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Author Topic: Trying to identify a forest god/dess  (Read 1264 times)

Hrútsvinr

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Trying to identify a forest god/dess
« on: May 09, 2017, 04:21:26 am »
I've gotten this ~vibe~ around trees and forests for...pretty much my whole life, but I've been much more aware of it the past year or so. Since I get this vibe around pretty much every heavily wooded area I've been to, I think it's a deity rather than a local spirit.

On to the vibe.
- I get it in areas where there are lots of trees, particularly old, big ones and places where trees block out the sun, so: forests, old parks, even little gardens in the city where there are trees close together. Strongest in the forest, obviously.
- Feels ancient, deep, dark in a wild-potentially-dangerous way.
- A sense of something being buried, hidden, obscured, mystifying - perhaps to do with death and decomposition.
- Does not seem related to human prosperity or hunting or agriculture - this is the forest as it exists on its own terms.

I would look to Norse mythology, since I'm Heathen, but there aren't any forest deities, and the giants aren't much more specific. I've had a hunch this being might belong to Celtic, Germanic, or Gaulish culture, but I'd appreciate suggestions/guesses from any culture.
Thanks!

Beryl

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Re: Trying to identify a forest god/dess
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2017, 08:52:03 am »
Quote from: Hrútsvinr;205924
I've gotten this ~vibe~ around trees and forests for...pretty much my whole life, but I've been much more aware of it the past year or so. Since I get this vibe around pretty much every heavily wooded area I've been to, I think it's a deity rather than a local spirit.

On to the vibe.
- I get it in areas where there are lots of trees, particularly old, big ones and places where trees block out the sun, so: forests, old parks, even little gardens in the city where there are trees close together. Strongest in the forest, obviously.
- Feels ancient, deep, dark in a wild-potentially-dangerous way.
- A sense of something being buried, hidden, obscured, mystifying - perhaps to do with death and decomposition.
- Does not seem related to human prosperity or hunting or agriculture - this is the forest as it exists on its own terms.

I would look to Norse mythology, since I'm Heathen, but there aren't any forest deities, and the giants aren't much more specific. I've had a hunch this being might belong to Celtic, Germanic, or Gaulish culture, but I'd appreciate suggestions/guesses from any culture.
Thanks!

 
Hmm, you might want to look at Nemetona - as per this Wikipedia page and this OBOD page she seems to have links to Gaul, Germany (but, like, Celts in Germany, not Germanic, I guess?) and Britain, and to sacred groves and thus forests (in that most groves tend to be in forests and so on - sorry, I'm making a right hash of making any amount of sense here, hopefully the links are more useful than me, I've got a migraine threatening so words are hard!)

I've not read this yet, but I've got a book about Nemetona and sacred spaces that seems pretty good from what I *have* read of it Dancing with Nemetona (Amazon link, no affiliation or anything.)

Beryl

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Re: Trying to identify a forest god/dess
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2017, 08:53:13 am »
Quote from: Beryl;205932


I've not read this yet, but I've got a book about Nemetona and sacred spaces that seems pretty good from what I *have* read of it Dancing with Nemetona (Amazon link, no affiliation or anything.)

 
Forgot to say - you might also like to check out more of the OBOD site, they're one of the bigger Druid organisations and Druids in general have a lot of associations with forests, so they'll probably have other useful resources.

Vixen

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Re: Trying to identify a forest god/dess
« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2017, 09:11:43 am »
Quote from: Hrútsvinr;205924
I've gotten this ~vibe~ around trees and forests for...pretty much my whole life, but I've been much more aware of it the past year or so. Since I get this vibe around pretty much every heavily wooded area I've been to, I think it's a deity rather than a local spirit.

On to the vibe.
- I get it in areas where there are lots of trees, particularly old, big ones and places where trees block out the sun, so: forests, old parks, even little gardens in the city where there are trees close together. Strongest in the forest, obviously.
- Feels ancient, deep, dark in a wild-potentially-dangerous way.
- A sense of something being buried, hidden, obscured, mystifying - perhaps to do with death and decomposition.
- Does not seem related to human prosperity or hunting or agriculture - this is the forest as it exists on its own terms.

