I first met Freyr when someone was possessed by Him at a Lammas ritual held by my church, Asphodel. He came into the body of a person with considerable disabilities, yet when He walked and stood, He was tall and proud, cloaked in the special garments the “horse” wore for Him. I could see His radiance shining through the flesh of the one who was “ridden”, and I was in awe of His splendor. He is beautiful, more so than any other god I have ever seen (Loki will always be first in my heart, but Freyr’s gorgeousness is truly breathtaking). His kindness, His good humor, and His love for life — while poignantly aware of the inevitability of death — were evident in every expression, every gesture, and every word He said — even when those words were serious, or spoken in private to someone else.
I was nervous, for reasons I can’t really explain, to face Freyr directly. Maybe it was because this was the first chance I had ever had to not only talk to a deity, but to also be acknowledged and answered in the flesh. I had been present before at one or two other rituals when other deities were “horsed”, but none of those occasions included me having close contact with Them. Freyr was the first of the gods I met on this world, outside of the in-between spaces where They and we meet in day-to-day life, outside of the rest of the Nine Worlds to which I had occasionally traveled in the past. It would have been a singular experience with any deity, and it was not the last time I would be spoken to by a god or goddess embodied in a human, but with Freyr, it became remarkable. He’s so awesomely bright and alive that just sitting in His presence fills one with joy and a sense of well-being.
That day, He did not come alone. Another person was ridden by Gerda, Freyr’s wife, a giantess who is as different from Him as night is from day — but not in the sense some Heathens would have you believe. She is reserved, inwardly-focused, like the cool respite of a sheltered garden, the strength found in solitude, and the wisdom that comes from often-unnoticed plants and herbs. She is called Lady of the Walled Garden in my tradition. Yet she is also one of the Jotnar, and behind Her reserve, there is passion and even ferocity. This is, I believe, part of what made Freyr instantly fall in love with Her while looking out from Odin’s high seat — that contrast of quiet, poised demeanor and, beneath it, untamed wildness. We of Asphodel were doubly blessed when They both came to us on that day.
So as I said before, I was nervous. I sat somewhat distant from the circle that had formed around the firepit. On the other side were two throne-like chairs, and on them, with a few people handy to see to Their needs, were Freyr and Gerda. One by one, They summoned, or were approached by, various individuals present, and still, I did not put forth my name. At last I looked up, and Freyr was pointing right at me! I stood up and shuffled to stand before the two of Them, kneeling on the rug that had been placed there for that purpose. I could feel both Their eyes on me, and I greeted them shyly. They inspired no fear, only awe…and love. I felt tears come to my eyes and roll down my face during my talk with Them. I don’t know if they were tears of grief, relief, or joy. It was probably all three.
Freyr spoke first. He told me he knew who I was — Loki’s wife, among other things — and remarked that I had come a long, long way for love, which was true. He told me that I carry a spark deep inside, and it was important that I not let it go out with sadness and loneliness. He said it would warm both me and Himself in days to come. Then Gerda spoke, reminding me gently of some things I had neglected and forgotten. Their compassion for the people They saw, and the way They complement each other so perfectly, like yin and yang, all made a deep impression on me. I came away with a lot of indescribable feelings, but paramount was gladness. Freyr has a way of inspiring that, with His hearty laugh and His benevolence. Gerda’s inspiration is subtler, but it’s there if you have the eyes to see.
Many people who were at the ritual said later that they were grateful and happy to have the chance to meet Freyr and Gerda, even those who weren’t Northern Tradition religionists. We were fortunate enough to host Them at two successive Lammas rituals, but after the second one, They told us kindly that They had business elsewhere, and have not returned. I hope that others will take the chance to meet Them this way, if the opportunity presents itself. It is one of the best memories I have.
Hail Freyr! Hail Gerda! Hail the Golden One and the Lady of the Walled Garden!