We know very little about the Goddess Sigyn. Not much has survived from the pre-Christian era about this Goddess.
Her name, appears to etymologically derive from two Old Norse words, sigr (victory) and vina (meaning girl-friend). This will cause some modern-day practitioners to hail Her in rites as “Victory Bringer.”
Appearances in Lore: Volupsa, Gylfaginning, Skaldskaparmal, Haustlong, Pulur, Þórsdrápa
- she was counted among the Asyngr (the name given to the Goddesses among the Aesir).
- She was wed to Loki, and with him had two sons
- As described in the lore, Loki’s two sons were slain, one forced to kill the other. The intestines of her son was then used to bind Loki. Sigyn stood at his side in her grief, and held up a vessel to catch the poison that burned like acid, that dripped from the snake fixed above Him.
- One of her by-names, or kennings is “Incantation-Fetter” (used briefly in passing in Þórsdrápa).
Because she’s mentioned in Haustlong (an older text and one of the few actually written by a pagan skald, and not a Christian scholar) I’ve seen scholary theory that she may be a Goddess from the older Germanic tradition, which carried into the later appearing Norse culture.
Appearance in Archaeology: Outside of these references in the ancient lore, we do have one believed artistic depiction of her in archaeology, specifically on the Gosforth Cross depicted in conjunction with a bound Loki (the art is very primitive and certainly not detailed).
Correcting A Misperception: For the longest time I was perplexed by an odd modern trend where people are talking about this Goddess as an abused wife, as someone abused by Loki. There’s absolutely no reference in the lore to this ANYWHERE. So I was left wondering, why does this misinformation continue to crop up?
Apparently it’s a simple case of mistaken identity. Some folks are confusing Sigyn with the various Signys that appear in the lore. Each and ever occurrence of a Signy is conveying a human, mortal woman. Several of these women were raped, suffered injustices, and the like.
Additionally, I would not be surprised if part of the reason why Sigyn is described sometimes as an abused wife, is because some of those who perceive Loki as evil incarnate, automatically assume that He must also be abusive. But we have nothing to suggest that he has ever been abusive to his wife, and in fact as we see in the ancient law codes (Gulaþing Law, etc.), a woman could divorce a husband if he struck her, and while more difficult, could also divorce because she was unhappy.
So How Does This Help Us Learn About Her: If we look at the etymology of her name Victory Girlfriend, and then her kenning of incantation-fetter, we see this Goddess begin to take on associations with both battle and magic. This suggests to me that she is skilled at the ability to magically ward and protect. Possibly also that she has in her nature, the ability to help to tame the wildness of Loki. Love can make a man who enjoyed sowing his oats settle down if its with the right woman.
We also can see that She is a Goddess that is a mother, and I have personally found her to be an excellent Goddess to call upon when someone is working vigil on a sick loved one, be it a child, a spouse, a sibling, a friend, a parent, etc. She is a Goddess who endures. For those who enjoy the musings, prayers, poems, rituals, etc. from others who have worked with this Goddess, you may find the Devotional text Sigyn: Our Lady of the Staying Power, to be of interest. Or perhaps a poem I wrote a while ago: Do Her Cries Fill Your Ears?
Or if you’re so inclined you can set aside an hour’s worth of time, raid the kitchen for a large mixing bowl, and then fill it up with water. Then try just standing there, holding the water-filled bowl before you for that hour while you think and meditate upon Her.
Does anyone have their own insights to share about Her?