Midsummer’s eve.

Troll butter.

Troll butter.

Today we celebrate Midsummer’s eve here in Sweden, a holiday as big as Christmas over here. The traditions go way back and the christian church did of course do what it could to make it a truly christian holiday and one could say they failed miserably πŸ™‚ They made tomorrow John the Baptist day since it is 6 months before Christmas day so that sort of fits rather well. If You ask anyone today when John the Baptist’s day is I’m pretty very few would be able to say the right day. For some reason we Swedes always celebrate the eve, never the actual day πŸ™‚ Tomorrow will be a day to cure hangovers for many people and in nine months lots of kids will be born πŸ™‚

 

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It rained almost all day yesterday. The dogs loved to finally get out on a walk this morning, I was exhausted when we came back :-)

It rained almost all day yesterday. The dogs loved to finally get out on a walk this morning, I was exhausted when we came back πŸ™‚

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The Midsummer pole, some also call it the may pole but in this case the swedish word for may doesn’t mean the month but to dress, is dressed with leafy twigs and flowers. Some say that tradition is very old others that it came from Germany in the early middle ages, what we do know however is that back in the days they had huge bonfires but to be honest, it is not so wise to have if the summer is dry, who knows how well that fire will spread with some help from the wind πŸ™‚ Anyway, the midsummer pole is dressed and risen early in the day and later in the day people will start dancing around it. My favorite song is the little frogs and it is quite fun to see grown up jump like little frogs around the pole πŸ™‚ Another favorite is of course the priest’s little crow who drove a car by himself and we all know that is a pretty difficult task for a crow so he slides here and there until he ends up in the ditch and of course that’s what all dancing will do too πŸ™‚

 

Photo comes from: http://www.grottanfredriksdal.se/?page_id=332

The bog ladies had had fires during the night.
The bog ladies had had fires during the night.

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It doesn’t take a lot of dirty imagination to see what the midsummer pole really is πŸ™‚ and lots of magic is connected to it. The pole is usually made as a big cross and at the end of each side of the cross hang wreaths, those wreaths were important to save because when winter arrived it was important to put in the bath, that would keep You healthy for the rest of the winter and that was very important since they didn’t have any antibiotics. Even though the night is very short here at this time of year it still was important to keep ones eyes open just in case any of the beings we have here would come too close. They were especially active this coming night. A common troll was no big problem, it seems they usually were good friends with humans (and no our trolls don’t burst if the sun hits them or become stone. They also look very much like us with the exception of the long fury tail). A mountain troll however is a nasty piece of work and they would most likely kidnap any human getting to close. They are however easy to see because of their size and they are also rather ugly).

 

This is how normal trolls look like here. The painter was John Bauer and this painting comes from the boom series Amongst gnomes and trolls. This is about a changeling, the troll mother (to the left) wanted of course the best for her daughter so she swapped babies with a queen. Her daughter was anything but nice though πŸ™‚

This however is a Mountain troll, shrewdΒ but not too intelligent. This is also a John Bauer painting.

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Young girls had their best chance of knowing who they would marry this night. They had to, totally quiet until they fell asleep, pass seven (or nine depending on where one lived) fences and pick seven (or nine) flowers to put under their pillow. If they managed to do that they would dream of their husband to be. One way to make sure one would be healthy all year long was to roll around in the midsummer’s morning dew, naked of course. The dew had lots of magical powers so people collected it too in empty jars just in case someone got seriously ill. This was of course the night it was important to collect as much healing herbs as possible, preferable with lots of dew on them. In some places they drank spring. They had beforehand cleaned out a spring in the forest or where ever it might be and during the night they went to the spring and drank the water, that would also secure good health they thought. Naturally that could be a problem because of the spring nymph. If they didn’t sacrifice to the nymph the effect would be quite the opposite.

 

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I woke up at 2 am last night while almost successfully trying to cough up my lungs over the bed. My throat had been so swollen for a few das that if affected my ears but suddenly I could feel the swelling get smaller, I got my hearing back again πŸ™‚ and my fever vanished and has stayed away all day! I still have that nasty coughing and I’m pretty sure it will stay for at least a few days more. I would feel alive again if it not had been for the rather high temperature outside together with over 95% humidity. It feels like I’m walking in a steam bath πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ An hour ago they predicted rain and thunderstorms but now they say mostly sunny and no thunder at all πŸ™‚ I don’t care because I’ll most likely just sit on my sofa doing nothing. The beekeepers wanted me to come over but I don’t have any energy to do anything πŸ™‚

 

The four last ones, for this time, taken with the Kiev4.

