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Author Topic: Spirits of cold  (Read 1341 times)

Sefiru

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Spirits of cold
« on: January 23, 2019, 07:31:42 pm »
Having just survived several days of deep freeze, my mind is on spirits of ice and cold in various cultures; whether they're deities, nature spirits or something else.

In the English language, we talk about Jack Frost and Old Man Winter, but as far as I know, there aren't any actual stories about them (or are there? Does anyone here know any?). In Japanese folklore there are the yuki-onna, who appear as beautiful women who lure people away and freeze them to death. I'm curious about legends from other cultures and what they say about those cultures' perceptions of cold.

Riothamus12

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Re: Spirits of cold
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2019, 08:29:39 pm »
Having just survived several days of deep freeze, my mind is on spirits of ice and cold in various cultures; whether they're deities, nature spirits or something else.

In the English language, we talk about Jack Frost and Old Man Winter, but as far as I know, there aren't any actual stories about them (or are there? Does anyone here know any?). In Japanese folklore there are the yuki-onna, who appear as beautiful women who lure people away and freeze them to death. I'm curious about legends from other cultures and what they say about those cultures' perceptions of cold.

Have you heard of Morana, Goddess of Winter, wife of Jarilo, God of Spring? How about Skadi? is she not connected to winter and the cold?
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Donal2018

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Re: Spirits of cold
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2019, 08:30:54 pm »
Having just survived several days of deep freeze, my mind is on spirits of ice and cold in various cultures; whether they're deities, nature spirits or something else.

In the English language, we talk about Jack Frost and Old Man Winter, but as far as I know, there aren't any actual stories about them (or are there? Does anyone here know any?). In Japanese folklore there are the yuki-onna, who appear as beautiful women who lure people away and freeze them to death. I'm curious about legends from other cultures and what they say about those cultures' perceptions of cold.

Hm, not sure that I know too much about cold spirits and deities. I think Chione from Greek Mythology, she might be a mortal transformed into snow by the Gods. Then maybe Boreas, the North Wind in Greek Myth, associated somewhat with Northern Cold and Darkness, from where the term "Hyperborea" comes from, beyond Boreas, the Far North.

EnderDragonFire

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Re: Spirits of cold
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2019, 12:24:50 am »
I'm curious about legends from other cultures and what they say about those cultures' perceptions of cold.

As far as I know, Himavata/Himavana, whose name literally means 'frosty' or 'snowy' is the closest thing Hinduism has to a 'cold spirit.'

His domain is the Himalaya mountains, and is a personification of the mountains. Since India doesn't have seasonal snowfalls, it makes since that people would associate snow with geographic areas where they experience it, rather than a time of the year. While most of the subcontinent is warm tropical or subtropical, the Himalayas are snowy all year round, and so it's only natural that the deity who represents them would be a snowy, icy deity.

The word Himalaya itself is, after all, Sankrit for "Abode of Snow."
"The worshippers of the gods go to them; to the manes go the ancestor-worshippers; to the Deities who preside over the elements go their worshippers; My devotees come to Me." ... "Whichever devotee desires to adore whatever such Deity with faith, in all such votaries I make that particular faith unshakable. Endowed with that faith, a votary performs the worship of that particular deity and obtains the fruits thereof, these being granted by Me alone." - Sri Krishna

Sefiru

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Re: Spirits of cold
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2019, 07:07:54 pm »
Have you heard of Morana, Goddess of Winter, wife of Jarilo, God of Spring? How about Skadi? is she not connected to winter and the cold?

In fact, I have not. Where are they from? Many of the mythologies I'm familiar with have Goddesses of Spring, so that one sounds quite different. I don't know Skadi off the top of my head, either (Scandinavian? I'll have to look her up.)

Sefiru

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Re: Spirits of cold
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2019, 07:09:22 pm »
As far as I know, Himavata/Himavana, whose name literally means 'frosty' or 'snowy' is the closest thing Hinduism has to a 'cold spirit.'

His domain is the Himalaya mountains, and is a personification of the mountains. Since India doesn't have seasonal snowfalls, it makes since that people would associate snow with geographic areas where they experience it, rather than a time of the year. While most of the subcontinent is warm tropical or subtropical, the Himalayas are snowy all year round, and so it's only natural that the deity who represents them would be a snowy, icy deity.

The word Himalaya itself is, after all, Sankrit for "Abode of Snow."

That makes sense! How is Himavata characterised? Is he benevolent, dangerous, or somewhere in between?

EnderDragonFire

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Re: Spirits of cold
« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2019, 08:01:31 pm »
That makes sense! How is Himavata characterised? Is he benevolent, dangerous, or somewhere in between?

