Sea: Welcome to Saga Kraft: myths, fairytales, legends, stories comfort us, inspire us and heal us. Please join us as we share stories both old and new. More than anything, we are open to the story and it's unfolding. At times it may be one story told by one person, at times it's the same story told through three different voices. In the end, we go where the story takes us and we invite you to follow.
I'm Sea, a writer, artist, and storyteller.
Betsy: I'm Betsy, a medium and teacher of mystery traditions.
Gabriela: I'm Gabriella, an artist and practitioner of folk magic.
Saga Kraft: We are magical fairy godmothers in training. .
Betsy: Our stories this week are about theNorse goddess, giantess, Skadi, known to be a goddess of winter, known to be a very strong lady deity. she's a ???? goddess. A wild one. I hope you enjoy our stories, and I'm going to begin.
Sleep started out deep and fulfilling. The kind of sleep that occurred after physical exhaustion. The pull to sleep had been enormous, after her body worked hard in the dark of the Northern night for hours. Her birch and bone shovel, carried in on skis along with her pack of provisions, finally lay at rest beside her after helping her dig a cave in the dense snow. Her pack, bottomless, had provided furs to wrap up in after she had cut boughs from a spruce tree to line the bottom of the cave. She had pulled out kindling, and a pan for cooking a stew from creatures of the north. Having eaten reindeer many times, she knew the signature and she had made her body into a reindeer to travel across the snowy landscape. Her senses were so immense and intense in that form, she had felt herself honing into informational fields that guided her. It was compelling enough that only her ability to focus with an almost brutal single mindedness allowed herself to make the wrench that freed her from the reindeer form when she had made it to the mountain of her choice. Or rather the mountain of the the mountain’s choice. It had been calling her for sometime, but exactly why she wasn’t clear. That would come.
For now, she was where she needed to be and it was some undisclosed time of actual night, not just the night of afternoon or morning that is part of the long winter day. She slept again. It could have been for an instant, it could have been for a year, she wasn’t sure and relaxed into not caring.
This was why she was free. So that she could just move through her life and just be. To choose her moments and her days. She listened to the sounds of snow settling over her. It wouldn’t dare to fall in on her, but it did by its nature settle as crystal patterns morphed. She honed in on snow patterns on the surface outside, crystals clear and exquisite. Like her, she thought without vanity. The snow inside the cave was compacted and formidably strong. Also like her. She listened to her blood moving in her body, to the sound of her breath, her digestion also audible as the reindeer stew slowly digested. Not so very long asleep then if she was still digesting. She slept again.
A high pitched sound disturbed her. It was flowing and singing in waves and in her minds eye colours began to form and dance in waves of green edging in cherry red. The aurora was beginning and from the size of the waves would be vast and memorable. She checked in and found the pull to sleep was less and more manageable. She pulled her woollen tunic on and her boots and slid into her fur coat, wrapping a woolen and fur scarf around her sleek blonde hair and her long swan like neck. The cold did’t really bother her, but habits were habits and her furs and wools allowed her to comfortably remain outside for as long as she desired. Again, choosing to have choice.
She exited the cave and gasped at the enormous display of curtains of waving and flowing green banded with cherry colour. Offshoots of silver and gold flowed in other directions and danced into new patterns.
Fierce, exultant love moved in her heart and without thought flowed out of her and joined the colours in the sky. Love flowed form her heart and dictated colours of violet and silver which added new bands and surges melting into the green and cherry. As the colours swelled, so did her heart and more love poured from her. The aurora incorporated her offerings and built in size and intensity and flowed around the mountain in all directions. She began to dance under the sky, singing in a trilling voice, colours spun out of her and her voice shifted the colours to orange and deep red and spinning off into lilac. The aurora listened and sang back and the dancing curtain of moving light and colour began to swirl into a great spiral that spun out stars and spheres of radiance. The sound grew as each colour had its own note, the aurora sang in chords that didn’t harmonize with her voice but instead let her voice sing it into further actualized being.
