I have been a student of Odin’s for a fair while. My thirst for knowledge – of any kind – is satiated on a daily basis with the guidance of the Alfather. I know that there will never be enough hours in the day or days in the year to learn all there is and so my learning continues. For the past several months, at odd times, I have become aware of Skadi – her name keeps ‘popping up’ in obscure places.
In my dreams, for the longest time, I have a ‘yearning’ in my heart for the mountains, for the cold and bleakness in the dead of winter, for the solitude and fury of a winter’s storm. This has carried over into my waking.
In my sleeping hours, on a few occasions I have visited with a beautiful woman in the depths of the mountains and we have talked as long lost friends or sisters. I have not, until now, understood this. I think somehow that Odin has been preparing me for this and now that I am at this realization, I am still trying to understand what I have to offer the Goddess Skadi.
There is so little information about her – the Winter Goddess, the wife of Njordr, Ullr (speculative?) and Odin, Daughter of Thiazi, Warrior and Negotiator, Jotun by birth, Asgardian by marriage. I feel a deep connection but I fear that I am too slow in knowing what I have to offer her. I think my most precious gift to her will be my self-reliance.
Any information I have found that resounds most with me I have put below:
As a Frost Giantess, Skadi is the embodiment of a winter goddess strength, courage and endurance. She embraces periods of storm, darkness, and challenge, and is never happier than when hunting or skiing in the snowy mountains.
She is stormy and unpredictable, relentless in her pursuit of what she perceives as justice. She will stop at nothing to achieve her objectives. But she has passion and integrity, and the determination to live life in all its fullness, regardless of the harshness of her circumstances, or of the feelings of others about her.
She knows how to survive in a tough climate, how to provide for herself and her loved ones. She loves winter because it calls forth the best in her. It demands her strength and courage, not her weakness. It calls on her patience, and her understanding that there is a cycle of seasons in life, and that winter is an essential part of that cycle.
Winter is a special time. It symbolizes the dark times that have been visited upon the human race since the beginning of creation. At times like this, we need to remember the lessons of Skadi. Beneath the apparent bleakness, life goes on. Within the dark womb of the Earth, new life is germinating and waiting to return. Out of darkness will come light. Out of seeming barrenness, new growth. Out of death, life. Winter will not last forever.
Skadi is a complexity of forces. Just as winter is unrelenting and powerful yet filled with humor and subtle nurturing, so is she. Skadi reminds us that we must go through a period of stasis in order for rejuvenation to occur. We need winter in our soul, a pause in our progression before we rush back in to the surging stream of springtime growth.
If you find your relationship with Skadi deepening, you may feel the need to explore your limits, to find out how it feels to push yourself to the edge of your resources. Skadi is a goddess who challenges. You may find yourself experiencing her most fully in some activity with an element of danger, such as white-water rafting, or going to survival school.
Skadi comes from Utgard– the wilderness– and though she can function in a civilized environment, her wildness is never entirely lost. She is a good guide when we ourselves are attempting to reclaim our own wild natures and to go outside our limits and boundaries, whether they are imposed by others or come from within. One way to begin to understand this is to go camping– alone. Get far enough away so that you see and hear nothing that belongs to humankind. Then you will be in Utgard. If you are quiet, you will become aware of a world which carries on without reference to humanity. There is life and death here, violence and peace. This is Skadi’s world.
Utgard may be found in the wild places of the world, but it can also be explored within. Skadi can be a powerful protector when we confront the monsters that lurk in the unconscious, and when we gather the courage to follow her example and live our own lives in our own way.