Skaði Norse Snowshoe Goddess

According to Norse lore Skaði also known as Skadi, Skade, or Skathi.

Skađi is known as the Norse snowshoe goddess famous for the rescue of lost and cold winter travelers.

She is a goddess and jötunn, (ice giant) identified with winter, skiing, mountains and bowhunting.

Skaði is confirmed in the Poetic edda, composed in the 13th century from the earlier traditional sources, such as the Prose Edda and in Heimskringla, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson, and in the works of skalds.

Old Norse name Skaði, along with Scandinavia and Skáney, may be related to Gothic skadus, Old English sceadu, Old Saxon scado, and Old High German scato which means “shadow.” Skađi is also a goddess of death.

Norse lore cites she first taught men to hunt. She was revered by the Scandinavians up until the seventeenth century. They sacrificed a man annualy for a successful hunt. In cold climates they were unable to eat fruit and vegetables in the heart of winter, so they would hunt in order to stave off famine. The fur and animal hides were used for winter clothing and boots.

Skađi was a revered goddess in Sweden and Norway before the rise of Christianity in Scandinavia. Skađi predates the Aesir gods.

Skađi’s late father was Þjazi also known as Thiazi was killed by the Aesir gods after abducting Idunn and her apples of longevity. Not a wise move on his part.

Hearing the news of her father’s death and Loki’s synical flyting about Thiazi, Skađi angrily, confronts the Aesir gods. They compensate her by giving her a choice to choose a mate only by viewing their feet. Skađi desperately, desired Balder, unfortunate for her she chose the dismal sea god Njörđr. She married him based on his handsome feet which Skađi admired. (In ancient Norse symbolism bare feet represented verility.)

In Heimskringla, Skaði is described as having split up with Njörðr and as later having married the god Ullr also known as Holler, and this marriage, produced offspring.

In both the Poetic Edda and the Prose Edda, Skaði is liable for fastening the serpent that drips venom ( Jörmungandr ) onto the constrained Loki who had caused the beloved god Balder’s tragic death.

Prose Edda:
In the Prose Edda, Skaði is attested in two books: Gylfaginning and Skáldskaparmál.

Sources & references:

McKinnell (2005:63).

Dumézil (1973:35).

Davidson (1993:62).

‘scathe.’ Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Merriam-Webster.


Lempo Finnish Fertility God/Goddess

According to Finnish and Karelian Folklore Lempo was considered a fiend.

Lempo is the Finnish god/goddess of love, fertility, fire and sexuality of dual genders. Appearing at times as a god or goddess.

Lempo is known as a ruler of the forest demons and shadow spirits. These are called PIRU, and his nickname Pääpiru denotes ‘Head of the Demons’. Lempo’s minions includes herds of mighty moose.

Lempo’s nemesis is Lemminkainen the Finnish trickster god.

Lempo’s reputation worsened after Christianity came to Finland, he was then, represented in folklore as an unpredictable spirit, as his love was at times fanciful, hazardous. Lempo’s power could control a person and turn them to devastation. Lempo took down the hero Väinämöinen with the aid of his two demon cohorts, Hiisi and Paha. The words “lempo” and “hiisi” are also used as very mild swear words in the Finnish language. “Piru” is a slightly stronger swear word. Many pagan gods and goddesses were demonized by Christian priests over the centuries, this happened all over Europe, UK and the West.

Sources and References:

Taivaannaula: Lempo

The Kalevala Glossary Lempo

Art: uncredited

Witchbirds of Lapland

Witchbird or “saiwo loddeh” are mythical birds of Lapland.

The Witchbird in Lapland’s Folklore may appear as a regular white bird, yet they are part spirit and originated from the underworld.

In Lapland, and specially witches in Lapland, had their own special witchbird “saiwo loddeh”.

Saiwo-olmah lived like the Irish Sidhe folk. A person was considered fortunate if they befriended or if they traded with them. Their magical familiars were passed down through families as inheritances.

