Students of the Poetic Edda have long ignored a seemingly unassuming, yet most important mythical character: Namely the mead-offering Maiden that appears at the heart of many a myth and heroic legend. This study shows how the Maiden with the Mead appears at the climax of a ritual structure within the myths - a structure that clearly is based on Pagan initiation rituals. The Maiden is the aim of the initiation and its consecration. Her mead is the mead that transfers knowledge, wisdom and indeed resurrection to the initiate. The study also shows that although the Maiden appears with different names and different status (she may be a goddess, a valkyrie, or giantess)she is always the same being - the Great Goddess of light hidden in the utter darkness of death. Only the initiate that overcomes his fears may find her in that ghastly realm and bring himself and the Goddess back to life - and to resurrection. This study shows the immense importance of this underlying myth and the ritual which it reflects, and throws new light on Old Norse religious practice and how to interpret Edda poetry.