the gods

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I am beginning to pursue relationships with Sjofn, Lofn, and Var. And I keep running into them being handmaidens, but I can never find the actual source of that information. Can anyone point me in the direction of where the list of handmaidens comes from?
Lord of the Cats
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Call for Submissions: Winter Comes

I crossposted this in my LJ and other communities. If you think that it's not right for this one, delete it, please.

Well, this is my first CFS. It started like an idea and now I think that I could make it real with a little work, so here it is.

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Call for Submissions: Oh, my Beloved - A Devotional for Frigga, Queen of Asgard

As some of you may be aware, over the last year, two years, there have been a fantastic outpouring of devotional works dedicated to the gods. It's a vivid look at our living faith and frankly exciting to see how others are living god-centered lives and walking their paths. In this vein, I'm reaching out to the entire religious community for any and all who are walking with Frigga.

I will be compiling a devotional anthology dedicated to the All-Mother, due out May 10, 2009: Mother's Day, to be self-published through To that end, I would love to hear from anyone who works with Her. I'm looking for prayers, essays, poems, rituals, tales of your personal experiences with Her, art, recipes, meditations, photographs of altars (300 dpi please), or anything else you feel fitting for this collection. Articles concerning other gods with whom Frigga is linked -- Odin, Baldr, Her Handmaidens -- should be primarily focused upon Frigga and/or their connections, rather than individually-focused pieces. All being well, it is my hope to compile a more Handmaiden-focused devotional in the future, but this one is just for Frigga.

A large portion of this work will be my own, but I truly would love to have a great diversity of voices represented in the book, to better honour Her. I will also, likely, be soliciting permission from people whose work on Frigga I have already found on the internet, so if I email you about this rather than the other way around... don't be shocked. ;)

Your practice doesn't need to be primarily focused on Frigga for you to contribute, anyone who has worked with and loves Her is very welcome to submit articles. Lore references (such as they exist) are fine, so is UPG. However, in the spirit of hospitality and openness to all (very Friggan values ;) ) please keep all contributions positive -- no hate or bigotry please, regardless of its flavour. I reserve the right to reject submissions that I don't feel are appropriate or fit the tone of the book, and please, do not take this as a personal offence.

Send inquiries and contributions to friggasfemme AT gmail dot com. Subject line, FRIGGA DEVOTIONAL so I can keep my email organised, please!

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: 14 February 2009!

When submitting:
Please send the article in the form of a .doc or a .rtf attachment for ease of formatting. Include a brief bio (5 sentences tops) to go with your writer's credit, as well as the name you would like to be published under, your legal name and a contact email address. Release forms will be sent by email to be printed off and returned, and you will, of course, retain all rights to your work.

Unfortunately will be no monetary compensation, and I don't know if I will be able to provide contributor copies. WIN House, an Ongoing Project Of Edmonton Women's Shelter Ltd., will receive a financial contribution from every copy sold.

Please feel free to repost this CFS anywhere you think it could garner interest! :) And I hope this post isn't out of line for the community.


Drawn from an article at

"In German folklore, Walpurgishnacht is believed to be the night of the Witches' Sabbath in the Harz Mountains."

(Terra says: In particular, with Holda on Mt. Brocken...)

"Wandering through Germany's Harz Mountains, it's impossible not to realize that you have entered a domain of enchantment, a place where landscape conspires with legend to create a sense of lurking mystery. A terrain of craggy peaks, gloomy forests, and river valleys banked by towering cliffs, the mountains remember folk beliefs dating from pre-Christian times.

Straddling the former border between East and West Germany, they are steeped in tales of witchcraft, magic, and apparitions. Stories collected in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries show that the region's mythic reputation reached beyond Germany. From France to Scandinavia, countryfolk traded fireside yarns of strange happenings on the Brockenberg (Brocken Mountain), the Harz's highest peak at 3,747 feet. Rumor had it that Europe's witches gathered there on Walpurgisnacht, May Eve.

