Frau Holle

She Who is All – Goddess of Ten Thousand Names

December, 2015

Frau Holle/Hold/Hulde

goddess(Photo Credit: www.udagen.de)

Frau Holle is a Germanic/Scandinavian Goddess, who is celebrated at the Winter Solstice. The wonderful Maria Gimbutas believes that Frau Holle pre-dates most of the Scandinavian pantheocon.

It is said that Holle lives in a cave nestled in the mountains or at the bottom of a deep well. She is Maiden. She is Mother. She is Crone.

As an Earth Goddess, she represents fertility and growth, as well as being the feminine spirit of the woods and plants. Her special plants are in the evergreen family, such as mistletoe and holly. Her tree is the Elder, which is called “the medicine of the common people”, for all the herbal remedies which come from the Elder Tree.

Holle is identified as one of the Protectress of Witches. She is a leader of women and the female nocturnal spirits of these women, who would leave their bodies to ride with Holle throughout the skies. She is the mother of small creatures and the souls of dead children.

She is also a Lady of Hearth and Home, and the Queen of the Hunt. She is sometimes seen as a beautiful, shining, young woman and at others, the old hag, riding her broom.

With Her feast day being held on the Winter Solstice, she is viewed as the Queen of Winter. There are processions throughout the streets, where women are masked to look like Her. At night, She rides her broom, wearing a red cloak, filling children’s shoes with presents.

It is said Holle brings the first snowflakes of the year; as She shakes out her comforter, a gentle snow comes and covers the Earth. The sun comes out when She combs Her hair and it rains when she throws out Her laundry water. As such, She is a Goddess of the Weather.

goddess1(Photo Credit: genius.com)

Holle is the inventor of all domestic acts, but her specialty was spinning. The stories tell of Frau Holle checking the spinning of everyone, and if they were diligent in their work and their spinning was good, She would reward them with gold thread; if their work was lazy, she would tangle and dirty it. She disliked laziness, and approved of good, hard work, both of which are rewarded by Her.

Holle travels the world in her wagon from the Solstice through the beginning of January. It is said that once she broke a wagon wheel on her travels and a man stopped to help her. When She was once again on her way, she gave him 3 rocks and told him to put them on his window when he arrived home and he would be rewarded for his diligence and kindness. He did not believe her and grumbling, went home to follow her instructions. When he arose the next morning, the stones had turned into gold, thus she had rewarded him!

Another story of her rewarding kindness and hard work is the tale of two sisters. One sister fell down a deep well, arriving in Holle’s realm. As she journeyed, she helped everyone she came in contact with, eventually finding herself at the home of Holle, where she continued to help and keep Holle’s home clean. When she returned home to her mother, she found that each time she spoke, gold would fall from her lips, and thus, she was rewarded by Holle. When the mother saw this, she threw her other daughter down the well. This daughter would help no one and offered no kindness to anyone on her journey, including Holle. When she returned home, she found, to her and her mother’s dismay, each time she spoke, toads fell from her lips. This daughter was rewarded in a different way.

You will recognize Frau Holle in stories by the Brothers Grimm, as one of the names they called Her Old in their stories was Mother Frost.

You can call on Frau Holle this Winter Solstice, using meditation, falling down her well, and going deep within on your own journey through her realm. What will await you? What will you be called on to do? How will you be rewarded by Holle?

goddess2(Photo Credit: janeewardart.org)

As always if you have any questions or comments, I can be reached at ShaktiWarriorSpirit@gmail.com.

I wish you the blessings of the Goddess throughout this holiday season. Be healthy, be happy, be blessed.  )O(

She Who Is All – The Goddess of Ten Thousand Names

December, 2014

Winter Goddesses

As I am writing this, it is a week before the holiday of Thanksgiving, meaning that Winter Solstice is just around the corner. Here in the northeast section of the United States, the weather has begun to get quite chilly and we have had the first tiniest taste of snow, while in other parts of this country, the ice and wind chill has already begun to wreak havoc.

So, I thought this would be the perfect time to write about just a few of the many Winter Goddesses that abound throughout the world.

 

goddess1

 

Colleda is the Goddess of Winter in Serbia.
She was the one to whom the Yule Log was
given as the light from the past year drained
away. When the sun was reborn, the children
went from house to house and received
sweet cakes for the Goddess who brought
back light and growth. She is known as
Kolleda in Russia who embroiders a new
world each Solstice.

 

 

goddess2

 

Angerona is the Roman Goddess of the Winter Solstice. Her feast in held on December 21st, just as the sun energy begins to increase; but just before the balance tips, Angerona reminds her worshippers of how frail the natural balance of the world truly is. She is most often portrayed with her finger to her lips for silence.

 

 

goddess3

 

Befana is called “the lady of twelfth night” in Italy. Many places in Italy still follow the Befana tradition of hanging a lady dressed in rages outside the home on January 5th. Befana delivers gifts to the children and, it is said, she will sweep up before she leaves. Many of us still have representations of Befana in our home without even being aware of who she really is. I have a small statue of her in my kitchen, which is there year-round. She is the proverbial kitchen witch.

 

 

goddess4

 

Cailleach is the gloomy old woman, also called the winter hag. She is known at Cailleach Bheur in Scotland and Cailleach Bhera in Southern Ireland. She is also known as Baira, The Queen of Winter. She is said to rule winter between Samhain and Beltaine. She is capable of ruling the weather, as the staff that she carries freezes the ground. Before there was the groundhog, there was Cailleach. It is said that on Feburary 1st, if it is sunny and bright, the winter will be longer and that She is gathering firewood to keep herself warm for the prolonged winter.

 

 

goddess5

 

Wah-Kah-Nee is “the drifting maiden” of the Chinook Tribe on the Pacific Coast of the United States. Her tribe was struck by a never-ending winter. The ice blocked the rivers from flowing; the cold winds killed the crops. They feared for the survival. It was said that the winter was caused by someone killing birds, but all who were questioned denied it, but a young girl was blamed. The tribe dressed her and exposed her on a block of ice as an offering to the Winter spirits. The ice broke and summer returned. Months later, a block of ice containing the girl, Wah-Kah-Nee, was found. She survived and was then treated as a sacred being by the Tribe. She could could walk unprotected through the winter months and communicate with the spirits.

 

 

goddess6

 

Frau Holle is known throughout Germany, Austria and the surrounding countries. Snow covered the earth when she shook out a feather comforter. She rode in a wagon, on the wind and rewarded good people with gold; she invented spinning. Between December 25th and January 5th, the 12 days of Xmas, she traveled the world. She is associated with many of the evergreen plants used around Yule, such as holly and mistletoe.

These are just a few of the many Winter Goddess from around the world. I hope you have enjoyed reading about them.

I wish you all a blessed Holiday season, filled with happiness, love and joy. Keep the light burning in your heart all year long.

Blessings
)O(