A depiction of the Norse goddess Sif.

The warrior god Thor is well known from Old Norse literature. He has become a popular cultural icon, but his wife seems to be largely forgotten these days. However, Sif was once recognized as an important Norse goddess and a powerful ”neck, which ruled the head”.

A Goddess of Wheat, Fertility, and Family

Sif is known as a Norse deity whose powerful position was dictated by her marriage. She appears in the Poetic Edda and Prose Edda, which are the best known 13th century traditional sources on Norse mthyology.

In these texts, Sif appears as a beautiful woman with long golden hair. She was described as the mother of the goddess Thrúd (meaning ”Might”, a goddess of the storm), and god Ullr (meaning ”The Magnificent”, a god of winter). Researchers suggest that she represented the fields of wheat, which had a golden color similar to her hair.

Since the beginning, Sif was associated with fertility and family caregiving, and she was connected to the rowan tree. Her name means ”relation to marriage”. She may also be represented in the Old English poem Beowulf. The number of references of the goddess suggests that she was very important to the Norse people until at least the early medieval period.

Sif (1909) by John Charles Dollman.

Sif (1909) by John Charles Dollman. (Public Domain)