Still legendary throughout the Harz region, Walpurgisnacht is rooted in the pagan Frƒhjahrsfest, or Spring Festival. Directly opposite Allhallows Eve in the seasonal cycle, it was once widely celebrated among all Germanic peoples. Whereas North America associates witches and sorcery with Halloween, April 30 is when things get spooky in Germany. Legends tell of blue flames igniting above buried treasure, ladies flying on broomsticks, and the ghostly Wild Hunt pursuing the goddess Walpurga through snowstorms and hail. "There is a mountain very high and bare, whereon it is given out that witches hold their dance on Walpurgis Night," writes folklorist Jacob Grimm in his Teutonic Mythology about the Brocken, sometimes shown on old maps as the Blocksberg. "Our forefathers kept the beginning of May as a great festival, and it is still regarded as the trysting time of witches." Chillingly, he notes that witches invariably resort to places where justice was formerly administered, or blood was spilled: "Almost all witch mountains were once hills of sacrifice."

Visiting the witches

When travelers don't act as if the Harz Mountains are imbued with ancient magic, local tourist authorities are dismayed. They do their utmost to evoke a sense of otherworldliness. Even hotel brochures display a logo depicting a crone riding a broomstick. In the days leading up to Walpurgisnacht, shops do a brisk trade in Harzhexen, miniature felt witch puppets that ride straw broomsticks (hexen is the German word for witches). Postcards, beer steins, and wooden carvings glorify the season of the witch. Little old ladies cheerfully pressure shoppers into pointy black hats, tarot cards, and devilish horns that glow in the dark.

Huddled below the Brocken's granite bulk, the village of Schierke attracts around six thousand Walpurgisnacht revelers. The day begins with a parade of kindergarteners dressed as witches and pitchfork-wielding devils. Festooned with witch puppets, even the railway station joins in the fun. The local steam train becomes a Hexenexpress, chugging down from the Brockenberg's summit to Wernigerode--the quintessential "fairytale" town of half-timbered houses and gothic turrets.

In the village, an old apothecary's shop called Zum Roten Fingerhut (the Red Thimble) is stocked with supplies of Schierke Feuerstein, a potent spirit concocted from a secret recipe of herbs and bitters. A local druggist, Willi Druber, first brewed it in 1908. The inscription on Herr Druber's grave warns travelers to flee, before the amateur brewer rises from his tomb and joins them for a drink.

Come nightfall, things start to resemble a casting session for a horror movie, though the atmosphere is tongue in cheek. Valkyries (virginal shield maidens), kobolds (goblins), vampires, and witches come "dressed to kill." The grassy expanse of Schierke's Kurpark becomes a medieval fairground. Food, drink, and craft booths are set around a giant bonfire, a pantomime is enacted on a woodland stage, and a fireworks display explodes in the midnight sky. In Schierke's rival for May Eve celebrations, the village of Thale, a huge Walpurgisnacht bonfire blazes on a plateau above the Bode River chasm. This plateau is known as the Hexentanzplatz, the witches' dancing place.

Women of the mountain

Although the Harz hilltops are buried in all seasons beneath snowy eiderdowns, witching hour on May Eve is the transitional time when winter becomes spring. Winter's forces have made their final assault, and Dame Holda must summon her witches or wisewomen to dance the snow away. In nursery tales, Dame Holda generally appears as a benign figure, a combination of motherly hausfrau, white lady or moon goddess, and sky goddess.

Also known as Frau Holle, she busies herself checking that people aren't neglecting their household tasks. In the preindustrial age, her main concerns were flax cultivation and spinning. It's said that falling snowflakes are a sign that Holda/Holle is shaking her featherbed. It is interesting to recall that the Greek chronicler Herodotus noted a link between snow and feathers and that the Scythians, a nomadic people of what are now the countries of Romania and Ukraine, believed the northern lands were inaccessible because they lay under feathers.

According to legend, Holda often rides throughout the countryside in a wagon, leaving gifts for those who help her. Grimm's Teutonic Mythology relates how a peasant carved a new linchpin for her wagon. Sweeping away the wooden shavings, he found they had been transformed into gold. Holda, however, can also ride the clouds. From this arose a belief that witches travel in her company. Yet it wasn't Holda who lent her name to Walpurgisnacht. That honor is shared by a pagan deity and a Christian abbess. As a spring festival, May Eve was originally dedicated to Walpurga, a fertility goddess of woods and springs, originally known as Walburga or Waldborg. Interestingly, she shares many of Holda's attributes, including a propensity for rewarding human helpers with gifts of gold. And, just like Holda, Walpurga is also associated with spindles and thread. These commonplace items took on a magical significance on May Eve, when they were used for divination and love spells.

