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Goddess of the Week - Frau Holle

Posted: Fri Dec 21, 2007 2:33 pm
by Kitsune
Seeing as my calander sets Dec. 25 as the official Feast of Frau Holle, a Germanic Weather Goddess, I figured that she may as well be our Goddess of the week. Here's what I've been able to find out. It begins with the story of Mother Hulda.

Mother Hulda tells the tale of a rich widow and her two daughters: the elder was spoiled and idle, because while she was bad, she was the widow's own daughter; the younger one unloved and overworked, because while she was good, she was the stepdaughter. Every day the stepdaughter would sit outside the cottage and spin beside the well. One day she pricked her finger on the point of the spindle. When she washed the blood away, the spindle fell from her hand and sank out of sight. When she leaped into the well after it, she found herself in the otherworld of Hulda, who kept her as maidservant for several weeks. Then Hulda was so impressed by the girl's meekness and industry she sent her back to her family, with an apron full of gold.

The mother sent the lazy daughter down the well to get more gold. Copying her sister, the lazy daughter bloodied her finger and leaped into the well. But Hulda reproved her idle nature by sending her home covered with pitch.

The exact origin of Mother Hulda is difficult to trace but it is certain that the character originated in Norse mythology, where she is associated with a number of different deities including Frigg and Hel; also in German, there is an etymologic connection between the name Holle, the name Hel, and the word for hell (Hölle).

Hel is the queen of Hel, the Norse underworld, and described in Norse mythology as a half-dead, half alive monster, but in German mythology she was viewed with some beneficence, as a more gentle form of death and transformation. In this context, Mother Hulda is connected with Hertha, the goddess of peace and fertility, otherwise known as Hlodyn in the Edda. Hlodyn herself was more commonly referred to as Jord, the personification of the primitive, unpopulated, and uncultivated Earth. She is one of the wives of the chief god Odin and the mother of the god Thor. Since the term mother goddess is used interchangeably in various texts across Europe it is possible that some confusion exists over the exact status of Jord and Frigg in this context.

In early Germanic mythology however, Hulda was known as the goddess of marriage. She was a beneficent deity, the patroness and guardian of all maidens.
Marija Gimbutas names Hulda (or Holda, Holla, Holle) as having originally been an ancient Germanic supreme goddess who predates most of the German pantheon, including deities such as Odin, Thor, Freya and Loki, continuing traditions of pre-Indo-European Neolithic Europe.

When Christianity slowly replaced Scandinavian paganism during the early Middle Ages, much of the old customs were gradually lost or assimilated into Catholic tradition. By the end of the High Middle Ages, Scandinavian paganism was almost completely marginalized and blended into rural folklore, in which the character of Mother Hulda eventually survived.

In Germanic Pre-Christian folklore, Hulda, Holda, Holle and Holla were all names to denote a single Goddess. One who rules the weather; sunshine, snow and rain. She dwells at the bottom of a well, rides a wagon, and first taught the craft of making linen from flax. Hulda is the goddess to whom children who died as infants go, and alternatively known as both the Dark Grandmother and the White Lady, elements which are more typically associated with the Grimm's fairy tale as well. Her connection to the spirit world through the magic of spinning and weaving has associated her with witchcraft in Catholic German folklore.

The legend itself, as it was eventually passed to the Grimm Brothers, originates from oral traditions in Central Germany in what is now known as Hesse. It was told to them by Henriette Dorothea Wild (whom Wilhelm Grimm married in 1825.) with more details added in the second edition (1819). It is still common expression in Hesse to say "Hulda is making her bed" when it is snowing.

A steep rock near the city of Hilgerhausen even bears the name "Hollestein", meaning "Stone of Hulda".

Mother Hulda is one of Germany's most durable female legendary figures and one who without doubt represents a pre-Christian heathen deity who survived in popular belief and in the memory of common people well into the nineteenth century.

If I time before her Blessed Feast Day of Dec. 25, I will try to find more information on her feast!

Posted: Fri Dec 21, 2007 4:56 pm
by Kystar
The version of the fairy-tale I have in my books say that the good, hardworking girl was "covering in a shower of gold" that basically turned her hair and clothing into gold.

Posted: Wed Jan 02, 2008 8:07 am
by Willow
Thanks Kitsune, that is a lot of info.

Posted: Wed Jan 02, 2008 7:17 pm
by Crazy Healer Lady
I did not reply???

I read through when you posted - thanks so much!

Posted: Wed Jan 02, 2008 10:42 pm
by Kitsune
I'm glad you all liked it. It was interesting finding out information on her.

Posted: Thu Jan 03, 2008 8:37 am
by SageWolf
Thanks you Kitsune, It was aweome,

I've still got some reading to catch up on, I've missed the goddess of the week. Ermm are we doing just goddess or Gods as well? I forgot.

anyway Very awesome. I'm gonna have to read more on her if I can find any info.


