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The Hagasuzza

Hagasuzza, Oracle for the Goddess
by Deborah Hoffman-Wade

In German cosmology, the earth (Midgard in Norse) is surrounded by a hedge. Certain women have the gift for riding the hedge, finding the secret doorways to the other worlds of Germanic cosmology. I use the old German word, Hagasuzza (hedge-rider) to define this ability rather than the Norse word, Seidth. Essentially, it is the same practice. Hagasuzza provided the oracle divination that is the mystical experience of Goddess. This experience was shamanic in direction and through altered consciousness gifts the Hagasuzza to heal and speak of and through the journey.

The Tree (Yggdrasil in Norse) of the World is made up of nine worlds. The Tree is the sacred connection. In Tuetonic belief the worlds are all located in the roots of the World Tree. The Tree is fed by the Well of the Matrons. Therefore, it makes sense that so many Goddesses are centered on the forests of Southern Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The worlds in Norse are Asgard (leadership), Alfheim (nature), Vanaheim (fertility), Jotunheim (chaos), Midhgard (body, self, earth), Muspellsheim (fire energy), Niflheim (ice energy), Svartalfheim (deep mystery), and Hel (unconscious transformation).

Grimm’s Fairy Tales and Grimm’s Tuetonic Mythology are a great source of German mythology. The myths of Holda (shaking Her feather bed making it snow), the Matrons (Fairy Godmothers) and even the description of their Goddesses (lips as red as blood, skin as white as snow, hair as black as night) were incorporated into the Grimm’s records of German Goddess myths and tales. Rupunzel and Sleeping Beauty are stories of the Maiden Sun Goddess, somewhat akin to the mythology of Demeter/Persephone and speak of the releasing of winter into to spring.


In the old literature of the Norse the term said is used for a variety of activities, most of them involving some form of altered consciousness or trance work for the purpose of operant magic. Many are analogous to the magical/spiritual practices of shamanic cultures. Such practices include spirit journeying, shape shifting, work with animal spirits, weather working, soul retrieval, healing, and oracle work.(1)

Seidth, bears a strong resemblance to activities, which, in other cultures are called Shamanism. Shamanism may well claim to be the oldest type of spiritual practice still in use among humankind. Evidence for activities similar to those of later shamans can be seen in the Paleolithic cave paintings. Shamanic practices have survived at all the edges of the inhabited world, with remarkable similarities in both technique and symbolism appearing in places as disparate as Siberia and Tierra del Fuego. Such a broad dispersal suggests that shamanism was practiced by homo sapiens at a very early stage of development, before its dispersion into different cultures. With such a venerable and extensive history, one would expect to find evidence of shamanic practice in the pre-Christian cultures of Northern Europe as well. "To speak" or "to sing", or possibly be cognate to the verb "to seethe", derived from the rituals of salt-boiling (Grimm, III:1047). According to Stephen Glosecki, The etymology of seidhr, however, suggests indigenous development, perhaps retention of Indo-European practice. The mysterious term is cognate with French séance, Latin sedere; Old English sittan, and thus with a large group of terms based on the Indo-European root *sed-. A seidhr, then, was literally a séance -- a "sitting" to commune with the spirits. In the literature, seidh refers to various kinds of magical practice, including an act of divination or prophecy performed while in trance. Other terms for the practitioner of seidh would be seidhkona, spákona, or for a man, seidhmadhr. A more general term for a male spiritual practitioner was vitki (in Anglo-Saxon, wicca or [fem.] wicce). The strong feminine tradition makes this form of shamanism especially interesting to women. The most common use of the term seidh is in reference to a ritual in which the seeress (völva or seiðkona) sits on a platform or high seat (seidhjallr) goes into trance and prophesies for the community. (2)

Oracular Seidth

The Norse magical rite for which we have the greatest amount of information is Oracular Seidth, or Spaecraft, the Norse equivalent of the Delphic Oracle. In the north, however, it was the Seer/esses who traveled from place to place where the people gathered to ask questions. (3)

The Hagasuzza rituals that I teach and practice are a form of the Norse oracular Seidth. Although I have added a distinct southern Germanic flavor of my heritage, focusing on the mythology of hedges and trees.

Steps to Oracle Hagasuzza

Diana Paxson, an Elder Seidth worker, lists and teaches the following as steps toward this form of Oracle work. I was honored to study with her in CA a few years ago and have incorporated her work into my teaching of the more German form of Hagasuzza. The rituals that Diana practices differ somewhat from my interpretation because of my more southern Germanic traditions and Dianic beliefs. I honor her work and teaching and as with all teaching have added my own touches to the process.