E.L. Rochholz's 1870 folklore study, Drei Gaugtinen (Three Local Goddesses), describes Walpurga as a white lady with flowing hair, wearing a crown and fiery shoes. She carries a spindle and a three-cornered mirror that foretells the future. In the layer cake of northern European mythology, the symbols strongly suggest connection to the Three Norns, or Fates. These demigoddesses spun and wove the web of life, casting prophecies into their triangular Well of Wyrd, which watered the tree of life.

For the nine nights before May Day, Walpurga is chased by the Wild Hunt, a ghostly troop of riders representing winter. Hounded from place to place, she seeks refuge among mortal villagers. People leave their windows open so the white lady of May, harbinger of summer, can find safety behind the cross-shaped panes. Encountering a farmer she implores him to hide her in a shock of grain. This he does. The next morning his rye crop is sprinkled with grains of gold.

Despite many similarities, Walpurga and Saint Walburga are entirely separate characters. Believed to have been born around a.d. 710 in what was then the English kingdom of Wessex, Saint Walburga was a missionary-abbess in St. Boniface's Frankish church. She presided over a community of monks and nuns in the German town of Heidenheim and was canonized after her death in 779.

After Walburga's relics were interred at Eichstadt, historical writings claim a miracle-working oil flowed from her tomb. The saint thus gained a cult status, and her relics were eventually sent to various churches across Europe. In medieval times, Saint Walburga was called upon to defend the faithful against evil and could offer protection against plague, famine, crop failure, and the bites of rabid dogs. She is also the patron saint of Antwerp in Belgium and was often invoked to help sailors during storms.

Walburga's "protectress of crops" aspect suggests an entanglement with the goddess Walpurga. Iconography often depicts the saint carrying a sheaf of grain, the usual symbol of fertility goddesses, not Christian abbesses. Rochholz muses, "What kind of pairing is this, the witches of the Brockenberg with a saint of the church, under one and the same name!"

(Terra notes: Sounds like normal to ME, Herr Rochholz. :)

Blessed May Eve, sisters!

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Odin loves me

The Fiber of my life....

As I spend the next few months following my oath to prepare for trance working, I have found that the Gods are teaching me in the strangest ways!

Allfather is intent on poking His nose into all that Frigga is having me do!

I have hand chosen every lock of a beautiful fleece and added a bag of wonderfully soft wolf fur to it. Yesterday I made my first Indigo vat and dyed all of it to perfection. It all sounds pretty straight forward doesn't it!

Well today as I was hand fluffing each lock (yes, this is part of my internal exercise) I began to see the greater picture of my actions.

The symbolism of the act of being led to chose each lock was apparent to me, but as I began to meditate on the fiber I realized the journey it portrayed.

The wool is cut away from the sheep - how appropriate for the losses I have experienced!
The locks are cleansed to bring out their purity and beauty.
Then the choosing... To create a holy thing, much intent and thought is put into it, random acts do not seem to carry the same strength.
The Indigo dye bath was an enormous metamorphosis! As the fiber absorbed the Indigo, it became an ugly yellow green color... Then as it was brought back out of the liquid, the distinctive Blue shade "blossomed" and grew right before my eyes! So it has been within myself... After being pulled from the ugliest periods of my life, I have found that my own true colors have blossomed to a thing of beauty!
While fluffing the fiber to prepare for carding, I was reminded further of the internal processes of becoming "less" before I can become "more". Just as the locks are picked until they become light airy fibers, I too find myself becoming separated from all that I thought I was. I sometime have felt that I am becoming weaker rather than stronger as my identity is picked apart!
Then, I remembered the next step that I am preparing the fiber for ~ the blending of the wolf and the carding together.

This process is one that I liken to a gathering of individual pieces into a cohesive whole. Just as a Batt is made ~ so too are my sometimes shattered pieces being prepared to blend with the strength of the wolf ~ into an interlocked entity...

As I begin to spin and weave the magic of my life ~ I will let you all know of the visions it also brings to me of this journey into "Becoming".

"She will tell no fortunes, yet well she knows the fates of men."
Sturluson, Snorri. Prose Edda, Skáldskaparmál.

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Mengloth and the Maidens of Lyfja Mount

hagazusa encouraged me to post this here, so I am going to provide a link to the article on my website, and text for the link-phobic behind the cut (I realize some people don't like to follow links elsewhere).

