goddess spotlight: Sigyn

Sigyn is a goddess in the Norse pantheon and is referred to as an Ásynjur (an Aesir goddess). She is associated with patience and loyalty. In the Prose Edda and the Poetic Edda, she is said to wait patiently by her husband, Loki, while is is bound and restrained in captivity.

She is also the mother of Vali and Nari (sometimes also spelled Narfi). When Loki is bound in the underground cave by the other gods for killing Baldur, his son with Sigyn, Vali, is turned into a wolf who then kills Nari, his other son. Nari’s entrails are used to bind Loki in place, after which they harden to iron.

Her patience is demonstrated by holding a bowl over Loki’s face to collect the drops of venom from a venomous snake which has been suspended over him. As the bowl fills with venom, she must move it away to empty it, which causes some drops of venom to fall on Loki’s face, and he writhes in pain, leading to terrible earthquakes.

She is also considered gentle and compassionate.

Correspondences of Sigyn:

Color: Green, Blue, White, Silver

Zodiac: unknown

Associations: banishing, commitment, compassion, fidelity, forgiveness, Imbolc, loyalty, marriage, sacrifice, strength, victory, Yule

goddess spotlight: Hel

Hel (sometimes also spelled Hela, or proto-Germanic Halja) is the Norse goddess of the underworld and death that comes to those who do not die in battle.

Her dominion is called Helheim, but the underworld she rules over was once called Hel, but that name was later bestowed upon the goddess who would become its queen.

Hel is the daughter of Loki, the trickster god of the Norse pantheon. She was also said to be the sister of Fenrir, the huge wolf who was prophesied to kill Odin, and Jormungandr, the great serpent which fought Thor and will eventually kill him during Ragnarok. She was given the realm of Hel(heim) to rule over when Fenrir and Jormungandr were cast below by Odin.

Hel is associated with another large, dark hound-like beast, Garmr, the hellhound.

Hel is depicted as a duality of either a half live/half dead woman, half blue/half flesh-colored woman, or a half white/half black being. There is an extreme lack of mythology that clarifies the role she played in veneration or worship of the Norse deities, and how she may have been honored or worked with by Norse pagans.

There is some information that points to her being a patroness of Norse shamans, as she was responsible for thinning the veil between the world of the living and the dead, and would act as that guide into the other realms.

Those that work with Hel in modern times may choose to work with her in the aspect of their shadow work or to explore and accept their own inner darkness, or may also approach her similar to working with the Hindu goddess Kali, to whom she later had some synchratization after the Viking era had ended and more significant trade was occurring between European cultures and those of the Asia.

Correspondences of Hel

Colors: black, gray, red, blue,

Animals: wolf, hound, crows

Rune: Hagalaz

Other associations: an all-seeing eye of truth, ice, death, judgment, aging, darkness, illness, crones, shamans, spirits/the spirit world, Earth element

friday: freya’s day

there are quite a few reasons to love friday, and i’m not here to trivialize any of them, but just want to give a shout out to a particularly awesome goddess, freya, for whom the day is named.

now, before some dude in the back raises his hand and goes ‘ackchuallllyyyy,’ let’s clarify something that’s occasionally disputed and debated about freya, frigg, and frija.

friday, the 5th day of the week in the original calendar, is named after frija, a goddess of the germanic mythology specific to the norse. she was a goddess of the vanir, and later, the aesir.

at some point, which historians disagree on, frija became either freya, who was also called frigg in some accounts, or frija became two distinct goddesses (freya and frigg) that actually had almost identical traits, character, history, behavior, and stories.

i’m really not here to debate this, and personally think it matters not. the goddess, the divine feminine energy which underpins the birth of all life in the universe, is both freya and frigg, aphrodite, mami wata, kali, hecate, and ishtar (and all the others – you get my point).

what form she takes to me shouldn’t matter to you, and vice versa. how we honor her, speak to her, and care for her earth is the bottom line here.

so onto friday and freya

if you’re not super familiar with freya, i would encourage you to read widely, as she’s a very interesting incarnation of the goddess. this won’t be an exhaustive account but here are the details:

  • day of the week: friday
  • planet: venus
  • associations: love, beauty (even to include self-worth), particularly sexuality and fertility; fine material p0sessions; fertility of the land; war; death; protector of abused women;
  • animals: cats, falcon, horses
  • symbols: honey, amber, gold, mead (a drink made from honey), fine chocolates, gold necklaces especially; fine wine; sweets

other associations of freya:

she is often thought of as the leader of the valkyries, but this is not quite correct, as the valkyries take the souls of the fallen to valhalla, while freya has first choice of the slain in battle, whom she carries home to sessrumnir, in folkvangr, and the rest are taken to valhalla in the afterlife.

she owns, or embodies, depending on who you ask, the magic of the gods and goddesses and has the power to take it from other gods and goddesses if she deems it necessary. referred to as seidr, the ancient norse magickal tradition of shamanism and magick, which came from the vanir gods.

my personal journey with freya

at some point in the last few months, my intuition has begun to flow back to me, filling me with purpose again, inspiring me with ideas, and giving me back a passion for life, creating, and connecting. i suppressed it and ignored it for many years, as i denied who i really was inside and out in order to be someone else for others (i was a horribly inauthentic person, IMO).

until recently, however, i really hadn’t connected my spirit and inspiration with a specific manifestation of the divine feminine, only that i could tell she was there, in me, around me, and encouraging me. she was helping me heal old wounds and forgive myself for past grievances.

as i continued to listen and have conversations, it came to me one day while meditating and seeking guidance that it was in the form of freya that she had been reaching out to me all along. i can’t explain how i knew, but i knew. if you’ve had this experience with the goddess, you just know. she tells you what you’re ready to learn when you’re ready to learn it.

i don’t know if it has to do with heritage, as my ancestors are heavily germanic and of norse heritage, and perhaps i more easily identify with that presentation, or it could be for other reasons. and i don’t think its important, really, why.

she moved me to tears. i cried, not out of sadness, but an overwhelming connection to something bigger than myself. to the love that appeared and surrounded me and told me i would be okay and it was time to heal and move on. i’m honestly weepy right now writing this, as it shook me to my core (in a good way).

she finally gave me the power to give myself that permission to forgive, to love me, and to see my full worth. i felt like a blubbering idiot sitting there pouring out all the pain, but at no point did i feel like she was angry, upset, or discouraging. she was forgiving and kind.

and so, through my work and efforts, i have found that her love of beauty, love, and fine things has been an inspiration for what i do and the things i create, in order to honor the contribution she has made to my life. she particularly has interest in the deep beauty of all things created (human or through nature).

every time i see a breathtaking sight of nature, a beautiful flower newly bloomed in the garden, taste the rich flavors of food from the land, and feel deeply loved by my partner, i’m reminded what i have been given and i silently thank her, as i am grateful for every single opportunity i have been handed.

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