Angerboda - The Hag

The Element Encyclopedia of Witchcraft: The Complete A-Z for the Entire Magical World - Judika Illes 2005

The Hag

Also known as Angrboda, Aurboda.

This mysterious many-named, shape-shifting spirit manifests as a crow, a beautiful, golden goddess and a fierce iron hag. The name “Angerboda” (related to “foreboding”) refers to her manifestation as a hag. It is the form that she prefers.

Angerboda is also called “Hag of the Iron Wood” and “Hag of the East Winds.” In folkloric retellings of Norse mythology, Angerboda is often called a “wicked witch.” Iron Wood may refer to oak groves.

Modern culture so intensely prizes physical beauty that it may be surprising that Angerboda chooses to be a hag. However, in this manifestation she is the fierce, fearless ruler of her domain, whereas an early manifestation as a young, golden witch, Gulveig left her vulnerable to attempted murder.

Gulveig means “power of gold.” Gulveig is described as glistening like gold; she initially traveled to the Aesir gods seeking gold. Having been burned in the Aesir’s forge three times, however, Gulveig emerged as Angerboda, the embodiment of the power of iron, the most magically powerful metal of all. (See MAGICAL PROFESSIONS: Metalworkers.)

Angerboda rules the Iron Wood. It is her home territory, where she raised her children. She prefers not to leave, perhaps recollecting past negative travel experiences. However intrepid people requiring her services may visit her, although she is fierce and not always welcoming.

Angerboda’s children include Hella, Queen of Death, the Midgard Serpent, the Fenris Wolf and the wolves responsible for solar and lunar eclipses. Other sons are identified as werewolves. She is the grandmother of trolls.

Angerboda is a weather deity: in her guise as the Hag of the East Winds, her songs drive ships right into storms.

See also Hyrrokkin, Thokk; ANIMALS: Corvids, Wolves and Werewolves; DICTIONARY: Aesir, Trollkvinna; DIVINE WITCH: Angerboda, Hella; FAIRIES: Nature-spirit Fairies: Trolls.