Frigg sits enthroned and facing the spear-wielding goddess Gná, flanked by two goddesses, one of whom (Fulla) carries her eski, a wooden box. Illustrated (1882) by Carl Emil Doepler.
According to Germanic mythology, Frigg Old Norse, Frija Old High German, Frea (Langobardic), and Frige (Old English) is an early Northern European goddess. In She is described as the wife of the god Oδinn in many sources and is also believed to be a notable Vǫlva and formidable sorceress. In Old High German and Old Norse sources, she is also connected with the goddess Fulla. The English weekday name Friday (etymologically Old English "Frīge's day") bears her name. Frigga is also seen as a mother goddess and a goddess of child bearing though the nornirs hold that area but not exclusively so.
Frigga and Freyja are not the same Nordic goddesses?
Some scholars hypothesize that both Frigga and Freyja may have their origin in a Common Germanic goddess. There is no firm evidence for this, but scholars have found some similarities both in their mythological features and the possible etymologies of their names, as well as place-names associated with them. The day of the week Friday in Old Norse is called both Freyjudagr and Frjádagr (for Freyja and Frigg respectively), in Faröese Fríggjadagur, and in Old High German was Frîatac, Frîgetac, and now Freitag, for Frigg. On Old English Frigedæg referred to Frigg as well. Frigga is according to the sagas the wife of Oðinn, and Freyja the sister of Freyr, a pair easy to confound and often confounded because of their similar names.
Certain significant similarities between Frigg and Freyja have been noted:
1) The power of prophecy is attributed to Frigg, which seems more properly related to the seiðr-craft of Freyja.
2) Hugo Junger argues that place-names in Scandinavia seem to link cult sites for Freyja with names derived from Frigg.
3) Freyja's husband Ód is often away on journeys, like Frigg's husband Odin
4) Frigga is often associated with weaving (a known seiðr praxis), combining the aspects of a love goddess and a domestic goddess. In Sweden and some parts of Germany, the asterism of Orion's Belt is known as her distaff or spindle.
The name of Freyja seems the easier: it is motived no doubt by the masculine Freyr (Gramm. 3, 335). Now as we recognised Freyr in Gothic fráuja, Freyja leads us to expect a Gothic fráujô, gen. fráujons, both in the general sense of domina mistress, and in the special one of a proper name Fráujô. The notion of mistress, lady, never occurs in Ulphilas. To make up for it, our OHG. remains express it very frequently, by fruwâ, frôwâ; the MHG. frouwe, frou and our modern frau have preserved themselves purely as common nouns, while the masc. frô has vanished altogether. In meaning, frouwe and frau correspond exactly to hêrre, herr, and are used like it both in addressing and otherwise. Our minnesängers are divided as to the respective superiority of frouwe (domina) and wîp (femina), wîp expressing more the sex, and frouwe the dignity; to this day we feel frau to be nobler than weib, though the French femme includes a good deal of what is in our frau. It seems worthy of notice, that the poets harp on the connexion of frau with froh glad (fro-lic) and freude joy; conf. Frîdank 106, 5—8. Tit. 15, 35.
The Anglo Saxon and Old Scandanavian languages have done the very reverse: while their masc. freá, fraho is used far more freely than the OHG. frouwo, they have developed no fem. by its side. The M. Dutch dialect has vrauwe, vrouwe in addressing and as title (Huyd. op St. 1, 52. 356. Rein 297. 731. 803. 1365. 1655. 2129. 2288. 2510-32-57-64, &c.), seldomer in other positions, Rein 2291; the modern vrouw has extended its meaning even beyond the limits of our frau. All the above languages appear to lack the fem. proper name, in contrast to the ON. which possess Freyja almost solely as the goddess's name, and no freyja=hera. Yet we find hûsfreyja housewife, Sæm. 212b, and Snorri is still able to say that freyja is a tignarnafn (name of honour) derived from the goddess, that grand ladies, rîkiskonur, are freyjur, Sn. 29. Yng. saga c. 13. The readings frûr, fruvor here are corrupt, for the Ice. form frû has evidently slipped in from the Dan. frue, Swed. fru, and these from Germany. The goddess should be in Swed. Fröa, Dan. Fröe, which have never met with; the Swed. folk-song of Thor's hammer calls Freyja Froijenborg (the Dan. Fridleefsborg), a Danish one has already the foreign Fru. Saxo is silent about this goddess and her father altogether; he would no doubt have named her Fröa. Our Meresburg poem has now at last presented us with Frûâ=Frôwâ, as the proper name of the goddess.
Frigg gen. Friggjar, daughter of Fiörgynn and wife of Oðinn, is kept strictly apart from Freyja, gen. Freyju: in the Vafþrudnismâl and the beginning of the Grîmnismâl, Oðinn, and Frigg are plainly presented as husband and wife; and as Hroptr and Svâfnir are also names of Oðinn, ‘Hroptr ok Frigg, Svâfnir ok Frigg’ in Sæm. 91b 93a express the same relation. Saxo Gram. p. 13, has correctly ‘Frigga Othini conjux’.
