Mielikki Finnish Forest Goddess

This month Folklore women is the theme. One of the most famous goddess of Finnish folklore is of the goddess of the forest and the hunt named Mielikki. Her name Mielikki, originated from the old Finnish word mielu which means luck. She is also known by metsänemä mother of the forest. Brown bears were the most sacred of animals in Finland.

Mielikki’s husband is a Finnish forest god named, Tapio. Mielikki is the mother of Nyyrikki a female wind spirit and Tuulikki, god of cattle and the hunt. Mielikki had three other children that were forest spirits named, Annikki, Tellervo and Tuutikki.

According to Finnish legend, Ancient hunters would have to attain Mielikki’s consent to enter her forest they asked Mielikki´s permission to enter her lands. To acquire a great catch in the hunt, the hunter would praise Mielikki’s beauty and in return she would grant the hunter a successful hunt.

Mielikki is a huntress like the Roman goddes Diana. Mielikki is known to have worn a blue cape. Blue is the color of protection.

Mielikki was recognized for the protection and mending of wounded animals especially those who were caught in traps.

She would also heal chicks that fell from their nests and grouse after their tough mating rituals.

She was well skilled as an herbalist.

Several witches, shamans and those who trained in herbal magick, revered Mielikki.

Finnish lore cites that she plays a main role in the creation of the bear.

The Finnish Kalevala national epic based on Karelian folklore, the hero Lemminkäinen grants her and Tapio prayers, gold and silver so he can catch the Hiisi elk. Another passage mentions, that Mielikki is inquired to protect the cattle pasturing in the forest.

She is also offered prayers by small game hunters and gatherers of berries and mushrooms.

The Mielikki Mons, a mountain on the planet Venus, is named after her.

Source & Reference:

“Mielikki Mons”. Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature.

Original quotes from Kalevala regarding Mielikki translated to English.

Mielikki information and links from the Finndex.

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Mictēcacihuātl Aztec Lady of The Dead

Continuing my theme of #FolkloreWomen this month.

Mexicans just observed their Day of the dead ancestoral festival on November 1st.

Here is an Ancient Aztec goddess that is revered on the Day of the Dead.

Mictēcacihuātl, Lady of The Dead. According to Aztec legends, Mictēcacihuātl means “Lady of the Dead” she is Queen of Mictlan which is the underworld, Mictēcacihuātl governs over the dead with her deity husband, Mictlantecuhtli.

Mictēcacihuātl main job is to over see the deceased’s dead and direct the ancient festivals of the dead.

These ancient festivals emerged from Aztec traditions into the present Day of the Dead after blending with Spanish traditions. Mictēcacihuātl also, watches over the modern festival. Her claim to fame, as the “Lady of the Dead”, was that she was born, then sacrificed as a baby. Mictecacihuatl was displayed with a decayed body and with her jaw wide- opened, to gobble the stars in daytime.

Sources & Reference:

Fernández, Adela (1992, 1996). Dioses Prehispánicos de México (in Spanish). Mexico City: Panorama Editorial. ISBN 968-38-0306-7. OCLC 28801551

(1993). An Illustrated Dictionary of the Gods and Symbols of Ancient Mexico and the Maya. London: Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0-500-27928-4.

Vasalisa and The Fiery Skull 💀🔥

#FolkloreWomen 👧👩👵

This November I am continuing with the theme of Folklore Women.

Vasalisa and The Fiery Skull in Russian Folklore.

A merchant and his first wife had a single daughter, who was known as Vasilisa the Beautiful. Vasalisa’s mother died when Vasalisa turned eight years old. Her mother on her deathbed, gave Vasilisa a small, wooden doll with instructions to give it a bit to eat and a bit to drink if she were in need, and then it would help her.

When her mother died, Vasilisa gave it a bit to drink and a bit to eat, and it comforted her. Over time, her father remarried; his second wife was a woman with two daughters. Vasilisa’s stepmother was mean and vicious towards her, with her doll’s aid, she was able to perform all the tasks forced upon her. When young males came courting, the stepmother dismissed them all because it was not proper for the younger to marry before the older, and none of the suitors wished to marry Vasilisa’s stepsisters.

The merchant one day, had to set out on a journey. His wife sold the house and moved them all to a dreary hut by the forest. One time she gave each of the girls a task and extinguished all the fires except a single candle. Her older daughter then extinguished the candle, whereupon they sent Vasilisa to fetch fire from Baba Yaga’s hut.

