December moon

Friday night, on Frigg’s day evening, I co-led a Full Moon ritual dedicated to Frigg.

It was a lovely night, with wispy clouds, as Witchlette calls them, Frigg clouds, hanging over the moon.

frigg moon 1

Rather than quarter calls, I wrote calls which allude to the creation of the world as it is stated in Nordic folklore, with fire and ice creating the mist from where life sprang forth.

Ice: Ice, Cold from the North

Fire: Fire, Heat from the South

Ice: Ice, Cold from the North

Fire: Fire, Heat from the South

Ice: Ice, Cold from the North

Fire: Fire, Heat from the South

Ice: Ice, Cold from the North

Fire: Fire, Heat from the South

Mist: Fire melts the ice. The water mixes with the heat to make steam. The ice cools the steam to make mist. The mist fills the gap between fire and ice, where there was nothing. Mist of the world from where all life springs.

Fire, Ice, Mist together: We are shrouded now in the mist, no longer in this world yet not wholly in the otherworld. We walk the space between, in the mist, blessed by fire and ice.

R and I shared lines throughout the ritual.

Hail, Frigg, wife of Odin, queen of the Aesir and Allfather’s one true equal.

Hail, Beloved, keeper of women, wives, and mothers.

Hail Allmother, watcher of all children, Aesir, Vanir, and human, looking after each as if they were her own.

Hail silent one, all knowing Weaver of Fates, yet bearing the knowledge alone.

You, who keep the keys for all the halls in Asgard.

You, Weaver of the clouds drifting from the Eastern sky.

We invite you here, now, Beloved Frigg Allmother hail and welcome.

We inserted our personal family histories and our own connections with Allmother into the ritual, connecting soft crafts, crocheting, sewing, knitting, weaving, stitching as all ways to honor her. Then shared a piece of Folklore to honor Frigg.

The only surviving lore of Frigg have her as a co-star, either to Odin or Balder. She doesn’t have any stories surviving in her own right. There is, however, another who does.

An alternate title for Frigg is Holda, a German figure from folklore who was clearly once a deity. It is widely accepted and understood that these two are different names for the same entity, and in my experience they answer to both. This piece of lore is of Holda, but contains a number of Frigg representations including spinning, weaving, fog, and flax seeds. Using Holda’s lore helps us to have a more complete image of Frigg, since she is her Germanic counterpart.

There was once poor man who worked as a farmer. He and his wife worked long and hard each day. He lived in a small house on his land and tended to his animals. One day, while out in his field, he saw a woman on mountain. She walked up the mountain side and turned around  a bend, and was out of sight. The man was intrigued by her, and followed her path up the mountain. When he went around the same bend, he saw a cave and went inside. Within the cave, were piles of gold and jewels, anything he could ever want for himself. In the middle of the cave, was a table with a bundle of small purple flowers. 

The man walked past the piles of wealth to the flowers. He thought how much his wife would love to have them, and he brought them home for her. She was grateful for his loving thoughts and set them in pottery with water. That night, the man dreamed of the woman, Holda, who thanked him for choosing the flowers, a gift of love, which, she said, would bloom everyday until the day of his death, and for choosing so would bestow upon him a gift.

The next night he dreamed of picking seeds from flowers and sowing seeds, row by row. The next morning, he rose early to sow the seeds as he was instructed in his dream. That night, he dreamed again of how to reap them.

He awoke early to the sight of early morning fog in his field, looking as if it was kissing each mound where he had sowed a seed the day before. Before his very eyes, he watched the small seedlings sprout up through the ground. Over the next day, the seedlings continued to grow and grow. One night, the man dreamed and Holda told him how to pick the flowers, pull fibers from the stems, spin the fibers into thread, and weave the thread into linens.

The next morning, the man and his wife reaped the flowers, pulled the fibers from the stem, spun the fibers, and weaved. The made clothes for themselves. They sold fabric to neighbors who now had something besides animal skins to wear. They sold seeds to their neighbors and taught them how to sow and reap the flowers. The man went from a poor farmer to wealthy merchant.

Many years later, surrounded by his grown children and young grandchildren, all of whom were dressed in fine linen, the man looked upon the table and saw the flowers which sat upon it were brown and wilting.

He pointed out the flowers to his wife, gave her a kiss, and walked up the mountain, turned round the bend, entered the cave, and was never seen again.

For Cakes and Ale, R and I led a blot to Frigg. We started by honoring the Asynjur. While R honored them with name, I lit a candle to honor each.

