Fire Jewel is a compilation of essays, rituals, poetry, and songs dedicated to the Vanadis, compiled and edited by Gefion Vanirdottir. It is a clear labor of love dedicated to exploring the many aspects of Freyja, the Norse goddess of love and fertility. It seeks not only to explore these well-known aspects, but also delve into Freyja as warrior and as master of seidr. She is addressed here not only as beautiful and fruitful maiden, but also as mother, sorceress, and as having Her choice among those fallen in battle just as Odin does.
This collection features a range of works which would be particularly valuable to beginning practitioners and new devotees. This is especially true of the essay section, which includes essays that are packed with details and information about living a devotional life with the Norse gods. My main hang up here (with the book as a whole, in fact) is that a couple of these essays seemed to drift from the devotional focus toward Freyja in favor of general spirit-work with the Norse pantheon. While all the essays contain a good deal of information and ideas for working with Norse deities, the fact that some strayed from the focus on Freyja lead me to forget once or twice that I was reading a devotional designed to honor Her, rather than a guide for working with the pantheon as a whole.
A number of the rituals contained in Fire Jewel are powerful and important resources to anyone new to their work with Freyja. I found this to be especially true of the “Four Directions Freyja Ritual,” as it not only has the potential to be a powerful ritual once conducted, but it is also designed to be informative to beginners. As such, this ritual works double time not only in spiritual workings but also in educating. Other writings in the ritual section strike me as being particularly valuable to a devotee as well, including prayers, incense recipes, and prayer beads.
As I have found to be true with many devotionals, the heart and soul of Fire Jewel seems to lie in the poetry and songs, many of which are beautiful and convey a great depth of emotional connection and devotion to the Vanadis. What truly impressed me in this section, however, was the inclusion of the music to accompany songs written for and about Freyja. This isn’t something I’ve often ran across in devotionals, and I was both surprised and immensely pleased to see the accompanying music included here.
Overall it’s a well put-together book, despite a few typographical errors and page layout slip-ups. Of the art selections included I would have loved to have seen more original art by devotees and practitioners specifically of Freyja, and overall it would have been nice to simply see more essays delving into lesser-known and little-recognized aspects of Freyja, such as Her warrior aspect or Her association with boars. Nonetheless this seems a valuable resource for anyone new to their path with Freyja, and I hope it will provide many a good starting point.
[Tahni is beginning to lose track of how long she has been a practicing pagan, but she believes that it’s been somewhere around eight years. She recently became a devotee of Loki, but continues to work with deities and spirits from many pantheons. She often honors the deities and spirits she works with by telling stories for and about them in her art and writing. Some of her work has been featured in Huginn, Lilith: Queen of the Desert and Unto Herself: A Devotional Anthology for Independent Goddesses. She often shares snippets of writing at tahnijnikitins.deviantart.com.]