Skadi, the Goddess of Shadows, Injuries, Pain and Casualties
Skadi is a Norse Goddess. She is known also as Skadhi, Skade, Scathe and Skajoi. Her names method “damage”, “harm” or “injury”. It is the information from which English has got the words shadows, scathe and scythe.
Skadi was an ice giantess, not a Goddess, but when the Aesir killed her father, they compensated her by giving her a divine spouse and powers. She was in love with Balder, but the Aesir didn’t allow her to choose just anyone of them. They made her choose her spouse by the naked feet of the Gods. Skadi thought that the most beautiful God must also have the most beautiful foot, but she was wrong. The most beautiful feet belonged to the sea God Njord. Their marriage wasn’t a very happy one, as Skadi couldn’t sleep with the seagulls screaming in Njord’s ocean home, and Njord couldn’t sleep with the wolves howling in Skadi’s icy castle on the mountains. They managed to organize the relationship so that it worked, and Skadi has always had good relationship with all the Aesir.
The relationship between her father and her was also close and dear, so Skadi was made the Goddess of ancestors heritage, family relationships and roots.
Human beings are social animals and we learned to speak to strengthen the social bonds. Winter is the time to come together and tell stories. Because of this Skadi is also the Goddess of knowledge, storytelling and learning from elders.
Skadi is the Goddess of bridges. She joins the God world with the Primordial Forces, being an ice giantess who become a Goddess. She joins the sweet water from melting ice with Njord’s salty sea water. Scandinavia is the home of the Baltic Sea, world’s largest pool of brackish water. (All brackish water in the world is dedicated to a Goddess.)
Skadi is archetypal yang woman, married to a yin man, an example of how to preserve the freedom and wildness, but nevertheless be able to fulfill the duties and expectations. You do what YOU know is right, not what OTHERS tell you to do. Skadi is the Goddess of balanced, self-obtain, independent women. She runs with wolves.
“A healthy woman is much like a wolf: strong, chock-complete, strong life force, life giving, territorially aware, inventive, loyal, roving”
– Clarissa Pinkola Estes
Skadi is the Goddess of justice, vengeance and righteous anger. Her coming to the Aesirs to need justice for her father, and accepting the compensation, gives her this right. Later all the Aesir came to her to find protection, advice, ruling and judgment in different matters, already Loke did this. In this She reminds of Hekate, the Greek Goddess of liminal spaces, who is the final estimate among the Olympian Gods.
Like Hekate, Skadi is also the Goddess of Magic. She stands for darkness and coldness of winter just as much as the soft, protecting snow. She is like ice, hard and cold, but ice can also keep people protected and warm in shape of igloos.
Skadi is a huntress. She hunts with a bow, accompanied by white wolves. Skadi gives the hunters the skills of hunting, so if you are a good archer, thank Skadi. She is called the White Wolf Goddess and all wolves, not only the white ones, are her animals, but also other white Nordic animals, like Polar produces and white reindeer are hers. She moves in the winter scenery on skis, snowshoes or skates, and knows these winter sports better than anyone. Sports are holy to her. Skadi is in many ways similar to another sporting huntress, Diana-Artemis. Diana’s favorite sport was running, and when the snow melts, Skadi runs too. She is believed to be in the rivers and rapids during summer, and consequently is also the Goddess of rapid running and long distance running. You can honor her by engaging in these sports and martial arts. She is also the Goddess of mountains, so she covers all extreme and endurance sports.
Skadi gives people the ability to communicate with character, animals, plants and minerals.
In the legend of Skadi’s father, his eyes were told to be raised to the sky, as stars, to watch over Skadi. Skadi is consequently also the Goddess of stars and all star related activities, like astronomy and astrology. Here in Scandinavia (named after Skadi) the summers are so light that the stars don’t show well. We need to wait for Skadi’s season, the winter, to begin, to see the stars.
Skadi is not a silver blond white woman, but looks like any Northern Native woman. Her hair is dark, almost black, and long. It is sometimes tied up in a single knot. Her skin is brown and worn by weather, as every winter sporting woman’s skin is, and her hands are a working woman’s hands. Her eyes are blue grey and her teeth are very, very white. She wears always white clothes, decorated with white fur, and this is why she is called the White Lady of Winter. She carries along a white staff of winter, a large staff of her height, decorated with bone and fur, stone and metal. She wears bone jewelry and animal teeth and claws. She is sometimes presented with her white snake, Gemheil, twisted around her wrist or neck. Skadi is the mistress of snakes too, and when Loke caused Balder’s death, it was Skadi who hanged the venom dripping snake over his confront, causing him to shake and tremble as the poison hurt him.
Skadi is a shapeshifter, so you can expect to see her as anything. She is often in form of a white animal, like snowy owl, white snake or arctic fox.
Skadi lives on pears and game, especially reindeer. Her flowers are all white flowers, but especially those that prosper in snow, like Christmas rose, Snowdrops and Catkins. All black and white stones are dedicated to her, especially clear quartz crystals, called “mountain crystals” in Finnish and “ice stones” in German. If you wish to make her an offering, offer your blood, filtered water or vodka, pears or white flowers. Do not offer her salt, because the smell of salt reminds her of her husband’s ocean home and the screaming seagulls. Traditionally, Skadi was given offers at Imbolc (Candlemass).