Sif: Norse Goddess of Fertility
Who is the goddess Sif?
Sif was a Norse goddess and the wife of the warrior god Thor.
Her heritage was overshadowed by that of her husband, but she was at one time a highly recognized and important deity.
She was the goddess of wheat, fertility and family.
There are very few details about the goddess, but what we know about her shows that she was a very important goddess to the northern people.
Origins of Sif.
The two main texts depicting Sif are
- The poetic Edda
- Edda in prose
Some of the best known traditional sources on northern mythology.
She is described as a beautiful woman with golden hair like the sun. Her name means "relationship to marriage" and she was associated with family care and fertility.
Thor was her second husband, the first being the giant Orvandil. She is often compared to other goddesses such as Freya or Fjorgyn.
Family of Sif.
Very little is known about Sif's family.
We know that she was married to Thor, but we don't know if they had children. She had a child from her first husband, Ullr, the god of snowshoes, hunting, bow and shield.
He was described as incredibly beautiful with many warrior attributes. He was often called to help in battles.
Appearance of Goddess Sif.
Sif's artistic representations always show a strikingly beautiful young woman with long golden hair.
In most of the photos, the hair almost touches the ground. Arguably, without her long hair, it would be difficult to recognize Sif, as there is very little description of her.
Viking symbols associated with Sif.
It is said that Sif symbolizes fidelity.
It is also associated with summer, passion and sunshine. Its best symbol, however, is its hair, which was said to symbolize the fields cultivated by the northern population.
The health of her hair was directly related to the strength of the crop, especially wheat according to some sources.
An old tradition says that in order to ask Sif for help, one had to make bread with a lot of grain.
Sif is also associated with light, as it is said that she was able to control the light in the sky and had an influence on the changing of the seasons.
Sif in our days.
Although not proven, it is assumed that Sif is mentioned in the famous poem Beowulf in Old English.
It is also celebrated at the end of spring each year, as Sif was associated with summer. On the first day of the new season, there seems to be a spark of interest in the history of the goddess in Iceland.
Thanks to the written work of a 19th century researcher, the story of Sif has been rejuvenated in Scandinavian folklore.
Iceland began building a Nordic temple in 2015 to pay homage to Thor, Odin and Frigg. It is for this reason that Sif has once again gained popularity.
Legends and stories of this Norse Goddess.
There are many myths involving Sif, but his roles are passive.
This does not mean that she was not an important goddess.
Her importance in Norse mythology lies mainly in her symbolic contributions.
Thor, Sif's husband, was known for his reputation as a bully and a man. But he was absolutely in love with Sif, who was incredibly beautiful.
His most famous physical attribute was his long, thick hair, which was the most perfect shade of gold. It went down on his back and always looked flawless.
It is said that her long golden hair represented wheat and that she was responsible for the cultures of the northern peoples.
She traveled in search of families and farms, where she protected the crops from the cold winds and winters.
Sif brushed her hair with a jewellery-encrusted comb and washed it in sparkling jets.
To dry it, she would lay it on rocks and let the heat of the sun speed up the process. It was one of those days that she fell asleep waiting for her hair to try it. Loki, the god of fire and mischief, had put a spell on her so that he could play with her hair.
Why did Loki cut off Sif's hair?
Thor cherished his wife's hair and often bragged about it whenever he had the chance. Loki knew this and in an effort to antagonize the god, he cut Sif's hair. Sif was almost bald and when she woke up, she found his hair in a heap around her. She burst into tears and it fell to the ground, flooding the fields she wanted to protect.
Thor called his wife but could not find her. After searching, he finally heard her whisper her name. She said she was ashamed and that she had to leave the house of the gods and hide. She then let her husband see her and he was immediately struck with sadness at his wife's suffering.
Thor approached the other gods, demanding that they tell him who did this to his wife. Odin, the chief of the gods, suggested it was Loki, because no one else had enough malice in them to do such a thing. Odin called Loki, only after ordering Thor not to harm her.
Loki confessed the crime and the gods demanded that he find a way to redeem himself. Loki left to find a way to give Sif back his hair. He went to the center of the earth to visit the Gnomes, who were known for their manual labor. He asked them to make a hair cap to match Sif's hair. The Gnomes worked for days, but they finally presented the cap to Loki, which had long golden locks as soft as silk made of gold thread.
Loki brought it to Sif, who put it on. It fitted perfectly and gave him back his hair, which he missed terribly. Once again she was happy and was able to help the Scandinavians with their crops once again.