Tag Archive: freya


MUST REMEMBER THIS!!!

MUST REMEMBER THIS!!!

So, where to begin in this post?  Balance…If you can believe it, yes, life has gotten a little more hectic – another monkey wrench or two thrown into the mix of life.  All was almost balanced – house, kiddies, online college courses, spiritual development, devotions and practices.  Now however, due to my husband’s new work schedule that now keeps him from the house almost 16 hours a day with unknown days off in between, I came to the hard and sudden realization on Monday that I’m going to have to yet again, make some changes in my life – really sit down, prioritize and effectively manage my time or I will burn out.  This has been showing up quite a bit in my daily Rune readings  with Ehwaz on an almost daily basis and  quite recently Jera in opposition – indicating a setback, a need for readjusting and asking for help and Isa – again, time to slow down!  This really sucks as I HATE change!  I’ve just started attending a Seeker’s Course with The Nine Worlds American Kindred which is about an hour’s drive for me, am studying and have recently been initiated into the Apple Branch and am in the middle of completing the Dedicant Path with the ADF (well, actually trying to play catch up as I originally wanted to have it completed within a year of joining the ADF, but that may or may not be a realistic goal right now…).  I think, why have these opportunities presented themselves only to be taken away (referring to the Seeker’s Course in particular)??

To add to all of this, I’ve also been dealing with some uncomfortable health issues and upon visiting the doctor on Monday, left me with 2 choices of treatment: (1) major surgery with the removal of an organ that I’m not quite ready to part with yet (and plus I have no one to help me during recovery time should I choose that method of treatment) or (2) hormone injections (which sucks because I like the way I feel not being on hormones).  Overwhelmed…feeling quite overwhelmed and ever so slightly grumpy…

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My most recent and amazing Full Moon ritual back on March 28 gives me some relief and comfort knowing that things will be OK when I reflect back on it.  Upon welcoming Freyja and lighting Her candle, the candle began to literally crackle and pop, putting on a most amazing light show that left me speechless and heart racing until the flame settled back down; there was no doubt that She was there.  Personal offerings were made, I had a most amazing and powerful experience in a meditation from a Daily Om course I had ordered last month that I finally started, followed by a Rune reading: Uruz, Eihwaz, and Raidho.  My interpretation indicated inner strength coming into effect in daily life – think before acting, take responsibility or act with responsibility and I will have the power to overcome any obstacle.  Still holding onto outdated beliefs or desires (yes, this was also told to me at Ostara – I have broken many restraints but there are still a few I need to break), do NOT resist change.  Trust and take control – know the true nature, seasons and cycles; BALANCE action with planning and reflection.

And in walks Frigga who has been sitting back since December and observing in Her strong, quiet, and all-knowing way…Perhaps it’s time to develop my home, hearth and kitchen Craft.  As She is associated with the home and also with magic, given my circumstances of severely limited to now non-existant solo travel time, I do feel it’s time to work with Her and learn these things necessary to master said Craft.

Reading Nimue Brown’s post “The Druid balancing act” yesterday was very inspirational and spoke to me…

Freyja rides atop Hildisvíni to visit Hyndla (1895) by Lorenz Frølich.

Freyja rides atop Hildisvíni to visit Hyndla (1895) by Lorenz Frølich.

Also on an interesting note, yesterday’s Goddess of the Day was Rindr.  My daily Rune draw included Isa – associated with Rindr.  Given Her story in lore and some past issues I’ve dealt with that still do affect my life today, I feel as though Freyja is sending me to Rindr.  Just as Freyja had to visit the giantess Hyndla to get answers She needed, so too must I visit Rindr to get answers and knowledge needed to progress – just hopefully the meeting(s) won’t  be as confrontational…

So, as it stands right now, I need to slow down and take a step back, look at the bigger picture and prioritize – decide what has to be cut back or be put on the back burner for now.  A lot of my work is going to have to be solo or online.  I will try to make it out to Alabama or up to Atlanta for the High Days with the kiddies as I can because I do need some “real time” contact with community for the sake of sanity.  As a dear and wise mentor pointed out yesterday, balance is very important!

Welcome Freyja!

Wow, it has been too long since I’ve written last.  As I’ve stated in my other blog, The Journeys of a Nomadic Pagan, “Reflections During the Dark Moon“, life has gotten extremely busy for me and I’ve found it difficult to sit down and write about all the cool things going on.  If you recall from an earlier post, “The Dark Mother Does NOT Hold Back and Other Things“, I was having a very intense time with Odin making his presence overwhelmingly known in my life.  It seemed as though Odin was there, all the time, pushing me so hard in the pursuit of  knowledge that I was putting everyday activities to the side, constantly trying to play catch up late at night with everyday mundane activities.  I had to tell Odin that my family and my children come first in my life right now.  Then, in stepped Freyja and everything changed…

“Freyja” by Kris Waldherr

“Freyja” by Kris Waldherr

I don’t recall the exact date now – looking back though, I’d say that at around February 23rd (I know it was after a conversation that I was having with a good friend of mine on February 20, telling her how I felt like there was more work that I felt needed to be done or to prove myself before I could connect with Freyja; but before the Full Moon on February 25th because I dedicated that Full Moon rite to Her) Freyja made a surprising visit as I was falling asleep one night.  I was right on the verge or falling asleep, when you’re in that in-between state, but still somewhat conscious of what’s going on around you.  All of a sudden, I “saw” these bright prisms or rays of white/blue/purple/pink light beam down and light everything up.  Then, I saw Her – She was very similar in appearance to Kris Waldherr’s depiction of Freyja, chariot and cats and all, but different – Her hair was brighter or a lighter blonde and the clothing She was dressed in lighter colored clothing, white and grey.

Her energy was amazing and completely surrounded me – every breath I was taking in felt as though I was breathing Her energy into my lungs and engulfed my body.  The only way I can describe it is warm kitten fur – seriously – it felt like warm soft kitten fur!

