Abundantia, Goddess of Prosperity and Good Fortune

Abundantia (abundance) is a Roman Goddess, personification of abundance, prosperity and good fortune. She is loosely modeled after Demeter, and bares a resemblance with Copia, Annona and other goddesses of wealth, harvest and prosperity. Her name can be written Habundia, Abundia, Habonde, Abonde or Habundie.

Her attributes are the cornucopia, a golden sheath of grain or palm leaf. She is quite often shown in Roman coins, holding a cornucopia, indicating the generosity of the emperor and at the same time blessing the empire.

She evolved into Domina Abundia, a fairy queen of France. As fairy queen, she is known as Old Dame Habonde, Notre Dame d’Abondance, Wandering Dame Abonde, Queen of the White Ladies; misty spirits, vilies (wilis, veelas), sylphs and banshees. “Roman de la Rose”, a medieval novel, tells that every third born child was to travel with Abonde three times. Only their souls would travel, their physical bodies would be at home, as if dead, and they would be misty and incorporeal. Abonde was told to lead nocturnal hordes of Ladies through houses and farms, eating and drinking all they could find. If one left them food and drink, Abonde was to bless the household with prosperity. If not, the white ladies would destroy the crop, break into the storage rooms and vandalize the property. This ride, also called Wild Hunt, took place during Midwinter. It has been attributed to Herne, Odin, Valkyries, Mother Holle and several other Dark Deities as well as to Abundantia.

It is interesting that even though she seems to be very popular, beloved and important Goddess, not much is known about her. Some people say that she is the same Goddess as Perchta (Percht, Bertha), some say she is the Scandinavian Fulla (Volla, Vol), yet some others say that she is another form of Demeter/Ceres. She has been compared to Erda (Eartha, Jord), Frau Holle (Holda), Nichneven (Nichen) and all the other hags of European pantheon. As Fulla she has golden hair and eyes blue like cornflower, and she is beautiful and young. As Frau Holle she is an old, old crone, who tests you by giving you different tasks.

In all her aspects she will punish the wicked and reward the kind. She likes the mild, hardworking, generous people, who share what is theirs and help the helpless. Especially important to her is how you treat animals and the weak of the society; the old, the poor and the sick. She also is very strict about rest and respecting the holidays. All these are Virgo qualities. Abundantia is the Heavenly Virgin.

Hans Christian Andersen and Brothers Grimm use Frau Holle in her different aspects in their fairytales. In Frau Holle, the good girl is to go and serve her for a year and as she is a kind, friendly, respectful and hard-working girl, who does all the chores put on her well and without complaining, she is rewarded with that ever word she says turns into golden coin. Her stepsister, a lazy, whiny, unfriendly, proud girl, who is not satisfied with anything, comes home speaking frogs and covered with tar. The girl with red shoes steps on the bread and is dragged into the swamp to serve her and to learn humility and respect food.

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