Tag Archive: white ladies


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“.

The Weisse Frauen

“Healer – Priestess-Elf serie” by `Eireen

“The Weisse Frauen’s themes are banishing, blessing, joy, protection, fertility and divination. Their symbols are any sacred symbol, forest items and the color white. Known as the ‘White Women’ of the German forests, these Goddesses are said to have been worshipped by ancient pagans and witches where they live – in the woods. In later times, people looked to them to predict the future, help with matters of fertility, and protect the land.

The unique festival of Kermesse dates back to pagan worship of the grove Goddess (and pagan gatherings in the woodlands). Traditionally, some type of sacred symbol is dug up and carried around town to renew blessings and happiness in all who see it. The ritual also banishes evil influences.

To follow this custom, plant a white stone or token in a flowerpot, garden, or lawn this year and next year dig it up temporarily to release White Women’s power. At the end of the day, return the token to the earth so they can protect your home or land and fill every corner of it with magic. Repeat this annually to continue the cycle!

Wear something white today to invite the Weisse Frauen’s protection on the figurative land of your spirit, and spend some time in the company of trees at some point. Meditate on the pagans, who weaved magic in such places, and on these Goddesses, who empowered the spells. As you do, listen closely to the voices of the trees and see if they have a message for you.”

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

“In German folklore, theWeiße Frauen, or Weisse Frauen (meaning White Women) are elven-like spirits that may have derived from Germanic paganism in the form of legends of light elves (Old Norse: Ljósálfar). They are described as beautiful and enchanted creatures who appear at noon and can be seen sitting in the sunshine brushing their hair or bathing in a brook. They may be guarding treasure or haunting castles. They entreat mortals to break their spell, but this is always unsuccessful. The mythology dates back at least to the Middle Ages and was known in the present-day area of Germany.

The association with the color white and their appearance in sunlight is thought by Jacob Grimm to stem from the original Old Norse and Teutonic mythology of alven (elves), specifically the bright Ljósálfar. These ‘light elves’ lived in Álfheim (part of heaven) under the fertility god Freyr.   As mythology evolved, elves no longer lived in Álfheim (part of heaven) but lived on earth in nature. The White Women also may represent ancient beliefs in ancestral spirits or older native Goddesses and nature spirits. Jacob Grimm noted in particular they might come from Holda, ‘Berhta, white by her very name’ and Ostara. According to Grimm’s Teutonic Mythology and to the Mythology of All Races Series, the enchantment under which they suffer ‘may be a symbol of the ban laid by Christianity on the divinities of the older faith.’  Similar in name to the Witte Wieven of Dutch mythology, the Weisse Frauen may have come from the Germanic belief in disen or land wights and alven.” [1]

Patricia Monaghan writes: “The ‘white women’ of Germany and other northern European locations were said to be Goddess-worshipping witches who disappeared ages ago into the woods.  They lived deep in the forests where they helped lost travelers, foretold the future and helped the earth produce its fruit by their ritual dances.  Some say they were the ghosts of old Goddesses, enchanted by Christianity, seeking magic to release them into fuller life again” (p. 315).

Jacob Grimm notes the image of the Weisse Frauen basking in the sun and bathing ‘melts into the notion of a water-holde [i.e. Holda] and nixe‘. The Weisse Frauen also have counterparts in both name and characterization in neighboring countries: In the Netherlands known as the Witte Wieven, and in France known as the Dames blanches.

There are also many legends in German Folklore regarding ‘Weisse Frauen’, which are actually equivalent to the legends of White Ladies; ghosts of the United Kingdom.”

 

 

 

Sources:

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

Wikipedia, “Weisse Frauen“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Arrowsmith, Nancy. Field Guide to the Little People, “White Ladies” (p. 15).

Bell, William. Skaespeare’s Puck, and his folkslore, “Weisse Frauen, Belief In” (p.58).

O’Keeffe, Christine. Tartanplace.com, “Christine’s Faery List: Baobhan Sìth“.

Sacred-texts.com, “The Fairy Mythology: Celts and Cymry: France“.

Wikipedia, “Dökkálfar and Ljósálfar“.

Bon Dammes

“lyinf around” by ~tytaniafairy

“The Bon Dammes’ themes are rest, pleasure, fairies, playfulness and youthfulness. Their symbols are any fairy plants (foxglove, primrose, oak, thorn, ash).  The Bon Dammes are devic Goddesses in Brittany that appear much like fairies and often act with much impishness. Having a kindly nature, the Bon Dammes inspire playful, youthful outlooks to take with us into early fall with childlike wonder in our hearts.

Follow the custom of all regions the United Kingdom (except Scotland) and take the day off. Enjoy family outings and a little leisure before the warm weather really starts to fade. Sleep in a bit, ask for a few hours off from work, get outside and play with the Bon Dammes. Leave them gifts of sparkling stones, honey, and sweet bread beneath any flower or tree that captures your eye and makes you smile. In return, the Bon Dammes will make sure your day is filled with pleasurable surprises.

Think about an activity you really enjoyed as a kid and recapture that moment sometime today. Jump down a hopscotch board, play tag with the wind, climb a tree (carefully please), pick buttercups, go berry picking, skinny-dip in a stream, or do whatever re-inspires the Bon Dammes’s youthfulness in your heart. You’ll find that this moment refreshes your entire outlook and provides extra energy for the days ahead.”