That night, She made it very clear that She was here to stick around and has even given me certain requirements or tasks that She strongly suggests me to do if I am to represent Her and become one of Her priestesses; and since then Odin has stepped back, way back.   It was almost as though She had to “step in” and acting in a protective manner and tell Odin to step back for a while.  Later, I found (and I can’t remember the source – still looking for it) that Freyja was the only Goddess that could, for whatever reason, really stand up to Odin and have him step back from a person that he had a hold on as it were.  I think it might have to do with the fact that She had taught Odin magic and that gave Her the authority to do so, or the fact that Freyja has the first pick of souls of the slain or fallen warriors as Lady Imbrium had mentioned.

This new deep connection with the gods of the Norse pantheon almost made me feel conflicted in a way.  You see, for my ADF hearth culture, I was sure on my choice of the Celtic or Gaulish pantheons to work with.  However, things have taken a real turn and it seems as though the gods of the Norse hearth culture have chosen me.  Funny how that works…but I still continue to honor the Goddesses I feel especially close to and have their altars I set up (The Morrígan, Brighid and Epona/Rhiannon) and things seem and feel OK.  I’m also in the process of setting up my ADF altar to Frigga (who has a real quiet but firm presence in my life – but She doesn’t say too much, She just kind of sits back and observes) and Odin.  In fact, a few weeks back, I actually had a dream of Brighid and Freyja.  Their images were on a single card from the Goddess Guidance Oracle deck by Doreen Virtue.  It kept spinning, Freyja on one side and Brighid on the other.  To me, it signified balance and a feeling that it was OK to work with both pantheons, but that they should not be mixed.  Balance was the key.

I’ve also noticed I’ve been dreaming of runes and seeing them more often.  I had a dream one night of runes that appeared from the usual swirling grey mists in my “spiritual dreams”.  Out of the mists Fehu and Gebo appeared.  These runes apparently have some type of significance to Her (as does Ehwaz I’ve been finding out).  A few others appeared too, but I don’t remember them – Berkano, Jera, and Mannaz seem to be standing out; but those first two are the two that really stand out in my memory.  Also, there are times when I close my eyes and runes just seem to swirl around and around….

My personal altar to Freyja - a work in progress.

My personal altar to Freyja – a work in progress.

I have since set up a personal altar to Her in my bedroom by my bed side, making daily offerings to Her of different sweet-smelling incense that She seems to enjoy (strawberry, latin lover, and amber romance).  She also made it known that She likes pearls.  This was a little strange to me as She is a fertility Vanir Goddess, more closely associated with the earth I thought – how was She connected with the sea?  But looking at Her father, Njörðr, god of the sea and weather, it makes a little more sense.  Then I found this wonderful blog entry, “M is for Mardöll“, it made much more sense.  Plus, She just thinks they’re really pretty – She likes pretty things 😉

I continue to speak with Her and give Her praises daily, and She in turn comforts me, helps to remind me to go within and find my center when I’m angry or upset, and tells me what work needs to be done in the healing process I’ve started back in February.  The relationship I’ve been working on building with Her is amazing.  She is so strong and confident, an amazing healer and full of wisdom and knowledge that will come to me in time with hard work (there are things that She has advised me I NEED to learn and WILL learn) as She sees fit and feels I am ready.  The new found healing, love, confidence, blessings and opportunities that have presented themselves within the past month or so have been so amazing and transformative – unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before.  Welcome Freyja!  Hail and praises to you Sweet Lady!

Goddess Lucina

"Lucina" by Sandra M. Stanton

“Lucina” by Sandra M. Stanton

“Lucina themes are banishing, kindness, charity, health and protection. Her symbols are candles (light sources).  Lucina means light, and judging by Her description and attributes, it is very likely that this Swedish Goddess was the prototype for Saint Lucy. Lucina is a mother and guardian, offering fertility, protection, and well-being. In worship, Lucina is often represented by a simple, lit candle.

To chase away winter’s oppression and darkness, Saint Lucy’s festival is one of lights and charitable acts. Saint Lucy is the patroness who protects against winter throat infections, and commemorating her (or Lucina) today keeps one healthy.

Begin the day in Swedish tradition by lighting a candle to represent the Goddess’s presence. After this a breakfast of coffee, saffron buns, and ginger cookies is traditional fare. Coffee provides energy to give of yourself, saffron is often used is healing spells, and ginger promotes success in all your endeavours today.

To manifest Lucina’s energy and keep the Goddess close by today, carry luminescent stones like moonstone or cat’s eye with you, then visit hospitals or elder homes in the spirit of giving of yourself. Lucina will bless those you visit, and you, with well-being, productivity and safety.”

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

“St. Lucia” by Joanna Powell Colbert

“St. Lucia” by Joanna Powell Colbert

According to Patricia Monaghan, “The little red ladybug was the emblem of this Roman Goddess, later merged with Juno and Diana, and even later converted to Christianity as St. Lucy.  The early Italic Lucina was a Goddess of light and therefore – because birth is the first time we see Her – of labor and childbed as well.  She was variously honored in September and in December – still the times for festivals of Lucina as the candle-bearing saint; Her holidays were enforced by the superstition that any work done on those days would be undone by the morrow” (p. 199).

"Juno" by Moreau

“Juno” by Gustave Moreau

Thalia Took writes: “Lucina is a Roman Goddess of Light, a Moon-Goddess who is especially a Birth-Goddess, for when a baby is born it is brought into the light of the world for the first time. As such, this epithet was applied to both Juno and Diana in their capacity as Childbirth-Goddesses, and together these Goddesses were sometimes called the Lucinae. It could also be used as an epithet of Hecate as Moon-Goddess. The name is probably from the Latin lux, ‘light’ or ‘daylight’, from which we get words like lucidluminous, and that’s right, the name Lucifer, ‘Bringer of Light’ used of the planet Venus as the morning star. (It was also, incidentally, the name of a 4th century bishop who founded his own sect, the Luciferians. Just imagine—’Bishop Lucifer’!) As the Goddess of Childbirth, Lucina protected pregnant women and the newborn child, and She was invoked by women who were having difficulty conceiving and who wanted children.

