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Skadi by Sue Perryman

In Norse mythology, Skadi is a giantess and a goddess and is the embodiment of winter. She is associated with mountains, hunting and skiing, her most often mentioned attributes being her bow, snowshoes and ski's. She is sometimes described as the 'snowshoe goddess’. Her hall in the snowy mountains is called Thrymhein and her father was the giant Thiazi.

Thiazi was killed by the gods after kidnapping the goddess Idun and with her the gods supply of the apples of immortality that kept them young. In her grief and fury Skadi swore vengeance on his murderers, and armed with her father’s weapons she made her way to Asgard to confront them.

The gods offered Skadi gold to appease her, but she refused as she had enough gold left to her by her father, so they asked her what she wanted, she looked at the fair Balder and replied, ' a husband and a good laugh' as she had been miserable since her father’s death.

The gods agreed she could choose a husband on one condition. She must choose him by his feet. Skadi agreed so all the gods lined up bare-footed in a courtyard. Skadi shielded her eyes so she could only see their feet and made her way along the row of gods. When she came to the most attractive pair of feet she thought they must belong to the handsome Balder and made her choice. Looking up she was shocked to see that they belonged to Njord, the Vanir maritime god. But because she had agreed to the conditions, she knew she would have to marry him.

Loki provided the good laugh by tying one end of a cord around a goat’s neck and the other around his ...ummmm...unmentionables, Ouch! As the goat wandered around eating grass it pulled Loki along behind which caused him to yell out in pain, he pulled back and it became a tug of war which ended up with Loki falling into Skadi's arms. Despite her sorrow Skadi couldn't help laughing.

To make her even happier, Odin cast her father’s eyes into the heavens to become stars.

After their marriage Njord and Skadi couldn't agree on where to live as they both loved their own homes. They decided to try spending nine days in each other’s halls. Njord was unhappy in the icy cold barren mountains with only the sound of howling wolves and the wind, and Skadi disliked Njord’s hall Noatun at the seashore, with the sound of gulls crying and boats being built. Eventually they decided to separate, Njord stayed at his ocean hall Noatun and Skadi returned to her mountain hall Thrymheim.

Skadi is a strong independent goddess who can be called on in situations where you seek justice, courage or strength. She doesn't need a man to protect and provide for her as she is an expert hunter and a formidable warrior. Skadi can help us to understand that life cannot always be sunshine, fertility and summer, the darkness and decay of winter is equally important in life for us to grow, learn and become balanced and whole.

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