In dedication to the last Friday of Women’s History Month, I personally wanted to write about one of my favourite Norse goddess. The goddess of winter, Skadi. I hope you enjoy it.
Skadi The Frost Giantess (Sk-aa-d-ee)
Skadi was not born a goddess. Instead she was born and raised a frost giantess. The frost giants were notorious for being enemies to the gods. They were similar in strength, and supernatural abilities. Most frost giants were described as being unattractive, sometimes just downright ugly. Although constantly warring with the gods, not all the frost giants were heartless monsters. Some have befriended the gods and humans. On occasions a frost giant or giantess has slept with a god or goddess, bearing children with them. Since the gods and goddesses of Asgard only appreciated beautiful things, it must have meant not all the frost giants were ugly. Skadi herself was described as a beautiful young maiden. With the skin of a frost giant, but the face of a goddess. Skadi was depicted as being kind-hearted compared to the rest of her kin. She was still as tough as they came, but not quick to anger, and used opportunities rather than starting a fight. She joined the ranks of the goddesses through her own means. Once accepted she was welcomed, for her strength, abilities, and beauty.
Skadi’s Disappointing Love Story (I’ve cut out a few parts to Skadi’s story, because it ties in with other stories, and there would be a lot more to explain if I tried, you can find her full story in any of the websites or books listed below if you prefer).
The story of Skadi starts with her father, Thiasse. Thor had a complicated dispute with the frost giant. In the end there was a battle against the two, and Thor came out the victor. Skadi was her father’s only remaining relative, and thus inherited his mountain lands and fortress. Instead of throwing herself into a vengeful rage, calling upon curses and swearing for unrest until Thor’s blood was shed. Skadi donned her helm and corset. Then marched right into Asgard, requesting an audience with the gods. Skadi was within her rights to demand compensation for her father’s death, and she demanded it of Odin, who agreed readily. The king of the gods was impressed with her even temper and pretty face. Skadi did not wish for vengeance or even wealth and riches. She had one specific goal in mind, something that she had wanted for many years. The young giantess was in love with Baldur. The god of innocence and goodness was renowned for his handsome features. Every young maiden wished to be his wife, and Skadi was no exception. It had been her private plan from the beginning to use her death-compensation as leverage, to arrange a marriage with him. So, she informed Odin and those in the council with him, that she would take nothing less than the prospect of choosing her own husband. Someone to help her rule her father’s lands. Despite Skadi’s beauty, none of the gods wished to marry a giantess, and have to live in frost giant country. However, they all agreed they had to come up with a compromise to satisfy the polite giantess. So, it was decided amongst them, that Skadi would not be allowed to pick her husband, but choose at random one of them. It came down to each god lining up, and stand behind a curtain, with only their feet showing. Skadi was to pick her groom by the appearance of his feet.
Skadi agreed to the arrangement, reasoning to herself, that Baldur would have the smoothest and prettiest feet of them all. She inspected each set of sandaled feet carefully. Once her eyes fell upon the smoothest, and least worn and cracked soles, she decided they must belong to the beautiful Baldur. Making her choice, the curtain was raised. To her dismay, it was not Baldur standing before her, but Njord. The god Njord was older, with two grown children already, but no wife.
Since the bargain had been struck, Skadi and Njord were forced to marry that day. Njord begrudgingly accompanied Skadi to her father’s home, in frost giant country to live with her.
Sadly, they did not have a happily ever after. Njord could not stand living in the cold mountains. While Skadi would not live by the sea, with the waves bothering her in her sleep, where Njord’s home was.
In the end, the couple went their separate ways. Skadi now lived alone in her fortress from then on. She became a master huntress, perfecting the art of skiing, and trapping in her wintery mountains. She was from then on called the ‘skee-goddess’ or the goddess of winter, for her feats.
Although now classified as a goddess, from her marriage to Njord, Skadi had little to do with the gods and goddesses of Asgard. She remained on friendly terms with them from then on, and would assist when they asked for her help. Otherwise, she remained alone, still dreaming of a day Baldur would notice her, and marry her.
Written by Billie Richard
Sources used Books: Norse myths and Tales, Epic Tales. By Flame Tree Publishing Norse Mythology, by Neil Gaiman Websites: https://mythologysource.com/ https://thenorsegods.com/ Norse Mythology – Mythopedia Norse Mythology for Smart People (norse-mythology.org) Are All Giants in Norse Mythology Evil? - BaviPower Blog
All photos used are from these websites, unless stated otherwise.
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