Would you make a Fairy Garden?
Fairy gardens have become increasingly popular within the past few years. Making one that is uniquely your own can be inspirational and spark your creative juices. The best part is that you can make many of the decorations yourself!
My old earrings that have lost their pairs.
What You´ll Need
1. Make the Hook
Twist the top section of the metallic wire into a circle. Use the wire cutters to cut the bottom to be the length you desire.
2. String the Earring
Remove the broken element of the earrings, such as the earring hooks, and string the earring onto the wire. Then, place it in your garden!
Shepherd's Hook Decoration Ideas
You can make a whole fairy garden filled with shepherd's hooks! Try a few of the ideas below to make yours even more special.
How To Attract Fairies With Your Fairy Garden
People have tried to attract fairies to their home and left offerings for them as well as spirits. In my home country, Finland, porridge was left for tonttu (the elf). In many countries, people left out bread, milk, and cookies for fairies. With your garden, you can bring some fairy magic to your home. Decorate it with small objects such as buttons, keys, beds, broken eyeglasses, or whatever comes to your mind. The possibilities are endless. Have fun!
Ship Filled With Riches
When I was a child my grandma used to tell me fairy tales. My favorites were Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel but most of all Red Riding Hood. Ever since this story about a girl who meets a wolf captivated my imagination with its grim beauty. First literal mentions of Red Riding Hood are from the year 1000 from a manuscript called fecunda ratis, ship filled with riches. This was a collection of poems written by a French man called Hegbert Deliefe. His poems contained moral lessons and they were read in monasteries.
One poem especially stands out. It is a poem about a girl who receives a red dress as a baptizing gift from her godfather. When the girl is five years old she is walking in the woods and gets kidnapped by the wolf mother. The Wolf takes the girl into their cave where the little wolves start licking her face. The girl says to the wolves "I forbid you to tear my dress. It was a gift from my godfather". The poem is based around a Christian idea of god being the creator of predator animals and he is the only one who can tame their wild nature and so the girl is safe because she is baptized.
Charles Perrault´s Red Riding Hood
This poem was believed to be one of the inspirations for Charles Perrault when he wrote his own version of Little Red Riding Hood which first appeared Perrault´s famous fairy tale collection Tales from mother goose (1697). Perrault´s fairy tale has similarities to the French poem but he did not include Christian elements to the fairy tale.
In Perrault´s version a girl gets a beautiful red hood as a gift from her grandmother. In the beginning of the story the girl´s mother tells her to take piece of bread and jar of butter to her grandmother who is ill. Red Riding Hood meets a wolf on the road and tells him where she is going. The wolf says "I´ll go to see grandmother as well but I take the other road and I will meet you there".
Grandma opens the door and wolf gets in telling that he is Red Riding Hood and after that he kills the grandmother and eats her. The Wolf goes into bed pretending to be the grandmother. He tells Red Riding Hood to put bread and butter into the table and then he asks her to take off her clothes and come to the bed with him. She asks:
"Grandma why you have so strong arms?"
"So I can hold you better?" The wolf answers
"Grandma why you have such big feet?"
"So I can run faster"
"Grandma why you have such strange looking ears "
"So I can hear you better"
"Grandma why your eyes are so wide?"
"So I can see you better"
"Grandma why your teeth are so sharp?"
"So I can eat you"
The Wolf eats the girl and this is where Perrault´s story ends.
Fairytales for scaring purposes
There are many ways to analyse Perrault´s Red Riding Hood but first we need to categorize it. There are several ways to categorize fairy tales such as: Happily ever after - Underdog winning - fairy tales with moral teachings - Frightening/ shocking fairy tales Red Riding Hood belongs in the category of frightening fairy tales. These are fairy tales which are meant to be read or told out loud for the audience in the purpose of scaring them. In the original script Perrault’s edition it was written that the story teller must scream the last words of the wolf.
"SO I CAN EAT YOU"
Charles Perrault was the official fairy tale writer in 17th century France in the court of the Sun King Ludwig XIV. Many of his fairy tales were meant for aristocrat children and the teenagers of the court. Red riding hood is a disturbing fairy tale- the who gets eaten by the wolf has become an allegory of her being raped by a pedophile. Perrault´s fairy tale was quickly turned into a folk tale which was retold again and again. The use of the color red on her coat started to highlight femininity because of it’s connections to the menstrual cycle and so because of this the tale also depicts strict gender roles of the 17th century Europe.
