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Gems of the Goddess

Skaði, Goddess of Hunting and Winter

 

 Hers is the name in which Scandinavia derived its own. Daughter of the frost giant Thiazi, Skadi rules over winter, mountains, forest, game animals, justice and independence. She is also known as goddess of the hunt, as it is her gift which brought the use and skill of archery to hunters.

It is said she is tall and thin, with ivory skin, raven black hair and deep blue eyes. She travels over ice and snow covered lands on skis, a bow at her side, and always in the company of wolves.

As a dark goddess she is known as Queen of Shadows, the embodiment of courage and endurance. Though she is unpredictable, she is always forthright. Hers is the will that gives us strength to survive the storms, to find our way in the darkness, and to expose what hides within the mist, both in our inner and outer worlds. With Skadi you will see with stark clarity. Be certain you are prepared.

Her father was murdered by the Aesir during a rescue mission to take back Idun, the beautiful goddess of youth, whom Thiazi had kidnapped.Though not a warrior, Skadi  took a helmet, a coat of mail, and weapons, and traveled to Asgard to avenge her father’s death.

Standing before the gods, fierce and set on revenge, the gods offered compensation in lieu of war. Having no need for gold, as she was already wealthy beyond means, Skadi gave her own terms. The first, that she may choose a husband among them; the second, one she knew they could not provide, was that they make her laugh.

Odin agreed, but none of the gods volunteered to marry her, so he set his own condition; that she must choose her mate by solely looking at their bare feet. He drew a curtain and each of the gods lined up behind it. She saw a very attractive pair of feet, and certain they could only belong to Baldr, the god of light and beauty, made them her choice. However, the feet belonged to Njordr, god of the sea.

As a volunteer for her laugh, the god Loki stepped forward. He tied a cord of rope around the beard of a goat, and the other end of the rope around his testicles. They each pulled the other back and forth, the halls filling with their loud squeals. Finally, the rope snapped and Loki fell over the knees of Skadi, who roared with laughter. As a last gift, Odin took her father’s eyes and tossed them into the night sky, turning them to brilliant northern stars.

Though Njordr was not whom she’d have chosen outright, she honored her vow and the two were wed. She wanted to live in the mountains and he near the sea. They each made a compromise to live for nine days first in the home her father once owned, Thrymheimr, and the next three by the sea, in Njord’s home called Noatun.

According to the Prose Edda, at the end of the twelve days, Njorde said –

“Hateful for me are the mountains,

I was not long there,

only nine nights.

The howling of the wolves

sounded ugly to me

after the song of the swans.”

To which Skadi responded:

“Sleep I could not

on the sea beds

for the screeching of the bird.

That gull wakes me

when from the wide sea

he comes each morning.”

 

The couple then permanently separated, but thereafter, they remained friends and Skadi was always accepted by the Aesir.

Skadi reminds us that even in the bleakest times, we carry on with our lives, but in order to do so, we must be true to ourselves.

 

Correspondences-

Color – black

Phase – new moon

Animals – wolves, venomous snakes

Herbs – mullein, juniper, elder

Tree – willow, beech, elm, blackthorn

Aspects – justice, righteous anger, hunting, darkness, magic

Wheel of the Year – between Samhain and Yule