 

Frigg, Beloved, Asgard’s Queen

Saga, ancient story-teller supreme

Eir, physician, healing maid

Gefion, giver, a land did make

Fulla, plenty all around

Sjofn, affection does abound

Lofn, permission granted thus

Sin, defender, warding us

Hlin, protectress, warrior friend

Var, hearing oaths until the end

Vor, does know all that we seek

Snotra, wise of what to speak

Gna, swift messenger of Frigg

Goddesses, much do you give.

frigg moon 2
R and I filled our personal drinking horns with juice, and lifted them high while we continued the Blot.

Hail to you all, may you ever be strong,

May your days be joyful and your nights full of song.

May you grant us and ours love, peace and health,

Wisdom, kindness, good-luck and good wealth.

May it be that you are with us

Through our days and our nights,

To grant us comfort and strength

Through the dark and the light.

Hail to you Goddesses for your blessings this day,

Hail to you Goddesses for the blessings on their way.

 

Lady of Asgard,

You who hears the secrets of the All-Father,

You who holds his heart in your hands,

In you we seek what we need,

And you provide, greatly,

Let us remember your gifts,

And honor you with well wrought work,

From our hands and our hearts,

May we aid each other in times of need,

Through you, Frigg we can learn much,

And in you are mysteries that we seek to understand,

Wind us in your distaff, dole us fair and just fate,

Through you, Frigg we ask, that this life,

Be full of love, light, and needed strength,

Great Mother, accept our offering,

Not of blood, but of our efforts and devotion,

Our love and desire to honor you

Hail Frigga!

 

Hail Frigga!

 

Hail Frigga!

 

At this point, we passed out cakes and ale and some folks shared their own personal stories with handicrafts as we enjoyed cider and Northmenbrod.

We then closed the circle.

Frigg Allmother, beloved by those who adore you.

 

Your tame spirit is the counter to the wild of Odin, keeping him balanced and ever returning to the homestead.

 

Keeper of the hearth and home.

 

Keeper of married lovers and loving parents.

 

Thank you for blessing your sons and dottirs this night.

 

May we dutifully complete joyful woman’s work in your honor.

 

Skal

Mist: As the mist condenses, we see the land from flesh, the mountains from bone, the rivers from blood, and the stones from teeth. As the mist recedes, we are hearkened back to the garden in the middle of Yggdrasil. When the mist evaporates, we are once again fully in our world and no longer between worlds.

Fire: The fire returns to Muspelheim 

Ice: The ice returns to Niflheim 

 

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An Exploration- Part III: Reconciliation

A year ago February, the ladies and I held our first private ritual together for the Full Moon in honor of Brigid close to Imbolc.

At that ritual, someone came to me. The Magick and the Power was amazing. I was left tingling all over for the remaining night and into the next morning. During the ritual, I was spoken to, “She has another name. Find her other name.”

After a short week of looking for correlation between Brigid and the Norse pantheon, I kept finding information about Frigg and Brigid, but I pushed it aside because it couldn’t be that easy. I ultimately put together breadcrumbs of information to link Brigid and Sif.

Three months later, I came to realize the answer that I had been pushing aside was in front of me all along. Everything always came back to Frigg. Just completing the Holda write-up of my journey to my own triple goddess gave me even more confirmation that it was Frigg and not Sif that I should have pinned. Perchta and Berta are two other Holda names, and both mean Bright. Like Brigid Bright…

Fast forward to September when I got my genealogy results back. There is no Swedish in my genealogy results and no Swedish in family records that I have been able to locate. Granted, just this morning I got some insight as to how and why siblings may appear that they are from different heritages genetically. The lack of Swedish broke the direct connection I thought I had with Frigg. I have since reconciled this and moved on. Frigg accepted me knowing there is no direct link; she called me knowing I am kith and not kin. Perhaps she is calling on me again as she did in a past life.

Perhaps I was supposed to be looking for Holda all along.

Perhaps, when I was tasked with finding another name…it was never Brigid. Perhaps it was always Frigg (this is what the folks who were there that night believe as well). Perhaps Frigg was telling me at that point that she was speaking to me as Holda, connecting with my German heritage. A child typically takes the name of the father and the faith of the mother.

My mother’s mother’s parents are German immigrants. Perhaps I am relighting the flame from that family line lost so long ago, burning bright and alive with me.

With Frija.

With Frigg.

With Holda.

My own triple goddess.

An Exploration- Part II- Holda

Over the past few weeks, I have begun calling Frigg at my altar by more than one name. I have begun calling to her, rather, by three. From all of the readings I have done and my own communication with her, I understand and practice with these three names as the same entity.

