Freya (also spelled Freyia, Freyja, or Frea), in Norse mythology, the goddess of love, beauty, youth, and fertility. Her brother was Freyr, also a fertility god, and, like their father, Njord, a god of wealth.
The most beautiful of the Asynjur goddesses, Freya was considered second in rank only to Frigg, Odin's wife, with whom she was sometimes confused. Freya was also the goddess of a form of magic, called seiyr, which she taught to Odin and the other Aesir. Freya also has a warlike side and shares Odhinn's love of battle. She and Odhinn share the slain heroes between them, so that some go to Valhalla and others are chosen by Freya to be entertained at her hall, Sessrumnir.
Like her brother and her father, Freya was one of the agricultural Vanir gods rather than the warrior Aesir gods, but was sent to live among the Aesir in their heavenly realm of Asgard as part of a peace treaty between the two groups.
In Asgard, Freya lived in a beautiful palace called Folkvangar (Field of Folks), which contained a large hall called Sessrumnir (Rich in Feasts). Like the Valkyries, Freya surveyed the battlefields to find the souls of the valiant. She traveled in a chariot driven by two cats. When warriors were slain in battle, she was entitled to half of these souls; the rest belonged to Odin. Freya would be their hostess for banquets in Sessrumnir. Sometimes she also waited on the heroes' souls at Odin's banquet hall Valhalla, along with the Valkyries.
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Pope defends natural law;
The pope, whose visit is expected in September, made the comments after hearing representations from English and Welsh bishops on their concerns about the place of religion in an increasingly secular society.
They told him sexual orientation legislation that came into effect on 1 January 2009 had forced the closure of half the Roman Catholic adoption agencies because the law making it illegal to discriminate against gay applicants went against their beliefs.
In his letter the pope said: "The effect of some of the legislation designed to achieve this goal has been to impose unjust limitations on the freedom of religious communities to act in accordance with their beliefs. In some respects it actually violates the natural law upon which the equality of all human beings is grounded and by which it is guaranteed."
It is also thought the pope was referring to the equality bill, which narrows the special exemption enjoyed by churches allowing them to exclude people whose lifestyles do not fit in with the religious ethos of an organisation when hiring staff. The bishops cited it as another restriction of their freedom of religious belief.