Posts Tagged ‘Handmaidens of Frigga’

Icy river

Part 6: Deals with Death –

 

Tightening my grip on Mordgud’s hand, I steeled myself for the stench of decay, but it was the scent of ripe apples that welcomed me to Helheim. On this side of the wall, the dusty Hel-Road became moist black earth, the barren ground around us a carpet of yellowing leaves, and dead trees were replaced by fruit laden ones. It was like I’d just stepped into Vanaheim on a peaceful Fall day just before Harvest.

“Not what you expected, I gather,” she said, bemused.

“Not at all. Where are all the dead?”

“They’re here, you simply cannot see them, and few come this close to the great wall.”

Over the tree line I could make out the black glassy spires of Elvidnir, twisting their way into the sky as if to pierce it. Even at this distance, Hela’s castle was an impressive sight – made as it was of shiny obsidian rock.

(more…)

Part 5: Hilt or Blade –

Blue gambeson

Blue gambeson.

A dark foggy path stretched before us as we rode, pierced only by pinpoint stars in every direction. Grey mane in one hand, the other held the Winds, sweat beading on my forehead from the strain. I felt foreboding mixed with hope, now that we were finally making progress, and glanced nervously behind us every now and again. This had been one of the most gut wrenching days of my life, and I feared more misfortune would befall me ere I lay my head to sleep once more.

Our trail ended at a shimmering wall, distorting the stars that seemed behind it. We followed the Deer through, and I got a mouthful of heavy snowflakes as I opened it to speak. Lit by the first hint of dawn, blown by blizzard winds, flakes froze the moisture on my scalp, settled in wet masses on my golden hair, and covered my blue coat with whiteness in mere minutes. I had no power to spare to calm the storm, and it wouldn’t listen to me anyway. The winds of Niflheim were always cranky but right now they were angry with me.

Trapped us, they howled. Free the Four Elders, their hoary voices demanded, their icy breath stinging my face. (more…)

Gefjon – Dancing up the ladder you made
Norse Goddess
Name means “The Giving One.”

Gefjun ploughing off an island with her four oxen sons

‘The fourth is Gefjon; she is a maiden, and women who die unmarried serve her.” Also spelled Gefion (anglicized) and Gefjun (Old Norse).
Note: It makes more sense to interpret ‘maiden’ as ‘unmarried woman’ or ‘independent woman’ than as ‘virgin’, considering she has four sons.

Gefjon’s Origin

Imagine you were a working class woman who dreamed of becoming a Goddess in a new land — a barefoot graduate of the “school of hard knocks” who’d left home with a single brown dress to her name, a strong lass skilled only in ploughing fields for a father who’d already promised you away in marriage. “Your dreams are impossible,” he’d tell you, “be content with your lot in life. You’re a farmer’s daughter. You’ll marry a farmer, plough his fields and bear him sons. Be reasonable.”

But what if you weren’t reasonable? What if you decided to leave home and walk all the way up to Asgard from your home in… Jotunheim. Ah yes, there’s the rub. You’re also a Giantess and the lily-white Aesir don’t care much for your proud race, except for a night of fun or to mother a son for Asgard. Those of the White Land atop the World Tree Yggdrasil have little interest in your big boned beauty, mighty shoulders and powerful hips envied by many women in your homeland — dark skinned from working fields in the sun, clever at the market, cunning in haggling, but possessed of no special powers aside from exceptional stubbornness. They seemingly prefer fragile fair-haired women that might break like saplings under a strong wind, strange as that may be. (more…)

Pleiades_large

Part 3: The Empty –

 

Hooves pounded behind as I jumped off the Cliff of Heaven, finally free from Heimdall’s Seven. Air became solid under my feet, for I ran as only Sky Maidens can[1].

I looked back to my steed following in my escape. But sky ran out and solid air failed as I sped across the border of the Aesir world. Blue sky changed to fog and I lost my footing, only to start slowly spinning out of control. Still I could see Hoof-Tosser behind as I spun; feel him in my head and heart. But when he too crossed the boundary from blue to gray, it all went wrong.

He screamed and struggled as I saw his shape shrink and fold, the ancient curse taking hold once more. Our mind-link was painfully ripped from my chest, and without it he returned to the form in which I first found him: a wide flat drum without voice to speak words, deprived of limbs to direct his motion.

“No! You are free! Hoof-Tosser return to me,” I commanded, knowing full well he had no way to comply.

I extended my arms as far as I could, to catch the rim and re-kindle our link, but he was too far away.

The drum merely tumbled, as did I, deeper into the thickening mist. (more…)

Stratford On Avon historic map 1902 Public Domain image

Part 2: Heimdall’s Seven

 

My steed and I left no traces in the snow as we departed. Mary Arden’s dead body lay behind me; Asgard and my friends just a short ride away through the skies. My duty was clear, yet I stopped, my face hardening in anger. “It’s not fair.” I could see the bridge out of the city only a few streets away.

