Last year, for Sixth Night, I wrote on Mother Earth. However, I understand this tide and time of year to be more male than female, so I want to talk about the Dark Lord.
In several posts on my author’s page, I mentioned Him as the ‘Horned God’, and it has been expressed to me that, to some Heathen ears, this sounds ‘wiccan’ or ‘new age’. To them I counter: ‘Or perhaps you have become too Christianized and/or sanitized in your Heathenry.’
Frey’s name is rooted in Old English hlāfweard, meaning ‘loaf-ward’; making him a lord who both guards and dispenses resources to the folk. As the lord of horse, boar and stag – recall his horse Freyfaxi – he represents sexual virility (and there are accounts of a horse’s penis being used as an object of worship). During Yuletide, oaths were sworn in Frey’s name as ‘Tusked God’, and specifically as Hjörtr-got, ‘Stag God, Horned God’, for he gave up his sword to gain the love of a woman – the beautiful Gerðr, a Gygjar – and from that day forth fought with a stag’s horn. Frey is then, Heathenry’s Horned God.
As Ing, which is Old High German for Freyr, who represents ‘all men’; and from Grímnismál 5, we learn his is King of Elfheim (Elf Home). The Rune ingwar is named for him, and coupled with its #SeidrRune, ard, represents the connective threads between ancestors and men.
He sits upon Hliðskjálf, oaths are made using his name, he rides at the forefront of the Wild Hunt (atop Gullinbursti), traverses all worlds in a ship, and goes to battle with a stag’s rack. Far from a ‘lord of peace’, he casts quite the formadible and chthonic Wildman image – capable of both violence and frith. All of this, and much more, make him the most viable candidate for what would survive as the Horned God of Old Europe (similar to both Cernunnos and Herne).
Whatever the case, I choose to see him in this way, and have for many decades; so upon this Sixth Night I will raise an Oath Ring and call His name aloud, and in so doing, my voice will ring true amongst the Altmag!