This video was a request from one of my viewers to share my thoughts on pagan world view and the atheistic mindset. Can you inclusive one from another?
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Some of you might know this already but my family from my mother´s side originates from the Lapland of Finland and Sweden. I´ve always had bit of a soft spot for Saami myths and legeds and they have inspired many of my paintings and here I shall share some of those stories and artworks with you. Enjoy )O(
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Day of Mikko
In the old Finnish pagan wheel of the year Mikonpäivä/Mikkelinpäivä the day of St.Michael was celebrated in 29th of September. In southern Savonia this day was known as pässinpäivä the day of the ram.
Mikonpäivä started the winter season and was known as the gate to winter and the opposite of it was Hela the May festival which was gate to the summer.
Finnish pagan wheel of the year was based on agriculture and farming. Mikonpäivä was the time when people moved from outdoor works into indoor works. Mikonpäivä started the last harvest period.
After Mikonpäivä there was runtuviikko which was free week for the servants. Runtuviikko included parties, dances, meetings and many couple got married during Runtuviiko.
Mikonpäivä was important day for the shephards because it was their last working day. To celebrate they lit bonfires to the hills. There was all kinds of superstitions connected to Mikonpäivä. Livestock had to be brought inside before sunset. People were dressed up to their best and when they took animals inside they sang protection spells for the cattle. An arch was made of tree branches and put upon the gate that lead into stables. Horses had to walk underneath the arch for protection.
Sacrifices were made for the elves and spirits. Ancestors were thanked for protecting the cattle and keeping the livestock healthy. Sacrifices were bit different in different parts of the country. In some areas drops of vodka and bread were left for the elves and in some areas silver was given. In the morning, porridge was left for the house elf into riihi (building where rye was dried, riihi´s were common in Russia and Scandinavian countries).
In Eastern Finland Mikonpäivä was the day of the ram and sheeps and rams were sacrificed. Inner organs of the animal was buried underneath the spirit tree and the head was hanged into the branches. Rest of the meat was served as dinner. Other foods of pässinpäivä were potatoes, beer, cheese, porridge and cabbage. Why rams were sacrificed is unclear. It is possible that they were sacrificied to please ancient fertility gods of the land or the ancestors.
In Karelia Mikonpäivä was known as Pokrova and it´s symbol was the veil of Virgin Mary (pokrov is Russian and translates as safety, protection). In the pagan areas of Karelia the last hay of the harvest were taken into the sacred groves. In the areas where religion was Russian Orthodoxism the hays were carried inside and layed next to the images of saints where they were blessed and after that they were given for the cows to eat.
There was all kinds of superstitions connected to Pokrova. In the night of Pokrova horses wore warp during the night. It was believed that when they did that they would not feel cold during winter months.
In Ingria when ladies took cattle inside the cattle shed they sang greeting songs for the earth spirit. It was believed that after pokrova it was forbidden to ”move the land” anymore because the land went to sleep. In Ingria Pokrova was common hunting and fishing day.
I love this time of the year. The leaves, autumn colors and of course the witching hour...
Today 40% from all art prints, mugs, iphone cases, laptop skins and other me-time products in my society6 store.
You can find my Raven Witch laptop design there as well.
By The Lake Of Shining Waters
HSP or a highly sensitive person has become more well known term globally in the past years. Couple years ago when I came to the realization that I myself was a highly sensitive person I started to pay notice to other highly sensitive characters in literature, movies, in pop culture and of course, in real life. Perhaps the most well known highly sensitive person in the world´s literature is Lucy Maud Montgomery´s Anne of Green Gables.
“Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it... Yet.”
For those who do not know Anne of Green Gables, AGG is a book written by Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery and the first book was published in 1908. Books take place in the eastern coast of Canada in Prince Edward´s island where author lived most of her life. Anne had adventures in nine books and she is the most popular character of Montgomery´s large amount of written works.
