Saturday, December 24, 2011
from Goddesses and Heroines
Exerpt from Goddess & Heroines by Patricia Monaghan
The goddess for whom Scandinavia was named dwelled high in the snow-covered mountains; her favorite occupations were skiing and snowshoeing through her domain.
The goddess for whom Scandinavia was named dwelled high in the snow-covered mountains; her favorite occupations were skiing and snowshoeing through her domain. But when the gods caused the death of her father Thjassi, Skadi armed herself and traveled to their home at Asgard, intent on vengeance. Even alone, she was more than a match for the gods, and they were forced to make peace with her.
Skadi demanded two things: that they make her laugh and that she be allowed to choose a mate from among them. The first condition was accomplished by the trickster Loki, who tied his testicles to the beard of a billy goat. It was a contest of screeching, until the rope snapped and Loki landed, screaming with pain, on Skadi's knee. She laughed.
Next, all the gods lined up, and Skadi's eyes were masked. She intended to select her mate simply by examining his legs from the knees down. When she'd found the strongest-thinking them the beautiful Balder's legs-she flung off her mask and found she'd picked the sea god Njord. So she went off to live in the god's ocean home.
She was miserable there. "I couldn't sleep a wink," Skadi said in a famous eddic poem, "on the bed of the sea, for the calling of gulls and mews." The couple moved to Thrymheim, Skadi's mountain palace, but the water god was as unhappy there as Skadi had been in the water. Thereupon they agreed on an equitable dissolution, and Skadi took a new mate, more suitable to her lifestyle: Ullr, the god of skis.
Text found HERE
Skadi, Snow-Shoe Goddess
"When wolves howl upon the mountain heights,
Swift beneath the northern lights,
Skadi comes skimming o'er the snow."
Early Norse myths talk about a ancient elemental deity known as Kari, who actually was the wind that blew down from the mountains. Kari was said to have mixed with mist and frost, and fathered Ymir, who was the first of the Giants. Ymir, in turn, spawned a race of His own kind. Unfortunately Ymir was slain by His own descendents and almost all the remaining Giants then drowned in Ymir's blood. The two who survived were exiled to a remote area of the world, located in the extreme northern reaches - an area of mountains, rocky wastes and snow that was called Jotunheim (from the word 'jotun' that meant 'devourer'.) In Jotunheim grows a huge, dense and mist-shrouded forest called 'Iarnvith' or Ironwood. Jotunheim is separated from Asgard by the river Iving, which never freezes over.
Because of the remoteness of the area, the two remaining Giants multiplied and reformed their race. Soon Jotunheim had three strongholds: Utgard, the chief city of Jotunheim; Gastropnir, home of the Rock Giantess Menglad; and Thrymheim ("house of uproar"), the mountain stronghold of the Frost Giant Thiassi (also called Thiazi, Thjatsi or Thjazi). Thiassi was well versed in magick and was a master shape-shifter who could turn Himself into almost any animal, although He most often assumed the shape of a huge eagle with sharp talons. In this form, Thiassi would leave the safety of Jotunheim and travel into the rest of the world. On one such foray, He made the mistake of stealing an oxen from the God Loki, who happened to be slumming about in the world of men. In the fight that followed, Thiassi was burned to death by the rest of the gods. Odin then took the eyes from the dead Frost Giant and flung them up into heaven where they shone thereafter as stars.
Thiassi had a daughter, the Frost Giantess Skadi (also spelled Skaoi, Skadhi or Skade). When her father Thiassi was slain by the gods, Skadi wanted to take revenge. Skadi left Jotunheim and traveled to Asgard to challenge the gods. The gods thought it wiser to reconcile and offered Her a marriage with one of Them. She was free to marry any god, but while She made Her choice She was only allowed to see the feet of the potential candidates. She noticed a very elegant pair of feet and, convinced that their owner was the fair god Balder (who was called 'the beautiful'), She choose them. Unfortunately for Her, those feet belonged to the older god Njord (also spelled Njordh). Njord is the god of winds, sea and fire and the guardian of all who make their living from the sea.
The marriage between Njord and Skadi was not a happy one. She wanted to live where Her father had lived, in Thrymheim in the snowy mountains, and Njord wanted to live in Noatun, His palace by the sea. So They agreed to spend the first nine days in the mountains and the following nine days by the sea. Njord hated the nine days He spent in the mountains and complained about the shriek of the winds and the howling of the wolves. And when Skadi spent the nine days by the sea She hated the yammering of the gulls each day at dawn.
Since the living arrangement did not work out, Njord and Skadi eventually separated. Skadi returned to Her beloved snowy home Thrymheim. It is said that later Skadi became friendly with Odin and had a few children with him; and also that She married the god Ull (also spelled Ullr), the god of justice and dueling.
