“The Three Kadlu Sisters’  themes are summer, winter, weather and banishing. Their symbols are lightning and thunder.  Among the Inuit and several other northern tribes, these divine sisters rule the weather, so watch today’s ritual closely to see what winter will be like! Children’s stories claim that when the Goddesses play together they make thunder and lightning.

Around this time of year, people in Alaska have a playful tug-of-war between winter and summer. These born in winter take winter’s side – those born in summer stand opposite. If the summer side winds, winter will be mild and goodness will prevail.

This activity is fun for children, and it reinforces the idea of seasonal cycles. Place a ribbon in the middle of the tug robe with the name of these sisters painted upon it. When the game is over, see which side the Goddess landed upon to know what the weather will be like!

If it rains today, it’s a sign of the Goddesses playing together, so get outside and join them (even if cold weather keeps this brief). Thunder on your right tells of better days ahead. Thunder on your left warns that caution is prudent. Lightning stretching across the sky symbolizes your ability to likewise stretch and grow. Lightning in front of you represents your ability to go forward boldly with your plans, knowing these Goddesses light your way.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

According to Patricia Monaghan, Kadlu, “the Eskimo thunder Goddess was originally a little girl who played so noisily that Her parents told Her and Her sisters to go outside to play.  So they did, inventing a game in which Kadlu jumped on hollow ice, causing a thunderous sound; Kweetoo rubbed flint stones together to create lightning; and an unnamed sister urinated so profusely that She created rain.

Transported to the sky, the Goddesses lived in a whalebone house far in the west, away from the sea, where the sisters wore no clothing but blackened their faces with soot.  For food, they went hunting for caribou, striking them down with lightning.

Some legends said that Kadlu made thunder by rubbing dry sealskins together or by singing.  In some areas, women were said to be able to avert thunderstorms, or to create them, by leaving offerings for the trinity of weather Goddesses: needles, bits of ivory, old pieces of sealskin” (p. 176).





Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Kadlu”.



Suggested Links:

Powell, J.W. Bureau of Ethnology, “Kadlu the Thunderer” (p. 600).

Wozniak, Edward. Glitternight.com, “Inuit Myth Page: The Goddess Kadlu and Her Sisters“.