I would look to Norse mythology, since I'm Heathen, but there aren't any forest deities, and the giants aren't much more specific. I've had a hunch this being might belong to Celtic, Germanic, or Gaulish culture, but I'd appreciate suggestions/guesses from any culture.
Thanks!


My first feeling is Cernunnos, but that's because he is close to me. I know many today relate him to hunting and sexuality (as do I), but I understand that his origin could be very different. He is well known to be a god of the wildernis. He is dangerous and deeply primal to me. He is originally I believe looked at as a Chthonic god (is that the right word?) as being one that guards the crossing between life and death, but not necessarily for humans, but for all living things. He feels much more ancient to me than the 'usual' Nordic and Celtic gods. Like he was there before everything else. He does not reason like regular humans or even other gods do. He reacts, like an animal, like nature.
This is UPG, but I feel him in decaying leaves in the fall, I smell him in the wet earth after a storm, the moss that grows on bark, the mulch of a fallen tree. The description you gave me triggered me.
You're only given a little spark of madness, you mustn't lose it.

Abigail

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Re: Trying to identify a forest god/dess
« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2017, 10:47:56 am »
Quote from: Hrútsvinr;205924

I would look to Norse mythology, since I'm Heathen, but there aren't any forest deities, and the giants aren't much more specific. I've had a hunch this being might belong to Celtic, Germanic, or Gaulish culture, but I'd appreciate suggestions/guesses from any culture.
Thanks!

 
Víðarr is one of the Æsir associated with forests. Not much was written about him but that he lives far away from Asgard, as he didn't want to live in or close to it. Odin gave him permission to live that secluded. He lives in the forest with tall branches and grass all around him.
He is associated with vengeance because he survived Ragnarok and after he saw his father, Odin killed by Fenrir, he immediately attacked Fenrir to avenge his father and killed him.
Vidar does not speak.

He has been written about in "Heroes of Asgard" by Keary.
In that book is a tale of how Freyja gets in her carriage and rides through big forests and marshes in the hopes of finding him. The way he is described is as if he became almost one with the forest, with moss growing on his ears and such.

From Saemund's elder edda:
Quote
Overgrown with branches and high grass is Vidar's spacious Landvîdi: There will the son descend, from the steed's back, bold to avenge his father.

In the Edda Vidar's name is said to mean wood or tree.

HarpingHawke

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Re: Trying to identify a forest god/dess
« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2017, 01:09:59 pm »
Quote from: Hrútsvinr;205924

On to the vibe.
- I get it in areas where there are lots of trees, particularly old, big ones and places where trees block out the sun, so: forests, old parks, even little gardens in the city where there are trees close together. Strongest in the forest, obviously.
- Feels ancient, deep, dark in a wild-potentially-dangerous way.
- A sense of something being buried, hidden, obscured, mystifying - perhaps to do with death and decomposition.
- Does not seem related to human prosperity or hunting or agriculture - this is the forest as it exists on its own terms.

 
I'd agree with Vixen--seems like Cernunnos, albeit one of his older facets.

Have you tried divination?
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Hrútsvinr

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Re: Trying to identify a forest god/dess
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2017, 02:07:41 am »
Quote from: Beryl;205932
Hmm, you might want to look at Nemetona - as per this Wikipedia page and this OBOD page she seems to have links to Gaul, Germany (but, like, Celts in Germany, not Germanic, I guess?) and Britain, and to sacred groves and thus forests (in that most groves tend to be in forests and so on - sorry, I'm making a right hash of making any amount of sense here, hopefully the links are more useful than me, I've got a migraine threatening so words are hard!)