The mountain itself began to glow, waking up from its drowsy slumber. A halo effect was beginning to shine on the mountain peak, and her voice picked up the deeper notes of the mountain weaving them into a song of sky and earth, of light and stone. The mountain became non-physical and all its slumbering inhabitants either woke and joined or dreamt and joined in the dance. When the mountain began to sing, she could feel the ecstasy in her bones and teeth, in her sinews and her hair. She could feel it in her sacred center as orgasm began in waves of pleasure radiating out from her pelvis. The mountain’s orgasm began, not as an earthquake but as an uplifting of energy that exploded out into the sky and could be seen as silver and golden light flowing into the sky from the mountain’s silhouette. The aurora received the waves from her and the mountain, absorbed them and let itself be seeded and conceived new life.
Bear and fox, marmot and rabbit all received the enlivening of their seed as did the trees and the frozen waters. The elven-kind, radiant in their etherial forms, were glowing in unison with the light dancing in the sky and within and were undulating in forms freer than usual, that fluidity momentarily gifted by the aurora.
As the waves of ecstasy arced, various liminal doorways in the mountain shone with light and then slowly receded as the ecstasy moved to its farthest limits and then gradually faded. The curtains of light began to pale and to flicker and slowly to wink out.
She took one last long breath and sighed in unison with the landscape, made sacred by love and communion.
A movement from the corner of her eye caught her attention. Standing in the eery afterglow was a slight, translucent female figure with an enraptured face still uplifted to the sky.
Skadi’s eyes narrowed as she took in the hamr (the etherial body) of a human woman. Elf-light shone in her, illuminated by the sacred union, so not fully human and gifted enough to be here. No doubt called here as she was by mountain or sky.
She turned back to the night sky, giving space for the woman to have her moments with the wonder of the night and let her self bask in the afterglow. Animals stirred and then snuggled in their dens, drifting back into blessed sleep.
The woman slowly came back to herself in the still glowing night. How she came to be here was a question in her mind that she pushed to the back as she surveyed the scene before her. A very tall and statuesque woman stood before her, with long platinum hair falling in a shining sheet past her waist. She was dressed in furs and standing straight as a lance.
Feeling the scrutiny on her back, Skadi slowly turned, aware the woman was more present now and perhaps as easily spooked as any shy animal.
Seeing her face, the woman dropped to her knees in surprise and a little shock. Skadi’s eyes radiated the eery green light whose match was even now fading in the sky. The green shifted her light blue eyes to turquoise. Clearly not a human woman. The kneeling one reached out her hands to the goddess, palms up and though shivering now, honouring her and accepting.
Skadi looked at her, into her and slowly nodded, aware of the woman’s sleeping body far away to the south. She opened her coat and stepping towards the slight figure, wrapped her in it, and carried her, as easily as a child into the snow cave. Murmuring something in a tongue so ancient that it is rarely spoken aloud anymore, she drew the shivering and clinging woman between the piled furs to dream the night away.
Sea: Who is she?
Betsy: She could be anyone. She could be you. .
Gabriela: I would love to be her. I would love to be carried by Skadi. That was beautiful. The sky... you gave so much life to that sky, and the colors in winter against the snow really have an incredible vibrance, an incredible other worldly dimension in how they're reflected. And I really felt like I was there with those colors in that magic, in that crisp visceral magic of place and the sky. And I love Skadi here too, who was such a part of the landscape, but at the same time, an observer. She was both the observer and the observed, the landscape and the movement. I thought that was just beautiful, and it feels very real and very true of her.
Sea: It was absolutely beautiful. I felt deeply touched and honored. Thank you.
Betsy: I loved having the opportunity to get to know her a little bit more. I'm a winter lover myself, and a person who used to dig snow caves and sleep in them, so I know the feeling of it. I feel very honored to, not so much, write a story about her, but be shown a glimpse of a moment in her life, and to be able to share it, experience and share it, and do whatever justice to it that I could.
Sea: It was fabulous, thank you.
Gabriela: Do you feel like you have a different perspective now? Or do you feel like this is how you've always seen Skadi and this is what you've always known of her?
