Meaning of Name: Stems from the Old English word ‘frīg’, meaning ‘love’, ‘affection’ or ‘favour’.
Pronunciation: /fri:j/ Pronounced similarly to modern English ‘free’ with a rolled, rhotic ‘r’. The ‘g’ makes the same sound as modern ‘y’.
Other names/ spelling variations: Both Frīge and Frīcg are presented as Anglo-Saxon alternatives. Frigg (Old Norse), Frī (Old High German, Old Saxon, Old Frisian, Old Low Franconian), Frea (Langobardic) and *Frijjō (Proto-Germanic) all appear as variant forms.
Function: Frīg is a Goddess directly associated with Fate and foreknowledge, which suggests a nonlinear omniscience to Her character. In the Langobardic tribal myth, Frīg utilizes this cunning to award the Winili’s (Langobards) victory and fool Her husband, Wōden. Her portrayal as spinning Goddess is also suggestive of an ability to directly affect Fate through the act of weaving or spinning, connecting Her to the web of Wyrd and the predestination of one’s Orlæg.
Given the associations between Fate and divine Sovereignty (from Lady With a Mead Cup) and Her role as divine patron of seeresses, Frīg is seen as Divine Queen. She would thus have associations with the giving of mead and the qualities of spiritual and cultural initiation which is associated with the act of giving mead.
Frīg also acts as domestic protectress and governs activities related to housekeeping and familial cohesion. Like Roman Vesta, Frīg is Goddess of the hearth and may be approached as such during domestic ritual, acting as threshold to the numinous. Frīg is also a Goddess of feminine fertility, being something of a divine midwife and protector of children.
Iconography: A 5th-7th century bronze figurine , found near the River Deben is believed to be a depiction of the goddess. The distaff is also closely associated with Frīg in her role as domestic protectress and fate-weaver. Contemporary implementations of iconography could be referencing Fate, like spools, threads or a loom, items of plenty, such as grains, breads, fruits, or even cornucopias.
Attested Sources: Modern Friday (OE: Frīgedæg) is named after Frīg. A number of English placenames bear her name, including; Froyle, Freefolk, Fretherne, Friden and Frobury.
Interpretatio Romana: Juno, Fortuna, Vesta.
Contemporary Bīnaman: Eallmeaht (All-mighty), Cursberend (Curse-Carrier), Fēstermōdor (Foster-Mother), Freoðuwebbe (Peace-Weaver), Heorþmōdor (Hearth-Mother), Hǣlugifa (Health-Giver), Scildwīf (Shield Lady), Heorþweard (Hearth-Ward), Wyrdwebbe ( Wyrd-Weaver)
Further Reading: David Wilson, Anglo-Saxon Paganism, (Routledge: London), 1992.
Michael Enright, Lady with a Mead Cup: Ritual, prophecy and lordship in the European warband from La Tene to the Viking Age, (Four Courts Press), 2013.