Gerda, Frey's Bride

gerdaGerda is the daughter of Gymir and Aurboda, two mountain-giants. Her name refers to a wall, a boundary, an enclosed space, and she is the Lady of the Walled Garden. Where her husband specializes in field crops, Gerda prefers herbs. She blesses both the cultivated herbs in the walled garden and the wild ones in the woods and fields and bogs.

In Skirnismal, it is told that Frey, the Golden One of the Vanir, stole one day into Odin's great tower to look through his magic window which sees far away. He was hoping for a glance of his sister Freyja, who was wandering in search of her missing husband, but the gaze of the window shifted and landed on a hall in Jotunheim, surrounded by flames. An etin-woman came out of the door for a moment, and with one glance at her, Frey fell madly in love. He sent letters, but her father Gymir returned them. Finally he sent his friend Skirnir as a go-between, and with some awkwardness, Gerda agreed to marry him. Their love story is told in Gerda’s Three Weddings on this site. Also discussed in that story are the reasons why Frey and Gerda have no children together. Gerda comforts women who have had miscarriages or abortions, and she does not judge the reasons.

Frey and GerdaAs a couple, she and Frey are very much complementary opposites: male and female; sunny extrovert and quiet introvert; sun-lover and nightwalker; light in the darkness and shadow in the light; pastoral and feral; civilized and barbaric; cultivated grain in the safe, open fields and weedy herbs in the enclosed forest garden; plants that reach for the sun and plants that dig into the earth; life that blossoms forth and life stillborn, culled out before its time. Their marriage was unusual in that most of the folk on all sides - Jotun, Aesir, Alfar, and perhaps even Vanir - spoke out against it. As such, Frey and Gerda are gods of marriage. They bless those whose unions are condemned, and whose love makes them outcasts. As Frey was known to be favorable to followers who did not conform to heterosexuality or standard gender roles, they have in recent years been called upon to bless the unions of nonheterosexual weddings, as well as those between members of vastly different races, cultures, or faiths. Their love across all odds brings hope to star-crossed lovers.



(Artwork to left by Grace Palmer, whose gallery is here:)