Betsy: I do feel like as though it's a different, more intimate perspective of her. I felt her wildness. I don't know if I conveyed it, but her confidence was stunning to experience, and her desire to be in the moment, really, really living in the moment, and in the moment making whatever choice is the next choice in the moment. That was actually quite inspirational to me.
Gabriela: Well, it certainly feels so much of her energy was driven by instinct of environment, and her environment is that of cold, snow and wind. So she would really have to know how to master those moments.
Betsy: Yeah, I think that's true.
Gabriela: And I love how her deep awareness of what her level of normal was and what she could withhold, or rather what she could be comfortable in, would not be the same as for a human, and knowing that the woman is so... in that moment, she might just not make it through, and taking her home, taking her back. I love that.
Betsy: Thank you. And now Sea, you have a story about Skadi also.
Sea: When she was as a little girl, she would play for hours in the snow. Her furs wrapped tightly around her tiny frame, with a stick for a sword and a Wolf for a sidekick. She fought and won a lifetime of frosty battles. She championed the frost as the day turned to night and her tiny lips turned blue. Her mother would run out, searching for her wild charge in the depths of frozen nights. When she finally found her, in a mound of snow or the hollow of a tree, her mother would scold her, warning of the cold that would creep into her as she hazarded the dangers of the cold, alone in the mountains. When summer came she would hide in the root cellar, her weapons softer now in their vegetable forms.
When she was nine, lost in a winter war against invisible allies, the sun set and no one came. Her fingers, wound tightly around the branch spear, would not uncurl. She pried them off. Surveyed the darkness. She knew the woods better than her heart. She could track even the most stealthful beast. Her mother could not. As the sun rose she found the older woman's body curled around the remains of a small fire, deep in the wood. She fashioned a sled and pulled her home where her father angrily awaited his breakfast.
And she took that in, the obligation. Three meals a day she prepared for him. Porridge, stew, bread, mead, ale, buttermilk. A young frigid warrior subsumed by emerging duty, her time in the snow lost in penance. Until it was not. This time there was no body in the woods, no remaining relative to cast a demanding eye. Her father went out never to return. If he didn't, why should she? She went back to her snowy forests.
When she came across a man from Asgard, she heard a story of an eagle, a border wall, and a stage incineration. The questions she'd not cared to ask were answered. Another obligation: revenge. Pitching her sled, she headed out.
She arrived on a bright early morning. After losing the wolves, she climbed the thick stone wall, too hurried to search for a gate. She stole from building to building, listening for sounds of life. She came to B???. A party ravaged within. Pulling her spear from her back, she has snuck toward the entryway, then burst into the bustling hall. The Aesir offered her food and drink and gold for the life of her father. She countered, demanding a husband and a laugh, for joy was beyond her. The laugh or was not so simple. No joke could buoy her heart. The trickster put down his light and picked up his shadow. Fishing for her darkness, he hooked it with his pain and drew it screeching from heart through lips.
The husband came easily. Merrily the gods showed their feet. The huntress aimed for the sun, but landed the sea. The shore god married her that night. The silence of the ice shattered his thoughts, the crash of the waves shattered her dreams. She suffered the cold that crept into her as she hazarded the dangers of the warmth, together in the community.
She returned to the comfort of the cold, alone in the woods.
Betsy: Wow. That was beautiful.
Sea: Thank you. It was very unlike yours, but they did fit together somewhat.
Betsy: I think they dovetailed beautifully together. Yours is what went before. You showed a beautiful picture of who she was as a child. How one with the winter landscape she was, even as a young being.
Sea: Yeah. I felt like she was raised by the woods themselves.
Gabriela: That wilderness, I feel like, that grew and grew over time, was there from the beginning. And it's what shaped her. And it's what shaped the landscape that she, in many ways, becomes, and comes in and out of. I feel like so much of her in both of your stories is about going in and out of that landscape of self, and the outside, and that cold and how comforting that is for her, how it's the most intimate part of her. I think you even referenced that, is that how the cold, or the winter, knows her better than she knows herself. That cold knows her better than she knows herself.
