Holda, Lady of Hearth & Spindle
I have been learning about a mysterious and fascinating goddess this past year, in my studies of Urglaawe, the Deitsch tradition of Heathenry. Frau Holle or Holda is the chief goddess of the Urglaawe pantheon, and is believed to have led the Deitsch people to the New World. You won’t find her listed in most books or websites on Asatru, as she is specifically a German goddess, appearing as a witch or a lady in white in fairy tales to teach young girls the value of hard work, how to spin and keep the house clean, or teaching a man how to plant and grow flax. Perhaps it is due to her closeness to the home and her protective and teaching role she takes with humanity, that she lived on in folk memory and now can reclaim her rightful place as a goddess.
Frau Holle makes it snow by shaking her feather bed, and her bird is the goose, whose feathers keep the bed warm. It has been suggested that the figure of Mother Goose can be traced back to her. She is the leader of the Wild Hunt, by herself or perhaps sharing the duty with Woden, who may be her consort. She may be the same as Frigg. She oversees childbirth and protects children, and watches over children who die young. Because of this death association, some see her as the same as Hela, but the Urglaawe folk I have talked have asserted that she is not. She is the mistress of magic, especially the patroness of kitchen witches.
Interesting Blog posts (sources not cited)
Frau Holle from the Urglaawe Perspective– interpretation of the fairy tale
Faces of the Golden Queen– American Folkloric Witchcraft
Question: Frau Holle, Skadi and Hel on grumpylokeanelder’s tumblog
Winter Goddesses– thoughts on Holda, Perchta & Baba Yaga from Dver