Red Riding Hood of the Brothers Grimm
After its release, Perrault´s fairy tale was translated into several different languages. A writer called Ludwig Tüg translated story into German and created the character of the hunter. In his version the hunter kills the wolf but he cannot save the little girl and in the end there is only a hand left from poor Red Riding Hood.
The brothers Grimm most likely first became familiar with German translation and decided to add it into their collection of fairy tales. The Brothers gave their story a happy ending- the hunter was about to shoot the wolf but instead he took scissors and cut open the wolf´s stomach. Red Riding Hood and grandmother came out alive and girl said "it was so dark and I was so scared all the time". Wolf died and it´s stomach was filled with stones.
There is also a German folk tale version where the wolf drowned in a pool where the drinking water was kept for the farm animals. There are also folk tale versions of Red Riding Hood where the girl hides herself into grandmother´s closet. The hunter comes to look out for the wolf but it manages to escape.
Compared to the original French poem where the girl seems to be more self-conscious Perrault´s Red Riding Hood is more weak and helpless. This story is a model example of the class system of the time as children were seen more naive innocent and considered little people who were created to this world to amuse the adults. In 18th century children gain more individual status and childhood became sacred. Now it was parents job to protect the child and teach them moral lessons.
In the brother´s Grimm version, there is a moral teaching us that curiosity is deadly. Her Mother gives Red riding hood a cake and wine to take to her grandma. She says to Red Riding Hood "Don´t break the bottle and when you meet grandma be polite and don´t run around" "I can do it" says the girl and they shake hands. In the end of the fairy tale after girl was saved by the hunter she is thinking by herself: "From no on I will never look away from the road neither I will talk to strangers".
All these gruesome details that Brother´s Grimm added into their stories are one of the reasons why I´m not huge fan of them. If Perrault´s fairy tale had twisted suggestions to pedophiles the Brother´s Grimm story has much more bloody and sadistic details. The idea that the stomach of the wolf is cut open and gets filled with stones presents an unpleasant image.
Many of the folk tales and fairy tales of the 17th century before the arrival of industrial revolution were cautionary tales. They were warnings for children not to go too far away from home because wild animals could take them. Most of the time wild animals avoided people but predator animals such as bears and wolves did sometimes kill farm animals which caused great anger and created fear towards untamed nature.
In 18th century in Sweden, Norway and Finland Lutheran church started to pay extra for people for killing wolves. This so called "wolf hate" was part of the church process of "taming nature" and done to get rid of pagan totemic beliefs of the people. Before the spread of Christianity the wolf was not demonized but it was one of the most respected animals of the ancient world. Among Romans, Etruscan's, several native american tribes, Slavs, Vikings and many more cultures wolves were worshiped as divine beings.
In Finland the wolf was the sacred animal of Louhi- the goddess of shamans. When Christianity spread and female goddesses were demonized Louhi was turned into a representation of Christian Satan. Wolves were described to be "devil´s children". Wolf propaganda that was originally started by the church has been very harmful for wolves in Nordic countries where they are endangered species.
Meghan Ory as Ruby/Red in ABC`s Once Upon A Time
Was she a werewolf?
The story of Red Riding Hood is often connected to folk tales told about were-wolves. A person who had ability to shape shift itself into a wolf was a widely seen mythical creature in folk tales all over Europe. Werewolves of the 16th and 17th centuries were part of the witch-hunt phenomenon (Accusations of lycanthropy however were small part of the witchcraft trials). Shape sifting from an animal to a man and back was a common part of shamanic rituals and it is likely that by demonizing the wolf which was a sacred spirit animal among several tribes was just one more way for the church to convert people from their pagan beliefs to Christianity.
Wolves generally avoid people. They live in packs and are very family-oriented animals. While writing one of his most famous fairy tales Charles Perrault unfortunately also participated on wolf hunts and suspicion which still takes place today. Within past years there have been several film adaptions made of Red Riding Hood which show Red as a werewolf. In ABC`s Once Upon A Time character of Red goes through several physical and spiritual transformations before she can fully accept herself.
Amanda Seyfrid as Valerie in the movie Red Riding Hood.
