The Goddess Perchta

It’s clear that there are thousands of deities we never heard of, and honestly, its quite impossible to know them all since many don’t even have names or descritpions because it was lost in time. However, there are certain deities we can talk about even if the knowledge about such gods is a bit tiny but it might lead us to a better understanding, and who knows we might even find out more about them.

Today I will talk about the goddess Perchta, or at least everything I know about such a deity, which is little unfortunatelly, but it’s just to expand the horizons and to let you know that there are loads of deities which are very interesting and people seldom talk about them.

Perchta is a birch goddess, well, a deity linked to this specific tree which shows at first a connection to the Celtic folklore. Perchta, Berchta or even Percht,  is a goddess belonging to the Alpine paganism (which is another sort of paganism we seldom hear of). The Alpine region is very rich in folklore and traditions dating back to the celts, gauls and germanic tribes, because it’s a place right between these cultures and the peoples of this region soaked up different European spiritual beliefs and cultures, transforming it into something unique and quite interesting to study.

This goddess is the patron of spinning, and it is said she once led the Wild Hunt during the winter (her connection to the germanic spiritual beliefs). She is very similar to the germanic goddess Holda and the Norse one Friga/Frigg. However, it is said that she appears in two forms: as beautiful young woman with skin as white as snow, and another, elderly and haggard. There might also be a connection here with the Norse deity of the underworld – Hela/Hel – which also changes her appearance likewise, although more skeleton-like. This might mean that this goddess is in fact a deity that combines different spiritual beliefs and works as a sort of spiritual ambassador to unite different cultures in understanding one another through spiritual practice.

Some of her worshippers comprised a Mystery cult, which is hard to know what exactly was about and how the rituals were held. Her worshippers became possessed by the dead, or by the Goddess herself, in a ritual apparently related to her procession as leader of the Wild Hunt.
Her name is definatly connected to the goddess Bertha, which is just another deity (or the same) connected with spinning and weaving. I would say this goddess through time became more of a household worship kind of deity rather than a goddess worshiped in the forests, but it’s certain that she started to be a goddess from the wild probably connected with death and winter.
So Perchta might have been a goddess connected with the underworld, death, winter and the wild hunt. A very powerful goddess, both feared and loved, but probably due to the coming of christianity her cult might have been kept under secret within the family environment, thus slowly becoming a household deity.

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