Archive for the ‘Gefjon’ Category

Gefjon – Dancing up the ladder you made
Norse Goddess
Name means “The Giving One.”

Gefjun ploughing off an island with her four oxen sons

‘The fourth is Gefjon; she is a maiden, and women who die unmarried serve her.” Also spelled Gefion (anglicized) and Gefjun (Old Norse).
Note: It makes more sense to interpret ‘maiden’ as ‘unmarried woman’ or ‘independent woman’ than as ‘virgin’, considering she has four sons.

Gefjon’s Origin

Imagine you were a working class woman who dreamed of becoming a Goddess in a new land — a barefoot graduate of the “school of hard knocks” who’d left home with a single brown dress to her name, a strong lass skilled only in ploughing fields for a father who’d already promised you away in marriage. “Your dreams are impossible,” he’d tell you, “be content with your lot in life. You’re a farmer’s daughter. You’ll marry a farmer, plough his fields and bear him sons. Be reasonable.”

But what if you weren’t reasonable? What if you decided to leave home and walk all the way up to Asgard from your home in… Jotunheim. Ah yes, there’s the rub. You’re also a Giantess and the lily-white Aesir don’t care much for your proud race, except for a night of fun or to mother a son for Asgard. Those of the White Land atop the World Tree Yggdrasil have little interest in your big boned beauty, mighty shoulders and powerful hips envied by many women in your homeland — dark skinned from working fields in the sun, clever at the market, cunning in haggling, but possessed of no special powers aside from exceptional stubbornness. They seemingly prefer fragile fair-haired women that might break like saplings under a strong wind, strange as that may be. (more…)

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Part 8: Status and Seemings

Brynja cleared her throat, distracting me from my downward spiral. I pulled myself out of my sorrow, lifting my head enough to see sympathy in her face as she said: “Goddess, I could not possibly understand what ascension does to a person, but I have been told I give good counsel on occasion. Would you like me to offer some, which you can pass on to my Lady when you see her?”

“Why not,” I said, “it can’t hurt,” and patted a spot beside me on the stone bench.

“I had a sort of ascension of my own,” she said as she sat, “when I received an elegant dress fit for a noblewoman, made of the finest material with delicate gold embroidery. When I got that dress, a gift from a traveling prince who enjoyed my company, at first I refused to wear it, afraid I would damage it. I was but a bar wench, a free woman but still a menial, and men usually took me for granted along with the ale. After a while, I realized it was silly not to use such a lovely dress, so I wore it around town. People treated me differently when I did, as if I were more noble born than I truly was; it opened opportunities for me and invitations, but It went to my head I fear. I started to look down on my less fortunate peers, demanding respect and obedience to my whims. Oh, I still had to serve tables to earn my keep, but I did so with scorn and superiority, knowing that once I went out with my fabulous dress, these same scoundrels would fall over themselves to earn my favor. Working as a serving wench was demeaning but necessary, and I thought I deserved better. I knew my true self was a noble born lady, while the servant clothes were just a disguise.” She gave a wry smile as she looked up, lost in remembering, before continuing her tale. I wondered if I would become as haughty as she had. (more…)

Part 7: Lady of Dance

The initiation done and my divinity revealed, I inspected myself in the tall mirror of my new chambers. My skin was now a perfectly smooth and soft alabaster white, barely contrasting with the white dress I wore. I saw the rosy tint of my cheeks, lips red as raspberries, and hair golden as the ripened wheat. Gone was my earth brown wavy tangly hair, and gone was my dark skin. My rough Giantess beauty had been replaced by the refined facial features of an Aesir maiden. I daintily brought a hand to caress my necklace – each bead beckoning me to a different dance of power – shocked speechless by my transformation. Even my fingers were delicate, as were my nails, such hands that had never seen hard work. I looked like every story princess awaiting her prince. (more…)

Part 6: The Hired Help

“What do you mean, farmhands?!” Odin bellowed from his throne, voice echoing in the rafters. “Gefjon, I gave you land as you wanted, and now you want to recruit Asgardian Gods to work your fields? Preposterous!” Three steps separated us as I petitioned below, with Frigga’s high chair to the right and Balder’s on the left. Neither were with us, though a shaft of light from the westward window graced the Bright God’s empty seat. This was a private audience.

Throne

Throne

 

My buckskin dress was sweaty, smelly, and clinging uncomfortably as I crafted my response, though it was a relief to cast off the fur coat. I thought my feet would be clean from the snow, but too many trampling boots had made mud of the patriarch’s path. Normally I enjoyed the feel of mud between my toes, but it was now adding a distraction to my rising irritation. (more…)

Part 5: Four Oxen for Land

Morning air was chilly and made fog of my breath. I chose my path along the budding birches to let Sunna light caress me, sensually letting fingers trail on the smooth bark of these White Ladies. The invigorating scent of nearby spruce and pine reached my nostrils, along with the pleasing scent of decaying leaves. They crunched underfoot with the melting snow as I crossed the forest.

