Winter

The First Gods are Night and her sons. After them are the three Weird Sisters, Powers of fate, destiny, and vision. The eldest of these is the Witch-Queen, the Power of winter, weaving, the past, memory, the underworld, and snow. She spins the thread that her sisters weave into the tapestry of Wyrd. She manifests most often as a wizened crone, solitary and hidden in far-off places (one of her echoes, Frau Hölle, can only be reached by falling down a well!), full of magic, mystery and impassivity, though she can help those who have earned her respect.

There are several conceptions of Death in Waincraft. Winter is the first, and the most aloof. She is a harsh mistress, the inhuman howling of the bitter winds that bring death in their wake. And yet, she is also tender at times, watching over dead children, and bringing the deep snows to nurture the land.

 

 

Akka, Yambe-Akka – (Finnish) The “Old Woman (of the Dead),” she is wife of Ukko, and goddess of fertility; as Yambe-Akka, she is the Saami goddess of the underworld and the spirits of dead children; See Hel, Frau Hölle, Louhi

Anu, Anann – (Irish) one of the Morrigan, she is associated with death, battle and cattle. In folkore, she is called “Good Annie” as a means of appeasing her temper, much as the Sídhe are called the “Good Neighbors”. See Frau Holle, Badb, Nemain

Baba Yaga – (Russian/Slavic) A witch-goddess who lives in a hut with chicken legs and rides about in a mortar and pestle, kidnapping children. She is dangerous, but may help those she wishes to; See Frau Hölle, Cailleach Bheur, Louhi

Berchta, Perchta – (German) A figure from southern German and Alpine mythology, usually considered to be a kinder face to the northern Frau Hölle, as they share many characteristics. Also has ties to the White or Pale Lady of Rügen, most likely Hertha. See Frau Hölle

Cailleach Bheur – (Scottish) The Old Hag of Winter, her name is usually given as Beira in the Highlands. She is a witch and creator of mountains and valleys, and sometimes called the mother of the gods. She is associated with deer and with the cailleachan or spirits of stormy weather. Has many connections to the Germanic Frau Hölle, particularly in the legend that washing her linens (specifically a plaid) are the cause of snow. See Frau Hölle, Akka, Baba Yaga, Louhi

Dalia – (Lithuanian) A goddess of fate, particularly over material goods and property; she is seen as dealing out the “proper share” among humans. See Laima.

Frau Hölle, Holda, Huldra, Hyld – (Germanic) Frau Holle (or Hölle) is a figure from continental Germanic folklore, associated with winter, dead children, the Wild Hunt, witches and domestic chores. She is variably kind or harsh depending on the character of the persons who encounter her, similar to some depictions of Baga Yaga. Her name is cognate to the Scandinavian huldrafolk, wood-spirits that take on the appearance of beautiful women, but can be ascertained because of their tails; this symbolism may link her to the spirits of nature. Snowfall is attributed to Holda “making her bed” in the German highlands, much as the Cailleach Bheuris said to bring snow while washing her linens. As a goddess connected with underworld mysteries (her home is often said to be located under a well), she may be the same figure as the Norse Hel. See Louhi, Akka

Hel, Heliþ –(Norse; Anglo-Saxon) The Germanic goddess of the afterlife and the underworld, she often portrayed as dual-sided, reflecting her nature as a goddess of death, as well as life. The proposed Anglo-Saxon goddess Helith may be associated with her, as a goddess of healing and health. Her name comes from an Indo-European root meaning “to hide, to cover.” It is likely that she is the same figure as Frau Hölle. See Frau Hölle, Eir, Louhi, Mara, Żywie

Laima – (Slavic) One of a trio of goddesses associated with fate and destiny, she is connected with childbirth, death and pregnancy. See Frau Holle

Louhi – (Finnish) the ruler of the underworld, and goddess of death. She is known as a powerful witch and shape-shifter, and is sometimes blamed for disease and illness. It is she who sets several of the Finnish heroes on their quests in the Kalevala. See Baba Yaga, Akka, Frau Holle, Cailleach Bheur

Mara – (Latvian) One of the highest goddesses in Latvian mythology, she is associated with death, the household, money, and children. Often considered the same deity as Laima. See Laima, Frau Holle, Hel

Orchil – (Scottish) A figure from the Romantic-Era Celtic Revival, she is said to be an underworld goddess weaving the fate of the world on two looms, and is associated with time. See Star Mother, Frau Holle, Laima