Astrology: Moon, Mercury
Goddesses: Akka/Rauni (the earth goddess), Mielikki (the forest goddess), Virgin Mary
Symbolism: Rebirth, awakening nature
Sabbath: Matopäivä (worm day/snake day) Spring equanox
In Finnish language there are two words for Willow. There is "paju" which means willow bush. "Paju" is a word with Finno-Ugric roots, and then there is "raita" which originates from Baltic languages and refers to the willow-tree. Willow grows very fast and can live up to 50-80 years. Willow grows next to water, in places that have lots of sunlight.
"Willow has soul made of water"
In Finland and in Estonia willow branches were used as magic branches that people used to find underground fountains. Willows were also used to make baskets and to make fishing traps. Willow bark was used to make many different things. Shoes were weaved from it, also fishing nets and it was used to color threads and leather.
Folk magicians and shamans made tea out from willow bark. It was used to heal rheumatism, headache and to lower down fever. Before spreading of Christianity in Western Finland there was a custom to collect willow branches into a bowl and the position of the branches was used to forecast weather. In Eastern Finland willow branches were popular magic wands. During spring time they were used to perform rituals to protect cattle and land.
In Western Finland there is a tradition called "virpominen". It is an old custom to wish another person health and happiness on Palm Sunday by tapping them lightly with a willow twig and chanting a rhyme. This is still practiced in Western Finland (day is not always Palm Sunday, but it usually takes place during Easter week). Children dress up as witches and go from door to door exchanging brightly decorated willow twigs to money and candy. It´s a bit similar to Halloween trick or treating. Custom arrived to western Finland from Sweden in the 19th century.
In Estonia Holy Sunday is known as Urbepäev referring to blooming willows. There was a custom in Estonia that in the morning of Urbepäiv family members who over-slept were awakened by touching them gently with a willow branch. Sometimes the awakener was the master of the house and at the same they pronounced a poem wishing good health and long age. People celebrated eating cookies and eggs. In Estonia as well, there was a custom to cast spells to protect the cattle and the farm lands.
Palm trees do not grow in the northern hemisphere, so when in the bible there was palm tree leaves in Scandinavia, Russia and within Baltic countries both Lutheran and Orthodox church replaced palm leaves with willow branches. In both Finland and in Estonia willow branches are important element in the Easter celebration of the Orthodox church. In pagan based belief systems willow symbolizes the awakening of the earth and rebirth of nature.
Like one of my favorite Jo x Fritz fan fic writers wrote
"What's transcendentalism without some discreet outdoor tumbles?"
I started this painting already in October but life got busy so I just now got to finish it. Have you all read my big Bhaery essay? if you haven´t what are you waiting for!
It is no secret I love these two. I love most film Jo´s and Friedrich´s but I really wanted to keep the original book looks.
Prints and Pretty things available here https://www.redbubble.com/shop/p/45699206.LVTDI
Jo´s outfit was partially inspired by the more masculine look in the 2019 Little Women, which I actually quite liked but also some of Anne Shirley´s teacher clothes in Anne Green Gables series from the 80´s. I took some creative liberties.
This takes places sometimes between Good Wives and Little Men. Jo is not a teacher but she runs the school with Fritz by her side.
Light effects were made with masking fluid. Painted with watercolors.
I´v been answering to the character ask meme´s in my tumblr blog, thought to post my answers here as well.
How I feel about this character
My childhood idol. My sun and the moon. A character who I adore, love and respect. With all her flaws she is perfect. My bosom friend, Kindred Spirit. When I was a child I used to give places overly-romantic names because that is what Anne would do. I remember Megan Follow´s said in an interview that Anne divides people because she is so highly-sensitive and therefore she has difficulties to censor herself. She is too much. Too joyous or in the depth of despair. Being hsp myself I know exactly what it´s like. This trait was something that Anne helped me to cope with.
Anne had the ability to make friends with everyone but what I love about Anne in the books especially is that she actively reaches out to those people who are not (at first) impressed by her, because she thinks that those who are outsiders are way more interesting. Eventually, she usually wins their hearts over as well.