The second name I call into sacred space is Holda.

Holda’s correlation with Frigg is not on grounds of a single occurrence, but similarities appear throughout reliable sources.

Every written account I have found on Holda states she has multiple names depending on the region in which she is being referenced: Holde (which stands for “merciful”), Perchta, Berta (“Bright”), Frau Freke, Frau Gode and most famously so, Frau Holle. Frau Freke is an almost direct reference to Allmother. Another name for Holda, and therefore Frigg, is “Frau Gode”. German language shifted the W to a G in early medieval times, and has left the prefix Gode in many places. It is the shift from Wode to Gode. So Mrs. Gode, Odin’s wife, Frigg. Germanic lore tends to leave multiple names for their deities: Odin alone has at over fifty, and his son Thor has at least seven.

Luckily, Holda is greatly preserved in German folklore. The most famous folktale about her was written down in the early 19th century CE, by the Brothers Grimm under the guise “Frau Holle”. She has the role of both a good grandmother (to the girl who helps willfully) and a hag (to the girl’s lazy half-sister who refuses to be of any help). On the surface, this seems to be merely a story of morals, but it reminds of the celebration of Christmas (thus, Yule- a time sacred to Frigg): She rewards those who have been good, but punishes those who have been bad.

A further indication of her as a Yule goddess can be found in the idea that “when Frau Holle makes her bed, it snows”. Needless to say, snow is a sign of winter, which is the season in whose midst we celebrate Yule. Also, some of her names are linked very closely to light, especially Perchta and Berta. Again this suggests the time of Yule – as it is indeed the time of year when we celebrate the return of the sun.

Like Brigid to Saint Bridget, traditions devoted to Holda were continued even after our ancestors where Christianized; and some of these traditions are conducted up to the modern day. One of many traditions dedicated to Holda have the twelfth night of Yule allocated to her. Interestingly enough, in Old High German, the name of this night is perahtun naht – meaning “the luminous night”. The connection both to the goddess (as another name for her is “Perchta”), the connection to Frigg, and the general idea of the celebration of Yule can hardly be a coincidence. In many cases, it is Holda, not Santa, who delivers gifts. At Yuletide, she travels the world in a carriage and bestows good health, good fortune, and other gifts to humans that honor her. She not only is connected with Winter Solstice itself, but also with the holiday season that continues many of its customs, the 12 days of Christmas.

Referring back to the idea that Jord and Frigg are one in the same, and Frigg is therefore Thor’s biological mother not stepmother, is confirmed by looking more closely at Holda. In several local legends, Holda is presented as a Goddess of Healing, and is equaled to the Earth Goddess Nerthus, Hludana or Hlodyn; the latter name is identified in Voluspa for Thor’s mother.

Holda is sometimes referred to as a Goddess of beauty, yet sometimes as an old hag. The “hag” part is most likely a later, Christian, addition in an attempt to demonize the folklore of a local goddess. Either way, we are left with the idea that she is a Goddess of beauty and also an old woman – a concept that appears contradictory to the time we live in, where the words “young” and “beautiful” are often seen as synonyms. This reflects on our modern times more than it does Holda: in the past older women – and elders in general – were respected a lot more than today. In the past, beauty was not seen as something that faded with age as it is today with the endless quest for youthful beauty.

Ultimately, almost all folklore agree is Holda the spinstress. This idea is most famously reinforced in the popular story, one of Witchlette’s favorites, Die Blaue Blume. Here she appears as the guardian of a cave – a cave which appears in a number of local German folktales as the habitat of Holda. In this story, she introduces spinning flax into linen to man.

Additionally, a number of sources mention Holda as a patroness of all women and children – another direct tie to Frigg. Holda has a special tie to souls of the dead, mostly babies and children. It is said Frigg keeps the souls of dead children in her hall, and keeps them well until their parents can join them. It is said that as Holda and her entourage passed through the fields, they blessed the land with abundance and caused a double harvest in the growing season that followed. I find hindsight interesting that I was brought to Paganism after my young sister’s death, and I have been blessed by a goddess who keeps dead children.

During persecution times in Europe, some of those suspected of witchcraft were said to “ride with Holda.” Like the word “witch” itself, it seems phrase has grown recent times to take back the goddess and the folkmagick that she brings. This folkmagick is yet another tie to Frigg, the seeress of the Aesir.

With Holda, I have a more complete image of my goddess, Frigg Allmother.

 

Thor: Ragnarok: a modern Heathen perspective

This evening, Hubby and I saw Thor: Ragnarok. 