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

Man, striking out here!  I couldn’t find anything on Saki-yama-hime, Braciaca turned out to be a god, and I could not find anything on the Bon Dammes!  I did however run across two references to “Dames”: Dames Blanches (White Ladies) and Dames Vertes (Green Ladies).  Now, according to Sacred-texts.com, “the Fairy-lore of the North of France, at least of Normandy, is, as was to be expected, similar to that of the other portions of the Gotho-German race. We meet it in the fées or fairies, and the lutins or gobelins, which answer to the Kobolds, Nisses, and such like of those nations.

The Fees are small and handsome in person; they are fond of dancing in the night-time, and in their dances which are circular they form the Cercles des Fées, or fairy-rings. If any one approaches their dance, he is irresistibly impelled to take part in it. He is admitted with the greatest courtesy; but as the whirling movement increases, and goes faster and faster, his head becomes giddy, and he falls to the ground utterly exhausted. Sometimes the fées amuse themselves by flinging him up to a great height in the air, and, if not killed by the fall, he is found next morning full of bruises. These little beings, it is also said, haunt solitary springs, where they wash their linen, which they then dry by way of preference on the Druidic stones, if at hand, and lay up in the hollows of rocks or barrows, thence named Chambres or Grottes des Fées. But, further, it is said of them, like the Lutins, they select particular farms to which they resort at night, and there making use of horses, harness and utensils of all kinds, they employ themselves at various kinds of work, of which, however, no traces remain in the morning. They are fond of mounting and galloping the horses; their seat is on the neck, and they tie together locks of the mane to form stirrups. Their presence, however, always brings luck, the cattle thrive where they are, the utensils of which they have made use, if broken are mended and made as good as new. They are altogether most kind and obliging, and have been known to give cakes to those to whom they have taken a fancy.

The Fées of Normandy are, like others, guilty of child-changing. A countrywoman as she was one day carrying her child on her arm met a Fée similarly engaged, who proposed an exchange. But she would not consent, even though, she said, the Fée’s babe were nine times finer than her own. A few days after, having left her child in the house when she went to work in the fields, it appeared to her on her return that it had been changed. She immediately consulted a neighbour, who to put the matter to the proof, broke a dozen eggs and ranged the shells before the child, who instantly began to cry out, Oh! what a number of cream-pots! Oh! what a number of cream-pots! The matter was now beyond doubt, and the neighbour next advised to make it cry lustily in order to bring its real mother to it. This also succeeded; the Fee came imploring them to spare her child, and the real one should be restored.

“Shaylee of Faylinn” by *DragonDew

There is another kind of Fées known in Normandy by the name of Dames Blanches, or White Ladies, who are of a less benevolent character. These lurk in narrow places, such as ravines, fords and bridges, where passengers cannot well avoid them, and there seek to attract their attention. The Dame Blanche sometimes requires him whom she thus meets to join her in a dance, or to hand her over a plank. If he does so she makes him many courtesies, and then vanishes. One of these ladies named La Dame d’ Aprigny, used to appear in a winding narrow ravine which occupied the place of the present Rue Saint Quentin at Bayeux, where, by her involved dances, she prevented any one from passing. She meantime held out her hand, inviting him to join her, and if he did so she dismissed him after a round or two; but if he drew back, she seized him and flung him into one of the ditches which were full of briars and thorns. Another Dame Blanche took her station on a narrow wooden bridge over the Dive, in the district of Falaise, named the Pont d’ Angot. She sat on it and would not allow any one to pass unless he went on his knees to her; if he refused, the Fee gave him over to the lutins, the cats, owls, and other beings which, under her sway, haunt the place, by whom he was cruelly tormented.” [1]

“Be careful with the Fae” by ~Angueru-sama

Then, there are the Dames Vertes.  Patricia Monaghan writes, “The ‘Green Ladies’ of Celtic French folklore were seductive but cruel, luring travelers from the forest paths and holding them upside down over waterfalls, laughing all the while.  As wind spirits, they traveled speedily over their chosen countryside, invigorating all the plant life they touched.  When visible in human form, the Dames Vertes were said to be tall and seductive, dressed in long green robes, passing so lightly over the grass that it seemed only wind had disturbed it” (p. 96).

Based on this description, the Dames Vertes almost sound similar to the Rousalii or Rusalki of Russian folklore who were also reported to have worn green robes…curious, very curious indeed…

In conclusion, it would seem to me that Bon Dammes would translate to “Good Ladies” and either be related to the Dames Blanches or actually be the Dames Blanches as they clearly don’t fit the description of the Dames Vertes.

 

 

 

Sources:

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddess and Heroines, “Dames Vertes”.

Sacred-texts.com, “The Fairy Mythology: Celts and Cymry: France“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Cymru, Gordd. Celtic-twilight.com, “The Fairy Mythology – Great Britain“.

O’Keeffe, Christine. Tartanplace.com, “Christine’s Faery List: Dames Vertes“.

Phillips, Valerie. Dnaalchemy.com, “Devas, Elementals and Fairies“.

Wikipedia, “Fée“.

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