Archive | November, 2012

The many faces of Freyja

11 Nov

 Bilete

Freyja is the nordic goddess of love. She is also associated with war, life, death, rebirth. Her name means “lady” , and as such, is heavily connected with the feminine principle, the divine feminine. “Freyja” is the old-nordic name for this goddess, and other names which are in use today include Freya, Frejya, Freyia, Frøya, Frøjya, Freja and Freia. In Norway, the most common name for the goddess today is Frøya. In Sweden, she is referred to as Freja or Fröja. In Iceland, the old-norse name prevails, she is still called Freyja there.

 

As many names she has, as many faces. Some speculate as to whether she is one and the same as the goddess Frigg, or Frigga. Indeed, both are strongly feminine archetypes concerned with matters of love and birth. Freyja now, is perhaps more seen as an adventurous, risqué type whereas Frigga is seen more as a noble housewife, to her husband Oden.  But this polarization seems to me more a product of christian influence on the nordic mentality.

 

It would be easy to lump Freyja together with Mary Magdalene, who is viewed by christians as a sort of divine whore. In Snorri’s, and other post-christianization authors’ telling of various nordic legends, Freyja is told to have slept with four dwarves in order to obtain her impressive necklace the Brisingamen. This is a whorish endeavour just to obtain a material object, and for an ancient pagan god, seems a questionable thing to do. Many attribute this action to a symbolic ritual of sorts, where the dwarves should symbolize the four directions, north, south, east, west, as a completion of the turning of the wheel. Perhaps we must not take this act too seriously. Is the essence of this goddess a sort of sexual promiscuity for favours? Is she really such a whore?

At any rate, she is replaced in the mindset of the nordic people as a witch, and a promiscuous woman.

 

The goddess Frigga is seen as the ideal housewife, in christian retellings. She also knows the fate of all people, and has the glow of a true deity, of the true divine. She is pure and all-knowing, mercyful and respectable. It seems, this archetype and that of the virgin Mary could easily be melded one into the other.

 

Now, the critical mind must ask, “did these similarites happen because the christians found a way to graft these archetypes together, or did Snorri tell the old stories in a less than favourable way in order to make paganism less attractive and christianity more attractive?” We also must remember, these stories may be among the little recorded word we have on these gods, but we must not accept them as the final word. Christianity changed Europe forever. In the place of nature religions, comporable with the nature-harmonious lifestyle of that of the Native Americans, there was now a dominate-servitude religion in its place. Whereas before, the gods and goddesses were all around, in nature and within the human himself, divinity was now confined to a master structure: the priest, bishop, etc. If you wanted to pray, you needed the approval of some outside human. This removed the natural order of things and replaced it with a hierarchy, and an unnatural one.

 

Since this time, there has also been the dogmatization and redefinition of sex and love. They are no longer seen as parts of the same whole, by the masses, but by separate and exclusive things. Media and judeo-christian religion have separated the sensual and sexual nature of love, and reduced sex to a “sinful” act, or one only fueled by the need for “procreation” (as now science separate from spirituality would also define it)

 

Nature spirituality recognizes the connection of all things, that nature and mankind are part of each other, and that the gods are man and man are the gods. Redefining gods and archetypes for selfish means is akin to attempted control over mankind. If “god” is one omnipotent man in the sky, independent of the feminine principle, there will be no balance within the collective consciousness. The scales only tip toward the masculine, and at the same time, men suffer. They are not “allowed” to be real men, since the masculine principle is the “one god” in the sky. Atheists would have you worship science or the material, and the controlling elite would have you worship money and live in fear. If you find both the masculine principle and the feminine principle within nature, and within you, you can balance these forces appropriately, and recognize them for what they are.

 

We must take the nordic gods for their essence, and not for the details in their accounts. Find your own intuitive connection to them. Freyja is not exclusively sensual, she is a devoted wife to Od. And if she is simply another face of Frigga, then she also knows the web of fate woven for all of us, and is the mistress of wyrd, or destiny. She is sexually charged, but full of love. She misses her husband terribly, and searches for him. What energies lie behind these notions? Does this resonate as true, or is perhaps Freyja’s essence best captured when meditating quietly next to the femininely powerful birch tree?  She is the mistress of Seidr, of the intuition, of trance-induced vision quests. She is a shaman and a warrior. She is love and of sex. These are parts of the same whole. When they are reintegrated to the collective consciousness for their ESSENCE then, the nordic spirit will regain balance,and with it the collective spirit of all mankind.

 

Find what personal connection you have to the gods. Question everything. Don’t accept Snorri as the one authority, nor any one else. There are many pagan writers out there, read them, question them, look them up, debate with them, forge new bonds, make new contacts, be creative, be thoughtful and continue on your quest for truth. No one else can know your personal truth but you.

 

Bilete

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Inspiration

2 Nov

Inspiration is the impulse of electric energy, that draws us into our art, our work ahead of us. Without inspiration, tasks are dull, lifeless, and soulless. The spark of inspiration turns life into an experience, rather than a chore. Without inspiration, an artist (or musican, or writer) cannot inspire others. It is a chain reaction.

It is said that by listening to a piece of music, we “tune” into what the artist who created it felt. We can feel, to some degree, what they were feeling when writing and performing the piece. The same goes for emotive pieces of writing, and pieces of visual artwork. If there is inspiration, we can tune into the divine source of this inspiration as the writing, artwork, or music serve as a conductor for this emotional information.

Information delivered from intellect to intellect is processed much more slowly and is easily misunderstood. Information that is directed from heart to heart is much faster, more accurate, and leaves a more lasting impression. This comes in the form of feelings. Everyone is empathetic to some degree, and we especially tune into this ability when we listen to music, read a fascinating book, or look at a moving piece of artwork.

Creativity and inspiration go hand in hand. Without the fires of inspiration, there can be no creativity. Creativity is the productive act of creating. Inspiration fuels creativity. And inspiration is fueled by love. (Some would say, hate is powerful in playing this role within the context of art, but it is the destructive form of love-it yields expression as well, when channeled into various mediums and effects a person in a different way than the power of love. )

Other feelings can motivate art, such as unbridled aggression (look at thrash metal for example), but love is at the heart of the spectrum of feelings, even aggression could in some way be traced to love, if we follow the spiritual notion that love is the energy of the universe, the stuff of the universal life force. This is more difficult to see for some perhaps, than to see that passion and love are so tied together. But here we must remember love is not only romantic love, it is this force that exists throughout nature, the inspiration for the seed to sprout, the sun to rise, the bird to sing, the human to breathe. This is more obscure, but unfolds as the soul grows.

Love is the seed of inspiration, inspiration is the root for creativity, and creativity sparked by these elements causes others to feel these higher states as well. Mankind exists not to live a life of drudgery, but to transfer his spark of inspired existence to others, to learn, to grow and to thrive. As we harness this inspiration within our lives, we grow, and life takes on new dimensions.

If you are an artist of any kind, I wish you the spark of inspiration to be ever present in your art.