November 15, 2008

What is a Shieldmaiden?

What is a shieldmaiden?
Well according to Wikipedia, a shieldmaiden is:

a virgin who had chosen to fight as a warrior in Scandinavian folklore and mythology and they are often mentioned in sagas such as Hervarar saga and in Gesta Danorum. Shieldmaidens also appear in stories of other Germanic nations: Goths, Cimbri and Marcomanni.[1] The Valkyries were based on the shieldmaidens,[1] and they were J.R.R. Tolkien's inspiration for Éowyn.

So basically, a shieldmaiden could be considered as the female counterpart of "a knight in shining armor". She was a soldier; a woman or girl who chose to fight for her country, beliefs, cause, or for whatever other reasons she might have had. St. Joan of Arc could be considered a sheildmaiden, then, I suppose.

But what does it mean to be a shieldmaiden toady? Obviously many of us aren't part of Scandinavian folklore or mythology, and even fewer of us are soldiers in the army, or likely to become one. How can one be a shieldmaiden then?

I found an atricle about Shieldmaidens on the website While I don't agree with most of the article (it has a slightly feminist-ic stance), there were a couple of good paragraphs in there. I take the liberty to quote them now.

A shieldmaiden is firstly a woman. As a woman she is the keeper of the hearth flame that provides a safe nurturing environment for her family. She is the teacher of her children and lady for her lord. The shieldmaiden has the courage to do the unglamorous daily tasks and to do them graciously. She is an example to her family and the keeper of the peace. She is generous to others while also being generous to herself. She keeps her word no matter how hard to fulfill and she stands by her beliefs. She selflessly serves...

...As a warrior a shieldmaiden must have the strength to make her way in a man’s world. She must be willing to get her hands dirty and make sacrifices. She may have to bide her time in an unsavory position until the time to fight is at hand. When that time comes she must have the courage to stand without blame. She keeps her word and is willing to show mercy. She is willing to help others. She stands by her convictions and commitments.
You may say, "Yes, this is all fine and good, but is that it?" The answer, in my opinion, is no. We as Christians can become shieldmaidens by becoming warriors of Heaven. By putting on our spiritual armor and fighting battles for the greater glory of God. Anyone can fight for the truth and for the faith. By taking up our spiritual shields, we can become Shieldmaidens in the purest and holiest meaning of the word.

We are soldiers of Christ and shieldmaidens of God.


  1. CONGRADULATIONS!!!!!!!!!!!
    I really like your blog!!!!
    But...I think I liked your old color of red better than the pink you have now...just a thought.
    Anyway, Happy Anniversary!

  2. I thought of posting on this once before. Reason being, there was a comparison of Sarah Palin with Eowyn somewhere on the net.

    One thing I think girls today don't see in the entire shieldmaiden bit is the Virginal part. There is such a Feminisitic stance on things that girls are constantly told to pick up arms, be competitive, and take their place alongside men.

    Eowyn is the prime example of the shieldmaiden in modern times... People don't seem to get the picture, yes, she did fight at the Battle of the Pelennor. BUT, she was a virgin, and not married. When Eowyn Married Faramir, she laid the sword down to take the role of wife and mother.

    I have no issues with shieldmaidens or swordmaidens, but there is a time and place for everything. Shieldmaidens WERE NOT Medieval Feminists. lol

    ~Thy Big Brother. :D

  3. Er, I didn't make it sound as if they were... did I?
    If I did I did not mean to! I was talking about being shieldmaidens in the spiritual sense.
    *looks confused*

  4. NOOO! I'm not attacking you! I'm attacking "THEM"... lol

  5. Good post, and excellent explanation!

    Paul, also a well-made point. Perhaps a fundamental difference between a shieldmaiden and a
    "feminist" is that the former takes up arms on behalf of truth, whereas the latter does so for her own pursuits.

    By the way, a "shieldMAIDEN" couldn't be a married lady. Just an observation! :)

    I was honored once, in a conversaion with a seminarian friend about the plight of modern "feminism", to have him exclaim, "They're not real feminists; you are!". (I am fairly active and outspoken on authentic femininity, etc.). Our culture needs to relearn what the original feminists were all about... and it wasn't promoting abortions or trying to make women into wanna-be men.

    ...I'll stop now as this is a subject I am rather passionate about, and could easily go on at length. :)

    Thank you all for the valuable thoughts!

  6. @ Paul - *looks relieved* Oh thank you for clearing that up! You had me quite worried!

    @ Claire - thanks for your comment Claire!

  7. I read once that a Shieldmaiden held the big shield while the warrior behind her fought with his sword in battle: in other words, she helped to protect him so he could be a better fighter. Also, it was common for a wife to shield her husband.
    God bless


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