Spirits of Winter
A follow-up to my earlier post on the recurring “Jack” figure in English folklore- Jack Frost being one form. Here’s a brain-storming list of spirits and personifications of winter- winter in general, not Yule/Winter Solstice specifically. I would like to do some more research and go into more depth with them individually.
- Jack Frost– a sprite who paints frost on windows and the colors on leaves. I think his trickster aspect comes into play as he sneaks in before you are expecting frost, maybe haven’t finished harvesting or covering your flower beds, or doing certain kinds of chores- like painting outside.
- Old Man Winter- metaphorical phrase, like Mother Nature. Also makes me think of Old Man River- a nickname for the Mississippi.
- Father Frost– Russian version of Old Man Winter, though he actually shows up in folk tales. It would be worthwhile to take a look at Russian folklore, the climate in some areas is certainly a lot closer to Minnesota’s!
- Snow Queen– a fairy tale by Hans Christian Anderson, the Snow Queen has made it into American & Western European culture as a broader archetype. Also makes me think of the White Witch in the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe- in fact I think it is intentional on the part C.S. Lewis to have a vain, beautiful and powerful woman who tempts children into the cold. (Link to post about Frozen, a modern “re-mix” of the Snow Queen)
- Cailleach Bheur– Scottish female spirit- some think her to be a legacy of an older goddess- particularly associated with storms in March. March is a winter month in Minnesota, and we often get a lot of snow then. Awesome post by Leithin Cluan on the Cailleachan- a group rather of weather & land spirits in Scotland and Ireland
- Frau Holle, Holda or Mother Hulda– German fairy tale character (also thought to be a goddess legacy) She brings snow by shaking white feathers from her bed. My post about her here
- Boreas– in Greek mythology, the god of the north wind. His wife is Oreithyia, representing the cool mountain wind, and their daughter is Khione, the goddess of snow.
- Winter– Power/Archetype in Waincraft, a good distillation of ideas/concepts related to feminine wintry figures in European folklore
Note: as I write posts on these characters, I am linking them back to this post.
Entry filed under: Concepts & Definitions, Cosmology, Deities, Mythology, Nature/Ecology. Tags: fairy tales, folklore, German folklore, personification, Russian folklore, Scottish folklore, seasons, spirits, Waincraft, winter.