Worship of Frey in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Iceland According to Craigie

Written by Dyami Millarson

William A. Craigie says on pages 24-26 of The Religion of Ancient Scandinavia: “[A]n image of Frey, which was worshipped at Thrandheim in Norway, had been sent there from Sweden. The story of Gunnar Helming also makes mention of an image of Frey in Sweden which was carried about the country, and to which sacrifices were offered […]. […] The frequent occurrence of Frey- in Swedish (and Danish) place-names […] indicates the prevalence of the [worship tradition] in both of these countries. The worship of Frey, however, must also have been very popular in Norway, from which it passed to Iceland with the early settlers. As late as 998 the men of Thrandheim are represented as refusing to break their image of Frey at the command of King Olaf, ‘because we have long served [H]im and [H]e has done well by us. He often talked with us, and told us things to come, and gave us peace and plenty.’ In Iceland itself the traces of a popular [worship tradition] of Frey are very clear, and more than one prominent person mentioned in the sagas bears the title of Freys-goði, or ‘priest of Frey.’ Of one of these, Thorgrím, brother-in-law of Gísli Súrsson, the saga says that ‘he intended to hold a festival at the beginning of winter, and greet the winter, and sacrifice to Frey.’ When Thorgrím was murdered, and had been laid in a grave-mound, it was noticed that snow never lay on the south or west sides of the mound, and the ground never froze there: ‘and it was supposed that he was so highly esteemed by Frey for the offerings he made to [H]im, that the [G]od did not wish it to freeze between them.’ Great attachment to this [D]eity also appears in the story of Hrafnkel, who loved no other [G]od more than Frey, and gave to [H]im joint possession with himself of all his most valuable things. Among these was a horse, which on that account bore the name of Freyfaxi. Another Freyfaxi belonged to Brand in Vatnsdal, and most people believed that he had a religious reverence for the horse. Horses owned by Frey are also mentioned as existing in Thrandheim […].”

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