P.J. Roscoe: The Darker Side of Freya
How the Viking goddess of love makes for wonderfully rich storytelling
Please welcome my fellow Viking writer and award-winning colleague P.J. Roscoe on my blog today, whose “Freya’s Child” explores the question, ‘What would a parent do to save their child? Defy the gods? Fight the dead? How far would you go?
Freya – Goddess of Love?
The Norse Goddess Freya, also known as, Freyia, Freja and Freyja is associated with, love, sex, beauty, fertility, gold, war and battles, and ultimately, death. Freya is beautiful and many deities, dwarves and giants appear to have been her lovers. It is said that as Freya walks, morning dew appears and when she shakes her long, golden hair, flowers scatter the earth and her tears turn into Amber and gold. Her perfectly formed body is adorned with an Amber necklace, known as Brisingaman. It was made for her by four dwarves and the payment? A night spent with each of them. When she needs to move quickly, Freya has a chariot pulled by her two blue cats, or she rides her battle-swine known as ‘Hildisvini’. Sometimes she prefers to fly and uses her cloak made from Falcon feathers.
Freya sounds all loving and perfect, sensual and romantic, yet I wanted to explore the darker side of this deity. Freya is said to live within Asgard, her home is Sessrumnir, situated within a field known as, ‘Folkvangr’ which means, ‘Field of the Host’ or ‘Army field’. It is here that she would bring those whom she has chosen who have died in battle. Odin takes the other half.
Freya, some believe is the leader of the ‘Valkyries’, women warriors who conduct the slain in battle to the afterlife. They are powerful, beautiful immortals who care for the brave warriors, offering endless mead and meat and other times, their bodies. They are known to lie with heroes and warriors and are associated with ravens, horses and swans. Yet, in their early form, they were not so romanticised, but were fierce warrior women, bringers of death and slaughter who preyed on the battlefield, dishing out punishment and death to anyone they found unworthy.
The Story of “Freya’s Child”
It is this side of Freya I wanted to use during my writing of, ‘Freya’s Child’. Freya is known to control and manipulate the desires, health and prosperity of souls and I considered the action of taking a soul she deemed worthy out of harm’s way to cause a multitude of events that would see who is worthy of procession of that soul. Is a parent worthy?
And so I began to explore the question, ‘What would a parent do to save their child? Defy the gods? Fight the dead? How far would you go?
It began many years ago when I was asked what I’d do to save my daughter and I immediately replied, ‘anything of course’. They then asked, ‘Would you kill?’ It got me thinking, but eventually replied, ‘yes, I would kill to save my child from a killer or paedophile.’ Then we explored it further. Bring belief into it, or religion. Many centuries ago, human sacrifice was considered an honour and that person would enjoy an eternity in Valhalla according to Viking belief – would you still allow your innocent child, whom you’d die for, to be sacrificed? It wasn’t so easy to answer, especially when I looked at Viking life and how Christianity was slowly sweeping across the nation at that time, bringing with it questions on other gods and their expectations. Pagans were converting and this change to a new religion was splitting families and friends.
Freya was considered ‘mother’, though ‘Frigga was more maternal, Freya was called upon during childbirth along with Frigga. Yet Freya had the darker side of death and choosing the souls, so I chose her to be my goddess within this book.
I find the whole Viking belief extraordinary and learning the Elder Futhark runes was fascinating. As with all research, I find the bits I want and like and create a fictional story around it. Not all conforms to everyone’s belief system, but hey, that’s the joy of fiction! Blessed be.
P.J Roscoe is the award-winning author of ‘Echoes’, ‘Freya’s Child’, ‘Between Worlds,’ Diary of Margery Blake and the children’s series, ‘Adventures of Faerie folk’ as well as short stories in various anthologies. Her books can be found on Amazon, www.crimsoncloakpublishing.com, www.Doceblantpublishing.com and Ingrams, Gardeners and many bookshops.
I’m always SO excited when I meet other Viking writers, and especially when they are as much “in” their topic and era like Paula! What do you think – why does the Viking era make such exciting reading? What is it about Viking history and mythology that arouses interest and curiosity – and discussions?
For me, the relative lack of written and archaeological sources is a curse AND a blessing: I cannot rely on facts when I’d love to, but I also have more artistic freedom than historical writers of other, better-documented eras. Don’t hesitate to comment below – be it as a reader or writer: We love to hear what you think 🙂