The winter months can form a shroud of despair over one's soul, which can actually affect one's behavior. Some individuals even become depressed and suicidal at this time of the year as a result of this darkened period. The return of light brings about a re - awakening of our spirits, and lifts the covering of darkness that can and does affect our human condition. I know that for me personally, just driving to work with Sunna's smiling face over me makes each morning much more bearable. It is like receiving a wonderful present each and every day !
The most wonderful story in the Eddas that exemplifies love is the courting of Gerd by Freyr. As the story goes..... one day the Vanir God Freyr was sitting in Odin's high seat at Hlidskjalf, looking over the nine worlds, when he sees a very beautiful woman. He is immediately love - struck, and sends for his servant Skirnir so that he can send him to ask Gerd for her hand in marriage. He tells Skirnir of his love this way : " In Gymir's court I saw going by the one I love, so white were her arms that they lit the sky and sea." Obviously she lit up his heart as well ! To aid Skirnir in his journey Freyr gives him his horse, and his magical sword that fights by itself, as a gift for his fair maiden. After a harrowing ride to Jotunheim Skirnir bargains with Gerd, ( actually it was very rough bargaining at that), into agreeing to a meeting, and marriage with Freyr. Gerd tells Skirnir that she will meet Freyr in nine nights.
Upon his return Skirnir gives what he feels is wonderful news to Freyr about Gerd's decision to meet him in nine nights. Freyr, however, falls deeper into despair and utters the beautiful and well known words, " One night is long, two are longer, how can I think of a third ! Many times a month has seemed shorter than this weary waiting. " You could write a Hallmark card with that ! Actually, it is a pity that none of the ancient writers wrote about the actual wedding, it must have been splendid !
For the ritual, on the altar should be pictures of loved ones and ancestors. In the past I would never have allowed a weapon on the altar for this ritual, but I have an ornately engraved sword that I purchased years ago from Museum Replicas Ltd. that so reminds me of Freyr's magical sword that I place it upon the altar as a " gift " to Gerd, and to honor Freyr. Normally I never say to anyone that something has to be done a certain way, but flowers are, in my opinion, a must on the altar for this ritual. I toast the return of Sunna's light, and the union of Freyr and Gerd, and my love for family, friends, and anyone else who is special to me. Remember to say to the Gods, Goddesses, and ancestors what is in your heart, not something that you are reading from a book.
Keep in my also that Freyr and Gerd are not the only Gods who share a bond of love. There are many " couples " among our Deities. I will list just a few here :
Odin & Frigga
Thor & Sif
Balder & Nanna
Freyja & Odr
Njordr & Skadhi
Bragi & Idunn
Loki & Sigyn
Ran & Aegir
Dellingr & Nott
Couples should re - affirm their bond of love at this time, and should have a romantic feast, ( dinner), afterwards. To argue, or say harsh words to a loved one, during the ritual or the dinner that follows, would be to dishonor the Gods and Goddesses, and especially, Freyr and Gerd. My suggestion to those who have been together for a while is to try and re- kindle that moment when you first fell in love. And if things go well you may still be awake to watch the blessing that is the return of the early morning light !
The moment I heard my first love story,
I started to look for you,
Not knowing how blind that was.
Lovers don't finally meet somewhere,
They are in each other all along.
Go with Odin's wisdom, Freyja's love, and Thor's protection !