View Full Version : Lesson Ten: Ing and Frea

August 8th, 2008, 01:50 PM
Ing is first mentioned in Pliny's history and Tacitus' Germania as progenitor of the tribal grouping Ingvaeones, and a son of Mannus. He is mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon Rune Poem:

Ing was first---among the East Danes
Seen by men---but he since went eft (back)
Over the wet way---his wain (wagon) ran after
Thus the Heardings---named the hero.

Ing is found in several Old English compind names such as Ingwine, "friend of Ing." An Ingui is named in ropyal the geneanology of the Anglo-Saxon of Bernicia. Even though he is fairly far down in the list, it may be that he was the real founder of the line, and the precedding generations were added later when it became popular to trace one's line to Woden. Ingibrand appears in some versions of the line while Inguec appears in others.

Frea (Freyr) is known as Yngvi Freyr ancestor of the Swedish royal line. It is therefore commonly accepted that either Ing and Frea are one and the same, or that there was a hero Ing and a God Ing i.e. Frea. There are several problems with this. Ing is shown in Germania as a deity, and his link to a wain in the Old English rune poem would seem to indicate this. Grimm theorizes that Bor is Mannus, and therefore Irmin is Odin while Ing and Istaev would be Villi and Ve. This is a possibility of course, but then again may be as unlikely as Ing as Frea. If one accepts however, that N&ooml;ršr as Frea or Freyr's father was an invention of Snorri, one can accept Ing and Frea as the same. The only thing truly barring accepting this being different Gods being named as Frea's and Ing's fathers.

August 8th, 2008, 01:51 PM
Nu scylun hergan hefęnricaes uard
metudęs męcti end his modgidanc
uerc uuldurfadur� sue he uundra gihuęs
eci dryctin or astelidę
he ęrist scop ęlda barnum
heben til hrofe haleg scepen
tha middungeard moncynnęs uard
eci dryctin ęfter tiadę
firum foldu frea allmectig
Now [we] must honour the kingdom of heaven's ward,
the might of the maker, and his purpose,
the work of the glory father
eternal lord, made the first of wonders.
He, the first shaper,
first created heaven as a roof.
made the Middangeard, Mankind's ward,
the eternal lord, afterwards
made the Earth of Man, the Freyr almighty,

His name is used in several other places in such a way. Most of our lore on Frea comes from the Norse corpus. He is sometimes refered to as Yngvi-Freyr in reference to the Swedes whose kings were called the Ynglings, and claimed descent from him. Because of this it is often assumed he and Ing are the same deity. The problem with this is each deity has a different father, thus making such an identification difficult. It could be too, that Nj&uouml;ršr as Freyr's father was a late development or even invented by Snorri. In the Prose Edda and Elder Edda, Frea is said to be the son of Nj&uouml;ršr, and husband of Geršr. He is mentioned several times in both. The Völuspį describes the battle between Freyr and Surt. In the Gr&Iacue;mnismįl, it is said the Gods gave Alfheim to him. In the Lokasenna he said to make no maid weep and frees all of bonds. Finally, the Skķrnismįl focuses on Freyr's courship of Geršr. It is said there that he spied Geršr from Odin's throne, and fell so madly in love he was wasting away. He sent his servant Skirnir to woo her for him. Skirnir offers several gifts including Freyr's sword and apples of Idunna, but she would have nothing of it. All this failing, Skirnir threatens to curse her, and thus she consents to marry Freyr.

In the Prose Edda, Frea is said to rule over the rain and the shining of the sun, and is good to call on for fertility of crops. He is also said to govern the prosperity of Man. The tale from the Sk�rnismįl is again told in the Prose Edda.

Adam of Bremen mentions Frea in reference to the temple at Uppsala:
In this temple, entirely decked out in gold, the people worship the statues of three gods in such wise that the mightiest of them, Thor, occupies a throne in the middle of the chamber; Wotan and Frikko have places on either side. The significance of these gods is as follows: Thor, they say, presides over the air, which governs the thunder and lightning, the winds and rains, fair weather and crops. The other, Wotan-that is, the Furious-carries on war and imparts to man strength against his enemies. The third is Frikko, who bestows peace and pleasure on mortals. His likeness, too, they fashion with an immense phallus(Gesta Hammaburgensis 26, Tschan's translation)

Idols with large phalluses have been found and are thought to represent Freyr. In Flateyjarbök, a tale is told of an idol of Freyr. Gunnar Helming a young man who had fought with King Olaf, and fled to Sweden, found a temple of Freyr. There he met a young priestess and got along well with her. The time came for the annual procession of Freyr's wain and they became stuck in a blizzard. All deserted the idol except Gunnar and the priestess. Finally, Dunnar sat down to rest after leading the wagon.The priestess insisted he go on, or the idol would attack him. This does happen, and Gunnar over powers the idol by calling on Olaf's god. Gunnar then dressed as the idol and took its place. He then proceeded to take sacrifice in the form of valuables, and eventually the priestess became pregnant. The season was thought a plentiful one. The whole plot was foiled when King Olaf learned of it. From the tale we can surmise once again that Freyr was a God of plenty, and than he had an annual procession in a wain.
It is clear that Freyr may have been known to the Anglo-Saxons as Frea. Whether he and Ing were one and the same is open to debate, and it is safe to assume either way. That he is a God of fertility and prosperity is clear from the surviving lore in the Norse corpus.

August 9th, 2008, 08:33 PM
I have always thought that Ing and Freyr were the same, but had no idea that they have different Gods being named as their fathers. Is it more generally accepted among AS Heathens (concidering the lack of evidence) that they are the same or that one was a hero and another by the same name was a god, as you stated earlier? What about the other branches of Heathenry? Do you know if they view them as being one in the same?

August 9th, 2008, 09:55 PM
Well, generally it is accepted they are one and the same, although there has always been some uneasiness in that. I think my thoughts on the matter resolves that though. As for other branches of Heathenry, I think that depends on the individual. It would be hard I think to figure out the majority view!

September 25th, 2008, 10:55 AM
I've actually wondered if the name Freyr wasn't more of a catch-all for a number of gods. We have Ing, as mentioned above, but also some have equated Seaxneat with the same title, possibly. I can't help but wonder if the name was used as a placeholder for "tribal god X."