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In Norse myth and history, there are two places of great import that have influenced my own worldbuilding: Uppsala in Sweden and the mystical Fensalir, the hall of Frigg or Freyja, depending on which tale you subscribe to. (Yes, I do know that Freyja had her residence in Folkvangr, but for all we know that could have been a part of Fensalir.) Just as Uppsala was a hub of kingship and sacred rites, Fensalir represents a nexus of feminine power and mystery in the Old Norse cosmos.
The name Uppsala is etymologically linked to the sacred. Upp means up or higher, and Sal means hall – put together they speak of a higher hall or a sacred space. This venerable site was linked to the god Frey and it is mentioned in many historical documents. We know exactly where it was, and the old Viking age grave fields can still be seen there even though a new, younger Uppsala has replaced the old.
It was reputedly a centre for worship and sacrifice (including that of humans) to ensure the fertility of the land and the favour of the gods. It’s one of many cases of divine and kingly twinning in Norse myth and Scandi folklore and history where the land, the people, the gods and the vettir intersect.
Just like Uppsala, Fensalir stands at the crossroads of mythology and folklore. The name ‘Fensalir’ translates roughly to ‘Fen Halls,’ suggesting a marshy, hidden place. Here Freyja or Frigg and her husband Odin, again depending on which tale you favour, twin the land and the gods, the male and the female, in a cosmic dance of balance and immanence.
As we opened the doors to Ulfrheim and Fensala under August’s blue moon, it’s worth noting how these historical and mythical layers of twinning are mirrored and repeated in the Ninth Realm. Indeed, Fensala itself might be considered a twin to Uppsala. It is, after all, a place where the divine and the mundane intermingle, where lore becomes reality and reality becomes lore.
Oh, and just in case it wasn’t obvious, I modelled Fensala, which is my take on a combined Uppsala and Fensalir, on the records of the two aforementioned cities. I guess the jury is out on whether they could be considered cities, but that’s neither here nor there. My Fensala is not considered a city, but it is the administrative centre of the Ninth Realm and belongs to Freyja.
Linnea Lucifer is the Captain of an imaginary pirate ship, a weaver of stories, and a certified pain in the arse.
Named after a delicate little flower that grows in mossy, Swedish pine forests, and a fiery fallen angel, she takes great pleasure in everything that tickles the senses and adds a sprinkle of magic and spice to our world.
When Linnea’s not busy commanding the Resilience, or lost in one of her daydreams, she pens fantasy steeped in Norse myth and Scandi folklore as Saga Linnea Söderberg, or Sweet’n’Spicy spoonie smut as Linn Rhinehart together with her Sir Bear.