maanantai 7. syyskuuta 2015

Brief history of the Finnish Fairies


Hello fairy friends 

I just recently uploaded a video about the brief history of the Finnish fairies and my thoughts on fairy folk. You can find it on my YouTube Channel
In Finnish fairy is called Keiju. 

Keiju comes from the word Keijungainen and keijungainen is a creature in Finnish mythology.
It was described as a small creature with wings. Keijungainen was usually black or white. Keijungainen's were very much related to death. You might find them dancing in the cemeteries and sometimes they were considered to be the spirits of the ancestors and people who had passed away.... spirits who haven't been able to move on.

Beside the creature Keijungainen there isn't other creatures in Finnish myths similar to the modern fairy image (cute, childlike with wings). 
We do have personifications for every single growing plant and tree in nature.
Also for all the things in the skies. 

Katajatar = spirit of juniper
Koivutar = spirit of birch trees
Kuutar = spirit of the moon
Tähdetär = spirit of the stars
Panutar = spirit of fire
Ilmatar = spirit of air

and so on....




Flower fairy art from Mary Cicely Barker


This image of modern fairy (Tinkerbell type) came to Finland just about 200 years ago from Victorian England through first translated children's books.

When first Finnish children book authors like Topelius and Anni Swan started to write their own stories they didn't want to use this creature Keijungainen because it was so dark. They took the word Keiju and influences from the Celtic and Irish Fairy folklore. These folk tales got mixed with the Finnish folklore and that is how small winged fairies arrived to Finnish mythology and folklore.


Dancing nature sprite and elf illustrated by one 
of the first Finnish illustrators Rudolf Koivu

I get often asked the way I see fairies. 
There are people who consider fairies as light creatures such as angels and unicorns. 
I never had this kind of ideas and probably because of my years of research on fairy folklore.

I believe angels and unicorns are very angelic creatures. Made from pure love and light.
Almost like they are neutral for every other emotions.

Fairies I see as very human like creatures. One of my favorite fairy descriptions is from Peter Pan where Tinkerbell is described so small she can only hold a one feeling at the time.
She can be sad, happy, angry whatever she wants.

Capacity to feel just like humans make fairies more approachable for me to work with them and create fairy art.

First of all I see fairies as nature protectors and nature guardians. 
That being said the ancient Finns who had personifications for everything in nature and the modern Finns who respect the old habits are in fact always surrounded by fairies while spending time in nature because after all

Fairy equals nature spirit

For those who wish to seek more info on this matter
One of my favorite books is keijukaisten lähteillä written by Suvi Niinisalo (in Finnish only Sorry)
Beautiful combination of Finnish fairy folklore with European art history


2 kommenttia:

  1. I too share your vision of faeries as nature spirits...often naughty and sometimes nasty, but always magical :D XXX

    VastaaPoista