Today Skadi lives at Thrymheim in the remote area of Jotunheim, happily traveling about in the winter wilderness on skies or snowshoes. As a Frost Giantess, Skadi is the embodiment of a winter goddess.
Skadi is associated with snow-shoes, skis, winter, frost, ice, snow, and wolves. Skadi is a good goddess to call upon for help in doing protective magick, or if you desire to reclaim your own wild nature and to go outside your own limits and boundaries. © 1999, 2000, 2001 by Sarah Nunn
Skadi, Winter Goddess
I've often thought of Skadi as the winter aspect of the great Huntress.
Her place is the wild, frozen North where she hunts with her wolf pack -
very appropriate for a frost giant and warrior goddess. Skadi once
challenged the gods of Asgard after Thor killed her father. In Norse
tradition a wrongful death requires a weregild (payment) to be given to
the wronged party. Skadi demanded marriage to one of the gods in payment.
She was granted this, but Odin restricted her in that she had to be
blindfolded and pick her husband by his feet. Skadi greatly desired to
have the beautiful god Balder as her husband. Believing that Balder would
naturally have the most beautiful feet, Skadi made her choice, only to
discover her new husband was the elder god Njord.
The marriage was not a success, as Skadi detested Njord's home by the
sea. He felt much the same about her beloved winter mountains, so they
Skadi is the patroness of hunters, skiers, female soldiers. Animals
associated with Skadi are the wolf and the poisonous snake. Call upon
Skadi when you are in need of justice or righteous vengeance, particularly
where an injury to your family is concerned.
Skadi is the Goddess of Winter and of the Hunt. She is married to Njord, the gloomy Sea God, noted for his beautiful bare feet (which is how Skadi came to choose him for her mate.) Supposedly the bare foot is an ancient Norse symbol of fertility. The marriage wasn't too happy, though, because she really wanted Baldur for her husband. She is the goddess of Justice, Vengeance, and Righteous Anger, and is the deity who delivers the sentence upon Loki to be bound underground with a serpent dripping poison upon his face in payment for his crimes. Skadi's character is represented in two of Hans Christian Anderson's tales: "The Snow Queen" and "The Ice Princess."
FROM: Norse Gods and Goddesses
A call to the Goddess--
Skadhi, shining snowshoe goddess,
With winter's white the earth you warded.
Wise bride of gods;
Now comes springtide, snows are melting,
Soil awaits the plow;
Free frozen hearts, make us fruitful,
Skadhi, I summon thee!
When wolves howl upon the mountain heights,
Swift beneath the Northern Lights,
Skadhi comes skimming o'er the snow;
When it goes,
Her sweet buds will swell the bough,
Earth shall open to the plough.
It is night, and the air is chill. . . A wind from the glacier swirls around you, sweeping the night sky clean of all but the stars. They glitter in the darkness like chips of ice; with each breath, frost hangs in the air, but the furs you are wearing keep you warm.
In the distance, you can hear the call of a wolf, most lonely of sounds. You stand on a white slope; above you lift the mountains of Jotunheim where the frost-giants dwell, icy crags wind-sculpted into fantastic forms, trees of ice, frozen waterfalls. Upon the height a fortress clings, white walls gleaming in the starlight. A dark forest laps the slopes below.
Suddenly, a bluish radiance ripples above you as if a ribbon of light had been shaken across the sky. It shivers again, glows purple, lemon yellow, pale green. The crystal walls of the castle glimmer with rainbow refractions. Then the color fades; the night is dark once more. The howling of the wolves sounds again, closer. You still, listening. Are they coming this way? Suddenly you are aware of how alone you are in this waste of rock and snow.
You hasten towards the nearest patch of forest, sliding into the shadow of the tall evergreens. Peering from its shadow, you see a dark shape loping across the snow. In a moment it is followed by another. More come after-- grey wolves, white wolves, black wolves, running light-footed across the snow. You hold your breath, wanting to run with them, afraid to be seen.
As the last wolf passes another figure appears, tall beyond the height of mortals, clad in a white fur cloak with black boots and gloves and black hair flowing behind her. Swiftly she strides, her snowshoes bearing her across the surface of the snow. She carries a bow. Closer and closer she comes, running with the wolves. You shrink into the shadow of the tree. Her face is smooth, her gaze ice-chill. As she nears, she pauses, that icy gaze passes across the wood and your heart stills. Has she seen you? Then her lips draw back in silent laughter, she leaps forward and speeds away down the slope, and a desire you cannot resist draws you after her....
FOR THE REST: Skadhi: Wilderness Woman
The Marriage of Skadi and Njord
Skadi, Goddess of WinterPantheon.org 'Skadi'
Women in Norse Myths
Someone's personal vision of Skadi
Skadhi: Wilderness Woman-- ritual, info and other things
An artist's painting of her