Freya is the daughter of Njord (and likely Nerthus), the twin sister of Frey, and one of three Vanir who were sent to Asgard as hostages following the Aesir-Vanir war. Like her brother, she is connected with fertility, and portrayed in lore as being extremely sexual. However she is also a warrior and a mistress of magic, and a very complex figure.
How should one periphrase Freya? Thus: by calling her Daughter of Njordr, Sister of Frey, Wife of Odr, Mother of Hnoss, Possessor of the Slain, of Sessrumnir, of the Gib-Cats, and of Brisingamen; Goddess of the Vanir, Lady of the Vanir, Goddess Beautiful in Tears, Goddess of Love. -Skaldskaparsmal 20
Language shapes our perception of reality, and multiple words for a concept reflect the nuances of that concept. The typical example that most people have heard is that Inuit people have multiple words for snow, because their lives depend on it; its presence in different forms affects their lives in different ways. In English, we just have snow.
And this is not the only word that we only have one word for that another culture has multiple words to express, which brings me to love. English has one word for love, and while I love Loki, I love my child, and I love tacos, each one of those loves is a very different type of love. Ancient Greek had multiple variations on love; bhakti has different types:
I was chatting with some friends about the discussions about Pagan leadership. There's a conference planned for hard polytheists, and Shauna Aura Knight is writing a series on community building that's good reading (and thanks to Jo for pointing it out to me!). I'm really happy that constructive dialogue is starting up, and I hope that it yields community building and infrastructure in the Pagan and Heathen communities. When I think about my own strengths and weaknesses as a priestess/gythia, and what I'd like to leave as a legacy to my community twenty or fifty years from now, I don't want bickering with monotheists, or other Pagans to be that legacy. I'd like to build a support system for our faith.
Some of that comes from my background as a teacher and speech path; one of the goals in working for ChildFind was to assess both child and family's needs and connect them to government and private resources that would help them improve their lives. What we deeply need, IMO, is the same kind of training and access to resources, because when people seek spiritual counseling and connection, they're often hurting and in need of healing. I am not a healer, but I can help direct someone to the type of healer that they need. Of course, this type of work involves knowing yourself (and oh Gods, we talk about that alllll the time, but HOW do you know yourself?) - that's heavy duty metacognitive work. Just to pick on myself a moment, because modeling often helps people figure out their own processes:
While my spiritual path is Hellenic and I primarily honor Greek Deities, I nonetheless am fascinated by the many, many different traditions out there that fall within the large Pagan tent (or set up camp right next to it). As a result, I have a pretty sizable personal library of books on other-than-Hellenic traditions.
Northern Traditions, and especially the Goddesses honored by those traditions, are a particular favorite subject.* I am always on the lookout for new books on Frigga or Freyja or Epona or Skadhi or Medeine.**