An ancient bronze mask of Juno Lucina shows Her with Her hair in tight stylized braids; a tiny crescent moon is engraved on Her forehead, as if it is an ornament dangling from Her parted hair. A different image of Her shows Her with a child on Her lap, with two more at Her feet, and holding a flower as a reminder of how She alone conceived Her son Mars, with the help of a magical flower given to Her by Flora.

Juno Lucina had been worshipped from an early age at a grove on the Cispian Hill, one of the heights of the larger Esquiline Hill in Rome. Her worship was said to have been instituted by Titus Tatius, King of the Sabines who had ruled jointly with Romulus, the legendary founder of Rome, making it very old indeed and possibly pointing to an origin for Lucina in a Sabine Moon-Goddess. The slightly later (and still mostly legendary) King Servius Tullius of the 6th century BCE was said to have begun the custom of offering a coin (I’d guess that it was traditionally a silver one, as the shiny disk of the coin could then be symbolic of the Moon) to Juno Lucina on the birth of a child, which would indicate some sort of shrine there at the time. Her main temple was built on the same site in 375 BCE, and dedicated on March 1st. In later times a large wall was added enclosing both the temple and the grove that grew on the slope of the hill. This grove was evidentally an important part of Her worship; some authorities believe that Lucina was originally derived from lucus, grove, and this grove had an ancient and celebrated tree on which offerings of locks of hair were made by the Vestal Virgins, perhaps as acknowledgement that as avowed virgins they had chosen not to be mothers.

The Matronalia, or the Festival of Mothers, was held at this temple on the anniversary of its founding. Some said it was instituted in honor of the Sabine women who were instrumental in brokering peace between the warring Sabines and early Romans. On the day of the festival, the matrons (married women) of Rome processed to the temple, where offerings and prayers were made to Juno Lucina and Her son Mars: at home, it was the custom for the women to receive gifts from their husbands, and a feast was held in which the matron waited on the slave women.

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Juno Lucina was invoked during childbirth for an easy delivery and healthy child; when worshippers called on Lucina, they let their hair loose and untied any knots in their clothing as an act of sympathetic magic, to symbolically loosen any hindrances to childbirth and allow the energy to flow. When the child was born an altar was set up to Her in the atrium of the house, and a lectisternium, (or probably more properly, asellisternium, which was for Goddesses) or banquet was given to Her.

She was equated with the Greek Eileithyia. In ancient Egypt was a city by the name of Nekheb, of whom the patron Goddess was Nekhbet, the Egyptian Childbirth-Goddess; when the Greeks took over in Ptolemaic times, they renamed the city Eileithyia after their Birth-Goddess; and when the Romans annexed Egypt, they called it Lucina.

Sources:

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

Took, Thalia. Thaliatook.com, “Lucina“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Benko, Stephen. The Virgin Goddess: Studies in the Pagan and Christian Roots of Mariology.

Brockway, Laurie Sue. The Goddess Pages: A Divine Guide to Finding Love and Happiness, “Saint Lucy (Lucina)” (p. 183 – 189).

Colbert, Joanna. Gaiantarot.typepad.com, “Why We Honor St. Lucia” and “More about Saint Lucia“.

Fitzgerald, Waverly. Schooloftheseasons.com,St. Lucy’s Day“.

Lanzillotta, Peter E. Interfaithservicesofthelowcountry.com, “Santa Lucia: The Saint for the Season of Light“.

Loar, Julie. Goddesses for Every Day: Exploring the Wisdom & Power of the Divine Feminine, “Juno Lucina“.

Lundy, John Patterson. Monumental Christianity, or, the Art and Symbolism of the Primitive Church.

Murphy-Hiscock, Arin. Pagan Pregnancy: A Spiritual Journey from Maiden to Mother, “Lucina“.

Theoi.com, “Eileithyia“.

Wikipedia, “Lucina (goddess)“.

Goddess Holde

“The Goddess Holda” by Carrie Kirkpatrick

“Holda’s themes are longevity, wisdom, kinship, magic, destiny and karma. Her symbols are white items and aged items. Among the Teutons, Holda is known as the White Lady, an appellation that alludes to the color of Her hair. This Goddess is the wise, ancient crone, who has learned the lessons of destiny and karma from a long, well-lived life and who bears the knowledge of magic’s deeper mysteries to us with patience and time.

In Massachusetts, the first Sunday in October is set aside to honor grandparents and their vital role in families. Customarily, grandparents (or ‘adopted’ ones) are invited for dinner and showered with attention. I think this is a lovely tradition as it stands, honoring Holda’s wisdom through the elders in our community. Go to a nearby nursing home and spend half an hour or more cheering up someone. Listen to people’s stories of days gone by, and let their insights inspire you.

To improve your own awareness of karmic law, or to increase your magical insights, wear Holda’s white (a scarf on your head would be good) or carry a white stone with you to represent Her (coral is ideal, being a stone of wisdom). Alternatively, eat some aged cheese or drink aged wine to remind yourself that ‘old’ doesn’t mean outmoded. People can become better with time and with Holda’s guidance, if we remember to appreciate the years and the people who have gone before us on this path.”

