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Fen Halls (Fensalir) & Odin's Wife, Frigg

Odin's Wife (Frigg) doesn't get the same attention as Freyja. In many posts on social media things attributed to Frigg are incorrectly given to Freyja. One such example is Friday (meaning "Frigg's Day"). If I did a poll (with multiple selection options) on "which Goddess has a feather coat" and listed several goddesses to chose from, Freyja would win in a landslide, even though both Frigg and Freyja have feather coats/shirts. Frigg's feather coat is attested in the Prose Edda Skáldskaparmál 18-19. The Basics Here is a breakdown of the name of Odin's wife in several Germanic languages: Old Norse Frigg Old English Frig Old Saxon Fri Old High German Frija (more on this below) Old Lombardic Frea (more on this below)

They stem from the Proto-Germanic feminine noun Frijjō 'Free’. On an interesting note: Freyja and the term "Vanir" are both not attested outside of Scandinavia. (This doesn't prove that these terms were unknown outside of Scandinavia.) However, the goddess Frigg is attested as a goddess common among the Germanic peoples. Due to a great thematic overlap between Frigg and Freyja, scholars have proposed that Freyja originated out of Frigg. The Frigg / Freyja origin hypothesis. There is a scholarly consensus that Freyja was born (in Scandinavian Mythology) out of the Germanic Frigg. Some scholars even argue this is why Freyja is not attested outside of Scandinavia. This hypothesis is well known enough that there are encylopedia pages about it (Wikipedia and Britannica both have a page on this.) Stephan Grundy states: “The problem of whether Frigg or Freyja may have been a single goddess originally is a difficult one, made more so by the scantiness of pre-Viking Age references to Germanic goddesses, and the diverse quality of the sources. The best that can be done is to survey the arguments for and against their identity, and to see how well each can be supported." Grundy, Stephan (1998). "Freyja and Frigg". In Billington, Sandra; Green, Miranda (eds.). The Concept of the Goddess. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-19789-9; p57.

Here is a very high level and basic rundown of the hypothesis: 1. Frigg married Othinn. Freyja married Othr. Both Othr and Othinn come from the same proto-Germanic word for "mad."

2. Dr. Jackson Crawford said in his YouTube video on Frigg and Freyja: “I will eat my hat, and this is a nice hat, if Othr and Othinn are not the same.” Crawford makes clear in his video he believes Freyja grew out of Frigg.

3. Half the dead go to Folkvangr (Freyja's Hall) and half go to Odin’s Valhall. This implies that Odin and Freyja are married to many scholars (including Dr. Crawford.)

Attestations of Frigg The 7th-century Origo Gentis Langobardorum is the earliest mention of Frigg. In the Origo Gentis Langobardorum Godan (Odin) is husband to Frea (Langobardic for Frigg.) [Foulke, William Dudley (Trans.) (2003) [1974]. Edward Peters (ed.). History of the Lombards. University of Pennsylvania Press. ISBN 978-0812210798.] Frigg is attested in the 10th century Second Merseburg Charm. This shows an Old High German form, though Dr. Scott T. Shell makes clear in his videos that the Merseburg Charms are not fully High German, but contain many Old Saxon elements. Here is the Charm: Phol and Woden travelled to the forest.

Then was for Baldur's foal its foot wrenched.

Then encharmed it Sindgund (and) Sunna her sister,

then encharmed it Frija (and) Volla her sister,

then encharmed it Woden, as he the best could,

As the bone-wrench, so for the blood wrench, (and) so the limb-wrench

bone to bone, blood to blood,

limb to limb, so be glued.

Frigg is attested in the Elder Edda. Frigg is attested three times in Völuspá. According to Völuspá, Frigg's "first grief" is the death of her son Baldr. Later, her "second grief" is the Volva's prophecy of Odin's death at Ragnorak. In the introduction of the poem Grímnismál, Odin and Frigg are sitting in Hliðskjálf, "looking into all the worlds." Frigg then sends her "waiting-maid" Fulla to warn Geirröðr. In the poem Lokasenna, Loki accuses almost every female in attendance of promiscuity and/or unfaithfulness. An argument happens between Loki and Frigg.

Frigg is mentioned throughout the Poetic Edda, the 13th century work by Snorri Sturluson. Frigg is mentioned Younger Edda Prologue. Frigg is the wife of Odin, both Frigg and Odin "had the gift of prophecy." In Gylfaginning, Frigg, the daughter of Fjörgynn is married to Odin and that the Æsir are descended from both of them. Odin and Frigg had many sons (according to Gylfaginning) one of whom was Thor. In Gylfaginning, Frigg dwells in Fensalir which is "very splendid." Fulla carries Frigg's ashen box, "looks after her footwear and shares her secrets." Lofn is given special permission by Frigg and Odin to "arrange unions" among men and women; Hlín is charged by Frigg to protect those that Frigg deems worthy; and Gná is sent by Frigg "into various worlds to carry out her business." In section 49 of Gylfaginning, story of the death of Frigg's son Baldr is given. Frigg is mentioned in the Prose Edda poem Skáldskaparmál where she has a feather coat. In Lokasenna, Loki accuses most females of promiscuity, and an argument takes place between Loki and Frigg.

Please join us on Facebook in the group "Aldsidu: Saxon Heathenry". Please visit Aldsidu's Channel on YouTube. While some would argue that the mention of a feather-shirt in the Old Saxon Heliand, doesn't prove that Frigg was known to the Old Saxon Heathens in Saxony, others do argue that this proves that the Saxons at least were familiar with Feather Coats/Shirts:

Fensalir vs. Uppsal vs. Valhalla Fen Hall, or Fensalir, is attested in the Elder Edda (Poetic Edda) and Younger Edda (Prose Edda, Snorri). Völuspá: “While in Fensalir (Fen Hall) Frigg wept bitterly for Valhall’s need…”

Gylfaginning: "Then said Gangleri: "Which are the Ásynjur? Hárr said: "Frigg is the foremost: she has that estate which is called Fensalir, and it is most glorious.""

Skáldskaparmál: “Frigg, queen of Æsir and Asyniur, of Fulla and falcon form and Fensalir.“

Uppsal Means “Upper Hall…” Valhalla means “Hall of the Fallen.” Freyja gets half the honorable dead at Volkvangr. (People Meadow) Odin gets half the honorable dead in Valhalla.

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I don’t know why these scholars have a need to say that the Saxon gods where not the same as the gods of the Scandinavia. Paganism in ancient times was so broad and diverse that some tribes may have had different gods than others but I think the most important gods and goddesses where as renowned as Ragnar Lothbrook. If I was wanting to debate, I would say that Freyr is the male counter part to Freya. And that Freya is just Freyr without the male genitalia. But we where all Germanic and we pagans had the same gods. One that I would like to know more about is Saxnoth. He is the one that has less information on how…

Robert Sass
Robert Sass
Oct 07, 2022
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You are so welcome!

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