Freyr: The God of Fertility and Prosperity

Freyr is the god of fertility, prosperity, sunshine and virility. He is a major deity of the Norse, and one …

Freyr is the god of fertility, prosperity, sunshine and virility. He is a major deity of the Norse, and one of the key warriors in Ragnarok.

Short Facts

Tribe: Vanir

God of: Fertility, fair weather, harvest, peace, pleasure, prosperity, sunshine and virility

Son of: Njordr and Hertha

Husband of: Gerdr

Father of: Fjolnir

Brother of: Freyja

Other names: Argud, Fegjafa, Frey, Yngvi-Freyr and Vananid

Freyr responsibilities

Abundance, courage, fertility, fair weather, good harvest, hard work, joy, love, peace, persistence, pleasure, prosperity, sacral kingship, sunshine, virility and wealth.

Associated Animals with Freyr

Horses and Gullinbursti, his loyal boar.

Freyr weapon/domain of power

His sword ‘Summer Blade’ that can fight on its own, a weaponized antler, his steadfast golden-bristled boar Gullinbursti that pulls his chariot, his magical ship Skidbladnir – always with favorable winds on its sails and which can be folded up and carried in a pocket, the power of rain and sunshine, his realm Alfheim, is home to the Light Elves, and his servants; Skirnir, Byggvir and Beyla.

Freyr standing with his boar.
Jacques Reich, via Wikimedia Commons

The best of the Aesir  

Freyr is the god of fertility and fair weather as well as peace and virility. He is the son of Njordr and Hertha, and the twin brother of Freyja. He is a Vanir deity, living with his father and sister among the Aesir. Freyr’s name means lord in Old Norse.

Njordr and his twin children consented to being taken as hostages by Odin to fortify the peace between the Aesir and Vanir, who had made war on each other for a long time. As a tooth gift, Freyr was given the control of Alfheim, home to the Light Elves.

Freyr is a strong and persistent god and is considered the most renowned of the Aesir, revered for a good harvest and the peace he brings to the lands.

A courageous god

A beautiful and strong god, Freyr is connected with fair weather in terms of fertile lands and good harvest. He controls the rain and the rays of the sun that ensure fruitful seasons. Mortals pray to him to bring them abundant produce and also prosperity. From his home in Alfheim, he often comes to those in need of favorable weather for their crops.

Yet, agriculture is not only that which Freyr is known about. As one of the major gods, Freyr’s tales provoke the same feelings as those of Thor and Odin. In one of those stories, Freyr deliberately loses his powerful sword, the Summer Blade, for the love of a beautiful giantess named Gerdr. Later, Freyr does battle with a fierce Jotunn named Beli without his precious sword but manages to slay the giant with an antler. 

During the events of Ragnarokj, Freyr, armed only with the antler, faces the terrible fire giant Surtr and falls together with his foe. The old texts suggest that Freyr loses the fight with Surtr simply because he doesn’t have the Summer Blade. Other than that, it is proven in most tales that Freyr is a strong and courageous god, and his fight with Surtr is one of the most fascinating in Ragnarok.

The gifts of Freyr

Apart from the Summer Blade, Freyr also possesses two more wondrous items; his remarkable ship and his trusted boar. When Loki found himself in trouble for cutting Sif’s hair (Thor’s wife), he traveled to Svartalfheim and asked two different groups of dwarven smiths to fashion him a set of gifts to appease Thor and the rest of the gods in Asgard.

Since Freyr was so beloved amid the Aesir, he received two presents. The first one was Skidbladnir; the best ship that there was, having favorable winds blowing always on its sails. But, the most remarkable feature of this ship was that it could be folded up and carried in a pouch or pocket so that Freyr wouldn’t trouble himself about anchors and docking.

The second gift Freyr got was Gullinbursti – an outstanding boar that could run better than any horse on land, but also through air and water. Also as its name suggests, ‘golden bristles’, Gullinbursti emitted a steady golden glow from its mane and bristles that whenever it went no darkness could prevail.

In the old texts

Freyr is mentioned several times in the Eddas, as well in various skaldic poems

The lovesickness of Freyr.
W.G. Collingwood, via Wikimedia Commons

In the Gylfaginning, Freyr is brought up as one of the major gods in the company of the Aesir.

In Husdrapa, Freyr attends Baldur’s funeral riding his boar Gullinbursti.

The final battle between Freyr and the fire giant Surtr during Ragnarok is portrayed in Voluspa.

Alfheim, the dwelling of Freyr is mentioned in Grimnismal, and in Skirnismal, Freyr and Gerdr’s love tale is narrated in full.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Is Freyr a more vital god than Odin?

A. Freyr is a significant deity, no one can deny this. He may not be bigger or stronger than Odin Allfather, but his presence in Asgard is considered to be of great importance. Besides that, in Ragnarok he fights against one of the most formidable and ruthless enemies of the gods; Surtr, the appalling fire giant.

Q. Is Freyr the god of the sun?

A. Freyr can control the elements of weather, making farmland either flourish or fall in decay. He can direct the sun rays and the raining clouds, but that doesn’t make him the lord of the sun. Sol and Mani are the divinities that hold the sun and the moon respectively in their hands. Freyr just uses the effects of their powers.

Q. Is Freyr’s son a god?

A. There is a sufficient number or texts, which indicate that Fjolnir was a historical figure. Most likely he lived from the 1st century BC to the 1st century AD. He was a legendary king in the Norse mythos, son of Freyr and Gerdr, but whether he was a god hasn’t been confirmed or refuted. Some scholars tend to put him in the sphere of men becoming heroes and afterwards gods.

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Vasilis Megas

Vasilis Megas (a.k.a. Vasil Meg) lives in Athens, Greece. He is a Greek- and Norse Mythology enthusiast. Vasilis has written and published 16 books - mostly fantasy and science fiction - and he is now working as a content writer, journalist, photographer and translator.