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

“Holda” by Neil Geddes-Ward

There was a ton of information on Holda to go through!  She turns out to be a very interesting and complex and all encompassing Goddess; seen as the maiden in summer sitting by a lake combing Her beautiful white hair; as mother who made the fields, animals and women fertile and protected women and children, as well as accompanying those infants who had died before they’d been named to the Other World;  and as wizened crone in the winter who was stern and despised laziness.  She also had connections with many different Goddesses, both within the Germanic and Norse pantheons and even outside: Goddesses to include Freya due to Her association with cats (appaerntly the name of the cave She lived in, Kitzkammer means ‘Cat Chamber’) and Frigga for Her associations with the household, women, spinning and children; Perchte and Berchta (which appears to be debatable to some as to whether they were the same Goddess or entirely different Beings with similar attributes); and later in post-Christian times, even Diana and Habondia as She was demonized and said to lead “a wild hunt in which She led the souls of infants who died unbaptized, witches, and heathens in general.” [1]

“Åsgårdsreien” by Peter Nicolai Arbo

In a paper written by SummerGaile, she explains that: “In Jacob Grimm’s Teutonic Mythology, Holda is spoken of as host to the Wild Hunt or ‘Wilde Heer’.  In this account She is the consort of Woden, supreme god of the Germanic tribes occupying central Europe in ancient times.   There are many variations of this story, but the themes that are most prominent are the ones that illustrate Holda leading a Wild Hunt to gather those souls that may still be lingering earth bound; and it is She who gathers them during this ride to usher them into the Other World.  Another variation of this record is that She gathers un-baptized children, or more accurately, she gathers those born and who died without having been given a birth name, and takes them safely to the Other World.” [2]  Due to Her connections with death, magic and witches, She is also sometimes associated with Hecate and Hel.

Hag by Angie (aka DeadSpider)

And of course, in the post-Christian times as we see with many independent mother Goddesses, She is transformed from Mother Holda, or “Gracious One” who helped and protected women and children into the “Goddess of the Witches” – an old ugly hag who rode a broom across the night sky; as well as many of Her symbols taking on new evil attributes: “No where is this demonization more clear than in ‘Sleeping Beauty’ where the spinning wheel and spindle are turned into symbols of evil. Many of Her other attributes were turned around as well. Her protection of the dead soul of infants was turned around to Her creeping in and stealing children from their cradles. Her image as wise old woman, instilling moral values turned to the foolish old Mother Goose who spreads wives tales.” [3]

“Alma Parens” by William Bouguereau

“Throughout German, Austrian and Swiss folktales we find this former Goddess demoted, together with Her twin Perchta, to a witch.  Frau Holle was the more pleasant of the two: sunshine streamed from Her hair when She combed it, snow covered the earth when She shook a feather comforter, and rain fell when She threw away laundry water.   She was a splendid white lady who appeared each noon to bathe in the fountain, from which children were said to be born.  She lived in a cave in the mountain or in a well, and people could visit Her by diving into it.

She rode on the wind in a wagon.  Once She had to have a broken lynchpin repaired, and the man who helped Her later found that savings of wood from the project had fumed to gold.  In addition to gold, She rewarded good people with useful gifts, such as the invention of flax and spinning.

Her feast day was celebrated on winter solstice, when She checked the quality of each spinner’s work.  A good spinner would wake to find Frau Holle had left her a single golden thread, but sloppy ones found their work tangled, their spinning wheels shattered or burnt.

The period between December 25 and January 6 – the ‘twelve days of Christmas’ – were sacred to Frau Holle during that time She traveled the world in Her wagon.  No rotary actions were allowed; sleighs were used instead of wagons, and all meal-grinding had to cease.  Her twin Perchta was, if not welcomed, at least acknowledged at the same season” (Monaghan, p. 127).

“Frigga, Goddess of Women & Wisdom” by Thorskegga

 

Correspondences
Other Names: Frau Holda, Frau Holle, Winter Goddess, White Lady, Mother Yule, Hulde
Attributes: Virtue, Motherhood, Wisdom
Season: Winter, Yule
Symbols: Spindle, Spinning Wheel, Flax, Geese, Apples, Milk, Elder Tree, Elderberry Tea
Colors: White, Ice Blue
Symbols: Snow, Snowflakes, Well      [4]

 

 

 

Sources:

Eaves, Susan “Ratatask”. Eplagarthrkindred.org, “HoldaArticle“.

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

Paxson, Diana L. Hrafnar.org,”Holda“.

SummerGaile. Order of the White Moon, “The Sacred Journey and Migration of Frau Holda Into our Modern Reality“.

Zmaj, Majka. Order of the White Moon, “Holda: White Lady of Winter“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

AOR, Thorsigurd. Odinic-rite.org, “Holda“.

Finnegan, Margaret. Margaretfinnegan.blogspot.com, “Goddess of the Week: Holda“.

Fox, Selena. Beliefnet.com, “Riding with Holda“.

Dashu, Max. Suppressedhistories.net, “The Old Goddess“.

GardenStone. Goddess Holle: In Search of a Germanic Goddess.

Glaux. Afwcraft.blogspot.com, “Faces of the Golden Queen“.

Graves, Shannon. Northernpaganism.org, Who is Holda?

Motherholda.blog.com, “Holda

Linda-heathenycatmusings.blogspot.com, “H is for the goddess HOLDA – Ancient Lady of the Sacred Land, Queen of the ‘other folk’“.

Marks, Dominic. Lowchensaustralia.com, “Norse Goddess Names“.

Motz, Lotte. Winterscapes.com, “The Winter Goddess: Percht, Holda, and Related Figures“.

Theoddgods.com, “Perchta/Berchta“.

Seigfried, Karl E. H. Norsemyth.org, “THE GODS & GODDESSES, Part Two“.

Swampy. Dutchie.org, “Goddess Berchta“.

Wikipedia, “Holda“.

Goddess Freyja

“Freyja” by Lisa Iris

“Freyja’s themes are devotion, strength, the sun, magic and passion. Her symbols are lions and strawberries.  In Nordic tradition, Freyja’s name means ‘lady’. Generally speaking, it is Her domain to care for matters of the heart. In mythology, Freyja is stunningly beautiful, a mistress to the gods and She appears driving a chariot pulled by cats. When saddened, Freyja cries gold tears, and She wears a shining golden necklace (alluding to some solar associations). Many people in northern climes credit Her for teaching magic to mankind.

In astrology, people born under the sign of Leo are energetic and filled with Freyja’s solar aspect. And, like Freyja, they are ardent, dynamic lovers. If your love life needs a pick-me-up, Freyja’s your Goddess to call on. Start with a bowl if strawberries and melted chocolate that you feed to your lover. Remember to nibble passionately while noting into Freyja’s sacred food! This will digest Freyja’s energy for lovemaking. Of you’re single, eat a few berries at breakfast to internalize self-love so more loving opportunities come your way.

