Saturday, November 19, 2011


In Norse mythology, Gerðr (Old Norse "fenced-in"[1]) is a jötunn, goddess, and the wife of the god Freyr. Gerðr is attested in the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources; the Prose Edda and Heimskringla, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson; and in the poetry of skalds. Gerðr is sometimes modernly anglicized as Gerd or Gerth.

In both the Poetic Edda and the Prose Edda, Freyr sees Gerðr from a distance, becomes deeply lovesick at the sight of her shimmering beauty, and has his servant Skírnir go to Jötunheimr (where Gerðr and her father Gymir reside) to gain her love. In the Poetic Edda Gerðr initially refuses, yet after a series of threats by Skírnir she finally agrees. In the Prose Edda, no mention of threats is made. In both sources, Gerðr agrees to meet Freyr at a fixed time at the location of Barri and, after Skírnir returns with Gerðr's response, Freyr laments that the meeting could not occur sooner. In both the Poetic Edda and the Prose Edda, Gerðr is described as the daughter of Gymir and the mountain jötunn Aurboða.

In Heimskringla, Gerðr is recorded as the wife of Freyr, euhemerized as having been a beloved king of Sweden. In the same source, the couple are the founders of the Yngling dynasty and produced a son, Fjölnir, who rose to kinghood after Freyr's passing and continued their line. Gerðr is commonly theorized to be a goddess associated with the earth. Gerðr has inspired works of art and literature.

Poetic Edda

In the Poetic Edda poem Skírnismál, the god Freyr sat on the high seat Hlidskjalf and looked into all worlds. Freyr saw a beautiful girl walking from the hall of her father to a storehouse. Freyr became heartsick for the girl. Freyr has a page named Skírnir. Freyr's father Njörðr and, in verse, the goddess Skaði tell Skírnir to find out what is the matter with Freyr. An exchange occurs between Freyr and Skírnir in verse, where Freyr tells Skírnir that he has seen a wonderous girl with shining arms at the home of (her father) Gymir, yet that the gods and elves do not wish for the two to be together:

Benjamin Thorpe translation:
In Gýmir's courts I saw walking
a maid for whom I long.
Her arms gave forth light wherewith shone
all air and water.

Is more desirable to me that maid
than to any youth in early days;
yet will no one, Æsir or Alfar,
that we together live.[2]

Henry Adams Bellows translation:
"From Gymir's house I behold forth
A maiden dear to me;
Her arms glittered, and from their gleam
Shone all the sea and sky."

"To me more dear than in days of old
Was ever maiden to man;
But no one of gods or elves will grant
That we be together should be."[3]

Skírnir requests that Freyr give him a horse and Freyr's sword; a sword which fights jötnar by itself. Under the cover of darkness, Skírnir rides the horse over nations and dew-covered mountains until he reaches Jötunheimr, the home of the jötnar, and proceeds to Gymir's courts. Ferocious dogs are tied before the wooden fence that surrounds Gerðr's hall. Skírnir rides out to a herdsman (unnamed) sitting on a mound, greets him, and asks the herdsman how he may speak to the maiden beyond Gymir's dogs. An exchange occurs between the herdsman and Skírnir, during which the herdsman tells Skírnir that he will never speak to the girl.[4]

Hearing a terrible noise in her dwellings, Gerðr asks where it is coming from, noting that the earth trembles and that all of Gymir's courts shake. A serving maid (unnamed) notes that outside a man has dismounted his horse and has let it graze. Gerðr tells the serving maid to invite the man to come into their hall and to partake of some of their "famous mead," yet Gerðr expresses fear that the man outside may be her "brother's slayer".[5]

Gerðr asks the stranger if he is of the elves, Æsir, or the Vanir, and why he comes alone "over the wild fire" to seek their company. Skírnir responds that he is of none of these groups, yet that he has indeed sought her out. Skírnir offers Gerðr 11 golden apples (or apples of eternal life, in a common emendation) to gain her favor. Gerðr rejects the apples—no matter who offers them—and adds that neither will she and Freyr be together as long as they live. Skírnir offers Gerðr a ring, here unnamed, that produces eight more gold rings every ninth night and "was burned with Odin's young son". Gerðr responds that she is not interested in the ring, for she shares her father's property, and Gymir has no lack of gold.[6]

Skírnir turns to threats; he points out to Gerðr that he holds a sword in his hand and he threatens to cut her head from her neck unless she agrees. Gerðr refuses; she says that she will not endure the coercion of any man, and says that if Gymir encounters Skírnir then a battle can be expected. Skírnir again reminds Gerðr of his blade and predicts that Gerðr's jötunn father will meet his doom with it. Skírnir warns Gerðr that he will strike her with his Gambanteinn, a wand, that it will tame her to his desires, and says that she will never again be seen by "the sons of men". From early morning, Gerðr will sit on an eagle's mound, looking outward to the world, facing Hel, and that "food shall be more hateful to you than to every man is the shining serpent among men".[7]

Skírnir declares that when Gerðr comes out she will be a spectacle; Hrímgrímnir will "glare" at her, "everything" will stare at her, she will become more famous than the watchman of the gods, and that she will "gape through the bars". Gerðr will experience "madness and howling, tearing affliction and unbearable desire" and that, in grief, tears will flow from her. Skírnir tells Gerðr to sit down, for her fate will be even worse yet. She will be harassed by fiends all her weary days. From the court of jötnar to the halls of the hrimthurs, Gerðr shall everyday crawl without choice, nor hope of choice. Gerðr will weep rather than feel joy, suffering tearfully. She will live the rest of her life in misery with a three-headed thurs or otherwise be without a man altogether. Skírnir commands for Gerðr's mind to be seized, that she may waste away with pining, and that she be as the thistle at the end of the harvest; crushed.[8]