I should say up front that while there is an Eddaic reference at the beginning the article is solely my UPG and with any personal gnosis, your mileage may vary.

Mengloth and the Maidens of Lyfja Mount

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Hope you enjoy. :)
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Oak spring

Freyja Chant

Hello, I came up with this in the shower today and had to write it down :D

It's a chant/song that can be done as a ritual in itself or as part of a ritual. I've also transcribed the tune to music - please forgive me any mistakes in that one because it's been over ten years since I wrote music down.

Ok so you have your chorus and you start with this and repeat after every verse. In a ritual setting you could go round the group and pass the horn with each verse and each person invents a verse before drinking from the horn before everybody else sings the chorus. A drum would also be good because in itself it has a driving beat to it and it feels quite primal to me. The pace would be quite important here and I think it could actually become quite ecstatic with the right conditions. I can't wait to try this one with others actually- lol that's if I can find others who'd want to!

The chorus is

Freyja Freyja beautiful Vanadis
Freyja Freyja beautiful one.

Here are some of the 'verses' I came up with - well the ones I can remember off the top of my head because I forgot my notebook.

v1 Green of the leaf and tears of gold
v2 Rhythm of the world, Volva wise
v3 Beloved of the people, shining one.
v4 The beating of the heart,the sap of the trees
v5 Lady of Odhr, once Gullveig known.

etc etc

Here's the music Collapse )

Birch Goddesses, Berkana and other random brainfart stuff

Recently I've been thinking about an encounter that I had before Yule 2006. It's kind of strange because I haven't thought about it for ages and yesterday I wrote a poem about itCollapse )

and I'm beginning to think there's some kind of synchronicity going on here too - especially with the recent conversation topic on here.

So I've been looking into Birch Goddesses and the significance of the birch because my encounter was very birch related and I friend that I told about it yesterday suggested that my interpretation of events might not have been what was going on.

Here's what I've found so far about Birch Goddesses but I'd be very grateful for more links/ideas on this one

Firstly, the birch is a highly sacred tree. A birch goddess has always played an important part in the religion of our paleopagan ancestors, from the Nerthus of the Germanic tribes, described by Tacitus, to the later Bertha or Perchta, and possibly including Freya (Nerthus' daughter). Nerthus brought fertility to the land during her twice yearly processionals. A ritual followed these processionals where the cart used to carry her was cleansed and then those who cleansed it strangled or drowned in a grove of birches. Perchta led processionals of devotees possessed by the dead, and other variations of the birch goddess such as Huldra and Bertha led the Wild Hunt. Other legends speak of woodwives or "huldrafolk" as being the quarry of the Wild Hunt led by Odin. The birch goddess brings both life and death to the land as a part of the natural processes of the year. Birth and death, becoming and passing away. Fertility and harvest. In a related vein the birch goddess is also known for giving out gifts and rewards during the Yule season, especially to children and women who have fulfilled their household duties.

Secondly, in a related manner, the ancient Norse viewed the budding of the first leaves on the birch as the signal to begin the year's planting.

Thirdly, there are many ancient rituals involving scourging with birch sticks. Cattle were sometimes hit with them to make them fertile. Young men and women were also hit with them on Walpurgis in some places for the same reason. And Odin often left birch twigs at the homes of naughty children at Yule to punish them with.

The mystery of the birch is the mystery of the numinous force, the "life energy" of the world, which gives health, well being, and luck. The athling must cultivate it, seek the blessings of the birch. This rune says to the athling: "be aware, plant your seed when the signs are right, rewards will follow". But this rune also says to the athling "harvest when the time comes". This is the mystery of new beginnings, that come from something else's ending. The athling must let go of anything and everything (even himself, as those who die in Nerthus' grove do) in order to make way for the new. This mystery counsels the athling to become like a leaf in the autumn, able to all at once let go of its hold on the tree and fall. Then in the spring the athling can become the new leaf; fresh, and young, and full of vitality, ready to continue the road of mysteries.

Source :Uppasala Online

So what do you think of all that? Any thoughts to add?


On a group I'm also a member of, one of the members seems to associate Hela with Holda and seeing as I'm not well up on Holda I thought I'd ask here - is this completely erroneous or is there something to it?

Point me in the right directions please if there is?