Holda, a.k.a. Percht, Perchta, Berchta, Holle, Hulle, Holl, Hella Hulda, Bertha, Frau Guaden, Frau Goden, etc., is a folkloric goddess or spirit found primarily among Germanic peoples.
Appearance: Holda appears in two forms. The first form is of a beautiful young woman dressed in white. She has one foot that is said to be that of a swan or is else said to be either deformed or larger than the other foot. The other form that Holda appears as is that of an old hag or horned devil or satyr. The two forms that Holda appears in are referred to as "beautiful Holda" and "ugly Holda". In certain parts of Europe, Holda is often identified with St. Lucy. For images of Holda, click HERE, HERE and HERE.
Lore: As a goddess figure, Holda is primarily associated with spinning/weaving and household chores. Holda does not tolerate laziness and punishes lazy people as well as rewards hard workers. Holda is also associated with winter weather. When Holda beats out her mattress or pillows the down feathers that escape are believed to transform into snow. When Holda either lights or extinguishes her hearth fire the smoke becomes fog. Winter thunder was believed caused by Holda spinning her flax. Holda is also associated with bodies of water and normally shows her beautiful, younger self at these locations. In this role Holda is similar to a water nymph. Holda is also associated with both the protection of children and punishment of children. Unfortunately her punishment appears to be disemboweling bad children and stuffing their bellies with straw. One of the beliefs concerning Holda was that some of the spirits that made up her entourage of accompanying spirits were the spirits that would soon be incarnated as newborn infants.
Holda As Witch Queen: The Roman Catholic Church equated Holda with the pagan Roman goddess Diana. Due to such equation it was believed that Holda was a witch queen who flew through the air with her fellow witches and accompanying spirits in nocturnal raids referred to as "wild hunts". During such nocturnal raids extensive destruction was accomplished and people were killed or spirited away, possibly never to be returned.
The Origin Of Holda: According to some, Holda may stem from either the goddesses Frigg or Freya though there is not much evidence to support such belief.
Holda And Christmas: Holda is most often identified with Winter-time, and especially the twelve days of Christmas. During this time Holda was believed to visit households and reward good people and hard workers with the gift of a silver coin. Holda would punish bad people or lazy workers by disemboweling them and stuffing their carcasses with straw.
The Cult Of Holda: In the early middle ages food offerings were left out for Holda and her accompanying spirits, called Perchten, in exchange for prosperity. The Church disapproved of such pagan worship and argued against such practices.
Powers: Holda has power over winter weather, water, and is associated with prosperity and abundance in exchange for food offerings left out on the 12 days of Christmas.
Defense Against Holda: Be a good, hard-working person.
Perchta, The Belly-Slitter
Riding With Holda