Thanks for the link - Gaulish deities are so hard to track down and get information on, so I'll definitely do some research with the OBOD :)
 
Quote from: Vixen;205934
My first feeling is Cernunnos, but that's because he is close to me. I know many today relate him to hunting and sexuality (as do I), but I understand that his origin could be very different. He is well known to be a god of the wildernis. He is dangerous and deeply primal to me. He is originally I believe looked at as a Chthonic god (is that the right word?) as being one that guards the crossing between life and death, but not necessarily for humans, but for all living things. He feels much more ancient to me than the 'usual' Nordic and Celtic gods. Like he was there before everything else. He does not reason like regular humans or even other gods do. He reacts, like an animal, like nature.
This is UPG, but I feel him in decaying leaves in the fall, I smell him in the wet earth after a storm, the moss that grows on bark, the mulch of a fallen tree. The description you gave me triggered me.


This does sound right. I get a chthonic feeling for sure; maybe it's worth looking into Cernunnos more. Thank you for the suggestion.
 
Quote from: Abigail;205936
Víðarr is one of the Æsir associated with forests. Not much was written about him but that he lives far away from Asgard, as he didn't want to live in or close to it. Odin gave him permission to live that secluded. He lives in the forest with tall branches and grass all around him. ...


I had no idea Vidar was associated with forests!

I haven't done any proper divination yet, although I have tried to talk to whoever or whatever this being is, but haven't gotten anything specific. I've also been quite 'headblind' lately, so I'm not confident in my ability to receive anything, but I'll definitely give it a go.

Thank you everyone for your suggestions! - you gave me information I wasn't able to track down elsewhere.

Otter

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Re: Trying to identify a forest god/dess
« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2017, 06:38:51 pm »
Quote from: Hrútsvinr;205924
I've gotten this ~vibe~ around trees and forests for...pretty much my whole life, but I've been much more aware of it the past year or so. Since I get this vibe around pretty much every heavily wooded area I've been to, I think it's a deity rather than a local spirit.

 
For me, it was nature in general, which eventually, after a long time searching, led me to Gaia.

LilyLaments

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Re: Trying to identify a forest god/dess
« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2017, 06:02:11 pm »
Quote from: Hrútsvinr;205924

I would look to Norse mythology, since I'm Heathen, but there aren't any forest deities, and the giants aren't much more specific. I've had a hunch this being might belong to Celtic, Germanic, or Gaulish culture, but I'd appreciate suggestions/guesses from any culture.
Thanks!

 
Have you checked out Mielikki and/or Tapio?  They are Finnish spirits/deities of the wilderness/forests, of the hunt, and of wildlife, etc.  They seem to evoke the same sort of primal, ancient, mysterious, dangerous if not careful/respectful, wild power and feeling that you are sensing.  They rule the forests and the game within. Hunters would propitiate them for successful hunts since they were hunting their animals in what was considered their lands.  From my research so far (they have piqued my interest for very similar reasons that you have) offerings to Tapio were given when large game such as bear, elk, etc was sought, Mielikki would be for smaller game such as hares, birds etc.  I'm still looking into these two (and other finnish deities) but descriptions of Tapio are interesting as he's sometimes described as having a lichen beard and moss eyebrows, sometimes as a human man from the front, A tree from the back, sometimes as a giant tree.  Her appearance is sometimes of a beautiful woman who then ends up being a tree stump.

Another possible wilderness type goddess is Elen of the Ways.  She's an antlered goddess and from my research so far she seems to be pretty ancient, primal, elusive, etc too.

Arduinna may be another goddess to look into as well.

