The Maier Files | Stories of Holda, Holle
There are still some extra tidbits about Frau Holda, Holle. The benevolent Holle from central Europe reigns the sky and the weather—when she shakes out her feather bed it snows, when she does her washing it rains, the fluffy white clouds are her linen things put out to bleach, and the gray clouds are her weaving.
Holle, Holda, Vronelden, Thuringia, Venus, women, legend, myth, mythology, culture, goddess
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Where Holle dwells

Holle

Where Holle dwells

We already mentioned Holle.  But there are still some extra tidbits about Frau Holda, Holle. The benevolent Holle from central Europe reigns the sky and the weather—when she shakes out her feather bed it snows, when she does her washing it rains, the fluffy white clouds are her linen things put out to bleach, and the gray clouds are her weaving.  Her name can even be associated with the meaning “kind, gracious”. The Dutch named the Milky Way after her—Vronelden straet (Vrou-elden-straat, “Frau Hulde’s street”) as one can read in the manuscript: De natuurkunde van het geheelal written by a monk from Ghent. It can be found by clicking this link: http://www.dbnl.org/tekst/_nat001natu01_01/  – Vronelden Strate is also mentioned in the Teuthonista, a Low Rhine dictionary from 1477.  In a way she’s like Frigg,  a goddess of spinning, weaving, and other housewifely skills and helps people with smithwork and baking.

One legend about Holda from the Tyrol tells of how she introduced flax to humankind. In this story, a peasant wanders into her secret cave while herding sheep in the mountains. He finds himself in a marvelous jeweled cavern. Before him stands a beautiful lady in shining robes, the goddess Holle, attended by a group of young women. She tells him to take anything with him that he likes, and he asks for the bunch of tiny blue flowers she holds in her hand. Holle tells him that he has chosen wisely and will live as long as the flowers do. She also gives him some seed to plant in his fields, and then vanishes. At home the peasant’s wife scolds him for not bringing back something more valuable, but he sows his fields with the seed and soon he has a crop of tiny blue flowers. When the blooms drop away, Holle returns and teaches them how to harvest the flax stalks and to spin, weave, and bleach the linen they produce. The peasants grow rich selling both linen and seed, and live long and prosperously. When he has become quite old, the peasant one day notices that his flowers have finally begun to fade. He goes back to the mountains to find the cave once more and is never seen again. This story is reminiscent of the Tannhäuser legend. In this tale the goddess is called by the Latin name Frau Venus and lives in a cave in the Horselberg in Thuringia, where she was said to lure people into her realm and keep them there forever.

Holda is sometimes pictured with various attendants, including the spirits of the dead, particularly the souls of small children; night hags, enchantresses, Wodan’s Wild Hunt gang, women armed with sickles; and elves or dwarves, who snarl and soil the spinning if it is done at improper times. Holda is said to dwell in a cave or hollow mountain, where she keeps the souls of dead and unborn children. She can also be found in the woods or in wells and often appears near water, bathing or washing clothes. People can reach her realm by falling down wells, as described in the Grimms’ tale “Mother Holda.” Holda and Berchte, another similar deity, are particularly associated with the Yule season. They travel the country at this time, between the solstice and Twelfth Night, bestowing their blessings on the land and checking up on the housekeeping and spinning. If all is in order, they reward the virtuous worker with a fine new spindle or some particularly good flax. If the worker has been slothful and sloppy, they spoil and tangle all the thread. Holda has many traits later ascribed to Santa Claus or better Saint Nicholas; she punishes naughty children and rewards good ones, and travels about with her muffled servant, Holle-peter, or Ruprecht, like Saint Nicholas and his aide, Black Peter.

 

Holle’s kitten

 

Holle

  • Frau Holle is connected to springs, wells and lakes, where she lives in a land on the bottom of the water. She is also connected with the fog. Holle can be seen as a bright shape drifting in the fog, and her fog maidens are “die Hollen”, who move over the land to come to the aid of women and......

  • We already mentioned Holle.  But there are still some extra tidbits about Frau Holda, Holle. The benevolent Holle from central Europe reigns the sky and the weather—when she shakes out her feather bed it snows, when she does her washing it rains, the fluffy white clouds are her linen things put out to bleach, and the gray clouds are her......

  • Tidbits on the tale of Holle’s kitten. There is a mountain in Hessen, Germany called the Meissner where one still can find traces of the central German goddess Holle, Holda or Helja. It’s a place where her cult seems to have survived for a long time. There are roads going to the mountaintop and there are many hiking paths. Close......

  • Holle: a nearly absolute power? A backstory Some tidbits about Holle Hella, Hel, known to all Germanic peoples, including the Goths as Hellarunester. A Gothic word for “witch” was Haljoruna. The name itself stems from a root meaning “to hide”. The word Hellirunar describes people who ‘rune’ (Speak, sing, whisper) with Hel/Helja, the goddess and realm of the underworld. “Hell”,......

  • Every winged being is symbolic of spiritualization. Birds are very frequently used to symbolize human souls, some of the earliest examples being found in the art of ancient Egypt. The bird, according to Jung, is a beneficent animal representing spirits or angels, supernatural aid, thoughts and flights of fancy. Hindu tradition has it that birds represent the higher states of......

  • TIDBITS – Crossroads Symbolism and mystical associations are common use and can be found everywhere … An old German tale about the knight von Falkenstein goes like this: At midday, Tiubel reigns over the free forest. The knight Heinrich von Falkenstein, wished “to glance at the dark world of the Hereafter”. A magician led him at midday to the crossroads,......

  • Crows are brought up in the mythology of countless cultures around the world as they are frequently characterised as guides for traveling between worlds. In European folklore, crows were said to convene courts, pass judgments, and also execute guilty members. Connected with the Goddess’s death aspect, crows came to be perceived as evil or simply fearsome. In medieval days, finding......

  • To fully grasp a Deity, you need to make an effort to understand the heritage and characteristics of the very first people to worship that Deity. Brigid originated in the pantheon of the Celtic people—the inhabitants of Ireland and the British Isles. Similar to Brigid, the history of these folks is mysterious and multifaceted. You can somewhat decipher what’s going......