CloudCatcher Story 2013: Freyja and the Brisingamen

 

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‘Freyja and the Necklace’ by James Doyle Penrose, 1890

FREYJA, Goddess of Love and War, comes from the Vanir, an older dynasty of Norse Gods. She is married to ODIN, Warrior and Magician, All Father of the Aesir, the younger Gods…

The DWARVES are a race of deep Earth dwellers, artists who sing grace and beauty from stone and metal. They have crafted a necklace, Brisingamen, the like of which the world has never seen…

And then there’s LOKI, the notorious trickster – or is he? – who wears many shapes, listens at doors and moves between the worlds to reveal what others have sought to conceal…

The Vanir are Gods of the Earth, of fertility and the body, the ripe, the lush and the green. The Aesir are a pantheon of Sky Gods, concerned with rulership, wisdoms of the mind, and the play of cloud and lightning. The partnership of Freyja and Odin brings these two forces together – and in the early days of their union, Freyja initiates Odin into the mysteries of magic and love; while marriage to Odin brings Freyja into the dynasty and rulership of the Aesir as the balance of power shifts from old to new.

One morning, Freyja wakes up longing for grass and flowers between her toes, for the parts of her life that she has not touched for some time. She travels to the Earth and tends to the flowers and the trees of her gardens, but the longing and restlessness only grows greater within her. She follows this thread of longing into hills and mountains, onto bare Earth and rock, eventually entering a cave, drawn by the ring of metal on metal.

Inside the cave, four dwarves reveal to her the sublime Brisingamen, a necklace they have, at the height of their powers and artistry, spun from Earth and Sky and welded of the four elements, more perfect than a snowflake and more lovely than a sunrise. As soon as she sees it, Freyja knows she must have the necklace. The price the dwarves ask is that the Goddess spend a night of love with each of them, and Freyja agrees.

Loki, unseen and unknown, is witness to the agreement between Freyja and the dwarves. When Freyja leaves after the fourth night, with the bright Brisingamen around her white throat, Loki follows her home.

While Freyja sleeps in her Hall, Sesrumnir, Loki seeks out Odin and reports on all that he has observed. Odin commands Loki to steal the necklace and bring it to him. Shapeshifted into a fly, Loki enters Sesrumnir through a tiny window and approaches the sleeping Goddess. Shifted again into the guise of a flea, he nestles against her sleeping form and bites her cheek, and as she turns in her sleep he quickly assumes his true form, undoes the clasp and flees the Hall.

Freyja awakes as she hears the Hall door close, and her hand instinctively goes to her throat – her necklace is stolen.

Freyja storms into the Hall of Valhalla, advances straight up to Odin and demands the return of Brisingamen. Odin confronts her with what he has learned from Loki, but Freyja refuses to apologise or to justify her choices. The necklace is essential to her, and she demands the talisman’s return. Odin’s reply is another demand: that Freyja use her powers to start a war without end in the hearts and minds of humanity – for he delights in blood and battle. Reluctantly, Freyja consents, and it is on these conditions that Odin returns her necklace.