The doll advised her to go, and she went. While she was sauntering down a dark path, a mysterious man rode by her in the hours before dawn, dressed in white, riding a white horse whose equipment was all white; then a similar rider in red.She came to a house that stood on chicken legs and was walled by a fence made of skeleton bones. A black rider, like the white and red riders, galloped past her, and night fell, whereupon the eye sockets of the skulls began to glow. Vasilisa was too frightened to run away, and so Baba Yaga found her when she arrived in her mortar. Baba Yaga said that Vasilisa must perform tasks successfully, in order to earn the fire, or be killed. She was to tidy the house and yard, wash Baba Yaga’s laundry, and cook her a meal.

Vasalisa’s other tasks were to separate grains of rotten corn from sound corn, and separate poppy seeds from grains of soil. Baba Yaga left, and Vasilisa’s heart grew heavy, as she worked herself into exhaustion. When all hope of completing the tasks seemed lost, the doll whispered that she would complete the tasks for Vasilisa, and that the girl should sleep.

At dawn, the white rider passed; at or before noon, the red. As the black rider rode past, Baba Yaga returned and could complain of nothing. She bade three pairs of disembodied hands seize the corn to squeeze the oil from it, then asked Vasilisa if she had any questions. Vasilisa asked about the riders’s identities and was told that the white one was Day, the red one the Sun, and the black one Night.

When Vasilisa thought of asking about the disembodied hands, the doll quivered in her pocket. Vasilisa realized she should not ask, and told Baba Yaga she had no further questions. In return, Baba Yaga enquired as to the cause of Vasilisa’s success. On hearing the answer “by my mother’s blessing,” Baba Yaga, who wanted nobody with any kind of blessing in her presence, threw Vasilisa out of her house, and sent her home with a skull-lantern full of burning coals, to provide light for her step-family. Upon her return, Vasilisa found that, since sending her out on her task, her step-family had been unable to light any candles or fire in their home. Even lamps and candles that might be brought in from outside were useless for the purpose, as all were snuffed out the second they were carried over the threshold. The coals brought in the skull-lantern burned Vasilisa’s stepmother and stepsisters to ashes, and Vasilisa buried the skull according to its instructions, so no person would ever be harmed by it.

Later, Vasilisa became an assistant to a maker of cloth in Russia’s capital city, where she became so skilled at her work that the Tsar himself noticed her skill; he later married Vasilisa.

Sources:

Satran, Paula Redmond, and Rosenkrantz, Linda (2007). Baby Name Bible. St. Martin’s Griffin. ISBN 978-0-312-35220-2

Tatar, Maria (2002). The Annotated Classic Fairy Tales. W.W. Norton and Company.

Norse Goddess Hel

Happy Samhain and Halloween!

It’s a spooktacular day to wrap up #FolkloreVillians One of the famous Folklore Villians in Norse mythology is Loki’s daughter Hel also called, Hela. This misunderstood goddess of the shadow- world is a queen that presides over a realm of the same name, where she receives a quota of the dead, ones that expired due to sickness or old age.

Freyja, the Norse Vanir goddess oversees a portion of the dead too in her afterlife field called, Fólkvangr.

Dead warriors that fought bravely in war are scooped up by the Valkeryies and placed in Valhalla overseen by Odin.

Hel is mentioned in the Poetic Edda, composed in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources, and the Prose Edda, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson. Hel is also cited in poems recorded in the 9th and 10th century, Heimskringla and Egils saga.

Hel is described as having been selected by Norse god Odin, to rule the underworld realm of the same name, located in Niflheim. In this source, she appears as half blue and half flesh-colored and further as having a somber, haunted appearance.

The Prose Edda details that Hel rules over vast estates with several servants in her shadow realm and plays a key role in the attempted resurrection of the god Baldr.

Hel’s facial appearance has been noted as half woman, half skull. Hel’s body is described as a healthy woman neck to waist. Waist down her body is a decayed and greenish-black. Hel’s mother is a Jotün named Angrboda who procreated with Loki and birthed Hel, Fenrir a giant warg and Jormungand a giant serpent who was hurled out of Asgard and landed in the Ocean around Midgard, the world of men.