Amanda Seyfried played the part of Red Riding Hood in a movie made in 2011. This movie is one of my personal favorite fairy tale adaptations and it is filled with hauntingly beautiful landscapes with mysterious captivating atmosphere
Little bit of Red
You might be surprised to find out that one of the reasons why the story of Red Riding Hood is still very popular is because of the color red. For centuries in Europe red was seen as an unholy color. It was connected to love, power, attention, sex and sexuality. Red was the color of blood and therefore it was the color of life. Red hood has several meanings in the fairy tale. Red can represent life whereas wolf can represent death. If girl is seen as a werewolf red hood can represent rebirth. It can represent girl´s awakening or suppressed sexuality and her ability to shape shift herself as a wolf is another metaphor for person owning their body. In the end Red Riding Hood is not just a fairy tale about a wolf and a girl. It is a metaphor how we can face our own fears and how we react to them. The magic and the thrill of the story make it one of the most exiting, visually appealing and horrifying fairy tales ever told.
Dievas, God of the Sky
Ancient Baltic tribes worshiped a sky god called Dievas (Lithuania) or Dievs(Latvia). There is not much revealed about the physical characteristics of Dievas. He was told to be a young man who dressed in silver, felt and silken clothing and he carried a shining silver (sometimes) green sword reflecting the outlook of Baltic dukes of the past. He was told to wear a white shirt and a gray coat. Sometimes he veiled himself so people would not consider him as a ruler. Dievas had ability to turn himself into an old man and in that form he visited people from house to house and from village to village giving gifts and helping them.
Home of Dievas
Dievas was seen as the creator god. Not as the creator of all things but as the creator of cultural values of humans. He was the god who legislated law and order in the world. People believed that Dievas lived in a farmstead of his own which was located at the top of high, silver mountain. His farm was rich earthly farm which included fields, gardens, houses and a pirtis (Baltic sauna). Dievas had a golden or a silver wagon or sleigh which was pulled by two dappled steeds called Dievo žirgai. Sometimes these steeds appeared as black dogs or as black ravens. Dievas also rode with his steeds. He rode down from his heavenly mountain to increase the fecundity of the fields. His slow ride down from the mountain was used to explain the approaching of spring and summer. His appearance accompanied the cycles of the sun and he was closely connected to the sun goddess Saulė. Sometimes depicted as her husband, her brother or her close servant. Both Dievas and Saulė were celebrated during Rasa the Summer Solstice festival.
Dievas was closely connected to horses and was widely considered as a horse god. Ancient Balts believed that horses were sacred gifts from Dievas. He was a god who helped horsemen and gave advices on raising and taking care of the horses. Dievas was also connected to the triple-aspect goddess of faith Laima. In some stories Dievas even appears as the father of Laima. Since Dievas was the god of cultural values and law and order he had direct contact to the human world at births, weddings and deaths. He was summoned into ceremonies to witness oaths and promises. Both Laima and Dievas were seen as deities of faith. There are many folk tales describing arguments and conflicts between Dievas and Laima. She won the arguments most of the time. When Baltic lands were converted into Christianity in the late Middle Ages name of Dievas was chosen to represent the Christian god. This was because among the pagan Balts Dievas was very much liked and respected god and he was considered as one of the leader god-figures in the Baltic pantheon.
Perkūnas god of thunder
In many cultures sky god and thunder god are considered as one and the same but in Baltic mythology Dievas and Perkūnas are two independent, separate figures. Name of Perkūnas comes from the word Perk which is proto-Baltic word meaning oak. In Latvian his name is Pērkons and Perkuns in Prussian. In Finland one of the old names for the thunder god Ukko was Perkele. Pērkons was the god of fire, thunder, order and chaos. All over Lithuania Perkūnas had sacred lands called Alkos. There were sacred fires kept burning to Perkūnas in these forests and ladies protecting the fire were called vestals. Hills and oaks that were ”touched” by (hit by Perkūnas a lightning) were considered holy. Tree or a rock strucked by Perkūnas protected from evil and diseases.
God of Nature
Perkūnas brought the rain with him so for the farmers he was the god nature controlling the lightnings and the weather. He sent rain and revived the fertility of the earth. Thunder was seen as a holy phenomenon. Each spring people waited for the first thunder and it was forbidden to till the soil before that. For Perkūnas awoke the earth and everything began to grow. If the first thunder became before Easter it was bad but if it became after Easter it was good.
