The Dwarves in Freyja’s Story

In the leadup to CloudCatcher WitchCamp 2013, I spent the month of January, along with the Teaching Team, delving deeply into the part the Dwarves play in this story of Freyja and her necklace.

The Dwarves made the necklace! That was my first observation, and one I think is always underplayed in any retelling. They didn’t just snap their fingers, or wave their wands, or buy the parts and put them together – they mined, they shaped, they smelted, they refined, they polished – they conceived of, designed and then created this, the most beautiful necklace ever to come into existance. Every one of those skills learnt and honed and refined to the level of Master Craftsman. All working together in harmony, to create an item of such beauty, it reflected the Goddess herself.

In this way, I think of them as human-like. For that’s what we do; maybe hoping to catch the attention of the Gods; pour ourselves into our art, poetry, ritual and dance… call the Gods to us, from longing, from love. And when they respond – when we feel them near us – we beg them for favours; just like the Dwarves did. And it is the nature of the Divine to give, to merge… and Freyja gave one of her gifts, one of the things she is known for, her love; of course she did. And that part of the story seems perfectly balanced – they had loved her enough to make this thing, and to see her truely and capture that vision in art – and she loved them enough to recognise them for it, and accept their gift and their price that to her – a Goddess – is no price.

In the story, the Dwarves are ugly, unattractive; grasping, even. I wonder if that’s how we think of humans, compared with the Gods? And yet – without them there would be no story. Without us telling stories of the Gods, making altars and poetry and ritual – where would they be? They certainly would not be so definite as a beautiful necklace, wrought of gold and jewels. And the Dwarves – they almost vanish, beside their creation. As humans do; vanish into mortality, compared with Gods. But our works – our necklaces and poems and paintings – they sometimes remain…