Hrútsvinr

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Re: Trying to identify a forest god/dess
« Reply #9 on: May 15, 2017, 07:47:58 am »
Quote from: LilyLaments;206019
Have you checked out Mielikki and/or Tapio?  They are Finnish spirits/deities of the wilderness/forests, of the hunt, and of wildlife, etc.  They seem to evoke the same sort of primal, ancient, mysterious, dangerous if not careful/respectful, wild power and feeling that you are sensing.  They rule the forests and the game within. Hunters would propitiate them for successful hunts since they were hunting their animals in what was considered their lands.  From my research so far (they have piqued my interest for very similar reasons that you have) offerings to Tapio were given when large game such as bear, elk, etc was sought, Mielikki would be for smaller game such as hares, birds etc.  I'm still looking into these two (and other finnish deities) but descriptions of Tapio are interesting as he's sometimes described as having a lichen beard and moss eyebrows, sometimes as a human man from the front, A tree from the back, sometimes as a giant tree.  Her appearance is sometimes of a beautiful woman who then ends up being a tree stump.

Another possible wilderness type goddess is Elen of the Ways.  She's an antlered goddess and from my research so far she seems to be pretty ancient, primal, elusive, etc too.

Arduinna may be another goddess to look into as well.


Thank you so much for your reply! I had never heard of Elen before but so far she sounds quite like what I've experienced, so thank you for that.

Tapio and Mielikki are both very intriguing, but I'm finding them quite inscrutable. Tapio with his lichen beard and moss hair evokes something in me.

The list of possible deities is growing quite long but I'm very happy about it!

I did do some meditation/divination the other day and the only thing I got was that it's probably a goddess rather than a god. For the record, I pulled some runes, but I'm not 100% convinced of my ability to pull and interpret them (I asked for some clues and got Ehwaz, Isa, and Sowilo).

LilyLaments

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Re: Trying to identify a forest god/dess
« Reply #10 on: May 15, 2017, 10:55:59 am »
Quote from: Hrútsvinr;206082


Tapio and Mielikki are both very intriguing, but I'm finding them quite inscrutable. Tapio with his lichen beard and moss hair evokes something in me.

I did do some meditation/divination the other day and the only thing I got was that it's probably a goddess rather than a god. For the record, I pulled some runes, but I'm not 100% convinced of my ability to pull and interpret them (I asked for some clues and got Ehwaz, Isa, and Sowilo).

 
It's funny you should mention "inscrutable" in regards to Tapio and Mielikki. They intrigue me, but I've found it difficult to connect with them. That word was how I describe my blockage.  I tend to be attracted to things of a primal nature. The more ancient and wild the deities, symbols, concepts etc is the more I want to know about them. And the less "human" they are the more I'm interested. So you'd think those two would be perfect for me. But I think, for me at least, their inscrutability is so that I work thru some issues I have.

Anyway they were how I ended up stumbling upon Elen, and from there Siberian Mongolian shamanism (I'm very mixed blooded but mainly Anglo Saxon/Celtic  and Mongolian/Korean). I had very little exp with Asian culture and until discovering Elen I had no interest in British and Celtic cultures.

I'm currently reading and researching Elen but I'd be interested in hearing anything you find if you decide to look into her more.

Btw, I find your runes quite Interesting. Seems like you're headed in the right direction as far as what your intuition has been telling you.

Lauvitra

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Re: Trying to identify a forest god/dess
« Reply #11 on: May 15, 2017, 01:22:50 pm »
Quote from: LilyLaments;206086
It's funny you should mention "inscrutable" in regards to Tapio and Mielikki. They intrigue me, but I've found it difficult to connect with them. That word was how I describe my blockage.  I tend to be attracted to things of a primal nature. The more ancient and wild the deities, symbols, concepts etc is the more I want to know about them. And the less "human" they are the more I'm interested. So you'd think those two would be perfect for me. But I think, for me at least, their inscrutability is so that I work thru some issues I have.


*snip for the rest to save space*

 
(Popping in from my lurking place, since this seems like conversation I might have something to add in)

Being kind of a Finnish recon myself, I've had dealings with both Tapio and Mielikki, and I don't think they would be the best pick if trying to figure out a deity described as ancient, primal and obscured (as said in the first post). They are deities of the forest, yes; connected to things like hunting, yes. In appearance, they are said to bear resemblance to the forest around them - but I certainly wouldn't describe them as primal or obscured in any way.