To improve love in other areas of your life (the love of friends, live for a job or project, etc.), wear gold-toned clothing or jewelry today to emphasize Freyja’s solar powers. This will give you more tenacity, focus and esteem for whatever you’re putting your hands and heart into.”

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

“Freyja” by Kris Waldherr

In Norse mythology, Freyja is a Goddess associated with love, beauty, fertility, gold, seiðr, war, and death. Freyja is the owner of the necklace Brísingamen, rides a chariot driven by two cats, owns the boar Hildisvíni, possesses a cloak of falcon feathers, and, by Her husband Óðr, is the mother of two daughters, Hnoss and Gersemi. Along with Her brother Freyr, Her father Njörðr, and Her mother (Njörðr’s sister, unnamed in sources), She is a member of the Vanir. Stemming from Old Norse Freyja, modern forms of the name include Freya, Freja, Freyia, Frøya, and Freia.

“Norse Goddess Freja” by zoozee

Freyja rules over Her heavenly afterlife field Fólkvangr and there receives half of those that die in battle, whereas the other half go to the god Odin‘s hall, Valhalla. Within Fólkvangr is Her hall, Sessrúmnir. Freyja assists other deities by allowing them to use Her feathered cloak, is invoked in matters of fertility and love, and is frequently sought after by powerful jötnar who wish to make Her their wife. Freyja’s husband, the god Óðr, is frequently absent. She cries tears of red gold for him, and searches for him under assumed names. Freyja has numerous names, including GefnHörnMardöllSýrValfreyja, and Vanadís.

Freyja is attested in the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources; in the Prose Edda and Heimskringla, both written by Snorri Sturluson in the 13th century; in several Sagas of Icelanders; in the short story Sörla þáttr; in the poetry of skalds; and into the modern age in Scandinavian folklore, as well as the name for Friday in many Germanic languages.

“Freyja” by Lindowyn

Scholars have theorized about whether or not Freyja and the Goddess Frigg ultimately stem from a single Goddess common among the Germanic peoples; about Her connection to the valkyries, female battlefield choosers of the slain; and Her relation to other Goddesses and figures in Germanic mythology, including the thrice-burnt and thrice-reborn Gullveig/Heiðr, the Goddesses GefjonSkaðiÞorgerðr Hölgabrúðr and IrpaMenglöð, and the 1st century BCE “Isis” of the Suebi. Freyja’s name appears in numerous place names in Scandinavia, with a high concentration in southern Sweden. Various plants in Scandinavia once bore Her name, but it was replaced with the name of the Virgin Mary during the process of Christianization. Rural Scandinavians continued to acknowledge Freyja as a supernatural figure into the 19th century, and Freyja has inspired various works of art.” [1]

“Valkyrie” by TheBastardSon

Patricia Monaghan tells us that “far from the ancient Near East, home of the lustful warrior Anat, we find a Goddess who is virtually Her double: a Scandinavian mistress of all the gods who was also the ruler of death. Leader of the Valkyries, war’s corpse-maidens, this Goddess was also the one to whom love prayers were most effectively addressed.

The Goddess who gave Her name to the sixth day of our week, Freya was one form of the ‘large-wombed earth,’ another version of which Her people called Frigg the heavenly matron. Here was how Freya appeared to Her worshipers: the most beautiful of all Goddesses, She wore a feathered cloak over Her magical amber necklace as She rode through the sky in a chariot drawn by cats, or sometimes on a huge golden-bristled boar who may have been Her own brother, the fertility god Frey.

“Freyja” by mari-na

When Freya was in Asgard, the home of the deities, She lived on Folkvangr (‘people’s plain’) in a vast palace called Sessrumnir (‘rich in seats’). She needed such a huge palace to hold the spirit hordes She claimed on the battlefields, for the first choice of the dead was Hers, with leftovers falling to Odin. Like Persephone, the Greek death queen, Freya was also the spirit of the earth’s fertility; like Persephone too, Freya was absent from earth during autumn and winter, a departure that caused the leaves to fall and the earth to wear a mourning cloak of snow. And like Hecate, an alternate form of Persephone, Freya was the Goddess of magic, the one who first brought the power of sorcery to the people of the north.

“Freya” by Hrana Janto

Despite Her connection with death, Freya was never a terrifying Goddess, for the Scandinavians knew She was the essence of sexuality. Utterly promiscuous, She took all the gods as Her lovers – including the wicked Loki, who mated with Her in the form of a flea – but Her special favorite was her brother Frey, recalling Anat’s selection of Her brother Baʿal  as playmate. But Freya had a husband, too, an aspect of Odin named Odr; he was the father of Her daughter Hnossa (‘jewel’). When Odr left home to wander the earth, Freya shed tears of amber. But She soon followed Odr, assuming various names as She sought him: here She was Mardol, the beauty of light on water, there Horn, the linen-woman; sometimes She was Syr, the sow, other times Gefn, the generous one. But always She was ‘mistress,’ for that is the meaning of Her own name, and a particularly appropriate double entendre it proves in Her case” (p. 127 – 128).

 

 

ASSOCIATIONS:

General: Aurora borealis (the Northern Lights), snow, spindle, spinning wheel, wheel of fortune, sword, the full moon, floral bouquets, romantic music, and the day Friday (named in Her honor).

Animals: Geese, cats, pigs, falcons, cuckoos, sparrows, and horses.

Plants: Apple, alder, birch, bramble, cypress, elder, feverfew, mint, mistletoe, mugwort, rose, tansy, thyme, vervain, yarrow, and valerian.

Perfumes/Scents: Rose, sandalwood, cypress, myrtle, vervain.

Gems and Metals: Amber, rose quartz, ruby, citrine, pink tourmaline, emerald, red jasper, jade, malachite, moonstone, silver, gold, copper.

Colors: Red, black, silver, white, and green.     [2]

 

 

 

Sources:

Goddessgift.com, “Goddess Symbols: Freya“.

