Frau Holle by Gypsy Willowmoon
Also known as, Mother Holle, Hel, Hella & Holda.
She is a very ancient Goddess, perhaps as far back as Palaeolithic times....
Mother Holle started off as a Dark Goddess of Death & Regeneration. In Grimm fairy tales -Mother Holle lives at the bottom of a well, it is said when she shakes her feather beds, they cause it to snow on Earth. As the Goddess of regeneration, she was associated with Winter and the colour white.
Small white Goddess figurines with small breasts and exaggerated pubic areas were buried with the dead, so that the Goddess could accompany the person on their journey of renewal.
Odin is said to have gifted Holle(Hel) being ruler of the underworld, in return Holle gifted Odin his Ravens, Huginn & Muninn.
Helheim is her realm, where she judges each soul whom enters. Those who were cruel or unkind to others in life could find themselves in a place of icy coldness as punishment. Helheim also serves as a shelter for those waiting to reincarnate - showing her duality. Helheim lies below the Earth at the roots of Yggdrasil, also home to the Norns - The Weavers of destiny.
She watches over those who died peacefully, or of old age. Cares for children & women who die in childbirth. She guides those who did not die in battle.
In magic she is a pathfinder, where the veil is thin.
Nordic Shamans work with Holle, wearing 'The Helkappe' a magic mask that makes them invisible, so that they can pass through the realm of death & spirit. They wear the mask to work with or link with Holle's duality of light& dark, Maiden, Mother and Crone.
Holle holds dominion over death, the cold darkness of Winter, caves, graves, tombs in the earth. She also receives the fertile seed, the light of mid-Winter, the fertilised egg. The tomb, which transforms into a womb for the gestation of new life.
Mother Holle is said to have big ugly teeth, a big nose and a flat foot - showing her love of spinning and weaving.
Holle is one of the old Vanir Goddesses.
Holle is sometimes associated with Hecate the old Crone whom roams the world with her fearsome dogs.
In Scandinavia, she was seen as bringing life to the land, causing growth, abundance & good fortune. Her Maiden aspect...
Holle is named after Holly.
In Germanic pre-Christian folklore, Hulda, Holda, Holle & Holla were all names for a single Goddess who ruled the weather: sunshine, snow & rain, also known as a Sky Goddess.
Professor Marija Gubustas says, 'Holle was originally an ancient Germanic Supreme Goddess, who predates most of the Germanic Pantheon including, Odin, Thor, Freya& Loki.
Also associated with Werde- The Triple- Mother of fate.
Known as Queen of the Witches.
Greatly associated with Yule, the warmth of the hearth fire & homes, especially at winter time.
In some early myths she was known as 'Ash girl' her face half white and half covered in soot - This is said to come from the tale of how, in order to marry the God of Winter, she had to come to him neither naked or clothed & neither in light or darkness. which could also link her to Persephone who is Goddess of Spring and decay....
Mother Holle is the reason that we have 'flying broomsticks’ which is one of her tools that she uses to sweep her travel tracks clear (Baba- yaga) plus sweeping has always been used to remove negativity from homes...
Associated with Evergreen plants, Yule & Snowfall
"Go to Hell" used to mean, to die & go to the realm of the Dark Goddess.
Said to be the source of 'Mother Goose'.
Bertcha was also an ancient Germanic Goddess known mostly throughout Southern Germany, in ancient times. Her worship spread to Switzerland, Austria, & the Czech kingdom. Some think she was Celtic Alpine - who were present before the Germanic tribes.
Berchta means ' Bright one' - the syllables also spell Birch...
In Jason Grimm's books she is depicted as a guardian & protector of babies & children. Also said to ferry the dead on a boat across the water to the other worlds. Known to wear white, that shines in the darkness and carries a set of 3 golden keys....
When the Christian church rose to power, her named was besmirched, she was demonised & called 'Christmas hag' or 'Iron nosed' she was turned into a hag who ate children or cut them open and filled them with stones and straw.
Known as a spinner and weaver, aka Bertha, Beraht, Perchta, Percht, Frau Percht, Frau Faste, Pehta, Perta, Perta - Baba & more.
Shown as a young woman with blonde or white hair. Also, a guide to the afterlife, caring in particular for babies and children's souls, also depicted as a triple Goddess....
Holle is also linked to Diana, Abundia, the Italian Christmas Witch - La Bafana.
Holle was a part of the wild hunt, riding with Odin(Wuoton) & Berchtold.
Maiden Holle presents to me as a Milkmaid with two horns worn upon her head, wearing traditional Germanic clothes, apron and clogs... In her maiden aspect I work with Holle for nurturing or fertility spells of all kinds, self-love rituals, connecting to the Earth and animals.
In her Mother aspect I would work with her for spells involving support and encouragement, especially for children or teens, sleep and generally taking care of yourself. Also, anything to do with the home, including protection.
In her aspect as Crone I work with Holle as Dark Goddess, especially in Winter for times of introspection and going inside.... for me in this aspect, she has links with Baba -Yaga.
Image from the Gods & Goddesses Colouring book by Rachel Patterson