There’s a line in the Voluspa that bothers me:
She was always dear to evil women.
This refers to Heith, who may or may not be Freyja, but is definitely a powerful enchantress. Now, is this saying that magic is an inherently evil thing done by wicked women? An important thing to note, the translation I have gives “She was always dear to evil women.” However, “Evil Women” comes from “illrar brúðar.” And it’s important to note that brúðar in the Eddas almost always refers to a bride, and it is this word that refers to the bridal veil of Thor in the Lay of Thrym. Indeed, kona is usually used to refer to women as opposed to brúðar. So now the phrase is
She was always dear to evil
Now there’s no denying, illrar means evil, bad. The connection to our word ill didn’t turn up until the 15th Century. I’m not sure what this means tho. Evil Brides? Now, a bride is getting married, so this is inherently linked with union with men. What does it mean that Freyja, or at the very least Heith, is a friend of Evil Brides? It gets even more complicated. The -ar ending refers to both singular plural AND genitive singular. So it could be “Evil bride of” that is, “evil of the bride.”
Also. ‘dear’ comes from angan which is also translated as delight, and then beloved, or lover in stanza 54. So a new translation becomes “She was always delight to evil of the bride.”
Hold on. The other time, stanza 54, that angan is used, the only other time, is in reference to ‘The beloved of Frigg’ that is, Odin. So we have a line about a bride, and then again the only other time the word is used it relates to marriage. I have a theory, it’s kinda out there. Could this stanza be implying that something good, delightful, in a marriage, was Freyja, the Lady, or at the very least magic? It could be used to bless a union or to enchant a woman such that she was less evil, done on her wedding day. If you go with the “Eddas are coded, secret explanations of pagan norse rituals” theory, then a logical explanation is that there was a custom of seith or spae at a wedding.
I probably shouldn’t be trying to work this out at 4 AM. But I think there’s more to this than meets the eye. What say you, tumblr-folk?