by Barbara George
Tellington Ttouch Behaviourist
Freyja, goddess of cats, love, sex, beauty, fertility, gold, sorcery, war, and death, is known to have travelled in a chariot pulled by two cats. Farmers that left out pans of milk for her divine cats were blessed with bountiful harvests. As she travelled around the country seeds sprouted and crops grew.
The description of the cats pulling the chariot varies in different accounts but are most likely Norwegian Forest Cats, either white, blue (grey) or black and probably named Bygul and Trigul. The cats were also used to send messages and assisted in casting spells. Goddess Freyja herself is sometimes represented by a grey cat.
Freyja also symbolised domesticity and was often portrayed with Norwegian Forest cats playing around her feet. Lovers wanting to marry asked the blessing of Freyja and her cats. Because of this custom, many superstitions about weddings and cats began. Some of these were:
- Girls who value cats will definitely marry
- Giving newlyweds a black cat as a gift represents good luck
- If someone steps on a cat’s tail, that person will not marry for a year
- If a woman feeds a cat before she goes to her wedding, she will have a happy marriage
- Scandinavians believed that feeding a cat well would guarantee sunshine on the day of a wedding.
How Freya got her Cats
Early one morning Freya was woken up from a blissful sleep by thunderous noises that were happening outside. When she got out the front door, there was Thor (the god of Thunder) riding around in a chariot pulled by 2 goats. Freya quickly got his attention and gave him a lecture about making so much noise while she was trying to sleep. Thor told her that he planned to go fishing and would be gone soon.
As promised, Thor left for the river to go fishing for a water dragon. While he was there heard a very annoying sound that was followed by a lovely, soothing song. The song lulled Thor to sleep. All of the sudden the annoying sound started again and jolted Thor from his sleep. He was angry that he was so rudely awakened and he went to investigate.
After a bit of walking, Thor found two large kittens sleeping in a tree with another cat singing to them. Thor confronted the singing cat asking if he was intentionally trying to lull him to sleep to do him harm. The cat replied that the two kittens were his children, Bygul and Trigul, and he was simply singing them to sleep. He explained that he was a single father and that it is difficult to raise children alone.
Thor thought of Freya and what a nice gift the cats would make for her. The father cat insisted that these were special cats and needed a very good home, which insulted Thor and made him angry. As Thor lunged toward the father cat, the cat bared his teeth and showed his claws. Before Thor could reach the cat, the cat turned into a bird and flew away.
Thor took the 2 giant kittens in his chariot and presented them to Freya. She loved the cats so much that she uses them to pull the chariot that she uses to ride through the heavens every day. To this day, her cat-lead chariot is one of the things she is most known for.