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

Wikipedia, “Freyja“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Ashtarcommandcrew.net, “Goddess Knowledge and Wisdom – Freyja“.

Blue, Nazarri. Order of the White Moon, “Freya“.

BraveHeart Women, “Goddess Freya“.

Daily Goddess, “Freya – Sexuality“.

Goddess-Guide.com, “Freya“.

Goddessgift.com, “The Goddess Freya“.

Heathwitch. Order of the White Moon, “Freyja: Lady of Magic, Sexuality and Battle“.

Jordsvin. Jordsvin’s Norse Heathen Pages, “Some Observations on the Goddess Freya“.

Kaldera, Raven. Northernpaganism.org, “Freya’s Shrine“.

Krasskova, Galina. Exploring the Northern Tradition, “Freya (Fréo)” (p. 93 – 96).

Krasskova, Galina. Gangleri’s Grove, “Deity of the Month Guest Contribution: A Lesson from Freya“.

Krasskova, Galina. Gangleri’s Grove, “A Ritual for Freya and Frey“.

LadyRavenMoonshadow. Sacredmistsblog.com, “Goddess of the Week: Freya“.

Maris. Marispai.huginnpress.com, “M is for Mardöll“.

Revel, Anita. igoddess.com, “Freya: get back to your passion to get your passion back“.

Squidoo.com, “Freya“.

Took, Thalia. A-Muse-ing Grace Gallery, “Freyja“.

Valkyrietower.com, “Freyja – Goddess of Fertility“.

Wikipedia, “List of names of Freyja“.

Goddess Gefn

“Freyja” by paintedflowers

“Gefn’s themes are sun, winter, spring, protection, health, love, divination, magic, fertility, foresight, and growth.  Her symbols are all green or growing things.  A Goddess whose name means simply ‘giver’, Gefn was regarded by the Norse-Germanic people as a frolicsome, fertile figure and seeress who embodied the earth’s greenery. Gefn brings this abundance to us today: abundant well-being, abundant companionship, and abundant Goddess-centered magic!

Walpurgisnacht with a German saint (Saint Walburga), who had curative powers and taught people how to banish curses. For our purpose, Gefn stands in, offering to heal the curse of a broken heart by filling our lives with love and hope-filled foresight. If someone has completely overlooked or trashed your feelings recently, ask Gefn for help in words that you find comfortable. She’s waiting and willing to apply a spiritual salve to that wound.

Also try the German custom of ringing bells and banging pots to frighten away any malicious or prankish magic (or people who make it) before your spring activities really start to rock ‘n’ roll. Make this as playful as possible to encourage Gefn’s participation. Burning rosemary and juniper likewise cleanses the area, and if you can get either of these fresh, Gefn’s presence lies within. The burning releases Her energy.”

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

“In Norse mythology, Gefjon (pronounced GEF-yon) or Gefjun (with the alternate spelling Gefion) is a Goddess associated with ploughing, the Danish island of Zealand, the legendary Swedish king Gylfi, the legendary Danish king Skjöldr, foreknowledge, and virginity. Gefjon is attested in the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources; the Prose Edda and Heimskringla, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson; in the works of skalds; and appears as a gloss for various Greco-Roman Goddesses in some Old Norse translations of Latin works.

Gefjon ploughs the earth in Sweden by Lorenz Frølich

The Prose Edda and Heimskringla both report that Gefjon plowed away what is now lake Mälaren, Sweden, and with this land formed the island of Zealand, Denmark. In addition, the Prose Edda describes that not only is Gefjon a virgin Herself, but that all who die a virgin become Her attendants. Heimskringla records that Gefjon married the legendary Danish king Skjöldr and that the two dwelled in Lejre, Denmark.

Scholars have proposed theories about the etymology the name of the Goddess, connections to fertility and ploughing practices, the implications of the references made to Her as a virgin, five potential mentions of the Goddess in the Old English poem Beowulf, and potential connections between Gefjon and Grendel’s Mother and/or the Goddesses Freyja and Frigg.” [1]

The Gefion Fountain, located on the harbour front in Copenhagen, Denmark. Photo by Oliver J. Schirmer

“The predominant myth about Gefjon is from a ninth century poem by Bragi the Old and was retold by Snorri Sturluson in the thirteenth century. He relates how Odin had sent Gefjon out to look for more land, and She came to the court of King Gylfi of Sweden. She entertained the king, and in return he gave Her a grant of as much land as four oxen could plough in one day and one night. Gefjon went to the land of the giants where She had four sons with a giant. She turned the four sons into oxen and brought them back to King Gylfi. They dug up so much earth that they created a lake, Lake Mälaren, and the earth that they had dug they dumped into the sea where it formed an island, Zealand, which is now part of Denmark. Gefjon then moved to the island and married Odin’s son Skjöld, and their children became the royal family of Denmark.

Elsewhere in his works, Snorri Sturluson refers to Gefjon as a virgin Goddess, although the trickster God Loki claims that this is not true. Gefjon is one of Frigg’s handmaidens, and She in turn is served by women who died as virgins.” [2]

 

ASSOCIATIONS:

Also Called: The Giver; Mistress of Magick

Colors: Green, gold

Symbols: Plow, wheat, corn

Stones/Metals: Amber, malachite, copper

Plants: Hawthorn, alder, wheat, corn, elder, thyme, yarrow

Day: Friday

Runes: Gebo, Fehu, Jera       [3]

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Pagan Rights Coalition, “Gefjon“.

Sabrina. Goddess A Day, “Gefjon“.

Wikipedia, “Gefjon“.

 

Suggested Links:

Odin’s Volk, “Gefjon“.

Paxson, Diana L. Hrafnar.org, “Beloved“.

Quarrie, Deanne. Global Goddess, “Gefjon the Giver“.

Thomas, Dawn “Belladonna”. Global Goddess, “Goddess Gefjon and a Sample Ritual“.

VAIDILUTE, “Asgard and the Gods – Part 4

Wikipedia, “List of names of Freyja“.