Posted: Fri Jan 04, 2008 4:08 pm
by Kitsune
I think it's a pick and choose of Gods and Goddesses.

Personally, I tend to choose Goddesses because I am enamored with the idea of the divine feminine. Plus, I seem to get along with them better than the male variety. ;)

I may have to do a check on some of the Aztec deities though... I just got another book on handfasting (it jumped out at me while I was browsing the pagan section of our local book store), and it has a lot on interesting deities from many different faiths. :-)

Posted: Fri Jan 04, 2008 4:17 pm
by SageWolf
I am more towards Goddesses as well, I know it sounds weird but since I was raised Christain and I accepted paganism into my life, I feel funny prayinmg to a male god, Not that I don't honor Thor in a t storm but I'm just alittle weary of praying to a male god now,

And besides when I did my initation and excepted the Goddess into my life I've literally felt her presence (ever get the goose bumbs for no reason, I did once when I was saying something about Karma and me being treated bad by a friend and i said something about the goddess and karma, then boom i knew she was there.)

well I'm off I've had a bad day at work and I just need to cleanse myself.


Posted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 1:52 pm
by Jescissa
This is a lot of information, you must have been researching hard, really well done on a thorough investigation :-D:-D

This is so interesting and it's good to find out where the Frau Holle story came from (called Mother Hollie in the English version!) :-D

Posted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 6:24 pm
by Kitsune
I didn't realize there was an English version...

Thanks for that info! It's good to learn more about deity in all their forms.

Actually, I'm thinking about going back to University and getting my Doctorate in Greek and Roman mythology. Not a lot of jobs out there that call for it, but with that a bit of World Religions 101, I could start doing some of the religious studing and comparitive world myth & religion stuff that I want to do. I'm hoping to start doing evening classes if I can.

Posted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 8:04 pm
by Kystar
The English version is basically a translated Grimms fairy tale...I've read a couple...or they're brought in by Germanic immigrants.

I know that there are jobs for Folklorists, mainly in the entertainment biz...or in some social study-style jobs. And they help Archaeologists sometimes to figure out if clues to certain dig sites can come from local myth and folklore.

Posted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 7:52 pm
by Kitsune
Ohhh, Folklorist... I've never even considered that! Is that an actual job and Career? :-o

Entertainment business, huh? Well, at least living in Calgary, I'm in the right city... Heck the only one better in Canada would be in Vancouver. :lol: And I'm thinking about moving out that way anyways. :-D

How the heck do you find out about jobs like that? I asked my career counselor if there were any jobs following that idea, and they said that there were none... Perhaps they wanted to me to cut my hair and get a real job! :lol:

Posted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 8:44 pm
by Kystar
To be honest, I was banging my head against a wall when I discovered that a Folklorist is real. They study urban legends, too...and therefore, there used to be one show up on Mythbusters a lot in the early season.

I think they mainly study how culture affects legends and myths, and how these things change over time. I know that some big authors have consulted Folklorists before writing books...and that sometimes cops talk to them about serial killers when they have things like the Zodiac Killings and stuff.

If I did my research correctly, a Folklorist is part historian and part literary analyst. They're also almost a barometer of popular culture affecting art and writing...and vice versa.

I'd do some internet research to show what the jobs are for that...then present it to your guidance person. That's the problem with schools nowadays...the guidance people don't know how to help a person find the job that suits their strengths.

Granted, you might just end up lecturing a literature class about how the fairy tales evolved over the centuries from something gruesome and bloody to Disney, but hay, that's sorta neat too.

And on another note, I've made a discovery, job-wise...I think my dream has been to own a store...a book store. A friend pointed out that if you sat down and thought about how you'd organize the sections in your own bookstore on and off since you were twelve...and you're now 28, it's a good chance that you've got a lifetime ambition there. :oops: :roll:
So now, I have to figure out if I want to go with a classic "little bit o' everything" bookstore, a metaphysical-pagan-occult bookstore, or a comic book-graphic novel-Manga-RPG-art-gaming store. At least I've got first for the Associates in Business Management...then worry about the shop.

Posted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 10:14 pm
by Crazy Healer Lady
It's been one of my dreams, too, to have a shop of sorts. I love the healings, and I love the idea of working with other practitioners of other healing arts, but I also love the idea of my teas and smudge mixtures on the walls ^_^

Just don't let the Fundies run you out of town. Stick to your guns.

Posted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 10:59 pm
by Kystar
Well, I'm not sure there's really going to be a problem with the Fundies in the area I'm looking's definately a "you walk your path and I'll walk mine" sort of place.

No, the problem I'm going to have, that I foresee, is finding EXACTLY what will sell enough to keep me solvent.

But, I have time. I have to get through school first, then I'm going to help my husband set up his Tech support/networking company up there first.

We're planning on moving from Pittsburgh to the Punxsutawney area. But that's not for a few years yet. :(