Gerd and Freyr met at the flowered arch that was closest to the golden altar. Njord and Skadhi, and Gymir and Aurboda, were already there greeting the earliest guests as they entered the meadow. At the other side of the arch was Skirnir with a great host of servants and stable boys to take the carts, horses, or whatever the guests rode up on or in, to an adjacent field to be watered and fed. The Ogress Hyrokkin from Jotunheim came on a wolf that was especially hard to handle. The wolf wound up dragging four of Skirnirs men all the way to the field, where to the dismay of the stable boys it made a meal out of one of the other Jotuns horses !
Gerd and Freyr gave each other an occassional naughty smile as they greeted the guests with their parents. The procession of visitors seemed endless ! The Jotuns, some of whom had to bow their heads slightly to get under the arch, were some of the first to come. Soon, however, there was a mixture of guests from all the nine worlds streaming past the happy and grinning couple. Valkyries, Giants, Light Elves, Vanir, Aesir and even the einherjar were part of this procession that entered the great meadow. Some were surprised to see Hel walk through the flowered archway, but she was invited guest, and was greeted accordingly. There was a little bit of a stir when Njord turned to greet the next visitor and saw that it was Urd. Suddenly there was a hushed silence throughout the meadow ! Verdandi, seeing the expression on Njord's face asked if they were not welcome here. Skadhi then stepped in front of Njord and said that all were welcome to Freyr and Gerd's wedding. As she passed Njord and Skadhi, Skuld looked at Gerd and Freyr, closed her eyes, and said with a bitter smile, " I see a bright future for both of you". Gerd and Freyr looked at each other and thanked Skuld for her words, but were much relieved when the Norns passed. The Aesir, though closest to the meadow, were the last to arrive, and made a grand entrance to the chagrin of the Jotuns. Aurboda turned to Gymir and whispered under her breath to him, " Showoffs ". Only the Dwarves could not come to the wedding. They would come later to the feast when Sunna was no longer crossing the sky.
When the last of the guests had arrived, and taken their places at the bottom of the small hill below the golden altar, horns were blown to signify that the ceremony was about to begin. Gerd and Freyr gave each other nervous glances as everyone took their places.
Odin who had taken his place behind the altar with Frigga, commanded in a booming voice that the families and couple come before the sacred altar. Njord and Skadhi walked in front, followed by Gymir and Aurboda. Then Frey and Gerd walked arm in arm, with Hnoss and Gersemi in tow holding her dress off of the ground. Freyja and Balder, the ring holders, were last in line.
Just before the altar Njord and Skadhi moved to the left, and Gymir and Aurboda shifted to the right. This allowed Freyr and Gerd to walk throught the middle and stand directly before the altar.
The crowd which had gotten a little unruly suddenly went silent when Odin raised his hands. Thor shook his head in pride and wonder at how much all those in the nine worlds respected his father. Odin then spoke to everyone, " Here today, in this meadow, and before our ancestors, you are all to be witnesses to this oath of union between Freyr, son of Njord and Skadhi, and Gerd, daughter of Gymir and Aurboda. Remember well what you see and hear this day my friends ! Marriage is not just a union of two people, but of two bloodlines, and in this case two peoples. Odin then turned to Freyr and asked, " Will you join with this woman and pledge your love, loyalty, and protection to her and her family? " Freyr boldly smiled at Gerd and replied, " This I promise with all my heart, and strength Great Odin . I would die for this woman ! " The crowd shouted their approval, until Odin once again raised his hands.
Frigga then spoke, " Gerd, will you join with this man, and pledge your loyalty, and absolute devotion to him ? " Gerd smiled through tears of joy and shouted, " I make my promise here and now to be a loyal and devoted wife to Freyr, Mother Frigga. I cannot live without him ! " Another burst of cheers came from the guests, which Odin quickly silenced with a wave of his hand.
Odin then asked, " Who here holds the rings that bind ? " Freyja and Balder both replied in unison. " I do All - Father ! " Freyja handed Gerd's ring to Freyr, and Balder handed Freyr's ring to Gerd. Odin then commanded Freyr to place the ring upon Gerd's finger. Odin seeing the ring upon her hand shouted for all to hear. " This ring binds you in spirit forever. Let no one break this sacred bond ! Do you understand this oath Freyr ? " Freyr looked away from Gerd just long enough to answer, "Yes, Great Odin ! " Frigga then told Gerd to place the ring upon Freyr's finger. Frigga then said to Gerd, " Do you understand that this ring unites you forever ? " Gerd replied, but did not look away from Freyr, " I understand and will honor my oath to Freyr forever !"
Odin then asked for their ring hands, which they both offered to him. Odin reached under his belt and pulled out a long and very sharp knife. He made a small cut on both of their hands just deep enough to make the blood flow. He then clasped their hands together and shouted, " Before the altar of our ancestors you have taken an oath of eternal union in blood. You are forever one spirit and no one can rip you apart ! You and your families are one and the same . Be good to each other, and be happy forever my children ! " Then with a smile he shouted, " Now kiss the damn woman and let the feast begin ! " The audience erupted into shouted cheers, and whistles, that it is said could be heard in all the nine worlds. Odin did nothing this time to quell their enthusiasm, but instead joined right in cheering as the happy couple turned and waved to the onlookers. With the couple now united the feast and games could now begin !
- Glenn Bergen, Copyright, 2012.
Next : The wedding feast and games.
Go with Odin's wisdom, Freyja's love and Thor's protection !