Monday, May 16, 2016

Frigga, Wyrd, and Hagalaz

The other day I decided to engage in a meditation on Frigga suggested by Galina Krasskova in her book, Exploring the Northern Tradition (New Page Books, 2005).

Frigga is married to Odin, and one of her children is Baldur, God of Light, whose death sent her into deep mourning (he was resurrected after Ragnarok). After considering Frigga’s many characteristics and qualities for several moments, I pulled a rune to serve as a message to me from her. I pulled Hagalaz.

Hagalaz (especially in its Anglo-Saxon depiction) is considered the mother rune – a rune out of which all other runes can be crafted. Likewise, Frigga is the “All Mother.”
Frigga is associated with Wyrd, the northern concept of fate, destiny, and free will. Wyrd (an Anglo-Saxon form of the Norse "Urd" - both the concept and the Norn) is woven by the three Norns – Urd, Verdandi, and Skuld - who sit at the Well of Urd at the foot of Yggdrasil, however the destiny they weave is far from static, for time is not linear but constructed more like a web, or matrix, stretching outward in all directions. There may be certain events that are “fated” or destined to play out for each of us, but the ultimate outcome may depend in part on the course of action, the decisions, choices, and attitudes, of each individual whose influence impacts the situation in question (each individual’s strand of Wyrd is called orlog). There is room for agency, and at times the opportunity for us to improve our Wyrd. Frigga is often connected to the Norns as she weaves as they do, and it is said that she is a great seer, though seldom speaks of what she sees (I can’t pretend to know why she doesn’t speak of it, however as a diviner, I certainly understand the reluctance to speak of future probabilities or potentialities).

As such, Frigga teaches that we may not always know definitively how something will turn out, and that the best way to approach the future is to be in right relationship with our selves, our environment, and with the people we care about.

When we can foresee a challenge ahead, Frigga urges us to use that foresight to prepare ourselves appropriately to engage it – even if our most effective tool is simply our attitude or outlook - which is both a gift and an influencing element of our individual Wyrd.

Frigga is the fundamental source of order; she not only spins threads of Wyrd, she weaves people together into community (frith). She ties mothers and daughters together from generation to generation; she is the cord that binds all things, from human society to the expanse of the universe.

Hagalaz is also connected to Wyrd, and to cosmic order. In divination it often represents unpleasant upheavals, challenges that provide opportunities for personal growth, but require you to be willing to examine your shadow.

When I think about Frigga in relationship to Hagalaz, I see how her gift of deep strength helps to weather whatever unexpected challenges arise. Stability without change becomes stagnation. Frigga is unwavering rootedness, a stable core that can withstand the ups and downs inherent in life. She is the structure and strength that allows us to bend, not break, in the face of the deepest storm. She is the texture of human relationship, she is the presence of loved ones in times of crisis – the arms that hold us when we struggle to stand on our own.

Just as Hagalaz is the hail that damages crops, but then melts into water to provide sustenance to the earth, Frigga reminds us that the challenges we bear ultimately help lead us to transformative growth. There is great power there.


  1. What a wonderful post Olivia! You have shown us perfectly how Frigga is so much more than the domestic wife of Odin. Did you know that "Oorlog" is the Dutch word for War. That's what you get when everybody wants to pull their own string of the web. :)
    I am often amazed these ancient metaphors like weaving, spinning and web making are found in so many mythologies.

    1. Thanks, Ellen! That is so interesting about öorlog meaning "war" - and you are so right - when we all lead by ego, we do end up in conflict and war. Yes, Frigga is such a powerful and awesome goddess! <3