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Sif in the Ancient Texts

Sif is Wuldor’s mother and is married to Thor. They have 4 children between them. Sif is Wuldor’s mother and also mother of Thor’s daughter Thrud. Thor also has 2 sons Modi and Magni – the jury is out on whether Sif is the mother of these gods.

The etymology of Sif’s name gives us some insight to her roles as a goddess. In Old English, Old High German the name refers to connections by marriage and in-law relations. Sif’s marriage to Thor is an ancient form of the “blended family”. She and Thor have children of their own, but Thor is also referred to as Wuldor’s step-father which denotes a deeper relationship than just being the second husband of someone’s mother and Sif holds this all together. The Gods are ageless and therefore there is no record of Wuldor’s age when his mother married Thor, or how many years apart he and his half-siblings are.

Interestingly, Sif’s name is ommited from the lists of of goddesses or Asynjur given by the 13th Century Icelander Snorri Sturluson, author of earlier versions of the Eddas. There is some speculation that Sif is a swan-maiden and a daughter of an Elf-lord called Sigtryggr. If Sif herself is half elven and Wuldor’s father is in fact Egil-Orvandil, as speculated, this makes Wuldor more elven than Asgardian.

The Poetic Edda shows Sif as peacemaker between Loki and Thor when Loki accuses Sif of having an affair with him. In response she offers Loki a horn of mead, a typical “peace offering” in ancient times.

In stanzas 53 and 54 of the poem Lokasenna, after pouring Loki a crystal cup of mead during his series of insults towards the gods, Sif states that there is nothing Loki can say only in regard to her. In response, Loki claims that Sif has had an affair with him:

Then Sif went forward and poured out mead for Loki into a crystal cup and said:
Welcome now, Loki, and take the crystal cup
full of ancient mead,
you should admit, that of the children of the Æsir,
that I alone am blameless.
He took the horn and drank it down:
That indeed you would be, if you were so,
if you were shy and fierce towards men;
I alone know, as I think I do know,
your love beside Thor,
and that was the wicked Loki.

This is not her only encounter with Loki. Sif is known for her golden hair. Many believe it references ripe wheat, therefore making Sif a fertility earth goddess. In the Prose Edda in Skáldskaparmál,Loki cuts off Sif’s hair as a prank. Of course when Thor hears about this he is enraged and grabs hold of Loki to break every bone in his body unless he promises to make things right. Loki swears to have a magical headpiece made of gold to replace Sif’s locks that is more beautiful and strong than Sif’s original hair and that it will look and feel like real hair. Loki fulfills this promise by having a headpiece made by dwarfs, the Sons of Ivaldi. Along with the headpiece, the dwarfs produced Odin’s spear, Gungnir, the ship Skíðblaðnir and the boar Gullinbursti for Freyr, the multiplying ring Draupnir for Odin, and the mighty hammer Mjöllnir for Thor. So out of the sacrifice of her golden hair Sif reaps many powerful tools for the gods of Asgard.

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