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December 14, 2023
Connecting with Frau Holle, The Winter Goddess.
Among the enchanting figures that emerge during Yuletide is the Germanic character of Frau Holle. She is a powerful deity of the woods and the domestic sphere and is well known for her role inThe Wild Hunt. With her folklore comes a range of old traditions that echo many of our modern holiday customs, making her the perfect deity to connect with this Yule season.
Frau Holle’s Origins and Folklore
Frau Holle is known by several names throughout Northern and Central Europe: Holda, Hulda, and Frau Perchta are a few. Her character appears in both Norse and Germanic pagan folklore. InScandinavia, she is a goddess of the woods and nature, and she is closely associated with evergreen plants such as holly and mistletoe. In other parts of Europe, she is also associated with fertility and domesticity and rules over activities such as housekeeping, weaving, and spinning. Some fairy tales and folk legends portray Frau Holle as an old crone or a toothless hag, and others depict her as a young and beautiful maiden.
Frau Holle and the Yule Season
Frau Holle is intimately connected with the winter season and especially snowfall. Some believe when Frau Holle shakes outher mattresses, white feathers fall to earth. She is said to bring gifts to women on the Winter Solstice, and many Germanic cultures hold a feast in honor of her. Frau Holle is said to be active toward the end of December into January when the days officially start to get longer. This aspect of Frau Holle is associated with the return of light, and thus joy and celebration, but she also has a dark side as well. In places where she is known as Frau Perchta, she has an army of Perchten, lost souls who closely resemble Krampus. These spirits ride with Frau Perchta in The Wild Hunt. As we discussed in our last blog post, the Wild Hunt is a cavalcade of spirits who ride on the winter storms of the Yule season. Both Odin and Frau Holle are figures closely associated with The Wild Hunt, although there are some variations among different cultures about who actually leads the Wild Hunt. Some groups depict Frau Holle as the leader of the hunt, bringing her Perchten and the souls of unbaptized children with her. Others believe Odin leads the hunt, and Frau Holle is the prize being hunted.
Honoring Frau Holle Today
If you feel a connection to Frau Holle, you can easily welcome her into your space by bringing in evergreen plans like holly, pine, and mistletoe. Because of her close connection with snow, practicing a bit of snow magic can be a great way to call on her energy. You can also use our Spell & Offering Kit to make your offering to Frau Holle. The kit includes herbs, anointing oil, a candle, and spell ideas to help you get started. As with any deity ruling over the domestic sphere, completing domestic chores will honor Frau Holle. You can also work on crafts during your winter rituals. Spinning, weaving, sewing, and knitting are all great options to connect with Frau Holle. If you want to lean into tradition, you can host a feast in Frau Holle’s name. This is typically done on or around December 25th. If you wish to begin working with Frau Holle during the Yule season, you can find everything you need in our online store, or you can visit us in person to get more guidance from one of our staff members.
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