Hoof-Tosser stopped and let his head droop as he glanced back. “There’s nothing to be done about it Gná. Humans die, children lose their parents, we cannot save them all. They go to their afterlife no matter what.”

“Mary Arden won’t go to the afterlife, nor will her children be reunited with her when they die, will they ?” He didn’t answer. “Will they !” I pressed.

“No need to shout,” his voice said in my head, “I hear you perfectly. And no, they won’t.” (more…)

Gna's house as Mary Arden

By Linda Demissy

Part 1: Thirty and Three

 

I stood across the street, pulling my silvery fur coat tighter against the chilly snowfall. Frost formed at the moist corners of my eyes, making me blink. No wind, or barely any; just cold snow crunching under my boots as I shifted to the other foot.

A six year old boy, whose brown hair matched my braid, peeked over the street level window sill. Eyes wide he looked out, breath forming frost on the glass. The year was 1570.

“I must go.” I whispered as I glanced at the row of white capped roofs.

“Mary!” he wailed, as he wrestled with frozen hinges to open the window wider. “Are you there?” He was scanning the street to the left.

I stepped to the right, stopped, and looked back, wishing he wouldn’t wake the household. I’d expressed my love to the boy, along with my thinly veiled goodbyes, as I put him to bed last night. (more…)

Norse Goddess
Name means “Permission”

 “The eighth is Lofn; she is so gentle and good to invoke that she has permission from All-father and Frigg to bring together men and women for whom marriage was forbidden or banned. From her name comes the word “permission”, also what is much praised by men.” UPDATED: Her name is pronounced “Loven” in Icelandic (‘fn’ is sounded ‘vn’). (1)

Take a chance. Break the rules. Find your Freedom.
Be bold. Bend your boundaries. Find your fun.

She is Goddess of forbidden loves, and little is known from lore beyond the Prose Edda quote above. She appears in many kennings for ‘woman’ in skaldic poetry (a kenning is a literary reference used to avoid repeating the same word, such as using “hammer wielder” for Thor). In modern times she is mostly prayed to for forbidden unions such as same-sex marriage and alternative relationships. She shares patronage of marriage between different ethnic groups with Frey and Gerda.

Who is Lofn?

Lofn is the most fun-loving, low-protocol, easygoing Goddess you’ll ever find in Asgard. No matter how silly the offering rite you think up, she’s cool with it. Didn’t have time to send her a formal invitation and prior offering? No problem, just let her know she’s wanted, and to show up whenever she can. No food available except delivery pizza and soft drinks? She likes those just fine. Got a silly, sexy, or irreverent card game? She loves games, invite her as a ghost player and draw cards for her. Her name means permission, and that’s what she’s all about. (more…)

Norse Goddess
The teacher and student
Name means “Wise”

 ‘Snotra is thirteenth: she is prudent and of gentle bearing; from her name a woman or a man who is moderate is called snotr (wise, prudent).’ (1)

Nuns and Ancient Nerds

In the old days, being a scholar meant going to sit and listen to what elders had to teach. If you wanted to preserve that knowledge, you would have to compose alliterative verses to remember it. An elder might know much about her craft, but a scholar was one who knew many poems about different topics. Genealogy was preserved in this way, as were the stories and wisdom of a people. The baker would have a poem for proportions, the smith for his secrets of smelting, and some would be sung as they were spoken. Those who could write write in runes might carve the titles of poems, but never their entirety. Then came the missionaries with their books and quills. Monasteries were places of learning and study with nuns and monks as teachers. Oral traditions and the values they carried were destroyed and replaced with the writings and values of another people. Great libraries were born with the ceaseless work of monastics painstakingly copying books. At first nuns studied much as monks did, teaching young women as well as young men, and Snotra saw value in their bookish devotions despite of the old ways being lost. (more…)

Norse Goddess
Goddess of love, friendship and dolls.
Name means “Affection”

‘The seventh goddess is Sjöfn; she is much concerned with turning the minds of people, both men and women, to love. From her name love is called sjafni.’ UPDATED: Her name is pronounced “Sio-ven” in Icelandic (‘fn’ is sounded ‘vn’) and anglicized to Siovn or Sjofn. (1)

Sjöfn is among Love Goddesses the one most interested in children, not as a mother figure but as a companion. From them she receives love and offerings to this day, and to them she offers comfort in times of emotional need. When girls do tea parties with their dolls, it is she who receives the offered cookies and milk. At a children’s pic nics, she is Mr. Snuggle Bear, growling and demanding more cake and cuddles. When no one else is there to catch tears of loneliness, she is the ragged worn down plushy whose matted fur gets soaked. When a child clutches desperately to their toy, wondering why mommy hurts them, why daddy drinks, it is she who hugs them back and listens. (more…)

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. (more…)