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Forest Blanket in Finnish Mythology (and Story of the Fox)

Niina is a folklorist and a storyteller who loves to research and explore myths from all around the world.

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Holiness Of The Forest

In Finnish mythology, the forest is frequently at the center of enigmatic happenings. Spirits and deities are depicted in myths and legends as natural phenomena. The forest covers 70% of Finland. A traditional Finnish saying states that entering a forest is similar to entering a church. Even the various activities that take place in forests have their own words.

Metsästää — to hunt (metsä-forest)
marjastaa — to pick berries (marja-berry)
sienestää — to pick mushrooms (sieni-mushroom)​

The earliest tale of the forest blanket is a cautionary tale. Avoid becoming lost in the forest if you can, as fairies and elves will curse you and make it impossible for you to find your way back. These legends about tricksters are well-known all across the world. When you enter a fairy ring in Ireland or Wales, you risk becoming caught under a similar enchantment. In Finland, there are similar stories. Someone becomes sidetracked by something. Maybe they spot a wisp of willow and choose to follow it. They enter the magical world, where everything is turned around. 50 years may have elapsed by the time they find their way back to the human world.


forest-blanket-in-finnish-mythology-and-animal-myths

Self-Protection

There were several techniques to protect oneself against being drawn into the world of fairies. The forest spirits were not particularly fond of red clothing. Red is a colour that also symbolizes vitality and blood. Turning clothing upside down caused the world to return to normal, pouring water into footprints, was one technique to escape the forest blanket. A person needed to find a twisted tree in the fairy realm so they could see through a hole into the world of humans and request assistance.

There was another way to approach the forest blanket. Being covered by the forest and getting under the enchantment can be a positive, enlighting experience. But is only recommended for the true seekers of wisdom and those who wish to unwrap the secrets of the forest. In this shamanic experience, the person does not fight against the forest blanket but allows it to cover them. Instead of panicking, they know their way back. In this enchantment, a person breathes and meditates in the forest. You become one with the place and the spirits of the place. In this peaceful state of mind, you can start having visions. Some people see nature spirits in the corners of their eyes. Others see grass and flowers growing and dying, animals roaming and trees whispering to each other.

When someone visited the forest in ancient times, it was customary for them to say or sing the forest's greetings.

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Terve metsä
Terve metsän haltiat

Greetings forest
Greetings forest spirits

History Of Foxes

In Finnish folklore, the fox is characterized as crafty, perceptive, and watchful. These characteristics are also present in foxes in the wild. Foxes were hunted in prehistoric Finland for their priceless fur. Fox traps were kept immaculately since foxes have a keen sense of smell. To remove the odour of humans, people used to scour them with pine cones. Foxes were (and still are) exceptionally intelligent creatures, making it challenging for humans to capture them.

The individual who caught foxes was thought to have powerful shamanic abilities. Folklore holds that the goddess known as Lukutar or the Käreitär, goddess of the flame, is the fox's emuu (the creation spirit) in Finnish mythology. Her name derives from the word lukka, which means sand bench—a frequent location for fox nests.


forest-blanket-in-finnish-mythology-and-animal-myths

Northern Lights

There is a myth about firefox that is spread throughout Lapland and northern Finland. A mystical huge fox named Firefox resided in the far northern, icy hills. Every hunter aspired to capture the firefox because it was said that the hunter who succeeded would enjoy lifelong fortune. Firefox resembled the Phoenix bird in certain ways. One Firefox might exist at a time. The firefox was as swift as the wind, making it impossible for anyone to catch it. Lapland and northern Finland have legends about how the northern lights first appeared. The origin of the northern lights is described in a legend that is popular in northern Finland and Lapland. Fast-moving firefox in snowy hills makes dazzling sparkles in the sky when its fur touches the snow. Revontulet, which translates to "the fox's fires," is the Finnish word for the northern lights. Because fur may electrify and produce tiny sparks in the dry, icy air, this tale is based on reality.

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© 2022 Niina Pekantytar

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