If Not Valhalla, Would the Vikings Have Other Paradise?
The place that all of Viking warriors wanted to spend their afterlife was Valhalla Odin's Hall. The Vikings believed that as long as they fought as bravely as they could in the battle, if they died, gods would spare them a room in Valhalla to feast.
But besides Valhalla, would the brave Viking warrior have another afterlife option? The answer is, yes they would. It was Folkvang of Freyja.
WHERE IS FOLKVANG?
Folkvang in Old Norse meant "field of the host". It was a field or a meadow belonging to goddess Freya who was the goddess of war in Norse mythology.
In Norse mythology, Odin was the god of war and Freya was the goddess of war. They shared the Viking brave warriors who fell in the battle. Half of them would join Odin in Valhalla the Great Hall of the Great while the rest would follow Freya to Folkvang.
Folkvang of Freya appeared in Poetic Edda. In the poem Grímnismál "Song of the Hooded One", Odin disguising as a Grimnir told the young Agnar that Odin received half of the fallen warriors and Freya received the rest in her field.
The ninth is Folkvang,
where Freyja decrees
Who shall have seats in the hall;
The half of the dead
each day does she choose,
And half does Othin have
The question that people keep asking is what is the standard for the fallen warriors to join whether Valhalla or Folkvang. And this question has remained unsolved for long.
As long as the Vikings showed the gods their bravery and great spirit, the gods would allow them a seat in the feasting table
According to the Edda, we see that Odin would pick his warriors after Freya had chosen hers. The scholars believed that this was a gesture of friendliness of Odin toward the Vanir gods, especially Freya after the two god tribes ended the war. Moreover, Freya got burnt by the Aesir gods (Odin's god tribe). So it was reasonable that Odin offered Freya the first pick.
After Freya had chosen half of the warriors to follow her to Folkvang, the rest would follow Valkyries (Odin's female helping spirit) to join Valhalla. While those who joined Odin would fight and feast every day, little was known about the life in Folkvang.
WHO WAS FREYA GODDESS OF WAR?
In Norse mythology, there were two groups of gods (Vanir and Aesir). Vanir gods were more ancient and more natural than the Aesir gods. Gods like Odin, Thor, Baldr, Frigg were the Aesir gods while Njord, Freyr, Freya were the Vanir gods.
On one occasion, the Aesir captured a witch (Freya in disguise) and burnt the witch three times only to see her return from the ash. As this news reached the Vanir god tribe, they declared war with the Aesir gods. Freya was the Vanir princess as she was the daughter of the Vanir chief god, Njord god of seafaring.
Goddess Freya Norse goddess of war and her cats presenting femality
Freya was so beautiful that all creatures in the cosmos wanted to have her as their bride. Many creatures in the Nine Worlds proposed to Freya but she refused them all. She was Norse goddess of love, sex, beauty, unofficial marriage, and war.
Her only one husband was Od a mysterious figure. Nothing was known about this man except for that he walked out on Freya leaving her heartbroken. Freya travelled the Nine Worlds to find her husband. But nowhere could she find her mysterious husband. Many scholars put forward the theory that Od was actually Odin the Allfather.