Odin and Freya –Songs of Love and Wisdom

In 2007 the 20th anniversary of Spring Symposiums was celebrated at Löwstabruk in Sweden with the theme Song of Songs - the beautiful love poems from the Old Testament of the Bible. Now, ten years later, it is time to return to Sweden and celebrate the 30th Spring Symposium of the Expressive Arts International Network in the charming medieval town of Vadstena on the banks of a large lake. The theme, Odin and Freya – Songs of Love and Wisdom, will take us back to the time before the Norse people had converted to Christianity.

The “Poetic Edda”, or “Elder Edda”, is a collection of poems about the myths and lives of the Norse people (during the time of the Vikings). It offers us many rich stories of gods and great human heroes. Another resource from Norse pre-Christian times are the vivid Icelandic Sagas, which have inspired many film-and movie makers. Norse mythology opens up to a sophisticated world of polytheistic deities and animistic beliefs with the perception that consciousness, or spirit, is a quality of the entire world and not only the possession of humanity. Everything has the potential to communicate with other beings - verbally, non-verbally or intuitively. The gods and goddesses are complex and powerful forces of nature and of this world who interact with humans.

Two prominent deities - Odin and Freya - will guide and inspire our work at this 30th symposium.

Freya is a warrior, a Valkyrie, and a goddess of love and fertility. She is extraordinarily beautiful, and enjoys precious clothes and jewelry. Freya is affectionate and loving, owns her sexuality, and is free to love whomever she desires. She can be seen riding her chariot pulled by two cats. Freya possesses a special cloak made of falcon feathers that she may lend to women who need help in matters of love and fertility. She is also a völva, a woman who is a practitioner of seidr, the organized respected form of Norse magic.

Odin is a seeker. He has only one human eye. The other eye was sacrified, but is now used for looking inside. He is one of the gods that can move into the world of the dead. This ability is shared with Freya. Odin has two ravens, Hugin and Munin (thought/drives and memory), who fly around daily collecting information and news of the worlds. He is also accompanied by two wolves, Freki and Geri (referring to being “greedy and ravenous”). Odin is on a continuous quest for greater wisdom and knowledge.

Expressive Arts leaders in the field will guide us - through song, music, dance, theatre, poetry, myth and mask-making - to embrace beauty and knowledge in all its many shapes and costumes. Come prepared to play with art and change. Let your longing shape the face that beauty, love and wisdom hold.