Frigga, the Allmother.
Frigg (also known as Frigga) is the wife of Odin and often called the All-Mother, although little evidence of this name exists in mythology. She is one of the few gods that have the honor and trust to sit in Odin's great throne. She is the mother of Baldr & Höðr. In many modern tales Thor is listed as her 'adopted son' or 'brother'.
"Strangely for a goddess of her high position, the surviving primary sources on Norse mythology give only sparse and casual accounts of anything related to her personality, deeds, or other attributes. The specifics they do discuss, however, are not unique to Frigg, but are instead shared by both her and Freya, a goddess who belongs to both the Aesir and the Vanir tribes of deities. From these similarities, combined with the two goddesses’ mutual evolution from the earlier Germanic goddess Frija, we can see that Frigg and Freya
were only nominally distinct figures by the late Viking Age, when our sources were recorded, and that these two figures, who had formerly been the same deity, were still practically the same personage in everything but name." (1)
Although the quote above states that Freyja and Frigg are 'similar' there is a wide debate about this. According to the myths, only Freyja knows the art of magic where Frigga does not. Frigga is more a goddess who bears similarities to both the Norns and even Hel, although with Hel the 'similarities' are hard to see. The reason for the overlap is likely due to the evolution of human culture. Gods and Goddess overlapped throughout the ages, in fact in one spectacular documentary called "When God was a Girl" historian Bethany Hughes suggests that all gods and goddess come from basic archetypes that have existed from the beginning of time and that the reason for this is that the idea of women has always encompassed both life and death. (
Frigga is known to be a Weaver, and often associated with clouds. She carries a 'distaff' which was well known as a woman's tool for weaving and spinning. In the days of our ancestors, spinning was an incredibly important act. It was considered to be a job solely for women, and all women could spin or weave. The distaff (although shown in many diagrams as being 'small') was in fact both 'portable' and also the size of a walking staff. (see: The Roles of the Northern Goddess by Dr Hilda Ellis Davidson)
Frigga is known as the 'silent one'. However it is unclear why this is the case. She does not reveal the 'future' to anyone, but seems to know everything, however this knowledge does get used in particular circumstances, so it seems that she might be like the other gods in that they are blinded to instances of their own fates or cannot reveal fate as it violates the idea of wyrd.
Some people picture Frigga as very somber, some see her as this alternative image of Holda (which again is still debated) which is more wild and unencumbered. Frigga is known as a household god and god of mothers. Frigga was often called onto at birthing and also for sanctioned marriages. Frigg's family relations are...as most of the other beings in Norse mythos, odd. "According to the poem Lokasenna, Frigg is the daughter of Fjorgyn (masculine version of "Earth," cf. feminine version of "Earth," Thor's mother), her mother is not identified in the stories that have survived. She weaved clouds." (2)
Frigg's companion is Eir, the gods' doctor and goddess of healing. Frigg's attendants are Hlín (a goddess of protection), Gna (a messenger goddess), and Fulla (a fertility goddess). It is unclear whether Frigg's companions and attendants are simply different aspects of Frigg herself (cf. avatar). Frigg has
11 handmaids: "Fulla, Hlin, Gna, Lofn, Vjofn, Syn, Gefjon, Snotra, Eir, Var, and Vor, who helped the goddess in her role as goddess of marriage and justice. They are sometimes considered to be various aspects of Frigg herself rather than distinct beings. Other times 12 maidservants are listed." (2)
There are not many stories known about Frigg that have
survived to this day, to two best known are The Death of
Baldr, and the one about the two different tribes of men,
I shall quote them here:
"The Death of Baldr: The most famous story about Frigg has her in the role of mother. Frigg especially loved her son Baldr, and with a mother's concern she set about trying to protect him after he had a prophetic dream of his own death. She had everything in the world promise not to harm him, but did not extract a promise from mistletoe. The gods soon made a game of throwing things at Baldr and watching them bounce off without hurting him. In Snorri Sturluson's version of the story, Baldr's brother Höðr is blind and can't join in on the fun. Loki made a dart out of mistletoe and put it into Höðr's hand, offering to guide his aim so he can participate in the game of throwing things at Baldr. Rather than bouncing off, the dart kills Baldr. Even though Frigg must have known that Baldr was doomed, both through one of Baldr's prophetic dreams and her own foreknowledge, she tries to alter his fate. Even after he dies she doesn't give up and tries to arrange to have him ransomed from the underworld. According to some versions of the story, mistletoe became sacred to Frigg as a result of its failure to give Frigg its oath." (2)
"The Winnilers and the Vandals: In this story, Frigg is shown in the role of wife, but one who knows how to get her own way even though her husband thinks he is in charge. The Winnilers and the Vandals were two warring tribes. Odin favored the Vandals, while Frigg favored the Winnilers. After a heated discussion, Odin swore that he would grant victory to the first tribe he saw the next morning upon awakening--knowing full well that the bed was arranged so that the Vandals were on his side. While he slept, Frigg told the Winniler women to comb their hair over their faces to look like long beards so they would look like men and turned the bed so the Winniler women would be on Odin's side. When he woke up, Odin was surprised to see the disguised women first and asked who these long bearded men were, which was where the tribe got its new name, the Langobards. Odin kept his oath and granted victory to the Winnilers (now known as the Lombards), and eventually saw the wisdom of Frigg's choice." (2)
Hail Frigg! May she kindly watch over us all!
“Frigga Spinning the Clouds” by John Charles Dollman (1909)