Midwinter

Posted On January 16, 2010

Filed under holidays, Kalevala, ritual

Comments Dropped 3 responses

A couple nights ago I participated in a midwinter ritual with members of Taivaannaula. I have gone to a few meet-ups with this group, but this was my first actual ritual. The purpose was to celebrate the returning of the sun. We met at a very beautiful park and had a campfire set up. The leader of the ritual explained a bit of what we were going to do, since I was new to all of this. He said that there’s no concrete evidence for exactly what people did at this time, so we were going based on what little information is out there, and then improvising the rest. The root of this ritual is when we look at the second runo in the Kalevala where the Great Oak begins to grow. It grows so large that its branches cover the moon and sun; thus, the tree needs to be removed, which is what the giant in the story does. It was thought that this resembles the seasons. The Great Oak could have been planted at midsummer, which is when the days begin to get shorter, and as it grows more and more, the branches cover the sunlight. It is at this point in midwinter when the Great Oak is cut and the sun can be seen again. The ritual we did was to honor Päivätär and Kuu; the goddess of day and god of the moon. The two deities were called upon with a prayer said to them. Then the ritual leader took the blunt end of an axe and hit it against a tree three times to symbolize the felling of the Great Oak. After this, the runo was sung and offerings of food and drink were given and shared(though the food was shared at the fire). It was a simple yet effective ritual, and I think that it could be easy to recreate if one is a solitary practitioner of the tradition. I have a feeling that a lot of my readers outside of Finland are probably solitary, since so far I know of no other organizations. Hopefully in the near future I’ll have some more rituals to share other than the ones I reconstructed myself through research.

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3 Responses to “Midwinter”

  1. jaz

    hi…just found you through pagan bloggers and signed on to follow. check me out when you have time!

    • Christine

      Cool, I see you have a lot of good recipes posted. I’ll take a look more when I have time.

  2. Talvennapa « Modern Day Väinämöinen

    […] sun’s return will become more noticeable. I wrote a little bit about this last year in the Midwinter entry; how it symbolizes the planting and cutting down of the Great Oak in the […]

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