As the name clearly implies this is a female oriented ritual where the women of the household take charge and act as Godia to preside over the rite. The ritual should take place on the first night of Yule, or the night before the Winter Solstice. Among others it honors the Old Germanic Winter Goddess Holda, who is best known for her position as the matron of weaving, domestic chores, and childbirth. She is also associated with witches and domestic animals, and of course The Wild Hunt. Some of her secondary names include references to being Wotan's wife, and because of this, and her being the matron of weaving and childbirth, I cannot help but wonder if Holda is simply an older Germanic form of the Scandinavian Goddess Frigga. But thinking and knowing are two different things, so I honor both of the great Goddesses. Some even honor Holda on all 12 nights of Jul ( Yule ), but I only honor her this night. This ritual is also performed to honor the Idises ( Wise women ) as well.
Being old, single, and male, I have considered from time to time about skipping this ritual. I hate cleaning, and all household chores for that matter, and it seems odd to honor Holda on this one day when if I had a connection with her I would honor her everyday. However, I fear that if I failed to honor Holda this day Freyja would be angered..... well at least very disappointed in me. Freyja always " pushes" me to honor the female Goddesses more because she feels that we in the Asatru religion short change the Goddesses in favor of the Gods. Well, what woman doesn't want attention . Sorry Freyja. Just kidding !
Before the ritual I do my best to tidy up my house, ( did I mention that I hate housework ? ), to honor the Goddesses and the Idises. As I do with all rituals I make sure that I am personally clean, well groomed, and well dressed before stepping before the Goddesses. Last year without even realizing it I put on cologne before I started. The Goddesses seem to appreciate it if you put out a little more effort for them. Sorry if that seems chauvisnistic, but it is the Tru feeling I get during rituals with the Goddesses.
I use one of my alternate altars, usually Frigga's for this ritual, because my main altars have been tainted with weaponry, and the aura of the War - Gods upon them. Frigga's altar just seems more .....pure. I place cleaning items around the altar as well as items used in weaving. I still have some of my mothers knitting things, which makes the ritual a little more personal for me. As I perform the ritual I sometimes have images of Frigga sitting at her spinning wheel turning wool into thread. When I was at Williamsburg, Va., a few years ago, I actually saw this process and it was quite fascinating to watch. I thank both Mother Goddesses for their help with the childbirth of our folk, and for the way they look after our children. In my short story, "All - Mother",( See my fiction section ), I tell the tale of Frigga defending a little girls soul from Hel, and that is how I see Mother Frigga, as a great defender of our children. I also honor and thank the Idises, for watching over my home, and blessing me with good luck. I then apologize incessantly for my lack of cleaning skills and zeal in its upkeep. I also ask Mother Holda as the great Goddesss of Winter to be merciful this year and give us a mild winter.
I also honor all of my female descendants. I am fortunate in that I know each and every one of them all the way back to Sarah Jansen de Rapalyie, ( 1633 ), a descendant of the Norman Vikings and a French Hugenot. Women never get enough credit for the work they do taking care of children, caring for the household, and in this day and age holding down a job as well in many cases. I make it a point of mentioning all of the above in my ritual. I end the rite honoring my mother, who though she was ill most of her life, raised two children, and never neglected her duty to the household or to her extended family.
The Mother Night ritual is also a great time to appreciate what we have as well. Whether we live in a huge house or a small apartment there are always those who have less than we do. Sometimes much less ! I like to spend a little time, as I am cleaning, to really look at everything I own, and know how lucky I am, and how blessed I have been by the Gods and Goddesses. If you are a woman reading this, there is a fairly good ritual in the book Teutonic Religion, by Kveldulf Gundarsson. Mine has been modified greatly, obviously so I as a man, can honor the Goddesses and Idises on Mother Night. Oh, who am I kidding, even if I were a woman I would modify it. I honor the Gods and Goddesses the way that feels right for me, and enhances the relationship I have with Them. As should you ! Everyone, enjoy Mother Night ! And ladies the night is yours !
A drop of water loses its identity in a bucket of water,
But an individual can still be an island in an ocean of people !
- Glenn Bergen
Go with Odin's wisdom, Freyja's love, and Thor's protection !