Gold trail

On the trail of eternity

From Frau Holle to Hell and the Goddess of the Underworld

Mrs Holle

By on 23 April 2020

Mrs Holle

Frau Holle and the Trail of the Goddess in Fairy Tales

Gold Marie and Bad Luck Marie

The fairy tale "Frau Holle" by the Brothers Grimm contains one of the few traces of the "great goddess" that can still be found in traditions. It is about the disadvantaged stepdaughter who has learned perseverance, diligence and loyalty under hard conditions. She is therefore richly rewarded by Frau Holle, namely showered with gold ("Gold-Marie"). The vain, lazy and spoiled stepsister, on the other hand, the biological daughter of the wicked stepmother, is showered with bad luck ("Bad Luck Marie").

The content of the fairy tale Frau Holle

The poor stepdaughter had fallen into the well and woke up in another world. She went on her way and did what she had to do. She came to a small house and an old woman was looking out of it. The girl was afraid because she had such big teeth. She got scared and wanted to run away. But the old woman called after her: "What are you afraid of, dear child? Stay with me, if you want to do all the work in the house properly, it will be all right for you. You must only take care that you make my bed well and shake it diligently so that the feathers fly, then snow will fall in the world; I am Frau Holle." 

The young woman faithfully completed all the tasks assigned to her and thus passed all the tests. As a reward, she was lavishly showered with gold. When her lazy stepsister saw this, she went and threw herself into the well out of greed for gold. She woke up in the same place in the other world, passed the same stations as Goldmarie, but she didn't lift a finger, she was so proud. Instead of the gold as her hoped-for reward, however, she was showered with pitch.

Symbols and interpretations of Frau Holle

The underlined words
  • Well, Shaft - The Unconscious: an access to the "other world", to the realm of the unconscious, to life in matter. This is the realm of the great mother, "Frau Holle", as the goddess in her 3rd aspect, as the deity of fate (s. Feminine Wholeness, 3-in-1).
  • The young woman should not be afraid and should not run away.... for example, not run away from the relationship with the man, even if it sometimes seems to her that he wants to "eat" her (big teeth).
  • As a dear child of the great Mother.... she proves to be when she accepts her destiny and faithfully fulfils her tasks:
  • ... do the work in the house properly and do the (= make it in the) bed well: It is the bed of the great mother. Here new life is born... The young woman should not refuse herself physically.
  • Shake out the blankets well: Shaking off the difficult and surrendering anew (again and again)... it won't always be easy....
  • Feathers fly through the air: She will also "lose feathers": she will grow older. - But it will also become easier and easier for her, because feathery the feathers will fly in the air (air is the symbol of the man's soul): the woman will be able to live love with ease and win the man, dancing like a snowflake, because...
  • Snow is the symbol of female seductive power(white magic): The magic of her feminine charms and her power of seduction give her an easy game. That is how she wins:
  • Gold - wholeness and eternal life: This is the reward for their faithful, trusting devotion in love.


Admittedly, the fairy tale seems a bit old-fashioned, but ...

Devotion out of love is never easy, because it goes hand in hand with a dying of the ego . The fairy tale follows thehero's path with its five phases in itsstructure . The young woman decides on the path of love (1), gives herself completely out of love (2), performs servile "ash work" (3). With increasing maturity and experience, in the success of her "magical" charisma (4), the woman nevertheless does not become proud and arrogant. Nor does she refuse the man, but remains faithful and forgives again and again (5; she returns to the "stepfamily").

To Woman's heroic journey this overview:

The heroic journey of the woman

Gold for wholeness

The woman who has proved herself in challenges and difficulties with perseverance and love will reap fruits and experience golden abundance in the autumn of her life.

Golden Rain

The Trail of the Great Goddess in Fairy Tales

The Goddess in her third aspect as the Great Mother 

Frau Holle corresponds to the great mother, the female deity in her third aspect (see . Feminine Wholeness - the Goddess, White / Red / Black). As mistress of the underworld she stands for the power in nature (matter) and for fate. She rules over nature and the weather. She also judges people according to their deeds and gives them their just reward (in the form of their fate, which is expressed in gold or bad luck).

Huld, bright, friendly

The name "Holle" is one of the few traces of the great goddess still to be found in fairy tales. Her name can be associated with the Germanic goddess Hel - Halia - Huld or heil, whole (English), hel (Swedish), who holds the realm of the hidden, the unconscious, namely the underworld.
However, the names "Holle" and "Hel" also echo the German word "Hölle" (hell), and also the English word for hell: hell. That this word originally had a positive connotation is again shown by the German adjective "hell", which is associated with light, and "heil", which is associated with wholeness.

From Mother Holle to Hell - What Happened?

Rebellion against the harshness of fate and the demonisation of strong femininity began as early as Babylon (see Introduction to the Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh). It led to the condemnation of the young woman ("goddess of love") as a whore and to the fight against the mature woman as a fearsome monster (bull) or as a witch.

[S. The Great Feminine in the Underworld. ]

Western culture has only just begun to free itself from such thought patterns. Disney's Maleficent films are an example of this. 

[S. Maleficent, the dark fairy as goddess of fate.]

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