Book Review – Pagan Portals – Frigg: Beloved Queen of Asgard by Ryan McClain

Book Review
Pagan Portals – Frigg: Beloved Queen of Asgard
by Ryan McClain
Published by Moon Books
112 pages
Publication date: February 1, 2024

Ryan McClain is back with his second book, Frigg: Beloved Queen of Asgard, published by Moon Books. Like his first book Abnoba: Celtic Goddess of the Wilds, his latest work is a deep dive into one goddess, exploring the origins, lore, roles and symbols, relationships with other gods and goddesses, and suggestions for those who wish to venerate the goddess.

Frigg has been a large part of McClain’s practice for seven years and the book is a result of the studying he has done to incorporate the goddess into his practice. He also includes his perspective and unverified personal gnosis, and I appreciate that he clarifies this distinction for the reader as some pagan authors and teachers do not.

I also appreciate that McClain addresses the issue of bigotry in the Heathenry community and emphasizes the importance of voices that encourage inclusivity and openness. He intends this book to be a resource for everyone who is drawn to Frigg and “whose hearts are free from hatred.”

Chapter One gives us insight into her etymology, who Frigg was, and her connections to similar deities (such as the Roman goddess Venus). McClain also demonstrates evidence of her importance in Germanic territories that chose to name places after her.  This chapter includes passages from the Origin of the Lombards, the Second Merseburg Incantation, and Gesta Danorum, or the History of the Danes, which offer a couple of perspectives on Frigg, while the McClain notes the biases that the authors of these epics likely held.

Chapter Two explores the well-known aspects of Frigg in Norse mythology, focusing on her portrayal in the Eddas. She is depicted as a devoted wife to Odin and a loving mother, particularly highlighted through the narrative of her son Baldr’s loss. Frigg is presented as a foundational figure in Norse mythology, akin to a spiritual mother, providing strength and support. McClain suggests that Frigg’s maternal role is central to understanding her character and significance within the Norse pantheon.

Chapter Three focuses on the various roles and symbols associated with Frigg in Norse mythology. Beyond her common qualities of “Hearth Goddess” and “Goddess of Marriage,” McClain explores the more nuanced and diverse aspects of Frigg’s roles and symbols such as queen, peacekeeper, homemaker, seer, healer, spinster and weaver, and fertility goddess. He also makes connections with Frigg and the animals she’s associated with in lore (hawks and falcons) and other animals like herons, cranes, geese, sheep, rams, and dogs that fit his UPG and offers suggestions in using these aspects to work with her.

Chapter Four focuses on Frigg’s relationships within the Æsir family of gods and goddesses, underlining her role as matriarch. McClain explores Frigg’s connections to her husband Odin and her children and Frigg’s relationship with the goddess Freyja, addressing the question of whether they are distinct deities or share a singular identity.

Chapter Five explores Frigg’s royal court, and the goddesses called the Asynjur. These goddesses are also referred to as handmaidens, but all have strong characteristics and are important. McClain discusses how some think of them as separate goddesses, and others think they are part of Frigg and provides details 12 of the Asynjur to help the reader get a sense for themselves.

Chapter 6 focuses on practical aspects of venerating Frigg, including the creation and use of altars, offerings, prayers, and observance of holy days dedicated to her. This chapter serves as a guide for readers on how to incorporate the worship and reverence of Frigg into their regular practice if they wish.

This is a great introduction to Frigg and her place in the Norse pantheon. McClain has gathered many sources that mention Frigg so those who wish to learn more about her have many of them in one place. The book is extremely easy to read and doesn’t get academic, making it easy to get into and digest. I recommend it to anyone who is just starting on their journey into paganism and/or the Norse pantheon.

I loved how this book expanded my idea about who Frigg is. Due to Christianity and patriarchy significantly rewriting pagan myths, and especially those of pagan goddesses, I feel like Frigg has been given back the aspects that make her “human” and not just a mother and a wife. This can help the reader reclaim the nuances in their personality that might have been overlooked throughout their life, too!

Ryan McClain is a multi-traditional polytheist and animist; though his path is predominantly influenced by both Gaulish and Germanic hearth cultures. Several deities are a consistent part of his practice, but of particular importance are the goddesses Abnoba and Frigg, having honored them for three and seven years respectively. Ryan earned his degree in 2010 in General Studies for the express purpose of gaining a broad base of knowledge. Since that time, he has dedicated himself to many pursuits of study via books, the internet, experimentation, meditation, prayer, and any other means possible. Ryan resides in a small town in Indiana where he lives with his husband and their lovable dogs, fiercely independent rabbit, and wacky bearded dragon. You can also follow him on Facebook.