Frigg (Frigga) was the Norse goddess of marriage, chastity, fertility and motherhood. She was married to the chief Aesir god Odin, and together they ruled Asgard. She was seen mostly as wife and mother, and also an earth goddess.
Freyja, ‘The Lady’, was the Norse goddess of love, war, and beauty. She had a twin brother Freyr and together they were the chief gods of the Vanir. She was a master of Seidr (magic), and is the wife of Ód. Freyja was the leader of the Valkyries, who would ride over battlefields to choose slain warriors to rest in Freyja’s hall Sessrumnir (the rest going to Odin’s hall Valhalla).
Scholars have found many similarities between Frigg and Freyja, leading some to believe that they represent the same goddess. These similarities include their mythological storylines, name origins, and associated place-names. Because of various branches of the Germanic language, the same deity is sometimes referred to by different names, for example, Norse Odin and Germanic Woden.
Some notable similarities between Frigg and Freyja include the fact that both are attributed to magic. Freyja is related to Seidr (magic, divination) while Frigg is associated with prophecy. Both Frigg and Freyja were joined to similar gods. Freyja was married to the god Ód, and Frigg was married to Odin, both of which went on long journeys leaving their wives behind. Also, both Frigg and Freyja were thought to have traded their bodies for jewellery, as in the case of Freyja’s necklace Brísingamen and Frigg’s gold jewellery from the statue of ‘Othinus’ (Odin).
The name Friday is thought to come from either Frigg or Freyja. In Old Norse, Friday is called both Freyjudagr and Frjádagr (for Freyja and Frigg respectively). In Old English, Friday is thought to come from Fredag (Frīġedæġ), meaning the ‘day of Frigg’, however some say this word is associated with Freyja.
Although these two goddesses are most likely two distinct entities, there is still confusion due to the lack of pre-Viking Age references and questionable quality of source material. Scholar Stephan Grundy comments that “the best that can be done is to survey the arguments for and against their identity, and to see how well each can be supported”.
© The New Pagan (2014)