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January 7 | Frigg’s Distaff Day

4 min read

To mark the day, some of our ancestors picked up their spindles again.
Some Pagan writings say that Roc Day can be celebrated any time from January through May.
For most Christians, this was on January 7th, after the 12 days of Christmas Celebrations were over, while others counted from New Year’s Day and started on January 12th.
Goddess Frigg spent much of her time in her private Palace, Fensalir, surrounded by fog and nature.
There she would spin on her jewel encrusted spinning wheel and spin beautiful, colorful clouds.
She also spins the sacred Distaff of life, and is said to know the future, although she will not speak of it.

Frigg is the Goddess of Love and Marriage.
She is known as The Mother of All, The Goddess of All, and The Protector of Children, depending on which version of her story you hear, but all depicting a beloved Goddess.
As a Norse Deity, Frigg belonged to a complex religious, mythological and cosmological belief system. This tradition was started in a period from around 1000 B.C. and continued until the Christianization of the area around 1200 A.D.
She was married to Odin who was the God of all Gods and Men, the God of Magic, Wisdom, Wit and Learning.
In her private Palace, she would spin on her spinning wheel, and the Constellation, Orion’s Belt, is said to have been named after her because it represented her spinning wheel.
Translated into Norse, this day is called Frigga’s Roc.
“Frigga” for one of the variations of her name, and “Roc”, meaning distaff which translates into spinning wheel and not to be confused with what we know today as a “distaff”.
Frigg and Odin had but one child together named Baldur, the God of Light, who ruled the Sun.
He was born after a long labor on the longest night of the year which marked the New Year and the end of Winter Solstice.
He was eventually killed by a dart of mistletoe which punctured his heart, and version of the story said when the God responsible for Baldur’s death was killed, it ended the world.
This could perhaps represent when the Pagans were converted over to Christianity officially.

Since many Pagans were reluctant to convert to Christianity, many of their traditions were adapted into Christian ceremonies, perhaps as a way of getting the Pagans to celebrate Christian Holidays.
Christmas, for example, became officially celebrated on December 25th, a decision made by Pope Julius I in the fourth century A.D. and, until then, it was celebrated at different times of the year.
This marries the Pagan celebration of the Winter Solstice with the Christian Birth of Christ Celebration. Mistletoe becomes a representative of Christmas Celebrations and the New Year also becomes a significant Christian Holiday to mark the end of the old year and the beginning of the New Year.
In a round about way, when we celebrate New Year, we are welcoming the birth or rebirth of Baldur.
If we are Pagans, that is.
The use of firelight or candle light marked the birth or rebirth of the God of Light.

Somewhere in history, but in A.D. times, a celebration was created to mark the day the women picked up their spindles again after the 12 days of Christmas Celebrations were over.
It is not clear exactly when these celebrations of Roc Day began and, according to the legend, it is a day of both play and work. When the girls went back to their spindles, the boys would set fire to their flax and, in return the girls would douse the boys with pails of water.
This seems to be a significant part of the celebration and perhaps lighting fire to the flax honors the Goddess Frigg’s son Baldur, the God of light who was once honored through candle and firelight.
The pails of water could represent Frigg’s tears at the loss of her son.
Either way, somewhere in time, Roc Day began to be called St. Distaff’s Day.
Although there is no actual St. Distaff, it makes it a more folky celebration and perhaps more acceptable to some.

In today’s community of spinners, celebrations take place on different days and in different ways.
For example, some hold fiber and yarn exchanges within their guild, while others get together and hold a spin-in. Others still, prefer a private ceremony offering up their spindles, some wonderful fiber, lighting a candle and perhaps offering a glass of wine to the Goddess in sacrifice.
Even if the rituals may have changed over the centuries, and reasons behind traditional ceremonies may have been altered to suit this ever changing world, the roots are still the same.
So no matter why or how you celebrate Roc Day, remember that there once was a Goddess named Frigg, who spun colorful clouds and watched over all women and children and, whatever the reason or religious background, it is a great way to honor such native European traditions!

Images from web – Google Research

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