All the people I ship romantically with this character
Gilbert there-is-no-one-else-in-the-god-damn-world Blythe. Jonathan Crombie in the 80s series, I had such a massive crush on him. Some years ago I found out that he was gay. He was a very private person. Bless him.
Gilbert Blythe, my fictional boyfriend. Fritz Bhaer my fictional husband.
My non-romantic OTP for this character
Marilla and Matthew. The relationship Anne has with them is beautifully written and especially Marilla´s arc with Anne is something deeply moving.
My unpopular opinion about this character
Anyone who compares Anne and Gil to Jo and Laurie should actually read the books and not just watch the 1994 little women.
Anne is very different from Jo. Anne is very feminine and she likes to be girly and feminine. Jo would not hit the boy´s head with a slate. Jo would be Gilbert, pulling the girly girl´s hair.
One thing I wish would happen/ had happened with this character in canon
I used to be very disappointed that Anne gave up on becoming a world-famous writer but on my last read I realized that she actually “pulls Amy March´s”. She comes to the realization that she just isn´t good enough but she continues writing children´s stories and poetry. I still wish she could have published them. There is nothing wrong of being a house-mom but for such an ambitious girl such as Anne I wish there would have been something more. She could have continued teaching or did Gil make enough money to support them all when he became a doctor?
Something that really bothers me with Anne and in Anne books, in general, was the way they treated Dora. I came up with something similar when I did my Laurie research, the boys will be boys attitude of the 19th century. Basically, Davy gets away with everything, not because he regrets what he has done but simply by being a male. Dora is constantly written to be the weaker one and we don´t know anything that is going inside Dora´s mind. Davy nearly killed his sister. He locked her into the freaking well! she could have died! Neither Marilla or Anne wanted to punish him. It´s similar to the way readers still ignore the way Laurie is cat-fishing Meg in Little Women.
CSI truly had the perfect series ending. My ship literally sailed into sunset.
"The cultural level suggested by Friedrich’s profession and more specifically by his knowledge of Goethe also helps to validate the connection between him and Jo. Louisa had scribbled a quote from her copy of Margaret Fuller´s Woman in the Nineteenth Century regarding Wilhelm Meister’s female connections.
As Meister grows in life & advances in wisdom, he becomes acquainted with women of more & more character, rising from Mariana to Natalia who expresses the Minerva side of things, Mignon, the electrical, inspired lyrical nature …
It seems that this passage in Goethe´s work made a deeply profound effect on Louisa and it represents Jo´s transference of affection from Laurie to Friedrich through her own growth and advancement in terms of character. Laurie is the fascination of her youth who will always be regarded with affection, but Friedrich has more character. Laurie is always a “boy” to Jo, but Friedrich is a man. Laurie possesses charm and culture; Friedrich, as we see, is cultured but also steady and well-grounded. He speaks both to her down-to-earth practicality and to her imagination"
Christine Doyle, Singing Mignon´s song, German literature and culture in Little Women
It is uncanny how some people are obsessed with the love life of Jo March and Louisa May Alcott and refuse to see Friedrich as a character in his own right based to an assumption that the writer might have been gay. There is multiple evidence which shows that Lucy Maud Montgomery might have been a lesbian (and many Montgomery scholars believe she was) and a great deal of Anne of green gables was based on the author´s life so in a way it´s also semi-biographical.
Yet no one is tearing Gilbert and Anne apart because of that.
In the 19th century relationships between women were more sentimental (we see this with Anne and Diana). In our modern-day perspective, it can feel strange and even romantic but in those times the world between men and women was strictly divided.
Reminds me of what @ajedisith said about Fritz possibly being bi. LMA grew up in the transcendentalist circles, do some research and you´ll find out that there was lots of gender fluidly among them. There were also rumors back then that both Henry-David Thoreau and Emmerson who Louisa had crushes on (and was possibly in love with) and to whom she partly based Friedrich´s character were also bi´s (not that there was a term for it during those times).
