by Jessica Pape-Green
[This post was originally posted to WordPress and may have formatting errors as a result to being moved here.]
For day 7 of the 30 Days of Deity Devotion, we're covering all the names, epithets, etc. regarding Frigg. This took a really long time to do for such a short post, not just because I've been immensely busy but because these were really hard to dig up. I tried my best, but apparently Odin took all the names so almost none were left for his wife 😜 For real, though, there's not a lot there, and I've dug as deep as I could.
In Old Norse, her name is Frigg. Slightly pre-dating this, her names in Old High German and Longobardic were Frija and Frea, respectively. Concurrent with all of these, her name in Old English was Frig. These are generalizations, though, as spelling was not yet standardized and common tongues were extremely regional.
Frigg's name may have originated from "Frijaz," and is thought to mean "dear" or "beloved." In modern English, she's sometimes called "Frigga" to give her a more "feminine" name.
Her name has been falsely equated with the word "frig" (crude expression relating to frustration and often referencing sexual acts). That "frig" actually comes from a word meaning "rub."
Epithets & Kennings
Even though this assignment is mostly in regards to epithets and kennings, I couldn't find any. That isn't to say that she hasn't got any, but instead that it's quite difficult to find any material on that specific issue. It seem I'd have to take the time to read every single historic material related to Norse mythology and Scandinavia to make the list myself. So, maybe she's got some, maybe she doesn't; I couldn't find them. I do think it's fair to say that if she has had any, they weren't in very common use.
Gods she is confused with
Sometimes its not clear who is actually being talked about due to the way the myth tellers loved not calling a duck a duck. Additionally, sometimes people just got confused who was being talked about, and sometimes gods split or merged over time. Here's a quick list of other gods that have been conflated with Frigg, without getting too deep into each and every controversy and the points on either side:
Things that bear her name
Friday was, in Old English and Old High German, Frigg's Day. It's still Frigg's Day in modern German and Dutch. The Old Norse word for the day was "frjá-dagr" indicating that the sound was borrowed from German rather than the meaning. This led to the day turning into "Freyja's Day" in Scandinavia.
Friggeråker, in Sweden.
Friden, in Derbyshire, England.
Fryggiosætre, a settlement which once existed in Stjørdalen, Norway.
These aren't necessarily the only place names with Frigg's name; they were just the only ones I could, with limited resources and time, verify the name and etymology of.
The constellation we now know as "Orion's belt" was known to the Norse peoples as "Frigg's distaff." Additionally, the planet we call Venus was "Frigg's star" during the medieval age.
Lady's bedstraw is a lightly fragrant herb that was used as a strewing herb, for floor matting, for mattress stuffing, and as a sedative. It's no wonder then that it was known in Scandinavia as "Frigg's grass."
There have been a couple examples of Frigg's name being used as heiti, or synonym, for goddesses in general. Similarly, goddess names are sometimes used for women in general, though I couldn't find an example of this for Frigg.