Goddess Lada

“Goddess Lada” by Lady-Ghost

“Lada’s themes are spring, protection, overcoming, kinship, energy, and joy.  Her symbols are birch and bells.  Lada bursts forth from Her winter hiding place today in full Slavic costume and dances with joy, grateful for spring’s arrival. As Lada moves, Her skirts sweep away sickness and usher in the earth’s blossoming beauty. She bears a birch tree and flowers to honor the earth’s fertility and to begin planting anew.

Sechseläuten, a traditional Swiss spring holiday, is overflowing with Lada’s vibrancy and begins with the demolition of a snowman, symbolic of winter’s complete overthrow. If you don’t live in a region where there’s snow, take out an ice cube and put a flowering seed atop it. Let is melt, then plant the seed with ‘winter’s’ water to welcome Lada back to the earth.

Bells ring throughout this day in Switzerland to proclaim spring and ring out any remaining winter maladies and shadows. Adapt this by taking a handheld bell (you can get small ones at craft stores) and ringing it in every room of the house, intoning Lada’s revitalizing energy. Or, just ring your doorbell, open the door, and bring in some flowers as a way of offering Lada’s spirit hospitality.

Finally, wear something with a floral print today or enjoy a glass of birch beer. Better still, make a birch beer float so the ice cream (snow) melts amid Lada’s warmth, bringing that transformative power into you as you sip.”

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

“Lada is the Slavic Goddess of spring, love, and beauty. She was worshipped throughout Russia, Poland, and other areas of Eastern Europe. She is usually depicted as a young woman with long blonde hair. She carries wild roses, and is also known as the ‘Lady of the Flowers’. As Goddess of spring, Lada is associated with love and fertility in both humans and animals. She is said to return from the underworld every year at the Vernal Equinox, bringing the spring with Her.” [1]

“The Slavic Goddess of love and beauty, who appears as Freya, Isis, or Aphrodite with other peoples. She is, of course, linked to the planetary power of Venus who is, besides love and beauty, associated with fertility. Lada is represented as a girl with long golden hair sometimes with a wreath of ears of grain braided into Her hair, which symbolizes Her function of fertility deity thus making Her an aspect of Mother of Wet Land. A symbol of Sun, a mark of lifegiving power was sometimes on her breasts. As a fertility Goddess, Lada has Her annual cycles, which can be shown by the belief that She resides in the dwelling place of the dead until the vernal equinox comes. This world of the dead is called Irij, and here, besides Lada, dwells Veles, the horned god of cattle. [Does this story ring a bell?  A connection between Persephone/Kore in Greek mythology or Oniata in the Americas?]

At the moment when Lada is supposed to come out into the world and bring spring, Gerovit opens the door of Irij letting the fertility Goddess bless the earth. At the end of summer, Lada returns to Irij (there is a similar myth in German mythology in which Freya spends a part of the year underground among the elves, whereas Greek Persefona dwells in Hades during the winter period). Although Her reign begins on the 21st of March, Lada is primarily the Goddess of summer. She follows Vesna, the Slavic spring Goddess. However, both of these Goddesses are associated with fertility so sometimes it can sometimes be difficult to separate their functions. As we can see, Lada’s reign begins in spring, the proof of which is ladenjanother name for April, given after this Goddess. Apart from the Sun, Lada is also associated with rain and hot summer nights, the ideal time for paying respect to the love Goddess.

Lada’s animals are a cock, a deer, an ant and an eagle, whereas Her plants are a cherry, a dandelion, a linden and a peony. Besides Venus, Lada is connected with the constilation of Taurus, which Aleksandar Asov wrote about in The Slavic Astrology. Here, we can once again Her function of fertility Goddess, whose reign begins in spring, mix with the function of the Goddess Vesna. A myth says that Lada is married to Svarog who is only with Her help able to create the world. According to another one, She is a companion of Jarilo, thus associated with Aphrodite, whose lover is Ares. Rituals performed in Lada’s honor are most often linked with contracting marriages, or choosing a spouse. One of the known rites is ladarice, also performed under the name of kraljice in Serbia. Vuk Karadžić described the basic characteristics of this ritual. On Holy Trinity Day, a group of about ten young girls gathers, one of them is dressed like a queen, another one like a king, and another one like a color-bearer. The queen is sitting on a chair, while the other girls are dancing around Her, and the king and the color-bearer are dancing on their own. In this way the queens go from house to house looking for girls of marriageable age. Jumping over the fire is another characteristic of rituals performed in Lada’s honor. This custom existed in all parts of Europe and its purpose was to ensure fertility as well as to protect people and cattle from evil forces.” [2]  This very similar to the customs of Beltane; celebrating the May Queen and jumping the balefire for purification purposes and to ensure fertility.

“Lady Galadriel” by Josephine Wall

“Lada’s name means peace, union, and harmony.  Lada creates harmony within the household and in marriages;  She blesses unions of love with peace and goodwill.  In Russia, when a couple is happily married it is said that they ‘live in Lada.’  Rituals performed in Her honor are most often linked with contracting marriages and and choosing a spouse.” [3] 

 

 

Sources:

MXTODIS123. An Inner Journey: The Moon, Mythology, and You, “Lada“.

Kakaševski, Vesna (translated by Jelena Salipurović). Starisloveni.com, “Lada“.

Sabrina. Goddess A Day, “Lada“.

Goddess Ostara

“Ostara” by Asaenath

“Ostara’s themes are fertility and rebirth.  Her symbols are eggs.  The Teutonic Goddess Ostara presides over personal renewal, fertility and fruitfulness. Now that spring is here, it’s a good time to think about renewal in your own life. Ostara represents spring’s life force and earth’s renewal. Depicted as lovely as the season itself, in earlier writings She was also the Goddess of dawn, a time of new beginnings (spring being the figurative dawn of the year). One of Ostara’s name variations, Esotara, slowly evolved into the modern name for this holiday, Easter.

All spells and foods that include eggs are appropriate today. If you’ve been ill, try an old folk spell that recommends carrying an egg for twenty-four hours, then burying it to bury the sickness.