My own experience is quite the opposite, and most sources seem to be suggesting the same. They are said to be the cultivators of the forests, with trees and everything that grows in forests being described as their "crops and fields", animals being their "cattle". They're sometimes even said to be living in castle built of wood, stone and bones. They have their family, their children, and even servants (actual servants that are named in the myths, that is), and all that. Not primal in my experience (my UPG experience is, for example, that Mielikki is very fond of new and modern, fancy and exotic things - a shawl I bought from accross the globe through Etsy was one of the most well-recieved offerings I've given her.)

In Finnish mythology, I'd say Hiisi would be the best match to what is described in the first post of the thread. He's a forest deity, and a tricky one to find information on, unfortunately. As a word, "hiisi" can refer to many things; to sacred places in forests, sacred rock formations and groves; to certain kind of forest spirits, and of course Hiisi himself, the king of Hiitola. He's certainly primal, and many texts tend to describe him as monstrous or demonic or even flat out evil. Dangerous and demanding, as is my understanding from the stories, and I'd say he seems to be on the grey area when it comes to human morality. Hiisi is the forest in the most primal you can get in Finnish mythology. The polar opposite of Tapio and Mielikki.


And now, sorry for the intrusion. I'll be back to lurking. :whis:

LilyLaments

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Re: Trying to identify a forest god/dess
« Reply #12 on: May 15, 2017, 02:25:16 pm »
Quote from: Lauvitra;206088

In Finnish mythology, I'd say Hiisi would be the best match to what is described in the first post of the thread. He's a forest deity, and a tricky one to find information on, unfortunately. As a word, "hiisi" can refer to many things; to sacred places in forests, sacred rock formations and groves; to certain kind of forest spirits, and of course Hiisi himself, the king of Hiitola

And now, sorry for the intrusion. I'll be back to lurking. :whis:

 
i stand corrected! Thanks for the info. Maybe that's why I struggled. I was given bad info and so perhaps it's like expecting to meet a tiger when in fact it's a bear.

Lauvitra

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Re: Trying to identify a forest god/dess
« Reply #13 on: May 15, 2017, 03:14:34 pm »
Quote from: LilyLaments;206090
i stand corrected! Thanks for the info. Maybe that's why I struggled. I was given bad info and so perhaps it's like expecting to meet a tiger when in fact it's a bear.

 
Well, perhaps you didn't recieve bad info, but incomplete, rather. I mean, what you said in the previous page about Tapio and Mielikki, about their appearance and roles in hunting, was correct. But if your sources never mentioned their other roles or how they were seen or portrayed in those roles, it makes for an easy misinterpretation.

But yeah, that could be the reason for your struggle. Getting slightly off-topic here so I'll keep this short, but if you're still interested about trying to connect to them (or anyone else is), seeing them as sort of intermediaries between the civilized world as built by humans and the primal, uncontrolled wilderness might help.

Hrútsvinr

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Re: Trying to identify a forest god/dess
« Reply #14 on: May 16, 2017, 06:16:10 am »
Quote from: Lauvitra;206092
Well, perhaps you didn't recieve bad info, but incomplete, rather. I mean, what you said in the previous page about Tapio and Mielikki, about their appearance and roles in hunting, was correct. But if your sources never mentioned their other roles or how they were seen or portrayed in those roles, it makes for an easy misinterpretation.

But yeah, that could be the reason for your struggle. Getting slightly off-topic here so I'll keep this short, but if you're still interested about trying to connect to them (or anyone else is), seeing them as sort of intermediaries between the civilized world as built by humans and the primal, uncontrolled wilderness might help.

 
This is helpful, and it kind of explains why I wasn't getting strong vibes from my research on either of them (of course, I'm not ruling them out yet).

Would you happen to have any sources that you like on Hiisi as a deity? So far the information I've found lists him as an aspect (or servant?) of Lempo and very little on Hiisi proper.

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