Saiwo-loddeh were magic birds employed by the noaidi.

Noaidi are shaman. Noiadi were known to conduct healing rituals, prophecied, forecast the weather, retrieve lost souls (in Sami lore each person has a body soul and a free soul that roams when the body is unconscious), and beat a ritual drum decorated with sacred art.

According to Sami lore, birds came from the spirit world and they were companions of the witches. Witchbirds, enabled witches to see the future, and find their way in nature, these birds also helped care for their reindeer.

Witchbirds could also cause evil and harm for others or protect their owner from the curses, so they were to be feared. Witches could communicate with birds by jojking/singing.

Photo: uncredited

Source & Reference:

The book of mythical birds of Finland (Suomen myyttiset linnut)

Mielikki Finnish Forest Goddess

This month Folklore women is the theme. One of the most famous goddess of Finnish folklore is of the goddess of the forest and the hunt named Mielikki. Her name Mielikki, originated from the old Finnish word mielu which means luck. She is also known by metsänemä mother of the forest. Brown bears were the most sacred of animals in Finland.

Mielikki’s husband is a Finnish forest god named, Tapio. Mielikki is the mother of Nyyrikki a female wind spirit and Tuulikki, god of cattle and the hunt. Mielikki had three other children that were forest spirits named, Annikki, Tellervo and Tuutikki.

According to Finnish legend, Ancient hunters would have to attain Mielikki’s consent to enter her forest they asked Mielikki´s permission to enter her lands. To acquire a great catch in the hunt, the hunter would praise Mielikki’s beauty and in return she would grant the hunter a successful hunt.

Mielikki is a huntress like the Roman goddes Diana. Mielikki is known to have worn a blue cape. Blue is the color of protection.

Mielikki was recognized for the protection and mending of wounded animals especially those who were caught in traps.

She would also heal chicks that fell from their nests and grouse after their tough mating rituals.

She was well skilled as an herbalist.

Several witches, shamans and those who trained in herbal magick, revered Mielikki.

Finnish lore cites that she plays a main role in the creation of the bear.

The Finnish Kalevala national epic based on Karelian folklore, the hero Lemminkäinen grants her and Tapio prayers, gold and silver so he can catch the Hiisi elk. Another passage mentions, that Mielikki is inquired to protect the cattle pasturing in the forest.

She is also offered prayers by small game hunters and gatherers of berries and mushrooms.

The Mielikki Mons, a mountain on the planet Venus, is named after her.

Source & Reference:

“Mielikki Mons”. Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature.

Original quotes from Kalevala regarding Mielikki translated to English.

Mielikki information and links from the Finndex.

Mictēcacihuātl Aztec Lady of The Dead

Continuing my theme of #FolkloreWomen this month.

Mexicans just observed their Day of the dead ancestoral festival on November 1st.

Here is an Ancient Aztec goddess that is revered on the Day of the Dead.

Mictēcacihuātl, Lady of The Dead. According to Aztec legends, Mictēcacihuātl means “Lady of the Dead” she is Queen of Mictlan which is the underworld, Mictēcacihuātl governs over the dead with her deity husband, Mictlantecuhtli.

Mictēcacihuātl main job is to over see the deceased’s dead and direct the ancient festivals of the dead.

These ancient festivals emerged from Aztec traditions into the present Day of the Dead after blending with Spanish traditions. Mictēcacihuātl also, watches over the modern festival. Her claim to fame, as the “Lady of the Dead”, was that she was born, then sacrificed as a baby. Mictecacihuatl was displayed with a decayed body and with her jaw wide- opened, to gobble the stars in daytime.

Sources & Reference:

Fernández, Adela (1992, 1996). Dioses Prehispánicos de México (in Spanish). Mexico City: Panorama Editorial. ISBN 968-38-0306-7. OCLC 28801551

(1993). An Illustrated Dictionary of the Gods and Symbols of Ancient Mexico and the Maya. London: Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0-500-27928-4.