Holda (also Holde, Hulda)
Holda (also Holde, Hulda) Fierce Germanic goddess
of the sky whose nocturnal rides with the souls of the
unbaptized dead led to the Christian association of her
with the demonic aspects of the Wild Hunt. Holda was
beautiful and stately, and bold as a Valkyrie. She also was
goddess of the hearth and motherhood and ruled spinning
and the cultivation of flax.
As host of the Wild Hunt, Holda was said to be accompanied
by witches as well as the souls of the dead. They
rode uncontrollably through the night sky, shrieking and
crying. The land over which they passed was said to bear
double the harvest.
Holda, like other pagan deities, was linked to the Devil
by Christians. In medieval times, she was transformed
from a majestic woman to an old hag, with a long, hooked
nose, long stringy hair and sharp fangs. In folklore, she
has been reduced to a bogey, a low-level bad spirit, and a
tender of sheep or goats.