Memorial candles called grauduliné were burned to symbolize Perkūnas in different rituals. Sacred day of Perkūnas was Thursday. Connection between Perkūnas and Thursday probably was inspired by Germanic myths. Image of thunder god shares similar features across the world. In his human form Perkūnas was described to be an angry man with copper beard, carrying an ax or a bolt of lightning. Perkūnas had a dual role. He was the god of order and at the same time he was god that ruled chaos. He had the ability to create harmony and to shatter it. Two headed ax was the symbol of that. It depicted his creative abilities and his destructive powers. In folktales Perkūnas is described as a god who fights against evil powers. There are many stories where he pursues Velnias the god of the dead. Perkūnas had many holidays throughout the year. Perkūnas Day Perkūnas grauduliné (Candle-mass) on the second of February, Pelenija (Mardi Grass), Joré the first bloom (Easter), June 24ththe fire of Perkūnas and 29th of June Perkūnas Day.
Velnias God of the Underworld
Name of Velnias comes from the word vélé meaning a spirit of the departed. In Baltic myths stories about Velnias are some of the most popular ones. He was the god of the underworld but he was also associated with trade, hunting and agriculture. He worked closely with the sky god Dievas either as an assistant or as an antagonist. He shares similar features with Prussian god Patula, Scandinavian Odin and Hindu gods Varuna and Vritra. Being one of the most popular characters in Lithuanian folklore Velnias is often mentioned in superstitions, beliefs, poems and songs. After the introduction to Christianity his character was transformed to portray the Christian devil.
God of Controversy
Velnias had ability to appear in different shapes and forms and in general in Baltic folk tales shape sifting is one of the most common elements. Velnias appeared in the shape of different animals, birds and reptiles. He could take form of people of different ages and professions. Velnias relationship with humans was rather complicated. At times he seek their friendship, love, acceptance or help. He helped people to till their land, build bridges, houses and churches. Helped those who needed assistance such as black smiths and hunters. He could also harm people in various ways. Tempted them to commit sin, entered into their soul and seduced them, mocked them and made fun of them.
Bringer of life and death
Velnias was the guardian of the dead. He was patron god of animals through shape sifting and re-carnation. He was also patron of the shepherds and herdsmen. In folk tales Velnias was described as a physically attractive man who seek love of women and sometimes even married them. Stories about Velnias and his relationship to women were very much disproved by Christians which later on increased his questionable reputation. In many countries and cultures in the creation myth the creator(s) has an assistant who helps them to materialize their ideas. Very often the assistant is unwilling or trickster who causes conflicts. Velnias was the assistant of the gods but his legend contains more than that. In the earliest layer of Baltic mythology Velnias was seen as one of the cosmological creator beings as one of the creators of the material world. His connection to death and re carnation dates back to prehistoric times and Baltic ancestral worship.
Festival of the Dead
Kekri (also known as Köyri) was one of the biggest pagan holidays celebrated in ancient Finland.. It was usually celebrated on the first or the second week of November. Kekri was not a communal celebration. It was celebrated within the family and each family decided themselves when to celebrate Kekri. Celebration usually took place after all the harvest work was finally finished. Festivities lasted three days (Kekri Eve, Kekri Day and All soul´s Day). In modern Finnish calendar Kekri takes place on the first of November and All saint´s day on second of November. As a festival Kekri is similar to Samhain in Ireland, Calan Gaeaf in Wales, Day of the dead in Mexico and Vélines in Lithuania.
It is believed that the word ”kekri” is derived from Finno-ugrian world kekraj which means a circle or a wheel (to learn the pronunciation check the video below). Kekri was the end of the year celebration so it literally meant the turning of the wheel. As a word it is similar to Finnish world kekkerit which means a tiny party. Finnish word for november marraskuu refers to the dying month, marras meaning death. Kekri was part of a time period called jako-aika which means the dividing time. It was the darkest time of the year lasting from the beginning of October to December. It was believed that during jako-aika spirits were walking among the living and dead were able to visit their homes and families.
Many customs that belonged into Finnish Kekri celebration are now days part of the modern Finnish Christmas celebration. One of the most common customs was to eat a lot. It was recommend that one should eat at least seven or nine times a day. Kekri was a massive celebration in ancient Finland. Preparing for the darkest time of the year people needed to keep their hopes up and one way to do that was to have a celebration where there was food served that were not available in any other day.
Kekri was also time for fortune telling and spells. Young people performed love spells and tried to find out who their future spouse would be. Melting tin was a popular custom. In modern day Finland melting tin is part of new year´s traditions. Many of the spells and Kekri divination's were connected to the well being of the land and growing of the crop. One way to find out how to the future crop would grow was to serve lots of vodka to the master of the house and if he would not pass out the crop would be good and if he would pass out crop would not be successful.
Kekri god, ghost of both?
