Back in Canada

I did get amazing chance to go back to Canada and meet new and old friends. It seems that there is still need to talk more about our connection to nature and what it means.

Lately in my mind has been two topics that i want to share with you.

First, we are part of the nature but it seems that we are many times against it. We are so busy and we are scared to stop. If you stop you may have to be with yourself (with your own nature) and sometimes it is easier just to run all the time. We should feel so safe that it is okay to stop and listen how i am feeling.

Second one. Is the nature out there or in here. We can go and see the nature just by looking out from the window but are we in there then. Try this, close your eyes and think yourself as a tree. Next time when you go out and see a tree, you can understand that what the tree is doing. The nature is so near and it is in us, we just forget that.


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Sysmän terveiset

Luontoemo-kaupan omistajan, ystäväni Pauliina Silvan kutsumana lähdin Sysmän Itteviikon päätteeksi luennoimaan kunnanviraston auditorioon. Aiheenani oli  “Suomalainen kansanperinne ja luontoyhteys”. Matkalla Sysmään katselin maisemia ja ajattelin, että jokaisella paikkakunnalla on omanlaisensa pyhä luontoyhteys, joka näkyy vaikka luontomme onkin hyvin samantyyppistä paikkakunnasta huolimatta. Sysmässä Pauliinan äiti mainitsi kuppikivet, joiden luokse haluan palata myöhemmin. Kuppikivet ovat viimeaikoina olleet uutisissa, kun historian tutkimuksen harrastaja Jukka Nieminen kertoi oman näkemyksensä kuppikivien merkityksestä. Hän on tullut siihen tulokseen, että kuppikivet olisivat karttoja, joista näkyy kylien koko ja perhekuntien määrä. Historia jättää taaksensa paljon mysteerejä, joita emme ehkä ratkaise koskaan.

Luontoyhteyden kautta voimme kuitenkin päästä lähelle historiaa ja tätä päivää. Muinaiset uskomukset ja tavat eivät itseasiassa olekaan niin kaukaisia. Tärkein kyky on pysähtyä kuuntelemaan mitä luonto ja vanhat pyhät paikat meille kertovat, ja saamme tehdä omia päätelmiämme asioiden merkityksistä. Sysmän kunnantalon pihassa ihailin puita ja keskustelin paikallisten kanssa siitä, kuinka juuri puut ovat ehkä niitä “vanhimpia kylän asukkaita”. Puut ovat olleet merkityksellisiä ihmisille kautta aikoijen. Joskus olemme omassa ympäristössämme sokeita, mysteerit ovat liian lähellä meitä. Vanha sanonta kuuluu “ei näe metsää puilta”, joka ilmaisee juuri lähellä olevien asioiden näkemättömyyttä.

Mikä on oman paikkakuntani esihistoriallinen nähtävyys? Mikä on asuinalueeni historia? Nämä kysymykset vastauksineen avaavat uuden näkökulman lähellä olevaan pyhään sekä luontoyhteyteen.


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An old saying, still heard in Finland today, says, Jokaisen on kayttaydyttava saunaaa samalla tavalla kuin kirkossa.” (“In the sauna one must conduct himself as one would in church.”) This strict reverence protected the Finnish sauna from the corruption that befell most other bathing institutions in Europe.

Ancestor worship was also a function of the sauna; it was thought that the Dead would return to places that they had enjoyed, including the bathhouse, and that thelöyly, or sacred steam, held their souls. It is the Breath of the Ancestors, a word which originally meant “spirit” or “life”. It was a doorway between worlds; the fact that fire and water held an equal balance in sauna sanctity drives home the image of liminal space.

Finns used the sauna for rites of passage. In the sauna children were born, women went through the purification ritual before marriage, and old people often dragged themselves there to die.
Our ancestors did not use their sauna only for bathing. It was needed for drying flax, preparing malts, curing meat and for many other agricultural or domestic chores.

In old times, the sauna was known as the Finnish cure or the poor man’s pharmacy. It was also the hospital where folk healers practised their art. They administered baths and massage, and drew blood; cupping was another method to suck bad blood away. 

The sauna was also a place for performing magic, mostly to do with healing or love affairs. At Midsummer the marriageability of young women was improved by special sauna baths; the smell of herbs and birch-leaves hung in the air and the wise woman recited her spells. Sauna baths were also believed to be useful for improving virility.

Sauna-whisks are not exclusive to Finland. North American Indians, for example, used similar leafy bundles when bathing in their sweat lodges, as did some of the Central American peoples.

For centuries, sauna has been an inseparable part of Finnish culture, and using a sauna-whisk, or vihta , an integral element of the sauna tradition. The Finnish vihta is a bouquet of small birch branches used to gently hit oneself while bathing in sauna.

A vihta could be used in a number of ways to provide a patient with pain relief or even a permanent cure.  To increase its powers, the branches were gathered from three different areas and from nine different trees . The most important trees used to make special healing-whisk were alder, mountain ash (rowan) and birch.



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Tree worship

At my grandmothers home yard stands a big birch. Its been planted by my grandmothers mother. It is still at the yard today and my grandmother feels that her mother is in the homeland, because the the tree is standing there. It’s holy tree and no one is allowed to cut it down, because there is this believe that someone in the family can get sick or will have nightmares as long as he/she lives if the tree is cutted down.

Woods and trees are part of us and our soul. We have a relationship that has been from the beginning of ages. We, humans, live in our home yard, and where the woods starts, there is a kingdom of animals. We walk in the woods, we pick berries, we hunt, we have wood for fire. We have made our field to woods.

In the woods are the power that we are often afraid, and that power we respect. That is how it use to be, but in these days, do we respect the trees any more? Do we respect that habitat where animals lives and berries grows?

In Finland and in many other countries is strong belief that the spirit goes in to the tree. That kind of tree is ”the sacrifice tree”. We use to give gifts to the tree spirit and this kind of trees has been treated holy. Today we still have these trees in the yards of houses, we protect and pray these trees. It seems that every house has a miniature world tree in the yard, there is believe that the roots of tree goes to underworld and the branches go to upper world. That’s why the trees will send our messages to those who has past away and prayers to gods/goddesses.

We have also memorial trees for important life events. