Fulla – Preserving and Managing Abundance

Posted: July 9, 2013 in Aesir & Asynjur, Fulla, Handmaidens, Online Shrines, Vanir
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Norse Goddess
Managing people, resources and talents
Name means “Abundance”

“The fifth is Fulla: she also is a maid, and goes with loose tresses and a golden band about her head; she bears the ashe coffer of Frigg, and has charge over her foot-gear, and knows her secret counsel.” (1)

What is Fulla’s Role in Asgard?

Fulla is Lady-in-Waiting to Frigga, Queen of Asgard. A Lady-in-Waiting is not a maid or servant, rather a companion and confidante, chosen by the princess or queen from the upper nobility (such as a duchess) or from close childhood friends (usually a sister or cousin). They go where the Queen goes, having freedom of visit to the Queen’s bedchamber, help in choosing clothing for events, receive and answer messages on behalf of their mistress, keep her informed of events and gossip, supervise servants, and discreetly relay messages. They are typically proficient in etiquette, languages, dance, music making, horse riding, painting, embroidery and other queenly pastimes. In Britain, the highest titles they bear are Lady of the Bedchamber and Mistress of the Robes.

In Asgard, Fulla is Frigga’s right hand woman. Frigga decides what must be, and Fulla makes it happen. If the court of twelve Goddesses were ministers, then Fulla would be Prime Minister, just below the Queen in authority and an extension of her will. She coordinates tasks for the Ladies who serve her Queen, keeps records of them, as well as an inventory of their resources. You can’t plan a feast if you don’t know how much food you have, nor a performance without knowing the talents of your artists. To make good decisions, Frigga must know exactly what is available.

Who is Fulla ?

From Snorri, we learn that Fulla is an unmarried maiden who wears her hair loose or in braids, held only by a golden ribbon, circlet, or snood (a hairnet for the back of the head). She is is in charge of Frigga’s little ash box (holding her treasures), her shoes, and knows her secret counsel. What an odd list of responsibilities, is it not? She is also said in the second Merseburg Charm to be Frigga’s sister. As such, it would be natural to bring her to Asgard’s court as a companion. That they are not actually sisters is one of the secrets she has kept for over a millennia. If you research folk customs about shoes, you’ll discover that they represent a woman’s sexuality and genitalia, while the foot stands for the man’s. The father of the bride may give her shoe to the groom, or the groom may tap her over the head with her shoe to assert his ownership of her sexuality. The phrase “barefoot and pregnant” expresses subservience, as you can’t really run off on your own without shoes, especially while carrying your husband’s heir.

So what does it mean that Fulla is in charge of Frigga’s genitalia, or at least their symbol? If you combine that with them being called “sisters”  in the second Merseburg Charm (how else would you call very affectionate women living together in those times?) and her “taking care of Frigga’s little box,” you end up with thousand year old lesbian subtext: Frigga and Fulla are lovers. Odin himself has numerous extra-marital affairs to produce sons and seduce his way into getting what he wants. As long as Frigga keeps up appearances, stays home to mind the castle and isn’t with another man, he doesn’t really mind someone else keeping his side of the bed warm. Frigga herself is bisexual, which is one interpretation of “all-loving.” Her name means “beloved,” and nobody says that name with more feeling than her companion Fulla, whose name means “abundance.”

Aspects of Fulla

To little girls, she is the best friend who likes to play dress-up, to braid your hair, to praise your looks and help you feel confident and competent. To teens, she’s the BFF confidante who’ll listen to music with you, help you pick out just the right outfit for a date or party. To men, she can be the bratty little sister or demanding big sister who urges you to do better. To queer women, she shows herself as a lesbian and Frigga’s lover. Older women she helps by listening, counseling, and advises on dressing to feel good about yourself. To all, she is a muse, an inspiration to find where you fit best, supportive and encouraging, at times challenging and merciless in spurring you on. She can see potential, talents, things you can be good at that will feed your soul and help those around you. All those inner seeds she sees and nurtures, as little stones and gems kept in the coffer of your chest.

To leaders, she is the second in command who knows how to manage people and get their peak performance, what tasks to assign each one so a group works smoothly to increase the abundance of all, tapping unknown resources to get results. She is a great leader, but not the one who sets the goals. Choosing what is important and must be done is Frigga’s role. Making it happen, finding the people, getting them motivated and working together, helping them find fulfillment through doing those tasks, that is what Fulla excels at. When you don’t know what to do or where to be, when you need to feel excited and motivated again, to find where you fit, she can help. When you think you’re empty, feel there’s nothing left of you and everything is meaningless, she can find that spark deep inside you, the one you thought you’d lost. For confidence and empowerment, enthusiasm and direction, she is the one at you back saying: You can do it, I believe in you. You are so much more than you think, and what lies inside you is more beautiful and powerful than you could ever imagine. You don’t have to do it alone, I’ll be right there with you. I’ll lend you my shoulder to cry on when you fall down, and I will cheer for you when you succeed. If you can believe in yourself half as much as I believe in you, you will be unstoppable. Just take that one step, just one, for me. It’s okay to fall down, we all fall when we try something hard. It’s even okay to give up, for a time, to lick your wounds and take care of yourself. I am your special friend and I’ll take care of you, if you let me.