Finnish literal language was created in the 16th century. Biggest credit for this goes to Finnish archbishop Mikeal Agricola who translated several religious texts into Finnish. Agricola also wrote the first literal list of Finnish pagan deities. In this list of deities he mentions harvest god called Kekri.
Whether Kekri was a harvest god is in constant debate. There is a possibility that Kekri was a harvest god possibly borrowed from Baltic or Slavic folklore. Etymology of the word refers Kekri being the turning point of the wheel of the year.
There was a character which was essential part of the celebration and that was Kekripukki (literally means Kekri goat but can also be translated as Kekrisanta). Kekripukki was usually a young man who was dressed up in a fur that was turned upside down, wearing a mask and goat´s horns. Kekripukki and group of similar looking characters went from house to house singing, dancing and performing dirty plays and jokes for free drinks. It is possible that Kekripukki was a fertility symbol. Perhaps a representation of an early fertility god. In several countries and cultures goats and gods connected to goat or ox like animals are connected to fertility. Interestingly enough in Finland Kekripukki was the character that eventually inspired the character of Santa Claus/Father Christmas.
Along with young men walked group of young women called kekrittäret. They were women dressed up in white sheets and their faces covered with white paint.
Kekrimöröt were group of little children dressed up as ghosts/spirits/demons. Children smudged their faces and wore old sheets. They visited from house to house dancing and performing little plays during Kekri. This custom doesn´t exist anymore in modern day Finland. In Estonian countryside you can come across similar custom during Mardipäev in the 10th of November. In Estonia these children are called as Martis (dead spirits).
Welcoming the ancestors
Kekri was time to honor the ancestors and passed away relatives. Master of the house invited the ancestors in the Kekri eve by going outside and pouring some ale to the road. It was believed that the scent of the beer would wake up the ancestors and they would follow him inside the house. Dinner was prepared and places were also served for the ancestors. It was believed that spirits would enjoy their dinner while the family members would go into the sauna. Sauna was prepared for the ancestors as well. There was clean towels and vihta´s reserved for the ancestors. Sauna was warmed up for the whole night and it was believed that the ancestors would stay in the sauna till morning. Kekri was time to remind people that those who have passed away are never completely gone. They just live in another realm invisible to us.
Modern Day Kekri Celebration
In modern day Finland Kerki is mostly celebrated by neo-pagans. There are some pagan traditions that have been re-introduced to the wider public within recent years. One of them is burning the Kekri goat in the cities and villages. Kekri goat is a goat made from willow and it is lit on fire during Kekri evening. Families and friends gather together to watch the burning. Goat is usually 2-3 meters high and wide. It can be even bigger than that. This custom originates from old pagan custom to burn fires during Kekri to keep evil spirits away. It was believed that during Kekri evil spirits martaat would fly around doing bad deeds.
Many of the Kekri customs can now be found from Finnish Christmas and new year celebrations. Straws were big part of Kekri. In the agricultural society straws were powerful symbols that represented fertility of the land. All kinds of decorations made from straw like tiny straw goats were symbols of Kekri but now days they are symbols of Christmas in Finland and in Sweden. There was also announcement made for Kekri peace kekrirauha. For all people and animals to heave peaceful Kekri celebration. In modern day Finland each Christmas Eve in Turku the old capital of Finland Christmas peace joulurauha is announced.
Kekri was celebrated in Finland for a long time. Christianity arrived to Finland around 12th century but it was not until 18th and 19th centuries when almost all Finns were converted into Lutheranism. Kekri was very popular holiday among the people. From the end of the 19th century there are markings that people were still celebrating Kekri. In the 18th century and in the 19th century when Lutheranism was the only approved religion Kekri was banned and some of the punishments for people who celebrated Kekri were fines or they might even end up to prison for a while. Celebration slowly vanished in the beginning of the 20th century. This was partially because of Christianity but even bigger factor was the industrial revolution which forced many people to move away from the country side to the cities to look for work. Kekri the great harvest festival slowly disappeared. Kekri has been brought back within recent twenty years or so thanks to more research that has been made about the past customs and interest towards the traditions and beliefs of pre-Christian Finland.
In Greek mythology seasons change when Persephone spends half of the year in the underworld with his husband Hades and rest of the year on earth with her mother Demeter, the goddess of grain.
Watercolor and colored pencils on acid free watercolor paper.
Artist and Illustrator. Mythology and Folklore enthusiastic. Keen traveler. Comes from Finland. Likes cats, tea, and such.
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