The Old Goddess of the pagans lived on in popular speech, rituals of hearth and earth, in festival custom with its cargo of symbols and myth. She was the source of life power and wisdom. People prayed to her for well-being, abundance, protection, and healing. They invoked her in birth, and the dead returned to her. They said that the Old Goddess rode the winds, causing rain and snow and hail on earth, and that she revealed omens of weather and deaths and things to come.
Across Europe, Friday was observed as her holy day, beginning with its eve on Thursday night. The dark of the year was sacred to Old Goddess. On winter solstice nights, she was said to fly over the land with her spirit hosts. Tradition averred that shamanic witches rode in her wake on the great pagan festivals.
Reverence was made to Old Goddess in planting and harvesting, baking, spinning and weaving. The fateful Spinner was worshipped as Srecha by the Serbs, as Holle or Perchta by the Germans, as Mari by the Basques, and as Laima by the Lithuanians and Latvians. She appears as Befana in Italy and as myriad faery goddesses in France, Spain, and the Gaeltacht. In Russia she is Mokosh or Kostroma or the apocryphal saint Paraska.
I call her the Old Goddess because she was commonly pictured as an aged woman, and her veneration was ancient, as well. While the goddesses of the various ethnic cultures have their unique qualities, they share certain traits, some international deep root of commonality. Old Goddess is like the weathered Earth, ancestor of all, an immanent presence in forests, grottos and fountains. In her infinitude she manifests in countless forms, as females of various ages, and shapeshifting to tree, serpent, frog, bird, deer, mare and other creatures. In the Middle Ages and even under the downpour of diabolism during the Burning Terror, she remained beloved by the common people.
Holle was already described as a witch goddess in the 9th century Corrector Burchardi, which rebuked the belief that shamanic women rode animals through the skies in her company. Many centuries later, these beliefs were still current. Holle was said to head a wild cavalcade of spirits, witches and the dead in the dark of the year".
Max Dashu - https://www.suppressedhistories.net