Suggestions for Honoring Fulla

  • Fulla’s Colors: Gold, emerald green. Sky blue and cloud white (Frigga’s colors).
  • Symbols: Golden circlet, shoe or other symbol of female genitalia.
  • Altar Suggestions: A miniature shoe or wooden clogs. Smooth river stones. Massage stones, wands or spheres. A small chest with various stones or jewelry. A golden ribbon, brass circlet or feminine hair cover (some translations indicate a snood, a sort of hair net). Two Venus symbols joined together and other lesbian symbols.
  • Herbs: Relaxants like chamomile, stimulants like mint, cinnamon, cloves. All of these are carminatives which help with digestion and flatulence (helpful since she loves sauerkraut) though chamomile works best after the meal. They are also mulling spices and used in making pomander or “cloven fruit” (which has very interesting modern customs).
  • Runes: Fehu, Gyfu, Jera (the rune of Vanaheim, as she is of the Vanir), Pertho.
  • Affinity: January, Capricorn.
  • Food and drink: Pickled, dried, salted or otherwise preserved foods that will last a long time in storage, as Goddess of preserving and managing abundance. She loves cabbage, especially sauerkraut, and likes carrots. Foods that are hidden inside something else (beef wellington, cabbage rolls, stuffed pastries) are especially appreciated as Goddess of secrets. Strongly dislikes onions. Prefers strong mead, golden and amorous, but also enjoys sweet wines and is okay with juice.
  • Attunement: Learn to do massage. Learn to use various stones for energy healing and massage, as well as hot stone massage. Learn to delegate and manage people effectively. Learn about queer issues, especially women’s. Read about Ladies in Waiting, management, or group dynamics.
  • Service offerings: Offer someone a massage. Do an inventory of your cupboard’s food supplies. Make a budget for yourself or help others do so. Help group members find where they are most happy and productive. Volunteer or donate for a queer women’s cause. Give service to someone. Compile a butler’s book for those you host (food and hospitality preferences, allergies and food restrictions, etc.). Volunteer as a companion to the elderly or mobility restricted. Become a Big Brother or Big Sister for a child, preferably a girl. Help a married woman get time to herself or go out with her husband by babysitting her children. Help a married woman with household chores. Host or help at a women’s event. Do peer counseling for career orientation. Speak out against homophobia. Make sure you and your loved ones have good footwear (she really does have a keen interest in shoes, it’s not just a metaphor).
  • Blessings: See Aspects of Fulla above.
  • Contra-indicated: Betraying a friend’s trust or revealing their secrets. Being insensitive to people’s feelings. Being unkind to women. Any form of homophobic behavior.

Suggestions for Organizations to Donate to in Her Name:

(1) from Snorri Sturluson’s Prose Edda, everything below this point is personal gnosis, aside from the reference to her being a sister to Frigga in the second Merseburg Charm.

This article was created for use as part of an online shrine to the Handmaidens of Frigga on northernpaganism.org. It is based on the author’s personal experience of her over three years of devotion, rather than on what little historical lore exists. If you have personal experience of this Norse Goddess or have found an extra bit of lore, I would love to hear about it, even if it completely contradicts my own. The only way to gather corroborated personal gnosis (CPG) is to share our unverified personal gnosis (UPG) so we can find common elements. If the Gods are real independent beings, surely they can talk to us if they so choose. If not, then none of this matters anyway. Should you find the information here unlikely at best, I’d invite you to spend a few months in devotion to her and find out for yourself. 

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Comments
  1. Teka Lynn says:

    Hail Fulla!

    Like

  2. Thank you for sharing this! Much of it resonates with my experiences with her, and the association with queer women had me nodding though I’d never thought of it before. She is tremendously sweet and supportive. Hail Fulla!

    Liked by 2 people

    • lofnbard says:

      You honor Fulla? Please share some of your experience of her, I’ve never talked to anyone else who has relations with her! My experience is more of a hardass who makes sure I get shit done. 😉

      Like

      • I tried to use the email function on your website to contact you about it but it may not have gone through. Let me know by email if you get the message.

        My experiences with the Handmaidens started with Fulla. A friend told me of a dream that she had where, among other things, I was sitting on the steps of a hall (I think it was Fensalir) with Fulla, drinking coffee and gossiping. I had heard the name but knew nothing about her, so I did some research and decided to approach her.

        I called on her one bright morning, wearing a golden headscarf and bearing a full pot of sweet coffee. I started calling out to her and addressing her formally, and I felt a very distinct pressure on the top of my head, like someone pushing down. The impression that I got was, “I’m here, sit down and relax and stop being so fussy.” I poured for both of us and sat and drank coffee and told her all manner of secrets over the next hour. After that, Kaffeeklatch with Fulla became a thing (although I haven’t done it often enough; today presents the perfect opportunity to reverse that trend).

        She felt friendly and warm and while she was no-nonesense, she was sweet and supportive. What you said above, “To little girls, she is the best friend who likes to play dress-up, to braid your hair, to praise your looks and help you feel confident and competent. To teens, she’s the BFF confidante who’ll listen to music with you, help you pick out just the right outfit for a date or party.” Well, I wasn’t little at that point, but I was going through something of a teenage phase of self-discovery, and both of those descriptions apply aptly to my experiences with her.

        If you are interested in corresponding more about the Handmaidens, feel free to email me at lainedelaney 919 @ gmail .com (broken up to help avoid spambot scans). You’ve had more experience than I have but I’ve come to love them since my first coffee with Fulla years ago and would love to talk more about them. In case you didn’t get my message, thank you for the work you do here; they deserve all the honor they can get!

        Liked by 2 people

      • lofnbard says:

        The email got through. 🙂 You’ll see there’s a reason for Fullla’s head covering when I get to posting her story. It’s the one I’m working on in parallel to Gna’s — I’m two chapters into it right now. Thank you for commenting, it means a lot to me. Also, good to know she likes coffee. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. […] Book 1”. Other Ladies need bardic love too. The most likely candidates at this point are Fulla (most recently written and mostly edited, but I only have a few chapters in a longer story), Lofn (a […]

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