The steps of developing oracle divination, for me are built one upon the other. Here is the steps I have taught and used to develop these skills:

Observation. Look at the person or object. Try to remember every detail about them. Then close your eyes and try to recreate the image. Open your eyes and compare.
Contemplation. Contemplation is the mystical experience of observation. It goes beyond noticing a person; it is an awareness of a person’s color, emotions, auras, and all other associations. Choose an object and contemplate it by closing your eyes, recalling the image, and bring up the associations of this object.
Transformation. Observe an object. Recreate the image, contemplate its image and then change something about the image. Create your own image.
Open to vision. Walk through a room in your mind. Note all aspects of that room. What does it look like? How do you feel? Talk to your room. Verbally express your vision.
Solitary journeying. Tape a guided journey until you can easily go back and forth from your journey. Or choose a guardian, who will walk you into trance and help bring you back.
Interactive journeying. Decide where you want to go. Can be done through a guided meditation. Begin to describe the shared vision.
Goddess Aspecting. When you feel ready, journey with the intention of meeting or aspecting Goddess. Ask your questions or speak Her voice.
Oracle Seidth. Create a ritual to provide oracle divination for the community. Journey to Goddess, aspect, and answer the questions of the community.


The Hagasuzza works within ritual. The circle cast, the elements invited she enters the space and sits in the decorated and slightly elevated chair in the center of the circle. She is dressed in robes and veiled. As the Hagasuzza begins to journey the community feeds the Hagsuzza energy by chanting and toning. The Hagasuzza’s guardian is the one that can travel with the Hagasuzza. There can also be a scribe present to write down questions and answers.

When the Guardian feels the time is right, she welcomes community members to ask the Hagasuzza their questions. The community member approaches the Guardian and says, “I come seeking knowledge.” The guardian then in turn presents her to the Hagasuzza saying, “Behold, your daughter stands before you.”

Most of these rituals are community orientated. The community asks questions to aid the whole community not personal issues. The woman asks her questions and the Hagasuzza will answer. The Guardian of the Rite, working with the Hagasuzza intuits when it is time to end, and ends with "So, speaks the Hagasuzza, may we listen with balance to heart and head. It is finished. So mote it be."

The veils are removed from the Hagasuzza to bring her out of trance. If more help is needed the Guardian assists the Hagasuzza to end the trance.


In today’s world, community is important for support and stability. In RCG-I, we continue to celebrate Goddess and Goddess community. The Hagsuzza is community orientated; she is in service to the community as a whole and its individual members. She celebrates the wonder of support and growth through ocular divination. She celebrates the world wanders, the hedge riders and the broom flyers. She rejoices in the beauty and the wonder of community.

Hagasuzza or Heckefahrer

Hagasuzza is the Old High German word for “hedge-rider”. In Modern German it would be Heckefahrer.

German Goddesses of the Oracle

Buschfrauen (4)

Goddesses who lived in hollow trees and guarded the forests. From their name I also believe that they are the hedge Goddesses, watching over the hedge and guarding it’s entrances.

Frau Holda(5)

Southern German, Austrian and Swiss Goddess of spinning and Sun Goddess who is regenerates Herself and is addressed as “The Mother of All Life” and the “Great Healer”. (Gimbutas) She is the union of all patterns and therefore to me, She is the pattern of the Tree, the Worlds, the Web, and all of life. She is the Crone Goddess of wisdom and wonder.


The Matrons were Family Goddesses or female ancestors who are worshipped at Mother’s Night in December. They are the Matrons of heredity, who controlled and individual’s talents and defects. They were also known as Fate Goddesses. Almost always portrayed in groups of three. (Norn is Norse name for the Goddesses of Fate (Urd, Verdandi and Skuld). They spun and wove (wyrd) the fates of Their people.

Weisse Frauen(6)

Forest Goddesses who help lost travelers, danced in the fruits of the Hertha (Mother Earth), and foretold the future.

Saga reference....

Today's Goddess : SAGA

Themes: Foresight; Divination; Inspiration; Femininity; Psychic Abilities; Kindness; Tradition
Symbols: A Cup; Fishes; Water

About Saga: Saga, an attendant of Frigg, is a Scandinavian Goddess whose name means "seeress." Saga is a student of the Universe, ever watchful and ever instructing us about the value of keen observation. She is directly connected with the sign of Pisces, which governs artistic expression, psychic abilities, and sensitivity toward others' needs.

In artistic representations, Saga bears a long Viking braid, an emblem of womanhood and honor. According to the Eddas, Saga lives at Sinking Beach, a waterfall, where she offers her guests a refreshing drink of inspiration from a golden cup. Later, her name got applied to the sacred heroic texts of the Scandinavian people.

To Do Today: Tend your sacred journals today. Write about your path, your feelings, where you see yourself going, and where you've been. Saga lives in those words-in your musings, memories, and thoughts-guiding them to the paper to inspire you now and in the future.