Anne Shirley is a 12-years old orphan girl, who by mistake ends up into Prince Edward´s island where she gets adopted by siblings Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert. Anne is best known from her temper, freckled face and fiery red hair. Anne is talkative, social, sensitive girl who likes to day dream. Quiet and shy Matthew becomes Anne´s kindred spirit. It takes a bit longer for reserved Marilla to understand her. They both become very found of Anne and love her like their own daughter. Anne has deep emotional world. She experiences the joys and sorrows of life with intense passion. This makes her life both very enjoyable and painful at times. In the first book she makes all kinds of things that get frowned upon. She hits Gilbert´s head with a slate when he teases her, accidentally colors her hair green instead of black and gets her best friend drunk from currant wine.
A highly sensitive person has a deep emotional world. Majority of highly sensitive people are introverts and about 30% of all hsp people in the world are extroverts. Anne belongs to this group (and so does the friend of mine who originally introduced me to the term ”highly sensitive person”.
In one interview Megan Follows who played Anne in the 1985 classic mini-tv series described the character of Anne like this:
”Anne is eccentric because she is absolutely open and so therefore in some people´s eyes she is too much. She is too joyous or she is too in despair but there is no barrier she doesn´t filter herself . She doesn´t censor herself”
Famous Anne quotes like ”I am in the depths of despair” or "my life is a graveyard of buried hopes" or ”plum pudding does not heal the aching of the soul” to which Marilla answers ”at least aching of the soul hasn´t hurt your tongue” perfectly describes Anne´s highly sensitive nature and Marilla´s total lack of high sensitivity and her practical nature.
Anne´s best friend is Diana Barry and their friendship is nearly perfect. They rarely argue and Anne worships Diana. In the first book Anne´s longing to find herself family and friends comes through very strongly and between the lines one can read about her broken childhood which has included abusing, bullying, mental and possibly physical violence.
“Dear old world, you are very lovely, and I am glad to be alive in you.”
Being highly sensitive is considered as a genetic trait which passes on within the family. Beside the hsp genes Anne´s sensitivity has been influenced by her traumatic childhood. When she arrives to Green Gables her soul is hungry for love and mainly because of the care and the compassion that she receives from Matthew, Diana and later on from Marilla she thrives and for the first time in her life she becomes happy and whole.
Anne´s best quality is that she has the talent to become friends with anyone. Despite the fact that sometimes she falls into the depths of despair for most of the time Anne is an optimist. She is not perfect and she openly admits it. She can be very unforgiving and hold grudge for a long time. She is very sensitive about her hair. In the books she did not spoke to Gilbert for three years when he teased her about it.
Rich inner world, becoming emotionally attached to places and objects and naming them, creativity, literal talents, romantic nature, imagination and making sudden decisions are all parts of Anne´s character. In the later books she became famous for arraging love affairs of her friends and familiars, because of her strong intuition. Being a highly sensitive person is both a gift and curse. In the books Anne is described to be a person that other people feel safe to open up to because Anne is not someone who judges easily. Instead it is easy for her to empathize to other people´s´s up´s and downs because of her good intuition and imagination.
I read my first Anne-book at the age of nine and ever since then I have pretty much re-read them every single summer. Green Gables is a peaceful place filled with beauty for those who seek it. Analyses about Anne´s sensitive nature were made way before Elaine Aron´s ground breaking book highly sensitive person appeared. For many highly sensitive people Anne Shirley has been a role model for over a century. Despite the fact that Anne is very sensitive Anne is never a victim. On the contrary Anne is never ashamed of herself or her sensitivity and she never hides her emotions. She is proudly her authentic self. Story of Anne is a somewhat a Cinderella-story. Girl who were given the lowest starting points on life conquers the hearts of everyone in Green Gables and beyond. She becomes a friend, teacher, writer, wife and a mother.
Reading Anne-books as a child is different than reading Anne-books as an adult. Now the world of Anne feels slightly darker. Especially after reading all nine books in chronological order where Anne grows from a 12 year old to an old woman. I was not surprised when some years ago I heard that the true cause of death of Lucy Maud Montgomery was a suicide and not a heart disease. Maud had a talent to describe the world through eyes of a child. Many of her heroes like Anne, Jane Victoria and Emily of the New Moon have very rich inner worlds, like Maud herself who I believe was also highly sensitive.
“It's delightful when your imaginations come true, isn't it?