Sexual orientation is a spectrum same way as gender. The queer theory only tends to be about Jo (maybe we should broaden it up) and there is lots of speculation that Jo was trans/gender fluid. LMA liked to dress up as a boy the same way as Jo. Friedrich has zero problems with the fact that Jo is not traditionally feminine. I see Jo as gender fluid and Fritz as someone who accepted her as gender-fluid (and maybe Fritz was also gender fluid) but at the same, it is an assumption, not something that we or I can prove.
Some people say Jo was asexual which would make LMA ace. It definitely seems that LMA was on the spectrum but in her adult works there are sexual themes (read “long fatal love chase” everyone) and there are records which show that she had sexual feelings towards some of her male friends which rules out her being an ace but that doesn´t mean that she was not on the spectrum.
What it comes to Jo and Friedrich, the girl was lusty over the professor. She checks him out from head to toes multiple times.
Then there are cultural differences. You´ll hear some people calling Fritz emancipated because he has feminine/nurturing features (the argument is quite silly since Jo is attracted to them). I was quite baffled when I heard people using this argument against Fritz for the first time. The way Fritz plays with kids is not too different from the way Swedish, Norwegians, Germans and Russians for example act with children. This goes back to the “little women controversy” Jo has a boy´s name, Laurie has a girl´s name, Jo wants to be a man, both Fritz and Laurie possess feminine qualities, but these “feminine” qualities are also cultural differences (for example Laurie being very emotional is seen as a feminine quality, he is also half-Italian, so it can be in his heritage).
In the end, does Louisa May Alcott´s sexual orientation matter? she wrote excellent thought-provoking books that we still read today.
Northuldra and the Sámi
I just saw Frozen II (literally an hour ago) and I had to write about the connections to the Sámi culture and Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish myths and folklore.
Let´s start with the Sámi culture (also known as Sami, Sapmi and Saami. As a Finnish speaker I´d refer a Sámi person as "saamelainen" or "saami" and the language as "saame") I have written a lot about Sami mythology here in myblog. I have Sámi ancestry from the Lapland of Finland and Sweden.
The Sámi´s are native people of Scandinavia. There are about 20 000 people in this world who speak Sámi languages. These days you can find Sámi´s all over the world (and people with Sámi ancestry) but in general most Sámi´s live in the Lapland of Sweden, Norway, Finland and Kuola Peninsula in Russia. This is why, for example in Finland, Lapland is sometimes called as "Saamenmaa" the land of the Sámi. Sámi´s were nomads and reindeer herders and still today many Sámi´s are reindeer herders. Already in the first Frozen there was Sami influences, because Kristoff´s character was inspired by Saami culture. Kristoff´s outfit is similar to traditional Sami outfits. Different Sámi tribes and regions have their own outfits and designs. The pointy shoes and outfits made of reindeer skin are common (sorry Sven).
There are several Sámi tribes and Sámi languages. Most common Sámi language is northern Sámi, which is sort of universal Sámi language that Sámi´s who speak different Sámi languages use to communicate with each others.
A joik or yoik also named luohti, vuolle, vuelie, or juoiggus in the Sámi languages, is a traditional form of song in Sámi music performed by the Sámi people. Joiks do not have any words. They are pure sound that captivate emotion. There are different types of joiks. Joiks for love, friendship, family, reindeer's, winter, northern lights..you name it. I was impressed how many new joiks there was in Frozen II and I loved the sound of the shaman drums.
In Frozen II we meet the Northuldra tribe and they are based on Sámi people. One of the Northuldra´s mentions that they worship the sun. Sámi´s followed a nature based belief system and since in Lapland winters are dark and long they did worship the sun as the giver of all life.
You´ll be sad and disappointed to know how much discrimination there is towards the Sámi culture in Finland. There has been some progress recently, especially what it comes to cultural appropriation being questioned. I was sitting on the movie theater and some teen age girls were making fun about Northuldra´s/Sámi´s worshiping the sun since they are from Lapland...
