Our lore is resplendent with names and kenning of the Gods and Goddesses; but when we get to the “servants” of the Gods, we are largely left with conjecture. Who are these beings and their tasks? What relationship and service did they perform for the Gods? What relationship did they have with our ancestors and their “spiritual life”? How do we regain something lost to time?
 In this article I will be taking a closer look at Skírnir, Byggvir and Beyla and their relationship with Freyr, the world, and us.

Many of us are familiar with Freyr’s wooing of Gerðr, a tale often discussed in Charming of the Plow celebrations. Freyr, who sat on Odin’s high seat of Hlidskjalf saw a beautiful woman in Jötunheimr who he fell in love with upon sight. On seeing his unease Njörðr and Skaði send Skírnir, a servant of Freyr, to him to find out what is wrong. Freyr tells Skírnir of his want for the woman and Skírnir with a horse and Freyr’s sword rides to Jötunheimr to meet with Gerðr and win her love for his lord, Freyr. Skírnir offers her gifts and upon being refused then offers her curses. After the threat of curses is laid upon Gerðr, she agrees to marry Freyr (heavily paraphrased).

In the wooing of Gerðr, we see the power that Freyr sends to Jötunheimr to win her affections represented in Skírnir. Skírnir in old norse means “shining one”, a cognate of Skírr or “clean/pure/clear”. To me, Skírnir very easily represents the directed male power stemming from the sun being, sent by Freyr to work his will in Jötunheimr. The wight Skírnir, for we know not what else to call him, brings with him Freyr’s sword (or plow) and the wellhouse of Sunna’s power directed at a specific goal/fate. His first attempts at trying to win Gerðr by offering her the promise of Freyr and the gifts he brings are denied by Gerðr. The jötunn is content in her stead and status quo. She is unbidden earth, extremes in all things; both beautiful and ugly. She cannot create other than in the basest of forms. Skírnir brings with him creation, life, and empowering evolution to an otherwise untamed earth. When she refuses his gifts, Skírnir turns to curses. These curses showing her what life will be like if she denies Freyr and his gifts; sun, growth, fertility, evolution. Luckily, after this she agrees to marry with Freyr. Whether you see this as a tale of earth refusal of incoming spring, or a lesson on Freyr and his lore; Skírnir has a powerful role.

Another two servants of Freyr that we know of based only off a few lines in Lokasenna. These wights named Byggvir (barley, seed, seed corn) and Beyla (bean, cow, bee) cognate of proto-norse Baunila (little bean, little swelling) are mentioned but briefly. There is thought that I share, that they represent agriculture and the fruits of success in the harvest. Beyla being the mound and the spirit of gathering and holding of energy. Byggvir being the seed grown from that mound to maturity for food, both for man and animal, as well as drink (mmm, ale!). If we are to look at them as spirits of the gift of Freyr and Gerðr’s union, their role may be just as powerful as Skírnir’s in the sense of agriculture and the growth and harvest.

For us in Alaska this year for Freyfaxi, we will be including Byggvir and Beyla in our ritual. Two of our folk will dress and take on the “persona” of Byggvir and Beyla in a small amount of ritual drama to take the gifts of the folks’ harvest and offer them to Freyr in blot. It is my hope that including the wights that make up our harvest will make a better bond between the folk and Freyr and our joyful bounty is shared with him in thanks for his gifts.

May Freyr and his blessing bring joy and life to you and may your Freyfaxi be blessed.

Hail Freyr!
Hail Skírnir!
Hail Byggvir!
Hail Beyla!
Hail the AFA!

Steve Morrell,
Asatru Folk Assembly

Categories: News