Pronunciation: Geef-yawn Alternate: Gefjun, Gefyon, Gebjun
Gefjon (“giver”) was a seeress and goddess, a member of both the Vanir and the Æsir. She was associated with the plow, virgins and good luck. All women who die virgin are sent to her hall to become her servants in the afterlife, and thus she is characterized as a goddess of virtue, yet she was also a fertility goddess.
Her husband was King Skjöld, son of Óðinn. Many legendary Danish kings claimed to be descended from her. Having been promised by the Swedish king Gylfi as much land as she could plow in one night, she transformed her four sons into oxen and took enough land to create the Danish island of Zealand, leaving the Swedish lake Mälaren. This legend is commemorated by the bronze Gefjun fountain in Copenhagen sculpted by Anders Bundgaard in 1908. The goddess’ name is shared with a Norse term meaning “marriage”, represented by the English language as “give”, meaning “wife”.