The four last ones, for this time, taken with the Kiev4.

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It is time to make a pot of tea I think and perhaps I’ll repot some plants with too small pots but I doubt it πŸ™‚

Have a nice midsummer’s eve!

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4 responses

  1. Hi Christer,
    I’m glad that your fever has departed along with the sore throat. Having your ears blocked by your throat doesn’t sound very comfortable.

    Troll Butter! I love that name. Love the illustrations, too. Mid-summer is not a big deal here except in the pagan community and they don’t generally do a big public celebration. Not even in Salem, Massachusetts of witch trial fame. Halloween is their big time. Lasts the whole month of October. πŸ™‚
    I read this morning that the new president of Venezuela has decreed that June 25 will be some kind of major holiday but I forget what. It’s winter there. He’s not happy with the Gregorian calendar because it’s imperialist and colonialist and has decided that Venezuela should use the traditional Inca or Maya calendar instead. He also has the clocks running counterclockwise because why not? Venezuela has a lot of problems but these are not the most important ones.

    My favorite knife is still behind the stove. 😦 I couldn’t reach it with anything small enough to get behind there. So I’m in the market for a new stove. Not because my favorite knife unreachable. That was the final straw. The old stove is getting scary. I only use one burner and I never use the oven. It’s time.
    My back is not as uncomfortable. Yesterday was the worst but today I can walk and bend without too much wincing. Good thing, too, because Rocky and Piki Dog were not real happy having their food dishes dropped from a height. πŸ™‚

    Enjoy the day.

    June 24, 2016 at 4:20 pm

    • Hi Caryn!

      False hope it seemed, the fever is rising again??!! but the throat is much better and I don’t cough as much any longer. I guess I have to be happy with some victories πŸ™‚

      It is a good name for that fungus πŸ™‚ It will start getting brown in a few days and then it just look disgusting πŸ™‚ The pagans over here celebrate midsummer for them selves here too and in a different way.Most pagans here are norse god believers I think so they don’t celebrate halloween, I have actually no idea what their biggest day is.

      Yes why not add more less serious problems to the ones they already have πŸ™‚ but the Mayan calendar was pretty complicated, with several different bactunes (I think that is what it’s called) and lots of other things very few can understand πŸ™‚ I can’t understand the counter clockwise thing though πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

      My electrical stove is moving slowly towards that too. One burner is working properly but the others take forever to get warm. I rarely use that stove though, I use the fire stove as soon as it gets a bit chilly in the autumn until late spring. So mine will stay, I really don’t need a new bill πŸ™‚

      No dogs tend not to like that πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ plus the food usually get spread around the entire kitchen πŸ™‚

      Have a great day!

      Christer.

      June 24, 2016 at 5:32 pm

  2. Dianna

    Happy Midsummer’s Eve to you Christer!!! πŸ™‚ Today’s post was great! So full of good information and those Bauer paintings! Love those! Reminds me a bit of Brian Froud’s artwork…. I am glad to hear that things are finally settling for you. Coughing always lasts longer than it is welcome though. Good thing you didn’t cough up any lungs. I think that might be a bad thing πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ Hopefully your energy will return and that you can resume your normal routine. Love the maypole – yes, it doesn’t take much, dirty mind or not to see exactly what it looks like. Very Pagan indeed πŸ™‚ I love seeing the Bog Ladies left over mist from their fires. Hope your evening is going along well and you are feeling better each minute!

    June 24, 2016 at 7:16 pm

    • Hi Dianna!

      Not many around the world celebrate midsummer like us I’ve heard. They do it sismilar on the westcoast of Finland and in Estonia but that’s it πŸ™‚

      Brian Froud (I just checked some of his work on the net) is perhaps a bit inspired by John Bauer who knows πŸ™‚ but to be honest, he has taken the work a few steps futher. I really like his work!

      The fever came back for a while yesterday evening but is now gone again, og how I enjoy getting colds in the summer πŸ™‚ I did however get a few hours sleep this time but I can feel how the coughing has triggered my migraine, I can feel that it’s just waiting for the right moment to hit. All in all though I do feel much better this morning πŸ™‚

      Have a great day!

      Christer.

      June 25, 2016 at 3:32 am

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