Mother Goddess figures, or protective female deities in general, are often depicted with a dog, and in Norse mythology, they are linked to the powerful goddess Frigg, Odin’s consort. Freyja riding with her cats print, Norse mythology, nordic goddess illustration, scandinavian decor, Freija poster, wall art #333 Sale Price $7.20 $ 7.20 $ 9.00 Original Price $9.00" (20% off) © 2008 Feline Forever, Oil Burners and Incense Holders featuring Cats, Kemet Design: Gifts inspired by Ancient Egypt, Ancient Egypt Online: A website all about Ancient Egypt. Besides cats as Freyja’s favorite and the mystical guides of the seeress, they also feature in the myth of Fenrir, the great wolf who will break free at Ragnarok, the end of the world and twilight of the gods, and in the tale of Thor’s contest at the castle of the giant Utgarda-Loki. Devil’s little minion. Her father was Njörd, the sea god.Pigs were sacred to her, and she rode a boar with golden bristles. In Norse mythology, Freyja, the goddess of love, beauty, and fertility, is depicted as riding a chariot drawn by cats. The Norwegian Forest Cat is a very common domestic cat in the Nordic countries to this day. Norwegian Forest cats were also thought to have been favored by the Norse goddess Freya. Ellis Davidson writes: The link between cats and the goddess [Freyja] has not been satisfactorily explained, but the gloves made of cat-skin, white and furry inside, mentioned in the Greenland account, suggests that cats were among the animal spirits which would aid the volva on her supernatural journey. Large fines were levied on people who allowed their house bear to get loose and damage someone else’s property (Viking Answer Lady, 10). after killing Jormungandr before dying himself. But if Freya was the goddess of the feminine, why were her cats male? The Norse also kept pet bears and birds, such as the falcon, hawk, and the peacock. Ragnarökby Johannes Gehrts (Public Domain). Stories, artwork, Gods and Goddesses, and entire ways of thinking. The Norse goddess Freyja, deity of love, fertility, war, wealth, divination … Retrieved from https://www.ancient.eu/article/1313/. Polar bears were also domesticated and scholar Sveinbjorn Rafnsson notes how Norse settlements in Iceland and Greenland were able to export exotic valuables to Europe, including the polar bear (Sawyer, 132). Although cats seem to have enjoyed their ancient high standing in European countries at first (in Norse mythology, for example, the great goddess Freya is depicted in a chariot drawn by cats and in both Ireland and Scotland cats are depicted as magical in a positive sense) the Christian Church, following their regular course of demonizing important pagan symbols, drew on the pre-existing link … The cat was no doubt imported to Scandinavia through trade with either the Phoenicians or Romans and the first cats to make the trip were probably smuggled out of Egypt. They were given to her by Thor and used by Freyja to travel to the funeral of her lover, Baldur. Sometimes the name pops to your mind and sometimes you need a little inspiration. She was often called upon in matters of the heart. Later scholars (such as Rudolf Simek and John Lindow) dispute Snorri’s interpretation, however, pointing out that the dog who guards Hel has no name and that Garm is identical to the great wolf Fenrir as both are loosed at Ragnarok and both kill the war-god Tyr who sacrificed his hand to bind Fenrir. There are so many similarities between the two goddesses that scholars believe they were once a single deity. Evolutionary geneticist Eva-Maria Geigl notes the same maternal DNA found in cats from ancient Egypt is present in those found at a Viking site in northern Germany dated to the 8th and 11th centuries CE (Cats Sailed with Vikings, 3). Related Content Ancient History Encyclopedia. Nobody had better knowledge of sorcery than Freyja. The goddess Freyja was the goddess of love, sorcery and death. Treating cats well guaranteed similar treatment of a human by the goddess. "Norse Pets in the Viking Age." This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon this content non-commercially, as long as they credit the author and license their new creations under the identical terms. Books Freyja is the owner of the necklace Brísingamen, rides a chariot pulled by two cats, is accompanied by the boar Hildisvíni, and possesses a cloak of falcon feathers. Wild bears were sacrificed just as dogs, horses, and other animals but it seems house bears were given a burial. A freelance writer and former part-time Professor of Philosophy at Marist College, New York, Joshua J. Even so, Garm is repeatedly referred to using the same imagery and phrasing used to describe Fenrir. In … Dogs were imported to Iceland as evidenced by excavations of graves which contain full skeletons of dogs and they were buried both with their masters and on their own. The unpredictable cat’s association with the goddess of luck and chance emphasizes how little cats have changed from the Viking Age to the present time and the depiction of dogs as faithful companions and partners in adventure shows the same for them. The great Icelandic sagas mention dogs accompanying their masters to Valhalla after death. A chariot drawn by cats was another of her vehicles. The mystical Norwegian Forest Cat found a place in Viking legends and Norse mythology. See more ideas about norse mythology, norse, mythology. She was among the most beautiful women in the cosmos that everyone in the cosmos desired her as their bride. The beautiful goddess Freyja in Norse mythology had a carriage drawn by two cats. Primarily, however, the Norse of the Viking Age shared their homes, beds, ships, and days with cats and dogs just as people do in the modern day. Mark, published on 18 January 2019 under the following license: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. Feline Forever is dedicated to cats and their pets. More dog remains have been found in Scandinavian burial sites than in those of any other culture. The gray cat was actually the Midgard serpent which encircles the world. License. Meowgical Mythology Of Cats 1. In Norse mythology, 'Odin' was the chief god of war, wisdom and death. Like Bast, she was a goddess of hunting and warfare as well as a goddess of love and beauty and the cat was her sacred animal. The Norse goddess Freya (Freyja) had a chariot drawn by two large grey or blue cats (possibly Norwegian Forest Cats) called "Gib-cats" in