Skadi, an ice goddess, is the daughter of the Jotun Thiazi, who died in a fatal altercation with the Aesir. In Skadi’s first appearance on the stage of surviving Norse myth, she girds herself in armor and travels to the Aesir, demanding reparations (weregild) for her father’s death. She demands two things: that the Aesir make her laugh, despite her grim mood, and that they provide her with a husband. Both terms are met.
Skadi really wants to marry the handsome Balder but she winds up wed to the sea spirit Njord. They attempt to make a go of the marriage, but their natures are too different and they amicably separate. Skadi later finds Holler to be a more compatible match. Skadi allies herself with the Aesir. It’s Skadi who fastens the venomous snake over Loki’s head after Balder’s death. (Loki’s bragging about being present at her father’s death accounts for her enmity.)
Based on these myths, Skadi might seem to be a peripheral goddess, but nothing could be farther from the truth. She was an extremely significant goddess, worshipped in Norway and Sweden. Her name is echoed in Scandinavia,which can be translated as “Skadi’s Land.” She predates the Aesir in the region and was also one of the last Norse deities to be actively venerated post-Christianity.
Her name is translated as “Shade”; this may indicate the dim winter sun but also shades of the dead. In addition to other functions, Skadi is a death goddess with dominion over hunting. Legend has it that she first taught men to hunt with bows and arrows. Legend also has it that a man was sacrificed to her annually and that this sacrifice lasted in remote regions until possibly as late as the seventeenth century. Among the reasons why Skadi is the spirit who actually hangs the poisonous snake over Loki is that she can; she is able to wield an instrument of death that would be fatal to others.
Skadi can also be an extremely helpful goddess. Called the Snowshoe Goddess, she rescues winter travelers lost in storms or snow. Should you find yourself stuck on a snowy slope or in icebound weather, Skadi would be among the spirits of first appeal.
Skadi is a tall, strong, beautiful, athletic woman. She travels through the snow on her skates, ski, and snowshoes, hunting with a bow and arrows. She may be accompanied by wolves.
Ice skates, skis, snowshoes
Creatures: Wolves, snakes
Realm: Skadi lives in Thrymheimr (“Noise Home”), her father’s home. She is also described as living in remote, high, snowy peaks.
Icy-cold Swedish vodka, traditional Scandinavian food, charms evoking her favorite pastimes, images of snakes and wolves
Aesir; Balder; Holler; Jotun; Loki; Njord
Also known as:
Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses– Written by :Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.
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