Freyr is a very important god in Norse Mythology, a member of the Vanir, as he is the fertility god and god of love. He is the brother to Freya, and son to Niord. Along with Odin and Thor he was one of the most popular gods, and recieved many offerings.
His name means 'master', 'lord', 'the supreme'. Snorri Sturlusson describes him as being handsome, powerful, merciful and kind. He has control of the weather, both rain and sunshine, thus the fertility of the earth. Prayers were also offered to Freyr for a good future, peace and prosperity.
He lived in Alfheim with his wife, the giantess Gerð. He saw her first when he sat on Odin's throne, Hlidskjalf. He looked north, saw Gerdur and fell so much in that he was no longer able to speak or eat or sleep. Freyr's henchman, Skirnir, went to Jotunheim where Gerdur lived and brought her to Freyr. As a reward, Skirnir was given Freyr's sword which fought by itself. As a consequence, Freyr has no sword with which to fight, and will die at Ragnarok, when the world ends. This courtship is dealt with extensively in the poem Skírnismál.
The Swedish kings counted Freyr as one of their ancestors. In Iceland, Freyr was second only to Thor in popularity. Some last vestages of the offerings to Freyr still survive on the swedish christmas table in the form of the Christmas Ham, so great was his importance.
- Common Swedish form: Frej
- Frequent alternate English form: Frey
[..to be continued: sjc]