Betsy: I was really struck by, and I wonder if you have insight into it Sea, about what prompted her to want a husband after taking care of her father, the way you conveyed that, for so long.
Sea: I have always wondered that as well. Perhaps it was just the sex, because they did remain married. They just didn't live together. Which I have got to say, at my age, sounds really appealing.
Betsy: I will confess to having a moment of thinking about her husband and having her only reaction in it being, well, we both love water, but in such different forms, right?
Sea: In my mind, Njord represents margins, like the margins of ecosystems. And so the shore is one of them, but so is the tree line. To me those are both part of his domain, so I can see where he himself would be torn between them. She is such a creature of the margins, as is he, and I feel like that's their commonality. They're the deities of the margins. The people on the edge who sort of hold the container for the rest in terms of ecosystem.
Gabriela: They both create the danger and contain it. The natural danger, anyway.
Sea: I think of Njord as creating Freyr and Freya.
Gabriela: Certainly gives that another, whole other meaning, but yes, it's out of the, those extremes and out of that coming together of these profound forces of nature, that's something new can be born. And only out of that can something new be born. Well, and with Skadi, just that concept of the freezing, like Isa, the rune that brings everything into present moment, present time and to such focus.
Sea: Yeah. I can really see them that way. So if I think of them both as on the margins, I can really see her as on the margins and slowing things to a close, and him on the margins and opening things from their deep sleep.
Gabriela: That gives me chills. I love that. And the orgasm of the sky in Betsy's story. Once again, it's that bringing life into being, into form, as life longs for itself.
Betsy: Yeah. And for us to consider what forces of nature are actually enlivening parts of us that we're not even aware of , you know, like the human in my story being drawn into it, but in her sleep, which is another, in a way, a metaphor for not really knowing what's going on, but going with it, giving her that.
Gabriela: Right. So then that sleep for her becomes initiatory and she's tended to by the great goddess. Also contained.
Betsy: Well, and I guess if it all comes down to sex, I mean, if you can have sex with the sky and the mountain...
Gabriela: Sounds good to me
Betsy: Or to no one's place as a generative deity, also. To be willing to be called to something, which she put effort into getting there for it, but not knowing, but just knowing it will become clear -er. Well, I think our stories dovetailed together so beautifully, really.
Gabriela: They were perfectly, perfectly matched. They wove beautifully together.
Betsy: Well, I found that my connection with her in that way really made me long for the snow and the night and... the aurora of course is always wonderful.
Gabriela: There's nothing like the aurora borealis. It is completely unique in itself.
Sea: I love the winter as well. I feel like this winter has been far too short. It feels like it's already going and I'm not ready.
Betsy: Maybe by welcoming Skadi we can welcome some of her weather working.
Gabriela: Or at least the element of quiet, crisp, cold magic, with so much dreaming potential.
Betsy: And to be, for me ,to be inspired by somebody who will take the effort. First listen, and then make the effort to be in the right place at the right time, for where she's needed, wanted, and where she has something to offer. How about you, Sea?
Sea: Yeah, I feel like she has an ambassador. Like she is that middle ground between the winter woods and us, and humanity. And I am just going to appreciate the winter, what remains of the winter, I'm going to try to suck in.
Betsy: And you, Gabriela?
Gabriela: For me it's that being in the moment that I always find the most challenging, yet I think it's very important to be in the moment, especially when it comes to nature and being an observer and an appreciator of it. If we just stay in it, it can probably bring so much more magic into our lives. So for me, it's going to be seeking out the outside regardless of the weather, just appreciating it for what it is. Being in the moment with it.
Betsy: Well, we're speaking here in the Pacific Northwest, but our listeners, in many parts of the country, will be experiencing the snow.
Sea: I hope they enjoy it for us.
Gabriela: Please, please enjoy it for us. May it be full of beautiful magic and the blessings of Skadi.
Betsy: And the aurora shimmering in all of that luminous snow. Thank you, listeners.
Sea: And special thanks to the fantastic Zoë Magik for her phenomenal editing skills.