Sif may be one of the least “recognized” goddess’ of the Norse pantheon. While much attention is paid to Freyja and Frigga, Sif seems to rarely be mentioned, even by those who are well versed in the Norse gods.
However the Eddas have brief mentions about Sif throughout. We know that she was the wife of Thor. and mother to the archer Ull. Ull’s father is unknown, but we do know that is isn’t Thor, indicating that at some point in time, Sif had another Husband.
Sif is described as perhaps the most beautiful of the Norse Goddess’, with long blonde hair that are the “source” of her power of magic and enchantment.. She has the gift of prophecy, and is a swan maiden. She was once married to Orvandil, making her one of the “elder” gods in the pantheon. She signifies fertility and corn.
Perhaps the most famous tale of Sif is the tale of Loki sneaking into her bedroom and cutting off her hair. This so angered thor that he “convinced” Loki to have make a deal with dwarves to have the most beautiful hair of gold made to replace Sif’s hair. Some have said that Loki’s removal of her hair may be representative of the burning of crops at some point in time.
Also worthy of note is the fact that both Loki and Odin (in the name of Harbard in Hárbarðsljóð) accused Sif of having a “lover at home” while Thor was away. There is some speculation that Loki may have in fact been the lover Odin was speaking of, as its the only way that Loki could have gotten close enough to Sif while she was sleeping. However, the evidence of this is speculative at best.
It’s interesting that Sif seems to embodied elements of both Freyja and Frigg. She clearly has the beauty and sexuality of Freyja, but also has the fertility and concept of holder of the keys that emodies Frigg.
See Hammer Rite
Said by Gothi/Gythia
Then came Sif forward and poured mead for Loki in a crystal cup.She said:
“Hail to thee Loki! To thy lips now raise
this beaker full of good beer,
so that me alone among the gods
without a blot thou let’st be.”
Said By Gothi: “How shall Thor be referred to? By calling him… husband of Sif”.
Said by Gythija: “How shall Loki be referred to? By calling him… Sif’s hair farmer”.
Said by Both: “How shall Sif be referred to? By calling her wife of Thor, mother of Ull, the fair-haired deity, rival of Iarnsaxa, mother of Thrud”.
Said by All: “How shall gold be referred to? By calling it… Sif’s hair”.
Taken from the Prose Edda
Gothi/Gythia pass around horn, each person making their toast.
Said by Gythija: “Why is gold called Sif’s hair? Loki Laufeyson had done this for love of mischief: he had cut off all Sif’s hair. And when Thor found out, he caught Loki and was going to break every one of his bones until he swore that he would get the black-elves to make Sif a head of hair out of gold that would grow like any other hair. After this Loki when to some dwarves called Ivaldi’s sons, and they made a head of hair and Skidbladnir and the spear belonging to Odin called Gungnir… The hair was rooted in the flesh as soon as it came on to Sif’s head…”
Said by Gothi: We give great honor to Sif
To Sif – loving wife of Thor and Goddess of the harvest.
We thank you for your presence at our blot.
so you may lend us your warm-heartedness
to guide us as we enter the spring.
Hail and welcome!
Said by All: Hail Sif!