A Woman’s Place

IT HAS been said that Norse paganism is very patriarchal, giving rule and stress to the male in society and worship involved which mostly deals with Odin, Thor, Balder, Frey, etc…. But many fail to realise that the goddesses of the Aesir and Vanir played an important part in the life and worship of the Scandinavian peoples.

Odin ruled as the Allfather but Frigga was the Queen of Asgarth and Freya the Bride of the Vanir. In fact women were treated as equals in Norse society, and in the Bronze Age the goddess Nerthus was supreme. It appears that at different stages the Sky God and the Earth Mother were in power, sometimes together. Even when Odin’s rule became strong he was still subject to the rule and the fate of the female Norns.

Norse paganism for the modern woman can hold many outlets. With the restoration of women’s rights and worship of the goddess as even seen in many other branches of paganism, stress can again be laid on the Lady with priestesses of the Vanir and honour again paid to Nerthus as well as to the other goddesses. In Norse paganism a woman will always b e a woman, and a man a man, and the ancient Sky God and Goddess of the Earth will always be supreme in the North. In the myths and legends of the past we find Norse women playing a large part in the accounts, finding the women brave and freedom-loving as their men and families and loved ones.

What kind of place does the woman have in the Norse faith? A respected one where she is equal, not inferior or second class. In former times the man might have been a hunter, a fisherman or even went a-viking, but it was the woman who was the backbone of the family, helped raise the children and saw to the home. For the family and the home was the backbone of the community and most important to the country! And is this not something that needs restoration today?