There is no fury like a goddess scorned. Szépasszony is a pre-Christian Hungarian love goddess now demoted to a beautiful but dangerous witch spirit. Her true name has been suppressed. Szépasszony, a euphemism, literally means “beautiful woman” in Hungarian. Spirit of romance, fertility, birth, and death, Szépasszony is a water goddess, associated with storms and rain.
Post-Christianity, she developed a malevolent reputation as a femme fatale, a dangerous, tempestuous Demon, accused of fatally luring away children, similar to Hans Christian Andersen’s Snow Queen. Ailing children are described as nursing at her breast. It is unclear how much of this is true and how much is fear-mongering and defamation intended to discourage veneration. Alternatively, Szépasszony is violently furious at the loss of her veneration. She may form alliances with those who love and respect her.
Her gifts, if she chooses to give them, are beauty, romance, and intoxicating ecstasy. Szépasszony is an authority on love spells and potions. She is invoked to find one’s true love. Szépasszony adores dancing and rain and ventures out to dance in storms. Considered responsible for hail and white winter storms, Szépasszony is a sorceress who uses water as the primary ingredient in spells. Watch out for standing puddles: they are her magical tricks, laid down to ensnare victims. Those who walk through puddles, then catch cold and die are perceived as bewitched by Szépasszony. She is held responsible for any life-threatening ailment perceived as caused or aggravated by inclement weather. Szépasszony may be invoked to heal such illnesses, too.
References in the trial testimony of Erzsebet Báthory (1560–1614), the so-called Blood Countess, suggest that she may have venerated Szépasszony. Some of the murders she is alleged to have committed are also reminiscent of the goddess. Countess Báthory forced some of her young female victims to strip naked while standing outside in freezing weather. Ice water was thrown over them and they were left to freeze to death.
Szépasszony is a true White Lady, very fair-skinned with long silver-white hair; her dresses are incandescent white.
• Cropped grass circles surrounded by taller grass mark her dance floors. It’s considered bad manners (and dangerous!) to venture inside unless invited by the Szépasszony (and maybe even then).
• Szépasszony Valley in Eger, Hungary’s wine country, allegedly the center of her veneration prior to Christianity, is lush, fertile land, suggesting that once upon a time she wasn’t always such a chilly goddess. It is now prime tourist terrain.
White flowers, clear crystals, gifts that sparkle; serve her white Eger wine.
- Boldog Asszony;
- White Lady
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.