Mid and I had a conversation the other day on the way home from work.
The end result is that with the way that I’m shaped like a beach ball and going gray young…I’m eventually going to end up Mrs. Santa Clause.
With that in mind, I thought I would touch on one of the happier, feminine Christmas and Yule legends-Frau Holle.
Depending on source, who Frau Holle (also called Frau Holda) actually is varies. Some suggest that she is an aspect of Frigga, the Norse goddess of the hearth. In some regions of Europe she falls closer to Baba Yaga, with a decidedly hag influence. In other areas, she is her own entity in and of herself. She -may- have originally been a dual natured entity, taking on either the hag or the maiden depending on story or region. Regardless of who she is, Frau Holle is a spirit who gifts the community in the winter.
She is often associate with women specifically, or by extension, the areas controlled by women-the hearth and children. However her influence also extends into the winter forest. This connection to the woodlands is extended to her symbols- Frau Holle, perhaps not surprisingly, is associated with holly and other plants that are still green in winter like pines and evergreens. Frau Holle is also associated with snow.
Interestingly, though the citations are vague, she may have been linked to the Wild Hunt. This would be one of the few leaders who were actually seen as being heavily benevolent instead of just morally gray. However, this might also just be an extension of her roles as a winter, forest guardian into similarly themed folklore. It does need to be noted however that when in connection to the hunt, she is connected primarily to the spirits of mothers and children, therefore maintaining her already established folkloric roles. Even though that source had little citations noted, the source list does heavily pull from academic sources, so maybe there is something to it.