According to legend, Hel built herself a huge estate, the Drop of destruction. Her hall is called Eljudnir, home of the dead from the nine worlds. Her servants were called, Ganglati and Ganglot. Hel even has names for her plate called “Hunger” and her knife is termed, “Famine.” Her bed is named “Sick bed” and her bed hangings called, “Glimmering misfortune.”

Sources and Reference:

Dronke, Ursula (1969). The Poetic Edda 1: Heroic poems. Clarendon Press. Bell, Michael (1983).

“Hel Our Queen: An Old Norse Analogue to an Old English Female Hell” as collected in The Harvard Theological Review, Vol. 76, No. 2 (April 1983), pages 263–268. Cambridge University Press.

The Penguin book of Norse Myths Gods of Vikings by Kevin Crossley-Holland.

Statue of the Norse goddess, Hel.

Photo uncredited.

The Vampire Mermaid

When one thinks of a mermaid you may visualize Ariel, from Disney’s 1989 movie version of the fairy tale called “The Little Mermaid.” One may also think of the late Danish author Hans Christian Andersen’s original fairy tale, “The Little Mermaid.” Published on April 7 1837. These mermaids were benevolent and wished for a soul of their own.

In Folklore this kind of mermaid would at times seduce a sailor of their choice, by singing an ancient seductive song. Her goal was to marry a human. Once the mermaid swims to shore she transforms into a woman sporting legs rather than wearing her usual fish tail.

On the other side of the fin so to speak, are Vampire mermaids which are nasty sea spirits that exhibit similar behavior as Sirens.

Sirens, in the Greek myth, Homer’s Odyssey, sing an ancient song that seduce sailors to seek out their bewitching voices, their hypnotic voices led sailors to Davy Jones’ locker, having crashed their ships upon the rocks.

Other tales speak of a mermaid saving a sailor’s life if he happened to fall off a ship or was tossed off by a third party.

According to most mermaid lore, benevolent mermaids are amiable and help save many drowning folks, over several centuries. According to sealore mermaids have the gift of healing, while other mermaids are shamans or psychopomps, that assist the deceased spirits of the drowned to the shadow world.

However, the dark, malicious type of mermaid termed, “Vampire mermaid,” hates people and is determined to destroy them.

Vampire mermaids do not drain a person’s blood out of their body instead, they suck out one’s soul.

The Vampire mermaid is a strategic stalker that physically appears gorgeous and provocative. She will act seductively towards her ignorant victim until she closes in for the kill and quickly drains the victim of his spirit.

Vampire mermaids and mermaids; both types of mermaids desire a soul of their own. Both have opposite ways of obtaining it.

So be wary of crossing the path of a mermaid. She might be a Vampire mermaid which could be deadly for you!

Sources & References:

Andersen, Hans Christian (2007-12-13). “The Little Mermaid”. IL: Gilead.

Walt Disney Studios, The Little Mermaid (film, 1989

Homer, Odyssey, book 12.

Illes, Judika (2009). The encyclopedia of spirits: the ultimate guide to the magic of fairies, genies, demons, ghosts, gods, and goddesses. New York: HarperOne. ISBN 978-0-06-135024-5.

Briggs, K. M. (1976). An Encyclopedia of Fairies, Hobgoblins, Brownies, Boogies, and Other Supernatural Creatures. Random House. ISBN 0-394-73467-X.

On Halloween by Nina W. Walter

The Halloween and Samhain countdown continues with this fun poem by Nina Willis Walter. Ten more days till Halloween! 🎃

ON HALLOWEEN

The witches fly Across the sky,

The owls go, “Who? Who? Who?”

The black cats yowl And green ghosts howl,

“Scary Halloween to you!”

~Nina Willis Walter

Freaky Friday The 13th Folklore

Freaky Friday The 13th in Folklore.

Friday is a thoughtful time, there is so much Myth and Mystery that surrounds it. According to author, Eric W. Weisstein (“Triskaidekaphobia on MathWorld”. ) The fear of the number 13 has been given a scientific name: “triskaidekaphobia”; and on analogy to this the fear of Friday the 13th is called paraskevidekatriaphobia, from the Greek words Paraskeví (Παρασκευή, meaning “Friday”), and dekatreís (δεκατρείς, meaning “thirteen.”