Skírnir says that he has been to a wood to get a "potent branch", which he found. He declares that the gods Odin and Thor are angry with Gerðr, and that Freyr will hate her; she has "brought down the potent wrath of the gods". Skírnir declares to the hrimthursar, thursar, the sons of Suttungr, and the "troops of the Æsir" that he has denied both pleasure and benefit from men to Gerðr. Skírnir details that the thurs's name who will own her below the gates of Nágrind is Hrímgrímnir and that there, at the roots of the world, the finest thing Gerðr will be given to drink is the urine of goats. He carves "thurs" (the runic character *thurisaz) on Gerðr and three runes (unnamed) symbolizing lewdness, frenzy, and unbearable desire, and comments that he can rub them off just as he has carved them—if he wishes.[9]

Gerðr responds with a welcome to Skírnir and tells him to take a crystal cup containing ancient mead, noting that she thought she would never love one of the Vanir. Skírnir asks her when she will meet with Freyr. Gerðr says that they shall meet at a tranquil location called Barri, and that after nine nights she will there grant Freyr her love:

Benjamin Thorpe translation:
Barri is the grove named, which we both know,
the grove of tranquil paths.
Nine nights hence, there to Niörd's son
Gerd will grant delight.[10]

Henry Adams Bellows translation:
Barri there is, which we both know well,.
A forest fair and still;
And nine nights hence to the son of Njorth
Will Gerth grant delight.[11]

Skírnir rides home. Standing outside, Freyr immediately greets Skírnir and asks for news. Skírnir tells him that Gerðr says she will meet with him at Barri. Freyr, impatient, comments that one night is long, as is two nights, and questions how he will bear three, noting that frequently a month seemed shorter than half a night before being with Gerðr.[12]

A stanza in the poem Lokasenna refers to Gerðr. In the poem, Loki accuses the god Freyr of having purchased Gymir's daughter (Gerðr) with gold and comments that, in the process, Freyr gave away his sword. Referring to Freyr as a "wretch", Loki then posits how Freyr intends to fight when the Sons of Muspell ride over the wood Myrkviðr (an event during Ragnarök). Freyr's servant, Byggvir, interjects and the poem continues.[13]

In the poem Hyndluljóð, Óttar's ancestry is recounted and information is provided about the gods. One stanza relates that Freyr and Gerðr were married, that Gerðr is the daughter of the jötunn Gymir, that Gerðr's mother is Aurboða, and that they are related to Þjazi (the nature of the relation is not specified)—father of the goddess and jötunn Skaði.[14]


From: Wiki
Gerd was a giantess, whom became wife of the Vanir Freyr. Gerd was the daughter of the mountain giant Gymir and Aurboda. Gerd may have an unnamed brother who was killed.

Freyr fell in loved with Gerd, when he sat on Hlidskialf, Odin's throne in the hall called Valaskialf. Hlidskialf allowed the person to see the entire world, no matter the distance. Freyr sent his shield-bearer, named Skirnir, to woo her for him.

At first, Skirnir offered rich gifts to Gerd, which she refused, claiming to dislike all the gods. Not even when Skirnir threatened to cut off her head with Freyr's sword, cause her any fear. It was only when Skirnir threatened to put a curse, to make her old and ugly, that she even considered meeting Freyr in nine days later at a grove called the Barri.

Though the story never says that Freyr and Gerd married, other writers say that they had a son named Fiolnir.

Gerd became a goddess of light, and was a Asyniur in her own right, like the giantess Skaldi, Freyr's stepmother and the second wife of Njord.

From: here
Gerd is a beautiful giantess, the wife of Freyr and daughter of the giant Gymir. She is an earth goddess, the personification of the fertile soil. She was so beautiful that the brightness of her naked arms illuminated both air and sea. Gerd never wanted to marry Freyr and refused his proposals. Freyr sent his messenger Skirnir to woo her, but he did not succeed in winning her over with the eleven golden apples and the ring Draupnir he had with him. Eventually Skirnir threatened to use Freyr's sword, which would cover the earth in ice, and powerful magic which would doom Gerd's life to misery and sadness. She finally agreed to meet Freyr in a wood, nine days hence, and later became his wife.

From: here
Gerd is the Norse Goddess of fertile soil. She is a giantess, and was described as being very beautiful. When her future husband Freyr, twin brother of Freyja, first saw her, he likened her to a sunbeam among shadows, so great was her beauty. Freyr, who was the God of light and fertility, sent a messenger to woo Gerd for him, but she did not want to leave her home to marry the God. The messenger offered her golden apples and a magical ring, but this did not sway her. He threatened to cut off her head, but she was not afraid. Only when he threatened her with a curse that would leave her alone and desolate on a dark mountaintop did she relent. Gerd agreed to meet Freyr in nine days, and they were married. Gerd’s name means “enclosure” and is also seen as Gerda or Gerðr.

From: here
Also see:
The Wooing of Gerd
Freyr & Gerd
Freyr {God of the Day}

From A Shrine for Frey (also has more about Freyr-- poems, prayers, articles, etc)--
Gerda’s Three Weddings by Raven Kaldera, from The Jotunbok
Magic Songs for Gerda by Linda Demissy
Gerd Meets Frey by Michaela Macha
Brewing Charms for Frey and Gerda by Geordie Ingerson
Herbs and Incense for Frey and Gerda by Raven Kaldera
Gerda, Frey's Bride
Invocation to Gerda by Raven Kaldera
Gerda Prayer Beads by Raven Kaldera

Gerð´s Choice Arlea Hunt-Anschütz
Gerd of the Forest Ayla Wolffe

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