Understanding the Terms – Fylgja

For those familiar with Irish folklore, you may have heard of tales about meeting a fetch. In these tales, a fetch is a person’s own doppelganger. Usually the seeing of one’s fetch portends one of two things in Irish folktales:  if one sees their fetch in the morning (i.e. your own image) it means you have a happy long life ahead, but if you see your fetch in the evening your death is very near.

The word fetch also appears to be the Old English word equivalent to the Old Norse word Fylgja. In the Northern Tradition, the Fylgja is literally some sort of supernatural spirit that accompanies a person (or a familial line) in connection to their fate or fortune. They could appear as animals, or as women. You do NOT want to see one, as in the Northern Tradition it is considered an ill omen foreshadowing your impending death/doom.

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Correcting Common Misconceptions – Freyja & the Valkyrie

I am human, and therefore like so many others I have my personal ticks and pet peeves. Among them are common misconceptions that somehow seem to multiply faster than dirty laundry & dust bunnies, or the spam messages in my inbox.

Somehow, once upon a time someone first said that the Goddess Freyja was a Valkyrie, and since then that concept has been reiterated innumerable times across websites, and a plethora of books. While not trying to be disparaging of those who are not focused in the Northern Tradition, it seems that many of the problematic texts were written for a broader crowd who might mix and match their deities from across various traditions. I can only imagine that this misconception has occurred and been perpetuated so greatly because authors didn’t realize that the research they were using was faulty since they lacked a specialized knowledge as it relates to Freyja and the related deities and culture found within the Northern Tradition.

So allow me to say clearly and once and for all that the Goddess Freyja is NOT a Valkyrie.

So why all the confusion?

freyja_by_relotixke-d36zcid
Freyja by Relotixke

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Stop making jokes and glorifying Viking Rape

This meme was going around, it irked me. So, I fixed it.

Trust me as a woman who has to deal with the testerone ladened lets go a-Viking men (thankfully a minority, but majorly aggravating faction of the broader Asatru/Heathen/Northern Tradition community), this attitude gets old, and it is insulting. 

In my decades in this community I’ve had men make rape threats or in poor taste Viking rape jokes, others who think my sole role in the community should be to fetch their drinks and spread my legs for their sexual gratification be I willing or no. In other words they want a wench from a pirate fantasy. 

These men fail to realize that ours was and is a culture where women and men both wield power and import in a multiplicity of ways and circumstances.  
The term Vikings can be confusing. Specifically it was a name given to those who did raid, enslave, rape and pillage other communities. But in the modern day we all to often refer to a vast umbrella of cultures as Vikings who would have viewed these ancient raiders with contempt. 

Just because things were done in the past isn’t a reason to always do them today, and rape is wrong. Period. Alluding to the act in a *nudge nudge, wink wink, let’s be bros* manner is part of rape culture. 

Rape Culture perpetuates frightening statistics like these:

Think about that number. Think about the 6 women closest to you. You probably know many rape victims but don’t realize it.

Millions of women in the United States have experienced rape.

  • As of 1998, an estimated 17.7 million American women had been victims of attempted or completed rape.5 

Young women are especially at risk.

  • 82% of all juvenile victims are female. 90% of adult rape victims are female.6
  • Females ages 16-19 are 4 times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault.3
  • Women ages 18-24 who are college students are 3 times more likely than women in general to experience sexual violence. Females of the same age who are not enrolled in college are 4 times more likely.7

Source: RAINN