Like most of the children of Brahma, many of whom embody things and concepts, he's rather neutral, not particularly benevolent nor malevolent. He's the father of Ganga, the goddess of the river Ganges, who is more benevolent; this is undoubtedly due to the fact that the Ganges and the other major rivers of India originate in the Himalayas.
"The worshippers of the gods go to them; to the manes go the ancestor-worshippers; to the Deities who preside over the elements go their worshippers; My devotees come to Me." ... "Whichever devotee desires to adore whatever such Deity with faith, in all such votaries I make that particular faith unshakable. Endowed with that faith, a votary performs the worship of that particular deity and obtains the fruits thereof, these being granted by Me alone." - Sri Krishna

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Re: Spirits of cold
« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2019, 08:36:52 am »
Having just survived several days of deep freeze, my mind is on spirits of ice and cold in various cultures; whether they're deities, nature spirits or something else.

In the English language, we talk about Jack Frost and Old Man Winter, but as far as I know, there aren't any actual stories about them (or are there? Does anyone here know any?). In Japanese folklore there are the yuki-onna, who appear as beautiful women who lure people away and freeze them to death. I'm curious about legends from other cultures and what they say about those cultures' perceptions of cold.

Skali is a Norse jotun associated with cold and ice. Perchta and Holle are Yule goddesses in German culture associated with snow, ice, cold.  Ullr is a god associated with skiing and bow hunting in German/ Norse culture.

PerditaPickle

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Re: Spirits of cold
« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2019, 09:59:40 am »
Having just survived several days of deep freeze, my mind is on spirits of ice and cold in various cultures; whether they're deities, nature spirits or something else.

In the English language, we talk about Jack Frost and Old Man Winter, but as far as I know, there aren't any actual stories about them (or are there? Does anyone here know any?). In Japanese folklore there are the yuki-onna, who appear as beautiful women who lure people away and freeze them to death. I'm curious about legends from other cultures and what they say about those cultures' perceptions of cold.

So it's snowing here and it got me thinking about this thread, and whether Hans Christian Andersen's The Snow Queen is based on any older traditional tale(s) - not according to Wikipedia, though a surprising number of things seem to have arguably been based on/retellings of/inspired by it according to the site, including some science fiction.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2019, 10:03:34 am by Pickle »
"If I get on, Susan thought, it'll all start again.  I'll be out of the light and into the world beyond this one.  I'll fall off the tightrope.
But a voice inside her said, You want to, though...don't you...?
Ten seconds later, there was only the snow."
(Terry Pratchett's Hogfather)

Sefiru

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Re: Spirits of cold
« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2019, 07:17:44 pm »
whether Hans Christian Andersen's The Snow Queen is based on any older traditional tale(s) - not according to Wikipedia,

Huh. I could have sworn it was; it's definitely been treated like a traditional fairy tale by later creators.

EmberHearth

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Re: Spirits of cold
« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2019, 10:43:59 pm »
Huh. I could have sworn it was; it's definitely been treated like a traditional fairy tale by later creators.

On the Germanic side, Kari is said to be the Jotun of the North Wind.  He's often depicted as an Old Man Winter / Father Christmas type of figure.

In the Russian, presents are brought by Dyed Morozh, Grandfather Frost, and the Snow Maiden.  To me, she has always seemed the most obvious parallel to the Snow Queen.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ded_Moroz

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Re: Spirits of cold
« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2019, 11:21:54 am »

For the celtic deities there is Cailleach Bheur the blue goddess of winter.
I live in Canada and we are still under several inches of ice and a snow storm is announced for tonight and tomorrow, so I feel frozen in it all too! I'm feeding the squirrels that made a nest near my balcony because I don't get how they will dig under the packed ice to get their stored food. It's about time it starts melting down a bit to leave just snow.

Sefiru

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Re: Spirits of cold
« Reply #12 on: February 20, 2019, 06:39:34 pm »
For the celtic deities there is Cailleach Bheur the blue goddess of winter.
I live in Canada and we are still under several inches of ice and a snow storm is announced for tonight and tomorrow, so I feel frozen in it all too! I'm feeding the squirrels that made a nest near my balcony because I don't get how they will dig under the packed ice to get their stored food. It's about time it starts melting down a bit to leave just snow.

I'm in Ontario and it's already snowing here. :P I'm reminder of the quote - I think it's from Discworld? - about gods being 'not so much worshiped as blamed'.

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Re: Spirits of cold
« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2019, 05:41:23 pm »
I'm curious about legends from other cultures and what they say about those cultures' perceptions of cold.

My path is loosely born from the ancient cultures of the lands surrounding the Mediterranean, few of which particularly dwelt on the spiritual nature of cold...for some reason.

However, Judaism did eventually branch out into parts of the world more subject to wintry temperatures, and we do see some legends surrounding the spirits of cold  in later midrash: specifically, the idea that God left the northern corner of the world unfinished with the proclamation that anyone else who could finish it could declare themselves a true god. Naturally, no one ever finished it, and now "demons, winds, earthquakes, and evil spirits dwell" there.
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Re: Spirits of cold
« Reply #14 on: February 27, 2019, 06:36:29 pm »
uh. I could have sworn it was; it's definitely been treated like a traditional fairy tale by later creators.

The Snow Queen is one of my favorite fairy tale, I've always felt I could bump into her in winter here in Canada.  I got frostbites weeks ago that I'm still treating.

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