Skadi, Snow-Shoe Goddess
Submitted by: swampy
Early Norse myths talk about a ancient elemental deity known as Kari, who actually was the wind that blew down from the mountains. Kari was said to have mixed with mist and frost, and fathered Ymir, who was the first of the Giants. Ymir, in turn, spawned a race of His own kind. Unfortunately Ymir was slain by His own descendents and almost all the remaining Giants then drowned in Ymir’s blood. The two who survived were exiled to a remote area of the world, located in the extreme northern reaches – an area of mountains, rocky wastes and snow that was called Jotunheim (from the word ‘jotun’ that meant ‘devourer’.) In Jotunheim grows a huge, dense and mist-shrouded forest called ‘Iarnvith’ or Ironwood. Jotunheim is separated from Asgard by the river Iving, which never freezes over.
Because of the remoteness of the area, the two remaining Giants multiplied and reformed their race. Soon Jotunheim had three strongholds: Utgard, the chief city of Jotunheim; Gastropnir, home of the Rock Giantess Menglad; and Thrymheim (“house of uproar”), the mountain stronghold of the Frost Giant Thiassi (also called Thiazi, Thjatsi or Thjazi). Thiassi was well versed in magick and was a master shape-shifter who could turn Himself into almost any animal, although He most often assumed the shape of a huge eagle with sharp talons. In this form, Thiassi would leave the safety of Jotunheim and travel into the rest of the world. On one such foray, He made the mistake of stealing an oxen from the God Loki, who happened to be slumming about in the world of men. In the fight that followed, Thiassi was burned to death by the rest of the gods. Odin then took the eyes from the dead Frost Giant and flung them up into heaven where they shone thereafter as stars.
Thiassi had a daughter, the Frost Giantess Skadi (also spelled Skaoi, Skadhi or Skade). When her father Thiassi was slain by the gods, Skadi wanted to take revenge. Skadi left Jotunheim and traveled to Asgard to challenge the gods. The gods thought it wiser to reconcile and offered Her a marriage with one of Them. She was free to marry any god, but while She made Her choice She was only allowed to see the feet of the potential candidates. She noticed a very elegant pair of feet and, convinced that their owner was the fair god Balder (who was called ‘the beautiful’), She choose them. Unfortunately for Her, those feet belonged to the older god Njord (also spelled Njordh). Njord is the god of winds, sea and fire and the guardian of all who make their living from the sea.
The marriage between Njord and Skadi was not a happy one. She wanted to live where Her father had lived, in Thrymheim in the snowy mountains, and Njord wanted to live in Noatun, His palace by the sea. So They agreed to spend the first nine days in the mountains and the following nine days by the sea. Njord hated the nine days He spent in the mountains and complained about the shriek of the winds and the howling of the wolves. And when Skadi spent the nine days by the sea She hated the yammering of the gulls each day at dawn.
Since the living arrangement did not work out, Njord and Skadi eventually separated. Skadi returned to Her beloved snowy home Thrymheim. It is said that later Skadi became friendly with Odin and had a few children with him; and also that She married the god Ull (also spelled Ullr), the god of justice and dueling.
Today Skadi lives at Thrymheim in the remote area of Jotunheim, happily traveling about in the winter wilderness on skies or snowshoes. As a Frost Giantess, Skadi is the embodiment of a winter goddess.
Skadi is associated with snow-shoes, skis, winter, frost, ice, snow, and wolves. Skadi is a good goddess to call upon for help in doing protective magick, or if you desire to reclaim your own wild nature and to go outside your own limits and boundaries.