Saturday, December 22, 2012

Superstitions & Fairytales

Well, I guess the interpretors of the Mayancalendre got it wrong. The fact that you can read this, is proof; the world didn't end. This leaves many doomsdaypreppers with whole stockpiles of food, water, guns and ammo, probably waiting for the next "day of days". And it made me wonder; why did so many believe in it? I have to admit that I did too have a bit of an uneasy feeling, when the day drew near. Is it, because the media got us all hyped up. Is it, because we like to believe in our own demise or is it, because we know there are forces out there, well beyond the reach of our knowledge and understanding. A deep, instinctive knowing.... All I know, is that society as we know it now will change and probably will collapse. History has shown that it happens with every large culture/society, when it outgrows itself and all the signs are there today, again. But that's a whole other discussion.
Superstitions & Fairytales; it sounded like a great title for something that used to be, and in a way still is, a part of everyday life, It seems it has all but vanished, except for the books of our children, yet still influences many aspects of our lives with the doomsdayscenarios being one of the many. For many centuries, actually for the entire time mankind existed, gods, demons, spirits or similar beings dominated everyday life, beliefs and worship. Did these beliefs come from that same deep, instinctive knowledge or were they taught, even indoctrinated? We all know many of those creatures and we all know that many are deeply fascinated by them. I am not talking about zombies, vampires or werewolves. I am talking about entities of nature; woodspirits, gnomes, elves, trolls and all those other fantasyfigures from the woods..... But are they fantasy?
Somehow I have my doubts. These figures probably do not exist as we know them today with wings or red hats, but more often than not I find myself sensing something out there. It feels as if something is looking at me, studying me, making its stare feeling almost touchable. Something just beyond my grasp, beyond or sometimes even just at the edge of my field of vision, but it is there! And as soon as I look it is gone. I doubt if it would be an animal, because that would still create a movement, when it escapes, unless a mouse or some other animal could give me that "solid" stare.
Probably the people from long ago did so too, but their vivid imagination might have caused them to dream up those figures, the gnomes, fairies and trolls, simply to make them comprehensible. I know they were used to teach man, woman and child lessons and what better way than to use examples and images. We all know the stories about them.... On the other hand maybe they didn't and just maybe some of them actually encountered one of those figures. You're probably laughing now, thinking I completely lost it, but think about it. The tales about these figures are so old, so widespread and so similar to one another! For instance gnomes in the north of Scandinavia aren't so different is appearance and charactre from the one's in eastern Europe. It isn't so long ago that we have been made able to hop in our cars and planes and travel for hunderds of kilometers within a day, but back in those days travel, and especially long distance, wasn't so easy, so how could those tales be so similar over such long distances? I just can not dismiss all those tales and similarities as mere fantasy of an illiterate medieval peasant or troubadour.
Maybe these folkloretales are just that and are the gnomes and others just creations of simple, human brains, or maybe they are embodyments of the forces people did experience. The primal forces of nature.... Something for people to relate to and identify with when experiencing them and talking about them, but I am convinced there's more to it than we know or even want to know. All the ancient civilisations living in close contact to nature speak of spirits or similar entities in a way that clearly shows that, to them, these are fact and not fantasy.
I do realise that those cultures are considered primitive by todays points of view, but aren't we ourselves still a bit too? Why do we seek out places outside the cities? Why do we need to have trees around us or reconnect to nature or the earth? Is it just to workout, to play with toys and tools, maybe even relive our childhood or is there more to it; a deeper longing, a need to get in touch? Aren't we looking for something we, over the centuries, have lost?

Copyright©Maria Friberg Berntsson 2008

Huldra (or Skogsrå as she’s called here in southern Sweden) appears in old Scandinavian folklore as a seductive forest creature, the Lady and ruler of the forest.
The huldra is stunningly beatiful, but if you saw her from behind you could see she is hollow with a hole in her back, just like an old tree.
She also has an animal’s tail, in Norway it’s a cow’s tail, but in Sweden it is usually a fox’s tail.
Huldra is very interested in humans, especially men, and rewards those that are kind to her, but she can make your life miserable if you make her angry.
In some traditions, she lures men into the forest to make romance, again rewarding those that gives her satisfaction and often killing those who don’t or refuse her.
Sometimes she marries a local farm boy.When they are married in church, the tail falls off. If the man doesn’t treat her right, she will be incredibly ugly and the husband will suffer greatly throughout the marriage.

And even today many of us outdoorsmen and -women talk about woodspirits and I do not mean just the carved ones. On each and every forum there are examples of people experiencing them, feeling or maybe even seeing them. There's talk about them, not just in a joking way, but sometimes a serious undertone is noticable, too. And let's be honest; how many haven't seen something in the woods that indeed did have a striking similarity to a face, allthough it was completely made by nature.
is it really just our brain playing tricks on us? I don't think so.
Maybe I am being silly or childish, but if that is the case than I cincearly hope to remain that way. Growing up is so boring and monotonous and what is better than trying to hold on to a little bit of that childish view of the world. Feel the curiousness and magic and experiencing that with an more open mind than the narrowminded points of view of an adult.... I like believing I am not alone out there. That there is something more besides the plants and animals... I just know there is a world out there full of wonder!

Speaking of which..... There is a gnomelike figure very popular these days. Here is Sweden he is known as the jultomte or christmasgnome. Many others know him as Santa Claus. In Swedish tradition or folklore he doesn't anywhere near look like the roundbellied, applecheeked, cocacolacoloured santa claus we all know. Here it's a small fellow, living near people's houses or farms, keeping an eye on them and the animals and by all accounts is far more a gnome than a jolly old, round man, dressed in red and white. He hasn't got a sled with reindeer either, but a small sled, pulled by a goat.

Which leaves with but one thing to do; to wish you all a........

Posts like these are made up of thoughts which pop up from time to time. I write them down in this blog and in due time I rewrite them to make an enjoyable tale out of them. One of the reasons is that I simply do enjoy writing, painting with words, if you will..... The paintings aren't always the most beautyfull or artistically acceptable ones, yet I think anything goes. You might think of me as a nut now, but, if not for it's entertaining value, why did you read it all to this end?
I'm sure I did make you smile and wonder, right?


  1. It certainly did Ron.
    Merry Christmas and thank you!

  2. They are very much there Ron, I know.....

    Wish you and your family a good xhristmass holliday.


  3. Sorry Ron, but everybody knows that Santa Claus lives in Finnish Lapland, not in Sweden. How do I know? Every Finnish person says so. ;)

    I, too, have had feelings of being watched in the forest. It's like I become aware of it all of a sudden. Who knows?! :)

    1. If he lives there, I don't know, but he does has his office there, in Rovaniemi! We went there once, in september, on a very sunny day 18 degrees and we all felt like it was christmas.... go figure.