The Sixth Sister: Bylgja

Name Meaning:
Sea-green, aqua
Seals, sea horses, and the fabled wave-horse
Bylgja is a merry gambler, and has an affinity with the pounding energy of the surf. She is a goddess of luck and gambling.
Her Gifts:
Luck, and obsessive energy for the weary. Bylgja revives the world-weary heart ... or tempts it into foolish risks.
Fruit, thrown into the ocean.
Altar items:
Sea-green or aqua glass sea floats. Dried sea horses. Sand dollars. Sea-green ribbons with foamy white lace. White horses. Seal figures.


image by Jenifer Chetwin

bylgja from the Giants' Tarot

Hail, Lady of the Breaker!
You pull us in and toss us out,
Daring us to risk, risk, take the plunge!
You are the seal dancing in the wave,
The white horse crashing onto the sands
And the piper who evades the water with aplomb.
You are the song that seizes the ears
Of generation upon generation of sailors,
Sweeping their youth out upon the blue waters
To adventure, to death, to glorious return,
To an ending with a storehouse of tales.
Lady of the Breaker, give us energy
To survive the great roar and the terrible pull,
Give us focus to swim in the world’s waters
And escape with great accomplishments,
And tales to be told about our distant lives.



If you are unfocused and lacking in motivation, if you are cowardly and afraid to risk, ask Bylgja for help. This is one of the few rituals that can be done without water, although as always it’s best done at the seaside. If you’re at the ocean, the strenuous and rhythmic activity you’ll be doing is wave-jumping – you go out into the surf on a fine and not too windy day up to your chest or neck, and as each wave comes toward you, you try to jump over it at exactly the point where it crests. Too soon and it doesn’t count, too late and you get swept inland and ground into the sand … and then you get up and do it again. (Seawalker describes this game for Bylgja in his poem in Full Fathom Five.) The exertion is actually your offering – that and your willingness to risk it.

If you’re not at the ocean, tie long sea-green ribbons to your wrists and elbows, and then run. Feel the pounding of your feet, and the pounding of your heart. Run as far and as fast as you can stand. If you can’t run, get a drum that you can play hard with both hands for a long time, and do that – perhaps in the context of a drum circle, perhaps alone, but again as long and loud as you can take it, and don’t give up too quickly. Push to find the far edges of what you can do. If you are too disabled to do any of these things, you should be calling on a different goddess.

If Bylgja accepts your offering, you should gain more clarity and focus on the most important things in your life … or, at any rate, the things that she feels are most important. You should also find yourself more willing to take risks – if you’re already the reckless type, you’d best be careful, because Bylgja can tempt you into all kinds of things!