In prayers the two goddesses even stand side by side: ‘svâ hialpi ther hollar vættir, Frigg ok Freyja, ok fleiri goð (more gods), sem þû feldir mer fâr af höndom!’ Sæm. 240b. So they do at the burning of Baldr's body, Sn. 66, conf. 37. And that Danish folk-song has likewise ‘Frikka, Fru, ok Thor. The Old Norse usually has gg where the AS. has cg and Old High German cc or kk, namely, where a suffix i had stood after g or k: thus, ON. egg (acies), AS. ecg, OHG. ekki; ON. bryggja (pons), AS. brycge, Old High German prukkâ; ON. hryggr (dorsum), AS. hrycg, OHG. hrukki. In the same way we get an AS. Fricg, OHG. Frikka, Frikkia, even further away from Frouwâ than Frigg from Freyja. It is confounding of these two beings that will explain how Adam of Bremen came to put Fricco instead of Frô for freyr; he would equally have said Fricca for freyja. Fricco, Friccho, Friccolf were in use as proper names in OHG.
And now it seems possible to explain what is otherwise unaccountable, why the sixth day of the week, dies Veneris, should be called in ON. both Freyjudagr and also Frîadagr, in OHG. never Frouwûntac, but Frîtac, Frîgetac, now Freitag, in AS. Frigedæg (for Fricgedæg?), and in Faröese Frujggjadeâ (Lyngbye 532). Freyja is the goddess most honoured after or along with Frigg; her worship seems to have been even the more prevalent and important of the two, she is styled ‘agætuz af Asynum,’ Sn. 28, and ‘blôtgyðja,’ Yngl. saga cap. 4, to whom frequent sacrifices were offered. Heiðrekr sacrificed a boar to her, as elsewhere to Freyr, and honoured her above all other gods. She was wedded to a man (not a god, at least not an As ), named Oðr, but he forsook her, and she sought him all over the world, among strange peoples, shedding tears. Her name S_r (Sn. 37) would perhaps be Saûrs in Gothic: Wilh. Müller has detected the very same in the Syritha of Saxo Gram. p. 125, who likewise goes in search of Othar. Freyja's tears were golden, gold is named after them, and she herself is ‘grâtfagr,’ fair in greeting (weeping), Sn. 37. 119. 133; in out nursery-tales pearls and flowers are wept or laughed out, and dame Holla bestows the gift of weeping such tears. But the oldest authorities make her warlike also; in a waggon drawn by two cats (as Thôrr drives two goats) she rides to the battlefield, ‘rîðr til vîgs,’ and shares with Oðinn in the slain (supra p. 133, conf. Sæm. 42a. Sn. 28. 57). She is called ‘eigandi valfalls’ (quae sortitur caesos in pugna), Sn. 119; valfreyja, mistress of the chosen, Nialss. p. 118, and the valkyrs in general; this seems to be in striking accord with Holda or Berhta (as well as Woutan) adopting the babes that die unchristened into their host, heathen goddesses the heathen souls. Freyja's dwelling is named Fôlkvângr or Fôlkvângar, the plains on which the (dead ?) folk troop together; this imparts new credibility to the connexion of St. Gertrude, whose minne is drunk, with Frowa, for the souls of the departed were supposed to lodge with Gertrude the first night (p. 61). Freyja's hall is Sessrymnir, the seat-roomy, capacious of much folk; dying women expect to find themselves in her company after death.
Thôrgerðr in the Egilss., p. 103, refuses earthly nourishment, thinks to feast with Freyja soon: ‘ok engan (nâttverð) mun ek fyrr enn at Freyju’. Yet love-songs please her too, and lovers do well to call upon her: ‘henni lîkaði vel mansöngr, â hana er gott at heita til âsta,’ Sn. 29. That the cat was sacred her, as the wolf to Woutan, will perhaps explain why this creature is given to night-hags and witches, and is called donneraas, wetteraas (-carrion). When a bride goes to the wedding in fine weather, they say ‘she has fed the cat well,’ not offended the favourite of the love-goddess. The meaning of a phrase in Walther 82, 17 is dark to me: ‘weder rîtest gerner eine guldîn katze, ald einen wunderlîchen Gêrhart Atzen?’ In Westphalia, however the weasel was named froie, Reinh. clxxii, which I suppose means frau, fräulein (froiken), as that ghostly creature was elsewhere called mühmlein (aunty), fräulein, donna, donnola, titles sure to be connected with myths, and these would doubtless point in the first place to our goddess and her worship. The Greeks said Galinthias was turned into a weasel or cat (g a l _n ), Ovid. metam. 9, 306. But in favour of Freyja too, we posses a weighty piece of external evidence. The Edda makes her the owner of a costly necklace named Brîsînga men (Brisingoru monile); she is called ‘eigandi Brîsîngamens,’ Sn. 37. 119. How she acquired this jewel from the dwarfs, how it was cunningly stolen from her by Loki, is fully narrated in a tale by itself, Sn. 354—357. In the poets therefore Loki is Brîsîngs Þiofr (thorl. obs. 6, 41. 63); a lost lay of the Edda related how Heimdallr fought with Loki for this ornament, Sn. 105. When Freyja pants with rage, the necklace starts from her breast (stauk þat it micla men Brîsînga), Sæm. 71b. When Thôrr, to get his hammer back, dresses up in Freyja's garments, he does not forget to put her famous necklace on: ‘hafi hann (have he) it mikla men Brîsînga!’ Sæm. 72. Now this very trinket is evidently known to the AS. poet of Beowulf 2399, he names it Brosinga mene, without any allusion to the goddess; I would read ‘Brîsinga mene,’ and derive the word in general from a verb which is in MHG. brîsen, breis (nodare, nodis constringere, Gr. k e n _i n to pierce), namely, it was a chain strung together of bored links.