I was a very shy as a child and I was always afraid to be judged by others. I admired Anne because she was so outspoken and did not care what other people thougth of her. I wish I would have been that brave in the same age but maybe it took a character like Anne to shape my personality to that direction. I did have friends as a child but I often felt as an outsider because of my highly sensitive nature. Term highly sensitive person did not exist yet in the Finland of the early 90´s economic depression so Anne became my kindred spirit though she only existed in the pages of a book.
When I was in elementary school I loved Sullivan Entertainments 1985 Anne of Greengables miniseries and it´s sequel Anne of Avonlea (the triquel, I like to pretend it did not happen). Series is pretty loyal to the books and it shows Anne´s highly sensitive nature. I tried to keep an open mind when I started to watch Netflix Anne with an E. One thing that I did absolutely love about it was that Anne´s emotional world was shown even more deeper than before (the scene where she is playing the spirit of the "snow queen" cherry tree, I was sobbing my eyes out). My biggest problem with Anne with an E was the the over-dramatizing (which to be fair, is the modern tv- trend) When in the books Anne is open and optimistic in Anne with an E she is often rude, mean and cynical (I do hope that this changes as the series progresses) and other people start to appreciate her just after she saves a child, town from the fire or performs some other great act. These constant validations definitely made me cringe a bit.
Despite the fact that high sensitivity is a scientifically proven pesonal trait (which also exists among animals) it is still a tabu among some people and not all highly sensitive people are not nearly as open about it as I am. It is very easy for highly sensitive person to become a target of bullying and abuse which can lead into depression, anxiety and other mental health issues. In Finland (and in all Scandinavian countries) there is a great amoung of higly sensitive people (apparently more than anywhere else in the world) but for a long time within Finnish culture being sensitive was more approached as a fault than as a virtue (especially among men.) Many times highly sensitive people end up working in the creative industries. Some of the most well-known highly sensitive people are Steven Spielberg and Winona Ryder. Still a highly sensitive person often faces discrimination because of their highly sensitive nature. This is why we need characters like Anne. She is a positive role model for all highly sensitive people. She is smart, outspoken, unpologetic and at the same time the most loving and caring person. For Anne being a highly sensitive person is the asset that carries her through life.
The Origin of the bear
Wheare was ”broad-forehead” orn, was ”honey-paws” produced? Tehre was broad-forehead” born, was ”honey-paws” produced, close to the moon, beside the sun, on the shoulders of Charle´s Wian. Form there was he let dow to the earth, to the honeye wood´s interior, to a verdant thicket´s edge, into a liver-coloured cleft. Sinisirkku the forest maid, rocked him, swayed him to and for in a cradle of gold, in silver straps, under a fir, with branchin crown, under a bushy pine. ”Broad-forehead” the was christened, the scanty-haired one was baptized near ”fiery” rapids, at the eddy of a fearful, holy stream. Who undertook to christen him? The king of Himmerkki himself, he undertook to christen him, to baptize the scanty-haired, the Virgin Mary, mother dear, both acted as his godmother and to the christening carried him. What was the name they gave? ”Hulking fellow”, ”little haystack”, ”lovely shaggy coat of hair”, ”honeypaws”, ”the corpulent”.
The Magic Songs of the Finns, Elias Lönnrot, 1880
In ancient Finland there was one animal that was worshiped more than any other and that animal was the bear. In Finland there are lots of archaeological finds made which tell us about the existence of the ancient bear cult. In the area around Ural mountains in Siberia there are lots of myths told about the great bear god. Birth myth of the bear from Siberiean Ostjak tribe was also well-known in ancient Finland. Bear lived in the star sky in the constellation of the Ursa Major with his father god Num Torum. Bear looked down to the earth and soon longed to live among people. His father agreed and sent him down to the earth in a golden cradle. Bear´s life in the earth was filled with sin. This made Num Torum ashamed and he allowed humans to kill his son. Myth which tells that bear has cosmic origins is common all around Eurasian areas. Among Vogul tribe in Siberia, there is a similar myth but bear is a female not a male. In northern Eurasia among several different clans there was belief that people were descendants from an union between a human goddess and the cosmic bear god. In the earliest layer of Saami mythology moon goddess Háhtežan was married to the cosmic bear and her sister Njávežan the sun goddess, was married to the cosmic moose. These were two the most respected and feared animals in northern hunter-collector cultures.