To improve fertility of all kinds, make eggs for breakfast at dawn’s first light, the best time to invoke Ostara. As you eat, add an incantation like this one:

 ‘Ostara, bring to me fertility
With this egg now bless my fruitfulness!’

Or, if you’re feeling down and need a little extra hope, get up before the sun rises and release a symbol of your burden to the earth by dropping or burying it. Don’t look at it! Turn your back and leave it there. Turn toward the horizon as the sun rises, and harvest the first flower you see. Dry it, then carry it with you often as a charm to preserve hope in your heart.”

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

“Ostara” by Mickie Mueller

The Goddess Ostara, or Eostre, is the Anglo-Saxon Goddess of Spring, the East, Resurrection, and Rebirth, is also the Maiden aspect of the Three-fold Goddess.  She gave Her name to the Christian festival of Easter (which is an older Pagan festival appropriated by the Church), whose timing is still dictated by the Moon. Modern Pagans celebrate Her festival on the Vernal Equinox, usually around March 21, the first day of Spring.

Ostara was an important Goddess of spring to the ancient Saxons, but we know little else of Her other than this. Some have suggested that Ostara is merely an alternate name for Frigg or Freya, but neither of these Goddesses seem to have quite the same fertility function as Ostara does. Frigg, Goddess of the home, wouldn’t seem to be associated with such an earthy festival and Freya’s form of fertility is more based on eroticism than reproduction.

However, Ostara is associated, almost interchangebly, with many different Goddesses.  [Again, purely speculation] She is essentially identical to Freya, for She is the Goddess of the fertile spring, the resurrection of life after winter. She was equated with the Goddess Idunna, who bore the Apples of Eternal Youth to the Aesir, and many believe that Ostara and Idunna are the same, or represent the same principle. She is almost certainly the same as the Greek Goddess Eos, Goddess of the Dawn. (Again, following the threefold theme — Eos is the Maiden aspect of the three goddesses Eos /Dawn, Hemera /Day and Nyx/Night.) As Ostara is Goddess of the Dawn, we can understand why sunrise services have always been an important aspect of the spring resurrection/rebirth observances of other cultures.

Eggs and rabbits are sacred to Her as is the full moon  [though there is no historical record of this], since the ancients saw in its markings the image of a rabbit or the hare. Pagan Anglo-Saxons made offerings of colored eggs to Her at the Vernal Equinox. They placed them at graves especially, probably as a charm of rebirth. (Egyptians and Greeks were also known to place eggs at gravesites). The Goddess of Fertility was also the Goddess of Grain, so offerings of bread and cakes were also made to Her. Rabbits are sacred to Ostara, especially white rabbits, and She was said to be able to take the form of a rabbit.

One myth says Ostara found a bird dying from the cold. She changed it to a rabbit so it could keep warm. Maybe this is why the Easter Bunny brings eggs to children on Easter. Traditionally German children are told that it is the Easter hare that lays all the Easter eggs. [1][2]

“Ostara” by Helena Nelson-Reed

“Part of the story of the Easter bunny is excerpted below, but you can use this link to read the complete version of Easter History and Traditions, including the stories of the Goddesses, at the website: Easter History and Traditions

The Goddess Ostara and the Origin of the Easter Bunny: A Modern Neo-Pagan Tale

Ostara, the Goddess of Dawn (Saxon), who was responsible for bringing spring each year, was feeling guilty about arriving so late. To make matters worse, She arrived to find a pitiful little bird who lay dying, his wings frozen by the snow. Lovingly, Ostara cradled the shivering creature and saved his life.

Legend has it that She then made him Her pet or, in the X-rated versions, Her lover. Filled with compassion for him since he could no longer fly because of his frost-damaged wings, the Goddess Ostara turned him into a rabbit, a snow hare, and gave him the name Lepus.

She also gave him the gift of being able to run with astonishing speed so he could easily evade all the hunters.  To honor his earlier form as a bird, She also gave him the ability to lay eggs (in all the colors of the rainbow, no less), but he was only allowed to lay eggs on one day out of each year.

Eventually Ostara lost Her temper with Lepus (some say the raunchy rabbit was involved with another woman), and She flung him into the skies where he would remain for eternity as the constellation Lepus (The Hare), forever positioned under the feet of the constellation Orion (the Hunter).

But later, remembering all the good times they had once enjoyed, Ostara softened a bit and allowed the hare to return to earth once each year, but only to give away his eggs to the children attending the Ostara festivals that were held each spring.” [3]  Again, there is no historical documentation or lore that states this and I really have no idea where the tale originated from.

Variant spellings: Eostra, Eostrae, Eostre, Eástre, Austra [4]

 

 

 

Sources:

Ashliman, D.L. The University of Pittsburgh: German 1500: Germanic Myths, Legends, and Sagas,Ostara’s Home Page: The Germanic Goddess of Springtime“.

The Goddess Gift E-zine, “The Goddess Ostara and the Easter Bunny: The Art of Renewal“.

Took, Thalia. A-Muse-ing Grace Gallery, “Eostre“.

Yvonne. Earth Witchery, “Ostara or Eostre“.

 

 

 

Suggested Links:

Aloi, Peg, Witches’ Voice, “You Call It Easter, We Call It Ostara“.

The Blue Roebuck,”Eostre“.

Cavalorn. Cavalorn.livejournal.com, “Eostre: The Making of a Myth“.

Fox, Selena. Circle Sanctuary, “Ostara Meditation“.

Goddess E-zine, “The Goddess Ostara, the Easter Bunny, and Their History in Easter Tradition“.

Goddessgift.com, “Goddess Ostara: History of Easter Eggs, History of the Easter Bunny, Goddess Ishtar and the First Resurrection“.

Goddessgift.com, “Ostara (Oestre): Saxon Goddess of the Dawn and Spring“.

Love of the Goddess, “Ostara, Celebration of the Goddess of Spring.”

Revel, Anita. igoddess.com, “Eostre: walk with a ‘spring’ in your step“.

Wikipedia, “Ēostre

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