One of my favorite albums is the Cure’s Disintegration. It’s dark and gloomy, spectral and haunting, and at times even a little mythic. That’s why when they followed it up with an album so light and fluffy that I half expected it to float away, I was a little miffed. I took special umbrage at the lead single, ‘Friday I’m in love’. But more on that later…onto a missing goddess.
When something goes missing, you can always try to reconstruct it from the hole it leaves behind.
This is the case with the Old English goddess Frige, which is where we get the word Friday, the day of Frige.
Until I did some digging for this article, I would have incorrectly attested that Friday was named for Freyja, the Norse goddess of sexual and magical energy, procreation and… violent death (ouch), or another Norse goddess, Frigg, who was more of a household deity, presiding over childbirth and the hearth. But it turns out that those goddesses are the ways modern archaeologists and historians have attempted to fill the void left by Frige, the namesake of Friday.
So, what do we know about Frige? She was an Old English, Anglo-Saxon pagan goddess whose cult was prominent from the 5th to 7th century CE. As Christianity swept across England in the 7th and 8th centuries, all traces of her were obliterated. However, it’s impossible to completely eliminate an archetype – they linger, sometimes in that last vestige of memory – language.
And so, what do we have? A goddess who was important enough to have a day named in her honor. A goddess who still has places named after her in England. A goddess who even made it into some colorful Old English phrases relating to sexual relations.
While the data isn’t conclusive, a common scholarly argument is that she was the Anglo-Saxon equivalent of Venus.
This makes Friday Venus day, a common association in several cultures, from Japan to India to all parts of the Roman Empire, which included England.
At least in the West, Venus is the planet and goddess associated with love.
Making Friday the day of love.
So back to my earlier rant about the Cure, and about the scorn I heaped on their follow up to Disintegration: maybe Robert Smith’s lyrics have deeper mythic roots than I gave him credit for.
Friday, I’m in love, indeed.