Publisher: Gullinbursti Press
Author: Compiled by Isa Frostdottir, with additional contributions by Malark Bryony, Andrea Haugen, Silence Maestas, and Svartesól
Pages: 86 pp
Price: $13.00 US
Devotional volumes dedicated to single Deities are few and far between; even more rare are volumes dedicated to “less popular” Deities. It was a definite treat, then, when I discovered The Huntress Within: Finding Skadi on the Gullinbursti Press site. Compiled by Isa Frostdottir (who also penned the majority of contributions), this slim volume includes prayers and invocations, personal essays, and short fiction.
The intense and sincere devotion Frostdottir feels for Skadi comes through on every page. Here, I was introduced to a Goddess who is a harsh, demanding mistress, a teacher who requires the best of her student-devotees. There is nothing warm and cuddly about Skadi. She is strength incarnate, self-disciplined, her honor as sharp as a blade of ice. Skadi can be frightening, even to those who love her — but only because she forces us to confront and cut away the weakness within ourselves. Skadi teaches us that we are stronger and more capable than we ever thought possible.
Two of my favorites pieces: “A Curse” by Frostdottir and Svartesól’s essay “On Skadi.” The former is a poem calling on Skadi to wreak justice upon a rapist; the latter explores literary sources, particularly those which link Skadi and Loki.
I do have a few critical comments. For one, the table of contents page lists the contributions but not the contributors themselves. Second, the stylized font used for the titles is a bit hard to read; I had to squint to decipher Malark Bryony’s surname. Finally, there are a few typos scattered throughout the text: double of, double the, and so forth; a quick re-edit will fix those problems.
Despite those few critiques, I recommend The Huntress Within to Heathens (especially those who are Goddess- or Jotun-oriented), as well as fans of Boar, Birch and Bog: Prayers to Nerthus by Nicanthiel Hrafnhild; Day Star and Whirling Wheel: A Devotional to Sunna, Goddess of the Sun and Mani, God of the Moon, edited by Galina Krasskova; and Shadow Gods and Black Fire by Andrew Gyll. And to anyone else interested in wolf conservation (all proceeds go to The International Wolf Center).
[Rebecca Buchanan is the editor of EHS.]