the Prose Edda (a collection of Norse tales compiled in 1220AD by Icelandic historian Snorri Sturluson). If there was fine weather on the day of a wedding, the bride was said to have "fed the cat well". On it was a knob, decorated with brass and set with stones. Did you know that King Arthur battled a monstrous giant cat? This is hardly surprising since, according to Adam of Bremen (c. 1050 - c. 1085 CE), dogs were among the sacrifices at the Temple of Uppsala in Sweden dedicated to Odin, Thor, and Freyr, the fertility god and brother of Freyja. Although it may be hard to imagine a Viking chief bringing his favorite dog or cat along on a raid, recent genetic studies point to precisely such a scenario as it is now thought that Vikings transported cats and dogs on their raids on foreign shores and that these were kept as both working animals and pets in Norse households. Submitted by Joshua J. Mythology: Cats in Norse mythology. In addition, in Norse mythology it is said that it is Norwegian Forest Cats that pulled Freyja’s chariot. 15 Names for Your Cat Based on Norse Mythology 1. It is not only the soul of the warrior that lives on in the hall but also that of his dog. The Norwegian Forest Cat (NFC or Wegie) originated in the forests of Norway around 4,000 years ago, and is considered one of the oldest cat breeds. There is archaeological and genetic evidence of Vikings carrying cats to Greenland, and it is possible, though not proven, that cats – as well as dogs - were also aboard the Viking ships of Leif Erikson when he landed at Vinland (Newfoundland, Canada) in the New World. Mark, Joshua J. (Myths and Symbols, 57). The volva in this story is unable to see the future until Gudrid Thorbjorndottir, the future explorer of North America, sings mystical chants which soothe the spirits and allow Thorbjorg her vision. The sound of a cats walk The beard of a woman The roots of a mountain The sinews of a bear The breath of a fish The spittle of a bird. Ancient History Encyclopedia, 18 Jan 2019. They went back out to the lake called Amsvartnir, … The origins of the Norwegian Forest cat are unclear, but many people believe their ancestors were first introduced in Norway over a thousand years ago by the Vikings. Whether Garm is or is not the guardian of Hel, dogs were closely associated with the gods and the afterlife. Scholar Anne-Sofie Graslund comments on this: The dog is both nature and culture, both good and evil, and stands between this world and the other world. The Ancient History Encyclopedia logo is a registered EU trademark. At the same time, however, Garm is called “best of hounds” by Odin in the Grimnismal section of the Poetic Edda when he lists the best things in all the cosmological realms. The cat then ordered the man to cut of its head. Freyja With Carriageby Johannes Gehrts/Eduard Ade (Public Domain). (2019, January 18). The myth goes on to state that Thor's victory will be short-lived as he is destined to take only nine steps (the number of lives of a cat!) Ancient History Encyclopedia. The cat wins a silver castle full of gold and jewels by tricking a troll who lived in the castle into talking until sunrise at which point the troll turned to stone. Scholar H.R. In Norse mythology, the god Ing was also known by the name 'Yngvi freyr', which means 'lord Ing'. These bears were then known as “house bears” (Viking Answer Lady, 10). The goddess Freyja taught the chief god Odin the art of witchcraft and sorcery.It seems evident that ever since the Viking times cats have been associated with magic and witchcraft. Meaning "lord". The fabulous Norwegian Forest Cat, or " skogkatt " was most likely the breed of cat that was given to the new bride. After some persuasion the man did so and the cat was transformed back into a beautiful princess who told him that she had been turned into a cat by the troll. The Norse goddess Freya (Freyja) had a chariot drawn by two large grey or blue cats (possibly Norwegian Forest Cats) called "Gib-cats" in the Prose Edda (a collection of Norse tales compiled in 1220AD by Icelandic historian Snorri Sturluson). … Please note that content linked from this page may have different licensing terms. In Jewish legend, the first cat was living in the house of the first man Adam as a pet that got rid of mice. Freyja’s cat-driven chariot. I’ve included the following poem because, to me, it shows how cats are loved and revered not just in ancient history, but even today. It is possible short-haired cats brought by the Vikings interbred with long-haired cats introduced by the Crusaders and this cross resulted in the new breed. Ancient History Encyclopedia. 24 Dec 2020. … Please help us create teaching materials on Mesopotamia (including several complete lessons with worksheets, activities, answers, essay questions, and more), which will be free to download for teachers all over the world. Viking-era cats descend from the second wave, which began as early as 1700 B.C., as sailors began bringing cats with them on their ancient voyages for … Whether this practice applied only to house bears or bears in general is unknown. She carried a staff in her hand. Asgard. The account Davidson references is from the Eyrbyggja Saga and concerns a famine in Greenland. Norse Legend. The second of these challenges is to lift a large gray cat off the floor. The Vikings kept dogs and cats as pets and both feature in Norse religious iconography and literature. Thor thinks this will be simple but is only able to lift the cat so that one paw is in the air. They have a robust muscular body with a double coat. Mark has lived in Greece and Germany and traveled through Egypt. The role cats play in the volva’s work in this account is unspecified but it is thought that the objects she carried and items of apparel she wore all had mystical significance. The two married and lived happily ever after in the golden castle. Pets were as important to the Norse of the Viking Age (c. 790-1100 CE) as they were to any other culture, past or present. Norway, a beautiful country, is famous for its scenic fjords, the famous Norse gods and goddesses, and, of course, the Skogkatt or the Norwegian Forest cat. In Norse mythology, Freyja (/ ˈfreɪə /; Old Norse for " (the) Lady ") is a goddess associated with love, beauty, fertility, sex, war, gold, and seiðr. The dog acted as a kind of psychopomp, guiding the soul from the realm of life to the land beyond death. 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