Spinning the clouds

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I had a look through our old books this weekend and came across a lovely 1914 edition of "A book of Myths" by Jean Lang.

I started reading and came upon the myth of Freya, the Queen of the Northern Gods and wife of Odin. Our weekdays still remind us of those Gods of old, and Friday, of course, "was the day of Freya, "The Beloved," gentle protectress, and most generous giver of all joys, delights, and pleasures." 

[...] "Freya gave her name to plants, to flowers, and even to insects, and the child who says to the beautiful little insect, that he finds on a leaf, "Ladybird, ladybird, fly away home," is commemorating the name of the Lady, Freya, to whom his ancestors offered their prayers.

As it turns out, Freya was not only a beautiful, mythical goddess, she was also revered for her cloud spinning, and Orion's Belt was known as her spindle, as Jean Lang writes in her beautiful, flowery prose:

"In her home in the Hall of Mists, Freya (or Frigga), wife of Odin the All Father, sat with her golden distaff spinning the clouds. Orion's Belt was known as "Frigga's spindle" by the Norsemen, and the men on the earth, as they watched the great cumulous masses of snowy-white, golden or silver edged, the fleecy cloudlets of grey, soft as the feathers on the breast of a dove, or the angry banks of black and purple, portending a storm, had constant proof of the diligence of their goddess."

So, next time you look up to the sky and see the constellation of Orion, think of the old Norsemen, Freya's spindle and the fact that through spinning, knitting, crocheting and other yarn work we connect back to a mythical time.

A Book of Myths is available free online at Wikisource.

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