Holy shit balls!!!

Minor spoilers ahead. 

So, we know Marvel canon does not follow the canon of lore. Loki is Odin’s son and Thor’s brother, rather than Odin’s [blood] brother. Hella is Odin’s daughter, not Loki’s, and sister to Thor and Loki. Fenris is Hella’s beloved pup. 

Reference to lore canon: 

Odin mentions it took him a long while to break Loki’s spell, and Frigga would be proud of him. Why else would Frigga be proud unless she taught him, because she is a Seidr. 

Heimdall is the protector of the common people along side Thor, referencing his being the father of mankind. 

Odin used to be a bloodthirsty warrior, but one day he decided to change and become a benevolent king. This would reference Odin Allfather changing from a god of war to include the god of poetry. He stopped wandering to slay and started wandering for the sake of wanderlust. As the people evolved, so did the gods. 

When Thor loses his hammer, he goes through the pain of castration as he does in the lore when it is stolen from him and he must dress as a bride to get it back. 

Thor and Loki go on an adventure side by side and, while they don’t always get along, they complete the journey together. 

All in all, this is the Thor movie we have deserved since Thor’s inception. We can ignore all of dark world and the continued attempt to shoe horn Jane’s character into the Marvel canon. Thor becomes a full god, while lightning exuding from him, as he is depicted in many many paintings. 

An Exploration- Part 1: Frija

Over the past few weeks, I have begun calling Frigg at my altar by more than one name. I have begun calling to her, rather, by three. From all of the readings I have done and my own communication with her, I understand and practice with these three names are the same entity.

The first name I call into sacred space is Frija.

Calling Frigg Frija has also helped reconcile the Frigg-Freya discrepancy that I’ve been holding, for at one point in time, both Frigg and Freya energies were one within Frija.

While mowing the lawn in mid-September, I mused the idea that Frigg and Freya, as we know them, have switched much of their roles. The powerful leader of the valkyrjur, with war and carnage at the forefront, using harsh magic to ensure who they chose to die in battle indeed died, who weave the destiny of the warriors using intestines for thread, severed heads for weights, and spears for beaters in their gruesome loom. This focus on war and death is the focus of an Aesir god. Yet, Freya is listed as Vanir- fertility-centric earth goddess. This description does not reconcile with the description of Freya as she is known today. She is aligned across cultures with The Morrigan and Badb.

The image of Freya has since been “santized” to not only highlight the pleasant qualities of her and her Valkeries but also perhaps to focus on the inter-cultural exchange which the Germanic travelers were establishing with trade routes through to the Middle East. With this sanitation, the Lore shifted from the magical weaving choosers of the slain and instead focused on love affairs with human men and merely assisting Odin with getting his favorite slain to Valhalla.

Frigg, alternatively, is seen as a loving wife and mother who watches over all domestic affairs. She is a weaver- of the clouds and of the fates of humans. She is able to best Odin in wits at least twice- once in the introduction of Longbeards and once when her chosen brother- the kind brother- eventually rose to the throne.

Both goddesses wear cloaks of falcon plumes for disguise and transformation. Both goddesses partake in the act of seidr, as volvas, which was commonly done by the warband cheifton’s wife at the beginning of the Migration period. Both women take on this role as the veleda. At this point in time, there was likely one large clan, who, with migration, broke off into two or more clans. With the migration, differing customs were developed. It was at this point, I believe, Frija, original warrior/mother goddess, broke off into two forms: Frigg and Freya.

When the Migration Period led to the Viking Age, and the warbands became leaderless groups, Odin was no longer cheiften, but rather wonderer and poet. The need for the veleda was also no longer necessary, and so the role was reinterpreted and eventually evolved to what we now see as Frigg- the Vanir-esque Aesir weaver wife of Odin, the wanderer, and Freya- the Aesir-esque Vanir warrior wife of Odr, the wanderer. Yes, both are beyond those aspects, but everything beyond those aspects (love, beauty, childbirth), they continue to share.

I struggle to wrap my mind around the fractured, split goddesses. I am unable to see the angst in Frigg, who is the wife of the god of war (and poetry) because so much of her surviving lore has to do with the death of Baldr. I am unable to really connect with Freya because so much of her surviving lore gives me the feelings of lustful anger. 

I can wrap my mind around the two, back as one. Witchlette, wise beyond her years, continues to confuse the two in name and in likeness, also understands Frija better.  I can easily see Frija, devoted mother, dependable wife, skilled seeress, powerful warrior. I can reconcile the two seemingly flipped personas back in their original form.