Mielikki The Bear Goddess
Finnish word karhu the bear is derived from the word karhea which means rough fur. Because bear was such respected god the name of the bear was a tabu. It was forbidden to say the name aloud. It was believed that that would jinx the bear an it would harm the person for not being respectful towards it. This is why in Finnish language there are over 1000 nicknames for bear alone. It was believed that bear was also a shaman and a witch and it could hear people´s thoughts. That bear was worshiped as a god in Finland has in fact been beneficial for bears in modern Finland. Compared the several other European countries in Finland bears have not been hunted that great numbers and there are about. 1500-2000 bears living in Finland´s forests still today.
In Finnish mythology Mielikki the forest god is often connected to bears. After the bear was landed from the skies in the golden cradle Mielikki adopted the bear and nurtured him with honey and apples. She gave bear it´s mission to be the most beloved, respected and feared animal of the forest. Mielikki and her husband forest god Tapio could also shape sift themselves as bears. In many ways Mielikki as a goddess is similar to bears. She represents two aspects of womanhood; the independent hunter goddess who protects her home the forest (very much like a mother bear who protects her cubs) and on the other hand she is the nurturing mother goddess who represents the healing aspects of the forest and nature. Mielikki is also an interesting goddess in that sense that each winter she went to winter sleep/hibernation...just like a bear. Summer and autumn were sacred time for Mielikki. Spring and winter were times when Tapio ruled the forest.
Bear figure found from archaeological site of Kierikki, Finland Estimated time period: 5100 bc
Bears and Humans
In Finnish mythology the creator/emuu of the bear was Hongatar goddess/spirit of the pine trees. Some sources mention that Ilmarinen the blacksmith god was the bear´s father. Several Finno-Ugric tribes worshiped bear as their sacred ancestor. In Finland bear hunting was a sacred ritual that took place in the spring time right before bear would wake up from it´s winter sleep. Winter sleep by itself was believed to be a proof of bear´s magical powers. People did not understand why bears went to winter sleep. Winter was seen as the time of dying nature so when bears woke up each spring for ancient people this was a sign that bear was a powerful god who would always reborn again. In eastern Finland bear was considered to be the ancestor of the clan and it was forbidden to eat bear meat. Then in some other parts of Finland bear meat was a great treat and source of nutrition. Being the ancestor of humans bear´s life was performed in a ritualistic play during the bear hunt festival. Poems were told how the bear was landed from it´s cosmic home to the earth and how it would marry the cosmic mother (often a newly wed couple would play the part) and a funeral was hold where bear was buried like a human. Skull was hanged into the top of the spirit tree so the bear would be closer to it´s original home. There are many reasons why people believed that they were descendants of bears. When bear stands on it´s back feet it´s about the same size as an average person. Bear´s palms are similar to humans hands. It even has five fingers. Bears are strong and fast. These were qualities that hunters greatly admired.
Here is my video about the bears in Finnish mythology.
Check out my online course Heart of Mielikki It is all about Finnish mythology )O(
If you like to read as much as I do you might enjoy some of my new bookmarks/book keepers all based on some of my most popular illustrations.
This one is my summer fairy. Click images to get into the store.
"Mielikki and the bear". In the Finnish mythology Mielikki was the goddess of forest and hunt. According to the legend she traveled to the constellation of Ursa Major and brought ingredients to the earth and from that magical subtence she created the first bear.
Of course Halloween is coming I must end this post with a witch and a cat familiar.
What You´ll Need
If you like dragons as much as I do, you are going to love making dragon eggs with this tutorial!
Place The Pins
Start placing the pins from the top of the egg and always cover a third of the previous pin in the next layer. Work all the way down to cover the entire egg. It took me about 90 pins to cover one.
Here are my two dragon eggs. At this point, they should look a bit like golden pinecones.
Paint the eggs
Pick a color you like and paint the entire egg.
I love using glitter in my craft projects. You can use basic crafting glitter or shimmering nail polish. I think it gives some extra magic to your dragon eggs. Be creative!
The dragon eggs are complete! I painted my eggs red, purple, and green. I hope you enjoy making your own!
Artist and Illustrator. Mythology and Folklore enthusiastic. Keen traveler. Comes from Finland. Likes cats, tea, and such.
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