The Old Witch’s Call to Frau Holda
Holda, Holy, shining bright
Holda flying through the night
Hear and heed my Witch’s spell
Spin out luck and spin it well!
Goddess gruesome, Goddess gay
Frost by night and snow by day
As this spell is my delight
Let our luck weave strong and bright!
In Your Cavern deep as Hell
Heed and hear my Witch’s spell
Holda, Holy, Granny Dear
Spin our luck into New Year!
—as sung to Leafshimmer
Holda, the Snow Queen, the Gracious One, Mistress of the Wild Hunt, first came to me at Yule 1999. Her Presence was a fascinating mixture of ageless majesty and very earthy, no-nonsense grit. I learned more about Her modern epiphany from Jack Gale’s book Goddesses, Guardians and Groves, especially the chapter “Holda Rising,” and subsequently other lore about Her filtered in. Interestingly, in the same year of 1999, a book by Marija Gimbutas was published, The Living Goddesses, in which she speculated that Holda was an ancient Germanic Great Goddess whose cult may have gone back into the prehistoric dawn of Neolithic times. There is no doubt that the Anglo-Saxon Hagall Rune, an image of great Power and antiquity, is a Sign that dates very far back:
In an essay about Her composed in 2008, I wrote: “This Rune provides a potent key to descend into Holda’s Well and unlock the secret gateway into Her Inner Sanctum. One way of visualizing this Rune is to see it as a Stave standing in the midst of the Crossroads… Holda holding the Stave at the Center of the Crossroads also embodies how, in the Northern Tradition, the Winter Festival stands as the pivot around which the entire year revolves, and renews itself. The Queen of the Snows also stands guard over the womb of the New Year. The singularity of Her Personality is the final resolution of the dualities of Life and Death embodied in the white quiet of Wintertide. One image that came to me … is that the six points of this Rune are reflected in Holda’s Pool and thus display the Twelve Nights of Yule, an illimitable energy vortex through which manifest Time and Space continually renew themselves. Holda’s Well and the Sacred Cauldron of Rebirth are, indeed, one and the same.”
One of the things most pleasing to the Fraw is to keep a clean house, and I always look forward to a winter cleanse as a way of honoring the gifts the Snow Queen has brought to my home.
Nine white maidens attend Her
Where She treads without leaving spoor…
Now the Leprous White Lady
Leads Her train of the lost
Leads the spirits through glade
And wood and goodly fields of frost