This is the Sámi flag. It has a sun in the middle. Sometimes I am genuinely worried about the lack of education of our own history in this country (several Finno-ugric tribes shared a similar belief system). Sun is also often portrayed in the center of Sámi shaman drums.
In autumn 2019 Walt Disney Studios made a historical agreement with the Sámi population of Norway, Finland and Sweden so that the Sámi culture in the film was portrayed with respect and they had Sámi experts with the developing the story and the characters. Frozen II is also translated into Northern Sámi (Jikŋon II).
Ahto-Hallan, In depths
The way Ahto-Hallan was described in Frozen it actually reminded me of Finnish and Sámi myths about the land of the dead. I don´t know if that was the intention of the film makers but hear me out;
Ahto-Hallan is in far north, a place where the spirits live, home of magic and that is where Elsa finds the spirits of the people who lived before her.
Somehow this connection makes Frozen feel much darker
Ahto/Ahti is the name of the sea god/spirit of the sea and god of the depths in Finnish mythology (Ahtola is the place where all the merfolk lives). Ahto-halla is Finnish. It refers to "ahtojää" packed ice. Halla is also Finnish, it means frost/frozen.
In Finnish mythology there is a place called Pohjola (combined from the words pohjoinen- north and pohja- bottom). Pohjola is the underworld, place where the spirits of the dead live. Pohjola was located in far north in the land of eternal winter. In this old world view, the world was made of three layers. Upper layer (ylinen) was the place where the highest spirits resided, the middle world was the world of the animals and humans, underworld the bottom, was the land of the dead. These worlds were not really seen so much as physical places but different layers of human conscience.
Sámi myths have lots of elements from Scandinavian and Finnish mythology and vice versa. In some Sámi myths, the land of the dead is called as "Rotaimo" and it can be found from the bottom of a bottomless lake. In Lapland there are lots of lakes that are very deep and have fake bottoms (goes back to Ahto being the spirit of depths).
In Frozen II Elsa tames a beautiful water horse called The Nokk. The water horse is a common character in Scandinavian folklore equivalent to Scottish Kelpie. In Swedish folklore it is known as bäckahäst/näcken and in Norway as nøkken.
In the folklore the water horse was usually a large, white and a beautiful horse. It would walk in the shore and lure people to climb on it´s back and then it would drown them. It was possible to tame the majestic horse with tricks but I guess Elsa and the Nokk also have a natural connection since they both have ice magic.
btw this is epic af
Which brings us to the Finnish water horse myth. What it comes to Finnish mythology there is one horse above all others and he is Iku-Tihku. How would I explain his name, Iku comes from the word ikuinen meaning eternal and tihku means dripping water.
A freaking eternal ice horse that drips water! I rest my case!
Here is the story of Iku-Tihku. Iku-Tihku was made inside a mountain by trolls. He was made of fire and ice and he was the first horse ever created. Because he was partly made of ice he could not visit the human world during the summer and the warm months because he would melt. He could however, visit the human world during the winter time and because Iku was partly made of ice, he had the ability to travel between the human world and Pohjola, the north/the underworld and deliver messages from humans to the spirit world.
Not too different to the way Nokk takes Elsa to Ahto-hallan.
I am starting to see why so many non-Finnish speakers consider Finnish language as some sort form of elvish.
Trolls saw that Iku-Tihku was a mighty creature so they used him as a model to create the first horses, but they were not made from ice and fire but from iron, and they could travel between all the worlds and seasons.
Trolls are not very common in Finnish folkore but you can find LOT´S of trolls from Swedish, Norse and Sámi myths. They often live in mountains and are connected to stones and minerals and they are more than often giants.
Here are some sleeping stone giants from Frozen II
Here is a picture from my family´s summer cabin from northern Finland. Do you see what I see?
Mother of Elsa and Anna is Iduna and in Frozen II we find out that she was a northuldra. In Norse mythology Iduna is name of the goddess of health and rejuvenation. Her symbol is the apple and she is connected to autumn season (have you seen the color palette in Frozen II?). I have heard quite a few Americans complaining that Iduna doesn´t look native. (I must say I have hard time understanding the obsession some Americans have with race).