Invoke any of Saga's attributes in your life today simply by practicing the art of observation. Really look at the world, your home, and the people around you. As you do, remember that little things count. Saga's insight lies in the grain of sand and the wildflower as well as the stars.

By Patricia Telesco From "365 Goddess"

One of my Ladies of January...Snotra


"According to the Prose Edda, Snotra is one of the Ásynjur.

Her name is clearly derived from the adjective snotr meaning "wise" or "graceful". More than that the Prose Edda does not tell us.

Þrettánda Snotra, hon er vitr ok látprúð. Af hennar heiti er kallat snotr kona eða karlmaðr sá er vitr maðr er. [1]
"The thirteenth [of the Ásynjur] is Snotra. She is wise and graceful. From her name a wise woman or man is called snotr."


"Snotra, the handmaiden of virtue and hard work, is a quiet goddess who lives in Fensalir proper. Average folk seek her out for advice on right living, moderation, keeping their temper, etc. She does not give advice unless asked, and even then is calm and not preachy. She is an excellent Goddess to approach for advice in diplomacy."


"Snotra is wise and courteous, or gentle-mannered. "From her name a man or woman who is a wise person is called snotr." In Old Norse, "Snot"is a name meaning bride or lady. If one considers the social skills and rules of courtesy necessary for a group of people to endure a long northern winter in the confines of a turf hall, Snotra's skills shift from being a luxury to a necessity for survival.

Snotra can be viewed as the Emily Post of the group, but her knowledge goes beyond mere etiquette. She is the great lady, in her we find the quality that enables one to surmount physical and social disasters. She always knows the right thing to do, and has a profound understanding of human nature and social relationships. She not only understands the rules of conduct, but the reasons behind them. In her character we find gallantry without bravado, the essence of noblesse oblige, the particular kind of courage which enables people of character and breeding to set a good example. Her token is a linen handkerchief.

Working with Snotra requires a serious consideration of the "rules" of courtesy that we live by. We can start by analyzing the advice given in "Hávamál", and then meditate on Snotra in order to suggest additional "rules of conduct" that a Norse woman might need."

Var: Goddess of the sacred oath

Prose Edda, Gylfaginning:
Ninth is Var: She listens to people’s oaths and private agreements that women and men make between each other. Thus these contracts are called varar. She also punishes those who break them.

Poetic Edda, Thrymskvida:
Then said Thrym, lord of ogres:
“Bring in the hammer to sanctify the bride,
Lay Mjollnir on the girl’s lap,
Consecrate us together by the hand of Var!”

Paxson: Var witnesses oaths and private contracts, called “varer,” especially between men and women, and punishes those who break them. She guides the integrity of the spirit. Her power lies in the words we use to make our vows or articulate our intentions. Through Var the word is the will. Her symbols are the oathring and the hearthfire.

Krasskova: Her name means vow or pledge. Importance of oathkeeping: your honour was only ever as good as your word. Oathbreakers were nithlings because they brought ill luck to all involved, including their family and tribe.

Britt-Mari Nasstrom: Guardian specifically of the matrimonial oath. Her name still appears in the Lutheran Swedish marriage service: “as a token I give this ring,” where the word vardtecken (ring) used to be spelt vahrtekn (token of Var).

One of the “unknown” Goddesses—an aspect of Frigg or Freyja?


Oaths were traditionally pledged at Yule. An oath made in the Twelve Holy Nights was twelve times more binding than an oath made at any other time. Over time this evolved into our bastardized New Year’s resolutions that are usually broken or forgotten by the end of January. But sacred oaths that are kept have the power to transform our lives.

Heathen Life Audit

(Inspired by an exercise in Galina Krasskova's EXPLORING THE NORTHERN TRADITION)
(If you're reading this, tamyris, thanks for writing such a wonderful book!)

Offer a silent prayer to Var and reflect as honestly as possible on your current life during the past year. What are you happy with? What needs to be improved? What are the goals you still desire to be achieved? What are the bad habits you must sacrifice to growth and change? What promises have you made to yourself and others? In what ways do you break your word? Are you the kind of person you want to be? Could you face Var proudly at this moment?

After completing this self-examination, offer in writing some challenging part of your life to Var for the coming year along with a promise to transform, confront, or resolve it. Offer two things: one for you personally and one for the good of your community.


