Sunday, December 15, 2013

Holda, Germanic Goddess of Winter

Holda, also known as Frau Holle, is a Germanic triple Goddess of Winter. She is a Goddess of spinning, the home, protector of children, winter and the weather. Holda is deeply connected to winter and it is said that when she shakes out her feather bed it begins to snow. She is honored at Yule or the Winter Solstice where she is said to fly across the night sky in her wagon and hand out treats to children who have been well behaved. This is where the modern tale of Santa Clause comes to us from.

She is often portrayed with long white hair and a long white cape. She is seen as a beautiful maiden, a caring mother and hag with a long nose and crooked teeth sitting at her spinning wheel. Holda was demonized as a hag and a witch when Europe became Christianized. Women accused of witchcraft were said to be "riding with Holda" and she is often depicted riding across the night sky in her wagon.

She is very much a patroness of the household and domestic arts such as cooking, cleaning, spinning and child care. She is a Goddess for women and is said to help them with their household chores. Holda has no patience for lazy people especially when it came to spinning. She would punish those who were lazy with their chores and reward those who would fall asleep from hard work by completing their spinning for them.

Holda is a protectress of children and would collect the souls of those children who had died too soon. It is said that a procession of children's souls followed Holda's wagon. She has been portrayed as an evil witch who stole the souls of healthy children in later tales and this is where she gets part of her bad reputation.

Holda is said to bring the first snow of winter. She is thought to control many aspects of weather. For example when it rains she is doing her wash and when there is fog it's the smoke from her chimney. She is also associated with animals and the forest. Geese are one of her sacred animals and it is thought that Holda may be the Mother Goose from fairy tales. Other animals that are sacred to her are hounds, pigs and goats.

Call on Holda when you need motivation to finish your housework or when your cooking. You may also pray to her at the winter solstice or ask for her to protect your children. A good way to honor this Goddess is to light a candle to her while you're doing your chores or cooking a meal for your family or if you're so inclined to work with fibers and spinning. You may also call on Holda to bless your home.

Picture courtesy of A Polar Bear's Tale


  1. The blog was absolutely fantastic! Lots of great information and inspiration, both of which we all need!


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