Portrait of Gerda: Frost Giantess

30 inches wide x 40 inches high; acrylic on canvas, 2015.
Shown with permission of owner, private collection. NFS

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In Norse mythology, Freyr was the Horned Lord of peace and plenty, king of the Elves, and phallic god of fertility. Each year, he brought the rain and the sunshine to bless the land and make green things grow. That is, he did until the day he spied Gerðr, daughter of the frost-giant Gymir.
On that day, Freyr was consumed by a passion so strong that he shut himself away to pine away in love-sickness for the beautiful giantess with hair as “dark as a furrow of newly-plowed earth and arms so white they flashed bright as the sun”. While he brooded over the impossibility of loving a Jötun-maiden; the rains turned to snow, the skies went gray, the earth grew barren, and winter covered the land.
Alarmed by this turn of events, Freyr’s faithful servant, Skírnir was anxious to do anything to bring his master out of his funk. He traveled to the frozen wastes of  Jötunheim to woo Gerðr in Freyr’s name. When Skírnir finds her he starts by offering great treasures if she will marry Freyr. She refuses for she had no need of treasure. Skírnir next threatens violence upon her and her family. The giantess is not impressed.
Finally, Skírnir pours out a magical bottle of liquid that shows Gerðr a reflection of Freyr’s face. Upon seeing the visage of Freyr’s radiant-golden splendor, her frozen heart is melted. Gerðr’s steadfast feelings of duty to the chores in her father’s compound are replaced by her first pangs of love—and thus she willingly agrees to become Freyr’s wife.
It took 9 days and 9 nights for Gerðr to prepare and make her journey to Barri (possibly “barley field”), the land where she and Freyr were joined in marriage. And Spring came to her wedding.
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