Outrageous women have always attracted my attention and won my admiration. Thus it is no surprise that my favorite goddess in mythology is Freyja, Norse goddess of love and fertility. Freyja dons a magic cloak of feathers in order to fly, when she is not driving her cart pulled by cats. Freyja has the sexual appetite of a nanny goat, and lusts after beautiful things – especially things made of gold. Freyja makes her own decisions and plays the dominant role in her relationships. A powerful, generous woman, her aid is sought by many young girls in love.
When I wrote Faces in the Fire, Book One of The Women of Beowulf, I bestowed the mark of Freyja on my heroine: Freawaru, daughter of Danish King Hrothgar in the Beowulf epic. It is literally a birthmark, a small, perfect feather on the back of Freaw’s shoulder. With that mark comes special power. Witness the following scene of a ritual from Faces in the Fire.
“Blood of the body, blood of renewal, blood of life…”
I began to revolve in the narrow space, trying to keep my eyes fixed on the feather on the ground, but it soon became a blur. The drum beat on relentlessly. I was sweating, my head spinning. Soon I lost all sense of my body and felt lifted out of myself. Had my swans returned?
Yes! I was flying! I myself had become the swan…As I floated weightlessly, I turned my face to look down. Far below me I saw…what was this? Heorot? Heorot on fire – Heorot burning! With a shriek, I plummeted to earth – hard ground rushed up to meet me.
“Come back, Freawaru, come back to us…”
When I came back to myself, Mother was bathing my face with cool water from the pool.
“Freawaru – my daughter – what did you see?”
‘Oh, Mother,” I gasped. “Heorot – Father’s hall – it was burning!”
A shudder passed through the circle at my words. No further words were spoken as Mother and Willa helped me to my feet. Slowly, we began our journey back to the doomed hall.
Beowulf is primarily a tale of men and monsters. My purpose in retelling it from a female point of view is to give voices to the women in the story, and to let the reader more fully experience life in sixth century Scandinavia.
From her roots in rural Indiana, Donnita Lamb Rogers grew into a teacher, traveler and author. A lifelong passion for learning was fueled by her education at Earlham, a Quaker college, and the University of Minnesota, culminating in a PhD in English Literature. She adopted four children before beginning her teaching career in Texas, which included work at the University of Houston, Lone Star College and Kingwood High School, where she used drama and extensive student involvement to bring literature to life.
After retirement in 2001 she traveled the world, then began to research and write Faces in the Fire, a novel inspired by her teaching of the Old English epic, Beowulf. Five years were spent studying materials on Viking Age culture; a trip to Scandinavia offered such “on-site” experiences as crewing on a Viking ship replica in Denmark and climbing funeral mounds in Sweden, all to discover what life might have been like for women in sixth-century Scandinavia.
One signed copy of Faces in the Fire: The Women of Beowulf. Must be 13 years of age or older to enter. Open internationally and closes on July 19th at 11:59 PM. Winner will be contacted by e-mail and have 48hrs to respond.
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Tomorrow’s festivities: Giveaway – Books of choice in the Need series.
About the Blogger
I review Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance books with a focus all things werewolf. Based out of Ottawa, Canada