What does a native look like?
I think the most straight forward explanation is the fact that when the first Frozen movie was made, makers were not planning to do a sequel and didn´t though of Iduna´s backstory then.
But even if they did, despite of the fact that Scandinavian countries and Sámi´s have a sad and violent history, there has been many mixed marriages between Sámi´s Finns/Swedes/and Norwegians and you can come across all kinds of looking Sámi´s. There is variety in hair color, skin color and eye color. The the way people look can also vary in different areas. Lapland is a wide place, my friends. Our genetic make up is always a mixture.
Last but not least THE SEITA.
Seita´s are stone formations and ancient worshiping places. The Sámi´s went to the seita to leave gifts for the gods, make requests and meditate. Stone formations are common all over the world (Stone Henge probably being the most well-known one).
They are ancient, and the higher they are, the closer they are to the sky and the spirits.
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I re-read Little Men last summer and I had not read it for ages. It was much more touching than I remembered. Some of the students in Plumfield had disabilities and some of them would probably fit into the Autism spectrum. Children with disabilities did not have the easiest life in the 19th century.
In Little Women, Hummels are Germans and grateful for Marches from all of their help. Yes, Beth catches scarlet fever but Marches never blame the Hummels, and it was not their fault that they are poor and diseases were very common and spread easily. Louisa always writes about them with sympathy.
The lack of conversation is similar to Friedrich and immigration themes. 90% of the conversation still seems to be about why Jo didn´t marry Laurie. It only proves that Louisa May Alcott and her radical acceptance is too radical for modern-day filmmakers. She was an abolitionist, supported orphans and immigrants, a humanitarian.
“Education and self-culture would balance and limit the predatory, expansionist impulse of modern trade and technology of through a turn that would "league” all nations into a global civil society. What Kant called a “cosmo-political state”. Rather than militarize national citizens for expansion and conquest, Kant´s proposed a new ethic of “universal hospitality” would forbid any nation to conquer or assault any other (Kant had in mind French and British empires). This was not, in Kant´s view, a hazy utopian dream, but entirely practical, “a necessary completion of the public law of mankind”.
Following Kant, generations of idealist sought to realize his cosmopolitan ethic. “New philosophy” transformed the American intellectual landscape. Sprouting into informal reading groups. Critics dubbed the most famous of them as “transcendentalists” using Kant´s term to sneer at their strange and foreign ideas. But these very ideas inspired America´s first great movement in literature, philosophy and reform, which in turn carried cosmopolitan thinking around the globe as books by Emmerson, Thoreau, Fuller, Louisa May Alcott and others travelled the Atlantic back to Europe and beyond. Cosmopolitanism offered an ethical response that tried, not to privilege the near and familiar by excluding or demonizing the “Other”, but rather to value the Other and work toward connection and dialogue, even global political solidarity, across national boundaries and differences of race, class and gender.
Jo falls in love with a poor German philosopher, from an anglo-American perspective such choice has seemed bizarre, but from Louisa May Alcott´s transnational perspective it is inevitable. Germany was the fountainhead of the new philosophy, and all of the transnational literature available to Louisa, the German was by far the most important to her. As Christine Doyle has detailed, the influence of German literature on the March trilogy was deep indeed making, as she says “much more explicable the match between Jo March and Friedrich Bhaer”. (The cosmopolitan project of Louisa May Alcott by Laura Dassow Walls)
Something I read today and thought it was perfect.
“While Meg and John are the down-to-earth couple (Meg arguably even more so after John dies), Amy and Laurie are the Romantics, the artists. Jo and Friedrich combine the two. One of Friedrich’s most compelling qualities is that he combines domestic and romantic heroism. - Christine Doyle (Singing Mignon´s song, German literature and culture in the March trilogy)
Pronounced as Nee-na.
Artist, illustrator, writer, watercolorist and a folklorist. Gryffinclaw. Comes from Finland. Likes cats, tea and period dramas.
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