Thursday, March 20, 2014

Goddess Series: Freyja (Freya)

This collar style necklace was inspired by Freyja's Brisingamen (or the Brising Necklace), which was described as golden like the sun.  It features a front toggle clasp with gold rhinestones.  A spearhead hangs from the clasp as a symbol of the Freyja's role as a war goddess and the Valkyries; the women-warriors that Freyja led, gathering the souls of fallen heroes who died in battle.  The hand-fractured glass marbles represent her tears, which turned to gold or amber, depending on whether the landed on land or sea.  The wire-wrapped quartz shards represent wisdom and light (traits that were ascribed to the Freyja's race, the Vanir) and the ice of the cold Nordic regions.

Freyja was the Norse goddess of love, sexuality, beauty, war, and sorcery.  It is believed that she and several other Norse goddesses stem from a single Germanic goddess.  Freyja's name has been found in various Scandinavian, Germanic, and Nordic regions.  (Her name is also spelled as follows: Freya, Frejya, Freyia,Frøya, Frøjya, Freia, Frejsha, and Freja.  Some of her aliases are: Gefn, Hörn, Mardöll, Sýr, Valfreyja, and Vanadís.)

She was greatly drawn to gold and jewels, the story about how she obtained the Brisingamen being based around this trait.  She was a member of the Vanir (along with her brother, father and mother) and was taken hostage or traded to the Aesir (the gods of Valhalla).  Her Valkyries collect half of the souls of slain warriors to dwell in the afterlife fields she rules over, called Fólkvangr; the other half would go to Odin's Hall, Sessrúmnir.  Though she was married to Odur and bore him two children Hnoss and Gersemi), he abandoned her or disappeared for unknown reasons.  One story explains him leaving when he learned of a trade she made with the four dwarves that created the Brisingamen; one night with her for each of the necklace's artisans.  Other stories state that Odur goes on long journeys, which leaves her alone for extended periods of time.  In both stories, she is stated to weep tears of gold and amber, and takes up aliases while in search for her husband.  In his absence, she was stated to take lovers and was sought after as wife by the jötnar (frost giants).

Among her symbols are a feathered cloak, two blue/grey cats, a boar, a spear and chariot, amber, and the Brisingamen necklace.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Goddess Series: Athena

The Athena Necklace features heavy antique gold chain and a delicate gunmetal black chain.  Fringe of copper and black chain creates a scallop affect where they connect, hinting at her weaving and more womanly skills.  Larger antique gold stylized feathers and smaller bright gold spearheads represent the blend of wisdom and battle.  The focal emblem is an owl in flight, seemingly about to attack its prey.  The clasp is an antique gold toggle, in a simple deco style, with small clear rhinestones embedded into the metal.

Though the Greek and Roman deities were oft times so similar that they can be interchangeable, Athena is one of the exceptions.  She is often compared to the Roman goddess Minerva, but there are are enough differences that they are not the same (unlike Aphrodite/Venus or Zeus/Jupiter).  The belief is that the Romans may have divided Athena into two separate deities; Minerva (goddess of wisdom, art, weaving, music, trade/commerce, and defense) and Bellona (goddess of war and can create war-like frenzies).

The generally accepted origin of Athena states that she was born from the union between Zeus (Father of the Gods) and Metis (goddess of wisdom, calculating thoughts, and cunning).  Due to a prophecy that Metis would bear children more powerful than their father, Zeus decided that he should devour her whole in order to maintain his preeminence over all other creatures.  He was too late; she had already conceived and his offspring were growing within him.  As they grew, Zeus began to develop a migraine.  In time, his head eventually cracked open (the cause of which depends on the version of the story is read), and out sprang Athena full grown and armed.  She let out a scream that caused the heavens and earth to tremble.  The symbols that are most commonly shown with her are a combination of: an owl, a shield, a spear, a serpent, and a helmet.

Other myths depict her as the daughter of Cronus, making her a sibling to Zeus and Hera, rather than the daughter to either.  There are other stories in which Triton raises her, and that she was not technically related to the Olympian gods.

Athena is combines the creative with the analytical.  She is associated with strategy, law/justice, tactical warfare (preferably for a reasonable cause or to end a conflict), courage/strength, and mathematics, but also with arts, crafting, weaving, medicine, philosophy, education/intelligence, sexual modesty, and wisdom.  She was one of the virginal goddess, having had no consort or lover, and thereby represented the epitome of the ideal woman, the favored daughter of Zeus.  She was a woman to be seen as an actual being and force unto herself, rather than a creature whose value is partially or mainly to be sexually desired (whether attainable or unattainable).