This famous superstition happened on Friday, 13 October 1307, on this day, King Philip IV of France arrested and tortured hundreds of the Knights Templar. Many of the Knights Templar just vanished! They were a special forces unit that were highly skilled, they fought and organised the crusades. The ones that didn’t fight the Non-combatant members of the order directed a large economic infrastructure throughout Christendom, developing innovative financial methods that were an early form of finance, and constructing fortifications across Europe and the Holy Land. The Templars being closely tied to the Crusades; when the Holy Land was lost, support for the order dwindled. Rumours about the Templars’ secret initiation ceremony caused suspicion, and King Philip IV of France – deeply in debt to the order – took advantage of the situation to gain control over them. Pope Clement V disbanded the order in 1312 influenced by King Philip 1V. Maurice Druon comments on this in his historical novel The Iron King (Le Roi de fer), John J. Robinson’s 1989 work Born in Blood: The Lost Secrets of Freemasonry, Dan Brown’s 2003 novel The Da Vinci Code and Steve Berry’s The Templar Legacy (2006).

Also a New tv series will start Dec. 6th on the History Channel that tells the Legend of the Vanished Knights Templar. It’s termed ” “Knightfall.”

Another reason Friday the thirteenth was condidered unlucky was that Christians feared Friday the thirteenth as it was the day of Jesus Christ’s last supper before his disciple Judas traded Jesus into the Roman guard’s shackles, for fifty pieces of silver to be crucified. The number 12 represents Christ’s inner group of disciples and the Christ was the 13th which is a sacred astrology symbol of the Sun or Son encircled by the 12 Zodiac signs in the heavens.

Some cultures like the Greeks feared the number thirteen as well as Tuesday the god Ares is a war day. This is due to the day Constantinople fell to the Ottomans. April 13 1204.

Italians frowned upon the 17th due to the origin of writing the number 17, in Roman numerals: XVII. By intermixing the digits of the number one can easily get the word VIXI (“I have lived”, implying death in the present), an omen of bad luck. However, they found the 13th day lucky.

Friday is considered lucky by the Old Norse folks as a good day to be married, since Odin’s wife Frigg a Norse goddess in her own right, is the originator of this day.

Freya the Norse Vanir goddess of sorcery who taught Odin magick, is of the sixth day, and is portrayed with her sacred animals, her cats named, Bygul & Trjegul.

Christianity later demoted the Norse gods and goddesses and the Celitc gods and godesses turning them into demons and witches. Only the Celtic, nature, goddess Bridget was morphed into Saint Bridget by Christianity. Freya was also portrayed as a witch with a black cat and according to the Christian cleric at the time, she was demoted as evil.

Ergo, the Inquisitions of Europe, the UK, eastern US where both women and men were burned at the stake, hanged, tortured and drowned after being accused and tried of witchcraft hyped up by the paranoid, competitive priests of Roman Catholism & Protestantism.

Let’s not forget that several of the UK and European churches were built over pagan sacred sites.

The Chinese consider the number thirteen to be a sign of good fortune, not bad luck. Friday or Shukravar is revered to Shakti, the Mother Goddess of the Hindus which in turn consider this day to be lucky.

The number thirteen represents the full moons in a year, it can be correlated to the lunar cycle and is identified with the moon goddesses, Greek: Diana, Hekate, Selene, Celtic: Cerridwen, China: Chanģ O Lady. The Norse god Máni is a moon god and is where the term “Man in the moon,” may have originated from.

The most obvious association yet overlooked is the 12 signs of the Zodiac with the sun in the centre adds up to 13 which is lucky since the sun makes organic life grow.

Note: Please be kind to black cats and dogs as we celebrate the Samhain and Halloween season and all seasons.

Enjoy Friday the 13th Pagans. 🎃

Sources & References:

Weisstein, Eric W. “Triskaidekaphobia on MathWorld”. Hartston, Willam (1 June 2007).

Encyclopedia of Useless Information. Sourcebooks, Incorporated. p. 365. ISBN 9781402248382.

In Christian tradition, fear of Friday the 13th stems from the day of the Crucifixion (Friday) and the number at the Last Supper (13). Despite these origins, the Friday the 13th superstition dates back only to the Middle Ages. Chrysopoulos, Philip (13 October 2015).Re”Why Superstitious Greeks Fear Tuesday the 13th”. Greek Reporter.

Clar, Mimi (1957). “Friday the 13th”. Western Folklore: 62–63.