Come, holy Var
Shine your beauty upon our hearts
Come and bless us
May my actions begin in wisdom
May my strength serve me, as is my need
May I practise compassion for myself and others
Holy Var, may your wisdom bless my words
Holy Var, with your eyes may I see holiness in all the world
May your light shine forth in my words of truth and honour
Hail Var, Guardian of Oaths


Altarproject.org is Up & Running


Hey everyone,

I just wanted to drop a quick note to those who might be interested that the web domain for the 30 Day Altar Project is up and running (at about 80% live) at http://www.altarproject.org

The 30 Day Altar Project is a devotional art experiment dedicated to the Northern Gods & Elemental Deities. The way it works is that every contributor spends a few minutes every day meditating on a deity and one aspect of their influence and then looks around and collects owned, given, found, or nominal cost items that make up the items that will go on an altar to be erected in a public place. At the end of the 30 day period, the altar is set up, photos are taken, and the contributor records their experiences. Its both a creative and spiritual exercise, and by seeing others' altars it teaches us how others view the high ones. The project is intended to be international in scope, so if you don't see your country represented, please think about doing a piece. One of the goals is to increase mindfulness in worship and to expand practitioners' understanding of the High Ones through art. From July 2007-July 2008 altars to the Northern Gods will be erected in public all over the world.

We are actively seeking submissions from those who work with and honor the Gods of the North. All of the information for submitting projects can be found on the website or on our blog at http://altarproject.livejournal.com

A bunch of projects have been promised and the site will be updated frequently. Please set your bookmarks and check back often. The project is intended to represent a diversity of belief and is not relegated to the Heathen community.
Please Circulate Widely:

The Gods are Everywhere if only you look for Them.

The 30-Day Altar Project is seeking contributions. The goal is to create an international cross-representational series of altars displayed in public places all over the world dedicated to Norse/Germanic Gods and Elemental Deities. This will eventually be web based and viewable to all.

How it works. Focus on one trait or aspect of one of the Norse Gods or Elemental Deities that applies to or is needed in your life at the moment. Meditate on this charachteristic and God for a minimum for five minutes a day for thirty days. During this time, look around you for items you find in your day to day life that symbollize this charachteristic. Items used may be found, owned, or given and the only limits are your creativity. If you must buy something, it should be of nominal cost (less than about $10 USD). Collect the items. At the end of the 30 day period, you will install an altar in a public place of your choosing. Photographs and interviews will be shared on our pending website.

Anyone can do this. You don't need to be an artist. Challenge your kindred to all give it a go, involve your older kids and teens, post to your regional elists, print out this post and put it up in a local pagan shop or pass out at your next religious gathering. Forward this to all of your Northern Tradition friends. The idea is that it is diverse and represents a wide range of people's experiences living Heathen faith, so that we may enrich one another and give thought to the way that the Gods are part of our everyday lives.

Check the below site for submission guidelines.


Feel free to friend this account to your blog, as the blog will be used to announce project updates and additions.

Please direct any questions to altarproject@gmail.com

Thank You

Call for submissions: Frigga devotional

[crossposted to a few communities]

This seems to be in the air, lately, as a number of my friends are now writing and/or compiling devotionals to various Gods. I first got the idea of doing a Frigga devotional a couple of months ago, but the prospect of writing one myself, while trying to finish the sequel to my Odin devotional as well as begin another project I have in mind, was daunting to say the least. I had never considered soliciting contributions from others as well until I saw other people doing the same thing for the devotionals they're working on--so, to those of you who gave me this idea, thanks! :)

Anyway, I know there are lots of you out there who love Frigga, even if you aren't solely or primarily Hers. I'm looking for poetry, prayers, short stories, essays, meditations--basically, anything you'd like to submit in Her honor that you'd be comfortable sharing with the public at large. :) If you have questions about whether or not something would be acceptable, ask me. Oh, and for the couple of artists on my flist, an original work of art I could use for the cover would most definitely be a welcomed contribution!

Note: for those of you who honor Frija as opposed to, or in additon to, Frigga (and I tend to lean more that way myself, incidentally--but I'm making this a Frigga devotional because it's as Frigga that She is most widely known), I'd love to receive material on Her as well. However, I'd like to minimize stuff on the various Frigga-associated Asynjur aka Handmaidens for this one and keep the emphasis on Frigga Herself, since some very fine works about the Handmaidens have been published already.

I will probably be self-publishing this myself through Lulu, as with my Odin devotional. I want to give this a long enough deadline so people (including me!) will have time to come up with some really quality contributions, and also because I have a couple of other projects to work on as well, so shall we say...September 30th? I am also open to extending that an additional month if needed, though sooner is better, of course!

Anyway, please send any and all contributions to me via wodandis at yahoo dot com. Unfortunately I can't promise everyone a contributor's copy, my finances being what they are, though I will certainly do whatever early sales permit. And bylines will appear alongside your contributions in the finished work, needless to say!

Fulla New Moon Rite

Hazel Kate's New Moon Rite for Fulla seemed rather relevant, so here is the link: Fulla New Moon Rite.

Hazel Kate's community thirteenmoons is dedicated to Frigga's Asyniur and she also maintains a flourishing Yahoo email list.