Gift to mankind was that first from the Gods. And from Gefjon too, the Danish Freyja if you like, the greatest gift to Denmark itself - her largest Island home.

    Gefjun drew from Gylfi
    gladly the wave-trove's free-hold,
    Till from the running beasts
    sweat reeked, to Denmark's increase



    And maybe it is not entirely unrelated to all the southern Mother-Gods who are also well known for their giving... and there are so many and so varied are they, ranging into the Germano-Celtic* antiquity ( Gabiae, Friagaiae, Alagabiae..... ).

    ""Her name may derive from a word meaning "to give." And this would place her perhaps in the cult of the mothers known amongst Germanic mercenaries* in
    service to Rome in Great Britain. These goddesses usually had names like Garmangibi,"giving."


    ( above#3)


    Some of them may well be directly linked to the gifts and giving of the new year, of coming prosperity and fruitfulness ( all within the Nerthus model perhaps )

    ..... All these things too so belong(ed) to Zealand and her folk.


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