Nights and days were equal when I reached the homestead of my promised man in Jotunheim. You’d think it was just a moss covered hill, were not for a leather flap over the doorway and smoke rising from its summit. I took one last pure breath before lifting the skin, then wrinkled my nose at the far less appealing smell of too many sweaty furs and skins locked away for a season.

“Grimr!” [1] I called out within his cavernous hall, “It is Spring and you’re in luck. It is time for us to flock, as I have come to fulfill my father’s pledge.” Various couples littered the earthen floor, stirring slightly as I bellowed, though most just rolled over and snuggled under their smelly pelt blankets.

Eagerly he came from his private room to the fire warmed hall, in only a skin loincloth and cloak, to greet me thus: “So, lass, you’ve finally come to your senses. I am glad to hear you are done with your silly wandering. Now we marry!” His legs were strong but it was his shoulders and head that were massive above all. He towered over me by two heads, with shaggy dark hair a mess that hid most of his face. It was how he got his name.

(more…)

Part 4: The Mound of Memory

I went back to Jotunheim on foot across the snowy hills, once more in furs and brown buckskin dress for a final visit to my family – before attending the man they promised me to as baby-maker. On the way I chided myself in spite of success. I’d felt so good dancing for the crowd and seducing the king that I’d almost forgotten to claim a promise – until he asked – so caught up was I in enjoying the moment. Silly girl! You spent a year working hard for that goal, now is not the time to get distracted, I thought. This is just the beginning, and there is much yet to do before I can be a Goddess. As for Gylfi… not a bad lover. Not great, fair I suppose, but then I’m not settling down with him so it doesn’t matter. I do hope Odin doesn’t evict him when I give away the land he lives on. It certainly wouldn’t make me a very popular Goddess if I became known as a land thief. Hmm, ‘Goddess of land theft’, I smiled as I rolled the idea around in my head, kicking up snow as I went. Not the worst job a Goddess could have I guess, laying claim to territories for the Gods. ‘You! Out! Some lesser God wants your land so you’re out of luck.’  I laughed at my own wit, chuckling off and on for the rest of the day’s travels. That night I dreamed of mortals praising my name, dragging sharp tools in the ground, tracing boundaries around land given to their favorite Goddess. “No, not stolen,” I told myself softly in the morning, waking under my furs, “given. And that is my name, is it not?” The king had chosen to give me that land, though he knew not how much I could plough. (more…)

Part 3: Dancing For King and Land

 Njord’s ship brought me back, once my plan was made, to the lush world of Vanaheim. He’d asked for no fee, thus making me blush, “Gift for a good cause”  he’d said on the pier. Not used to free rides, not even from kin – what I had I earned with my sweat.

There in the fields I worked over summer, to buy me a green linen gown – fit for a princess, embroidered in gold, and also I gathered some herbs. That fertile land walked I barefoot across, with my precious package in hand, till Billing’s Harbor I reached late in Fall; paid passage with work as before. Last of the harvests were ready to load; a month of toil they made for me.

One of his workers gave me a fur coat to cross Jotunheim’s snowy paths. I quite was grateful, for it took some weeks to reach Midgard’s small mountain pass. I barely fit through, which is why only small Giants are seen by humans. From there to Hleiðra[1] where king Gylfi ruled, just in time for Midwinter’s feast![2]  I made sure to wash my feet in the lake before putting on the fine dress. T’was easy to kick through a foot of ice to get to the water below, so for fun I splashed around for a while, and so washed the rest of my skin. (more…)

Part 2: The Interview

 Finally, I saw King Odin approaching. He’s easy to recognize due to the eye patch, though I suppose someone else could put a patch over an eye to make me think they were Odin. Still, I had to treat the man as if he were my new boss, whether he was or not, so I strode toward him with a big smile. Smiling is  important when you meet people. Men in green laced shirts moved in front of him with swords drawn, so I stopped and waited for the chief to come to me. I did my best to look proper and Goddess-like, but frowned upon realizing I’d forgotten to wash my feet. Too late for that now. The king came right up to me, dressed in a dark blue cloak, his gaze making me feel was peering into my very spirit.

Expressionless, he eventually spoke: “You want to be a Goddess of Asgard and swear obedience to me?”

“Yes sir, I do.”

“And what is your name, girl?” (more…)

 Part 1: Noatun

I am Gefjon, Handmaiden of Frigga, and this is my story. Naïve enough to believe, and stubborn enough to succeed, this is how I achieved dreams such that none could deny me.

Proudly I stood on the pier of Asgard’s harbor, Nóatún, at long last having attained my desired destination. Soon I too would be a Goddess alongside the mighty Aesir Gods! As I’d expected, the few clouds in sight were perfectly white and puffy, Frigga’s doing no doubt, and I smiled up at Sunna. The salty sea breeze was crisp and fresh upon my sun-darkened skin, and I delighted in tasting the landmegin: a sweet tartness like the tender shoots of spruce trees in the Spring. Spruces and firs indeed formed a forest beyond the harbor’s houses. (more…)