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In Norse mythology, Sjöfn (or Sjǫfn in Old Norse orthography) is a Teutonic goddess of love.[1] She is regarded as a messenger and attendant of Freya.[2] Sjöfn is considered a protecting guardian of betrothal.[3]

Attestations

In chapter 35 of the Prose Edda book Gylfaginning, High provides brief descriptions of 16 ásynjur. High lists Sjöfn seventh, and says that Sjöfn is "concerned to direct people's minds to love, both women and men." In addition, High states that from Sjöfn's name comes the Old Norse word sjafni. In the Nafnaþulur section appended to the Prose Edda book Skáldskaparmál, chapter 75, Sjöfn is included in a list of 27 names of ásynjur. Otherwise, the name Sjöfn is thrice employed as a base word in skaldic kennings for "woman".

Theories

Regarding the information given about Sjöfn in Gylfaginning, John Lindow says that the word sjafni does indeed appear listed in the þulur as a word for "love", yet that outside this description no information about the goddess is known. Lindow states that some scholars theorize that Sjöfn may be the goddess Frigg under another name. Rudolf Simek says that Snorri may have derived his etymology of Sjöfn from the Old Norse words sefi ("sense") or from sefi (possibly "relation"), but that the scant references to Sjöfn do not allow for much more of an elaborate explanation for the goddess. Simek says that, accordingly, Sjöfn is viewed as a goddess of "marriage and love, or else one of relationships" and that Sjöfn is among several goddesses mentioned in the Prose Edda "who are matron-like guardian-goddesses."

Family

Vanir Genealogy in Norse mythology Names in Bold are Giants/Giantesses Names in Italics are Æsir Frigg was mother to Baldr and Höðr by Odin Sif was mother to Magni, Móði and Þrúðr by Thor
 
 
 
 
 
 
Fjörgynn
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Nótt
 
Dellingr
 
Njörðr
 
Nerthus
 
Mundilfari
 
Hretha
 
Frigg
 
Odin
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Dagr
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Freyja
 
Óðr
 
Skírnir
 
Svalingr
 
Sinthgunt
 
 
 
Wayland
 
Sunna
 
Thor
 
Sif
 
Unknown
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Gerðr
 
Freyr
 
 
Gersemi
 
Hnoss
 
 
 
 
 
Sjöfn
 
Snotra
 
Lofn
 
Sigyn
 
Loki
 
 
 
 
 
 
Ullr
 
Skaði
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Váli
 
 
 
 
Narfi

See Also

External Links

Gallery

Notes

  1. (Canney 1921, p. 327)
  2. (Keyser 1854, p. 135)
  3. (Keyser 1868, p. 31)

References

  • Canney, Maurice (1921), An Encyclopaedia of Religions, E. P. Dutton & co., New York, ISBN 81-7081-024-8
  • Keyser, Rudolph (1868), The Private Life of the Old Northmen, Chapman & Hall, London.
  • Keyser, Rudolph (1854), The Religion of the Northmen, C.B. Norton, New York.