Frigg

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Frigg

Nationality/Culture

Norse

Pronunciation

FRIG

Alternate Names

Frija, Fricka

Appears In

The Eddas

Lineage

Daughter of Fjorgyn

Character Overview

In Norse mythology , Frigg was the wife of Odin (pronounced OH-din), father of the gods. She was associated with marriage and the birth of children. In earlier Germanic mythology, Frigg was called Frija, from which the word “Friday” is derived. For many years, Germans considered Friday a lucky day to be married. Even though her main role was guardian of marriage, Frigg did not live with Odin. Instead, she made her home in a place called Fensalir and was attended by several maids.

Major Myths

One of the best-known stories about Frigg concerns her attempt to make her son Balder (pronounced BAWL-der) immortal, or able to live forever. She obtained promises from every thing under the sky, except one, not to harm him. The one thing she neglected to ask was the mistletoe plant, which she considered too small and weak to be of any danger. However, the trickster god Loki found this out and tricked Balder's blind brother into throwing mistletoe at Balder, which killed him. Frigg mourned her son, and attempted to get him released from the land of the dead, but without success.

Frigg in Context

Frigg was a dutiful and supportive wife to Odin. This reflects the importance of a dutiful and loyal wife to the ancient Scandinavian people. It is important to note that Frigg was not viewed as a servant of Odin, but as an equal in many ways. In Norse myths, Frigg is the only person other than Odin permitted to sit on his throne, which allows him to watch over all the worlds. This suggests that the importance of women's duties in Scandinavian culture was recognized, even if those duties were not emphasized as much as the duties of men.

Key Themes and Symbols

Frigg is a symbol of marriage, motherhood, and childbirth, and is often closely linked to Freyja , the goddess of romantic love and fertility. In some areas it was believed that the two were actually the same goddess. One of Frigg's most important functions in Norse mythology is as a strong and supportive wife to Odin, a symbol of the benefits of marriage. Frigg is also associated with fate and destiny—the idea that human actions have already been foretold—though she does not reveal her knowledge or make predictions. Objects associated with Frigg include a spinning wheel— which symbolizes domestic life and which she uses to spin the clouds— and keys, which symbolize her role as protector of the home.

Frigg in Art, Literature, and Everyday Life

Frigg was often depicted at a spinning wheel or beside her husband Odin. As with many Norse gods, her most famous appearance is in the Richard Wagner opera cycle known as The Ring of the Nibelung, where she is referred to as Fricka. The plant known as lady's bedstraw, which has sedative properties and was often used to calm women during childbirth, is also known as “Frigg's grass.”

Read, Write, Think, Discuss

Frigg attempts to protect her son Balder by making him immortal, though she fails to protect him against mistletoe. In recent years, parents—and lawmakers—have gone out of their way to keep their children from being exposed to anything that might be physically harmful: hands are sanitized to kill germs; helmets are worn while skateboarding and riding bicycles; special toddler seats are required when young children are riding in a car. Do you think these measures actually result in a safer environment for children? Or do you think “kid-proofing” an environment can keep a child from developing a sense of caution and natural defenses to threats?

SEE ALSO Balder; Loki; Odin

views updated

Frigg

In Norse* mythology, Frigg was the wife of Odin, father of the gods. She was associated with marriage and the birth of children. In earlier Germanic mythology, Frigg was called Frija, from which the word Friday comes. For many years, Germans considered Friday a lucky day to be married.


* See Names and Places at the end of this volume for further information.

Even though her main role was guardian of marriage, Frigg did not live with Odin. Instead, she made her home in a place called Fensalir and was attended by several maids. One of the best-known stories about Frigg concerns her attempt to make her son Balder immortal. She obtained promises from every thing under the sky, except one, not to harm him. The one thing she neglected to ask was the mistletoe plant, which she considered too small and weak to be of any danger. However, the trickster god Loki found this out and tricked Balder's blind brother into throwing mistletoe at Balder to kill him.

See also Balder; Loki; Odin.

immortal able to live forever


trickster mischievous figure appearing in various forms in the folktales and mythology of many different peoples