Óðinn was a god intimately connected to the Yule season, and one of his bynames is Jólnir (“the Yule-being”). It is possible that Santa Claus’s nocturnal visits were partially inspired by earlier stories of Óðinn’s journeys to earth during Yule as the leader of the wild hunt. In certain parts of Germany, Frau Holda was also regarded as the leader of the hunt, as well as being a goddess who ruled over the productivity of the household, winter, spinning, and magic.
Hail Odin, Yule Father, wish granter, lord of mystery and magic. May the fury of the wild host pass over me this Yule, leaving joyful gifts in your wake.
Hail Frau Holda, lady of the hunt, lady of the snow which is the feathers from your pillow. May you bless my home with warmth and productivity, so that I will be found worthy in your eyes.
Earlier in the day, make “wish ornaments” for your Yule tree in honor of Oski (Odin’s aspect as the granter of wishes). Create an ornament that embodies a wish you would like to see come true in the next year. Ask for Oski’s blessing upon your wish in exchange for the offerings you will be leaving out for him tonight. Any household activities such as cooking, cleaning, spinning, etc should be done in Frau Holda’s honor today to the best of your ability. It was said that Frau Holda would punish the lazy and reward the productive.
In different parts of Northern and Western Europe, it was either Óðinn or Frau Holda who were believed to be the leader of the Wild Hunt: a ghostly procession of spirits who would ride wildly through the night and snatch up any unlucky traveler who crossed their path. Tonight, you will leave out offerings for both (the Heathen equivalent of leaving out cookies and milk for Santa).
Leave offerings outside overnight, including something for Odin and Frau Holda (such as beer, mead, mulled wine, cakes, meat, etc), and something for their horses (carrots, apples, sugar cubes, etc).
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