These are the Handmaidens of Frigga. Frigga and Freya were the chief Goddesses of the Northern pantheons, Frigga was the patron of marriage, organization, skills, and wisdom, while Freya was goddess of sex, magick, knowledge, and fertility. They shared many attributes, but they were not the same Ladies.
Frigga is said to know all, but she tells only what she chooses. She is mistress of all the skills of running a household- spinning, especially wool, weaving, cooking, brewing, and of course negotiation, frith (peace) keeping.
Frigga’s hall in Asgard is called Fensalir, and she has 12 handmaidens, who is each herself a goddess. There are several lists of these handmaidens and they do not all agree, so I have made more than 12 handmaidens so that people will be able to find the one they are seeking.
The first series were barely picked out in color. The second series were darker. The third had more brightness, but I still tried to rub the color down to keep them from looking too modern. I expect to keep experimenting with different clays because each gives a different effect.
Each Handmaiden is individually made, and I talk to the goddess as I form the clay, asking what she wants, and sometimes one aspect will come out, other times I’ll use different symbols or images. I how the handmaidens in an assortment of dark ages northern dress- from the fifth to the 12th centuries, from England to Iceland to Germany as well as Scandinavia. The faces I leave barely formed intentionally, as goddesses show themselves to those who seek them with various faces, and I don’t want my vision to clash with the vision of the person who will ultimately keep the image.
I also portray other gods and goddesses- sometimes at request of someone who needs a hard to find weoh, sometimes because some One directs me when I pick up the clay- some of these I don’t know who they are until a devotee sees them and tells me who they are.
Most of these are sold, but if you contact me, I’ll be happy to make a new version for you. These images are mostly from the third series.
Fulla is Freya’s sister, mentioned in the healing Merseburg Charm as Fol. She is the one who keeps Frigga’s treasures, and is often shown with a treasure chest. She also keeps Her shoes, of which Frigga had many pair, each magickal. She is said to have worn a golden head band, which reminds some of the band around a sheaf of grain. She is also called Habondia or Abundance.
In the third series I put her in a green gown with a darker green apron and a purple shawl. She has keys hanging from her brooches as well as two strings of amber. Her hair is bound by a filet. In this Fulla has a larger chest on the floor beside her, and I include a pair of magick shoes, which can be charmed.
Eir is the goddess of healing, especially natural healing, rebuilding of health. It was Eir who taught medicine to women.
The second series shows her crushing herbs into a bowl, wearing a large satchel in which she carries her tools and herbs, her hair braided and bound out of the way.
Var’s name was the first invoked at northern weddings. She is the one, who witnesses the oaths of lovers, (and she will enforce those oaths she has witnessed. She also witnesses other oaths, and punishes those who break them.
In the first series she holds a ribbon to bind the hands in a marriage. In the third series I show her bedecked with wedding finery, and holding an oath ring.
Gna, is the messenger of the gods. She is often depicted with her horse Hofvarpnir (Hoof-florisher), but he would not fit in this series, so instead I have her holding a bit of harness and carrying a leather scrip in which to hold the messages, dressed warmly for riding Hofvarpnir. In the third series she wears a fur hat and fur lined coat, with a scarf and mittens tucked into her belt.
Snotra is “the wise one”, the goddess of correct behavior. More than a goddess of etiquette, she is the one who helps people get along with each other (important when your entire extended family lives in one room and can’t get out for three months in the winter!). Her attribute is a napkin.
In the third series I show her in the dress of a wealthy woman- many chains and scissors and toilet articles hanging from her jeweled brooches, a pleated linen under gown. Her hair may be white blonde, or perhaps the white of a woman with decades of keeping a large household organized.
Lofn, is the protector of lovers, marriage, and reconciliation. She cares especially for those whose romance is disapproved of by the rest of the world.
Hlin, the compassionate one, is she who “kisses away the tears of those who mourn”. She helps heal the broken spirit, cares for them and teaches those who have been emotionally hurt how to take care of themselves in the future.
I have her in a dark layered outfit, warm and comforting, wearing shears and a needle case as well as a bag, and the usual brooches and amber festoon.
Syn (Truth), is the doorkeeper of Fensalir. She is the one who keeps out those who Frigga would not want within her domain. Modern Spaeworkers often invoke her to guard the doors of their circles. She can sense lies and is invoked against perjury.
In the second series I showed her with the sword, often used to symbolize her presence, while in the third, I show her with a small staff, considering whether to open the door for one who has asked entry.
Holla, sometimes called Mother Holle, is the goddess of housekeeping, and special goddess of spinning flax and those who care for homes and family. She protects children and leads them in one version of the Wild Hunt.
I show her in a natural wool gown with a very simple pinned on apron, smudged with the grasses she works in and holding a kid.
Handmaidens of Frigga
Here are there descriptions collected:
Saga is the Goddess of History and of Seers. She is a drinking buddy of Odin, and sings the tales of heros.
Eir is the Goddess of Healing, and gives knowledge of medicine. She is a companion of Mengloth the Jotun healer, and lives on the Healing Mountain.
Gefjon is the Giver- she gives Plenty- good harvests, and is often pictured with her four sons who she shaped into oxen to draw a plow around a plot of land (Zealand) which she was given by Gylfi. All unmarried women come to her hall after death.
Fulla, or Vol, is Frigga’s sister, She is the Goddess of Wealth- she keeps the treasure of Frigga and is often shown with a chest. She is golden haired and wears a golden headband. She is also the Goddess of Shoes, and has several magical pairs. She is also a healing goddess.
Vor is the Seer- Goddess of Intuition, of Oracular Seidhr or prophesy.
Var witnesses the oaths of lovers, and is always the first deity mentioned at a wedding.
Lofn is the Giver of Permission to those who love outside what their culture considers acceptable, and those who have a hard time finding love.
Hlin is called the Compassionate One, and She who Kisses away the Tears of those who Mourn. She consoles and heals and teaches those who love has hurt. She is also a protector.
Sjofn’s role is healing quarrels between lovers. The love she puts in people’s hearts isn’t just romantic love, but the love between family and community members.
Snotra is the Goddess of proper behavior (Ettiquette). She’s often shown with a Napkin. This may seem odd, until you consider how the culture was armed and winter kept them in very close quarters- behaving well toward each other becomes VERY important. She gives wisdom and virtue.
Syn is the Gatekeeper. None may come into Fensalier (Frigga’s Hall) unless she passes them. She is a goddess of Justice, and of Law, and boundaries.
Gna is Frigga’s messenger, and is generally seen ready to ride, and in the company of her horse Hofvarpnir (hoof-flourisher)
Others sometimes included among the handmaidens are:
Holle Goddess of Spinning Flax (Frigga spins wool) and housekeeping. She also cares for children. Some versions of the Wild Hunt are that it is the souls of rejected children led by Mother Holle.
Holdra Goddess of Herds has a cows tail, and she also protects farmers.
I’m including these images of the ladies unglazed because it’s a slightly different look, and a few different pieces.