Many Heathens today celebrate Mother’s Night either before, during or after Yule. Other than seeing this as ‘confusion’, I tend to see it as the good folk today trying to reintroduce this Old Way into their daily life.
Last year, I wrote about Mothers and Mother’s Night .. you can visit that here.
Mōdraniht – Old English ‘Mother’s Night’ – is an Anglo-Saxon celebration. We know this because the Venerable Bede, a Medieval English Historian, left us an 8th century record. This account, De temporum ratione, is a valuble treastise on the reckoning of time; as a #Seidwoman, I am particular concerned with Mundalfari’s Wanderings.
What Bede tells us about Mother’s Night:
Incipiebant autem annum ab octavo Calendarum Januariarum die,
ubi nunc natale Domini celebramus.
Et ipsam noctem nunc nobis sacrosanctam,
tunc gentili vocabulo Modranicht, id est, matrum noctem appellabant:
ob causam et suspicamur ceremoniarum, quas in ea pervigiles agebant.
Beginning the year on the 8th calends of January [25 December],
when we celebrate the birth of the Lord.
That very night, which we hold so sacred,
they used to call by the heathen word Modranecht, that is, “mother’s night”,
because (we suspect) of the ceremonies they enacted all that night.
In that ‘mothers’ and ‘foster mothers’ are mentioned frequently in Heathen Lore, its easy to ascertain the Germanic Matres and Matronae, the Nornir, Gygjar, and powerful Seidbearing Foster Mothers who were held in high esteem by the Germanic tribes – who were further known in Scandinavia as the Dis, and who clearly are celebrated at Disting, or the Dis’ Thing (“assembly”)
Speaking confidently, I am part of an annual Thing / Assembly of women, so can attest, at the least, several aspects of this rich female tradition live on. Further, to my knowledge, I was the first to suggest that Hel / Helja be honored during blot; an idea considered quite blasphemous at the time (circa 1980), but today, thankfully, is openly considered and/or practiced. In any event, I am not suggesting that my Germanic ancestors worshipped a sovereign, nurturing and maternal earth goddess, as popularly seen in Neo-Paganism. What we know is that there is a rich tradition of Huldrefolk – mostly dark, aluringly beautiful, black veiled, and dangerous women who often used Seidr. These ‘hidden women’, such as Helja and Frau Holle, Hludyn and Gullveig-Heid, were particularly targeted by the Church; who wanted their pale ‘virgin’ alone, to rule the minds of men.
The Heathen tribes knew that women, are anything but pale or virginal, weak or unfulfilled, ineffective or vacous. Our Goddess’ are wild and fierce as storm clouds, savage and unforgiving ocean waves, passionate and Wise Women who weld Seidr as a sharp sword. Equally as they were the undaunting defenders of hearth and kin, working tirelessly to feed their family, heal them with herbs and stones, and #galdr the Gygjar to aid them in their daily lives.
Yes, these are the gusty women of Heathen Lore who should be remembered on this Fifth Night. A handful of these Women include:
–Alusneihae, mother who ‘sings of sacred words’, and
–Aufanie, the ‘generous ancestral mother’.
–Friagabis, the ‘generous, open-handed’ mother, and
–Garmangabis, the ‘richly giving’ mother.
–Nehalennia, the ‘death mother’, and ‘seafaring mother’, and
–Saitchamiae, the ‘mother of magic’; who all #Seidbearers should know.
So on this night, hail the Mothers and Strong Women – equally your mothers and wives, daughters, sisters, and aunts.
~ ~ ~
The Matronae, A Print by Monica Sjöö
Art art bottom: