Tag Archive: virginity


This is the second episode following “When God Was a Girl” in a BBC documentary series, Divine Women by historian Bettany Hughes.  “Historian Bettany Hughes continues her journey into the hidden and controversial history of women’s place in religion as she uncovers the lost era of the priestess. She delves into the ancient Greek worship of the goddess of sex, Aphrodite, and finds out what this practice meant for women. She also heads to ancient Rome, where the fate of the civilisation lay in the hands of six sacred virgins. Returning to the crucial early years of Christianity, she finds evidence that overturns centuries of Church teaching and challenges the belief that women should not be priests.”

 

Goddess Gefn

“Freyja” by paintedflowers

“Gefn’s themes are sun, winter, spring, protection, health, love, divination, magic, fertility, foresight, and growth.  Her symbols are all green or growing things.  A Goddess whose name means simply ‘giver’, Gefn was regarded by the Norse-Germanic people as a frolicsome, fertile figure and seeress who embodied the earth’s greenery. Gefn brings this abundance to us today: abundant well-being, abundant companionship, and abundant Goddess-centered magic!

Walpurgisnacht with a German saint (Saint Walburga), who had curative powers and taught people how to banish curses. For our purpose, Gefn stands in, offering to heal the curse of a broken heart by filling our lives with love and hope-filled foresight. If someone has completely overlooked or trashed your feelings recently, ask Gefn for help in words that you find comfortable. She’s waiting and willing to apply a spiritual salve to that wound.

Also try the German custom of ringing bells and banging pots to frighten away any malicious or prankish magic (or people who make it) before your spring activities really start to rock ‘n’ roll. Make this as playful as possible to encourage Gefn’s participation. Burning rosemary and juniper likewise cleanses the area, and if you can get either of these fresh, Gefn’s presence lies within. The burning releases Her energy.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“In Norse mythology, Gefjon (pronounced GEF-yon) or Gefjun (with the alternate spelling Gefion) is a Goddess associated with ploughing, the Danish island of Zealand, the legendary Swedish king Gylfi, the legendary Danish king Skjöldr, foreknowledge, and virginity. Gefjon 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; in the works of skalds; and appears as a gloss for various Greco-Roman Goddesses in some Old Norse translations of Latin works.

Gefjon ploughs the earth in Sweden by Lorenz Frølich

The Prose Edda and Heimskringla both report that Gefjon plowed away what is now lake Mälaren, Sweden, and with this land formed the island of Zealand, Denmark. In addition, the Prose Edda describes that not only is Gefjon a virgin Herself, but that all who die a virgin become Her attendants. Heimskringla records that Gefjon married the legendary Danish king Skjöldr and that the two dwelled in Lejre, Denmark.

Scholars have proposed theories about the etymology the name of the Goddess, connections to fertility and ploughing practices, the implications of the references made to Her as a virgin, five potential mentions of the Goddess in the Old English poem Beowulf, and potential connections between Gefjon and Grendel’s Mother and/or the Goddesses Freyja and Frigg.” [1]

The Gefion Fountain, located on the harbour front in Copenhagen, Denmark. Photo by Oliver J. Schirmer

“The predominant myth about Gefjon is from a ninth century poem by Bragi the Old and was retold by Snorri Sturluson in the thirteenth century. He relates how Odin had sent Gefjon out to look for more land, and She came to the court of King Gylfi of Sweden. She entertained the king, and in return he gave Her a grant of as much land as four oxen could plough in one day and one night. Gefjon went to the land of the giants where She had four sons with a giant. She turned the four sons into oxen and brought them back to King Gylfi. They dug up so much earth that they created a lake, Lake Mälaren, and the earth that they had dug they dumped into the sea where it formed an island, Zealand, which is now part of Denmark. Gefjon then moved to the island and married Odin’s son Skjöld, and their children became the royal family of Denmark.

Elsewhere in his works, Snorri Sturluson refers to Gefjon as a virgin Goddess, although the trickster God Loki claims that this is not true. Gefjon is one of Frigg’s handmaidens, and She in turn is served by women who died as virgins.” [2]

 

ASSOCIATIONS:

Also Called: The Giver; Mistress of Magick

Colors: Green, gold

Symbols: Plow, wheat, corn

Stones/Metals: Amber, malachite, copper

Plants: Hawthorn, alder, wheat, corn, elder, thyme, yarrow

Day: Friday

Runes: Gebo, Fehu, Jera       [3]

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Pagan Rights Coalition, “Gefjon“.

Sabrina. Goddess A Day, “Gefjon“.

Wikipedia, “Gefjon“.

 

Suggested Links:

Odin’s Volk, “Gefjon“.

Paxson, Diana L. Hrafnar.org, “Beloved“.

Quarrie, Deanne. Global Goddess, “Gefjon the Giver“.

Thomas, Dawn “Belladonna”. Global Goddess, “Goddess Gefjon and a Sample Ritual“.

VAIDILUTE, “Asgard and the Gods – Part 4

Wikipedia, “List of names of Freyja“.


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