Huntsmen experience their physic and psychic wellness growing in the wild, like being under a spell. Do you notice anything special about the whistle of the wet trees drying up in the fire? What about the red dawn behind the fells? It is about how you look at it. Maybe they are hints from the guardian of the woods. I sure made some enchanting observations on our hunting trip this week.
"guardian of the forest"
According to ancient folk beliefs in this country, there is a guardian of the forest. This guardian is to be respected, if you wish to have good luck on the hunt or moving in the wilderness in general. Getting on to the wrong side of the master of the woods, can even create an accident. All the animals in the woods are their herd and so, there has been many rituals in the past to make up the losses to the guardian. The place to make sacrifices was an ant nest. In the northernmost cultures, the altars are usually special kind of rock formations.
This guardian can appear as an animal or as a human. If that animal is hunted, they won't die and it is best to leave them alone. As a human, they can be talked to, basically about hunting, other topics might drive them away. A voice of a woman is considered a good sign.
As I have stated before, I do think, that nature is to be respected, the powers sure have been proved to be brutal. The sacrificial gifts might have changed over time, but I still encounter people making gestures to the next level. It is common to take a gulp from a special flask, in honor of the prey or let the master of the water have a taste, to have better luck in fishing. There are ghostly stories about immortal willow grouse for example, that could refer to the guardian of the forest.
"covers of the forest"
A couple of hundred years ago, it was common to disappear under the "covers of the forest". This was a sort of spell you were under, getting lost in the most familiar terrain, muted and invisible. You could here the searching party, but still could not get through to them. Getting out from the situation demanded acting out in weird and unusual ways. The people could wake up in weird places and situations in the wilderness, after being missing for days. This might have been used as an excuse too.
People do get lost in familiar areas, especially here in Northern Lapland, where the weather can easily screw you, make you blind and cold in the blink of an eye. Why couldn't the guardian show their anger with the powers of nature?
"magical hunting trip"
A few days ago, we went for a magical hunting trip with a friend. The morning started beautifully, with a super pink horizon over the snow covered ground. After walking for a while, we heard a stream purling close by. The spot was beautifully hidden and the water just came from nowhere. It was the purest and freshest drink. Hours later we made a fire close by an area filled with animal trails. The atmosphere was really something; we were quiet for the whole day, only whispering. The campfire made whistling sounds and the coffee grounds left prophecy signs in the wooden cup.
"our clue to leave"
After a while, some ravens started making loud sounds. This was a clear sign to us, something was moving up there. We were hoping for a moose, but after a while, we heard two shots fired. The birds were announcing the hunter. We waited for a possible scared animal running away from the noise, but there was nothing out there. Moments later, two more shots were fired. We started thinking, that this is our clue to leave. Suddenly we got the call, that two crown heads are down and we are done for the season. We didn't take the drink for the prey, since we were not in the situation ourselves, but our group member sure did.
A long wander away from the woods began. On our way there, the swamps carried us, like we had no weight, but on the way back, they wanted to drown us. The water and the plants were slightly frozen, but they gave in and sucked the shoes in and under. The way out was trice as hard and slow as the way into the woods.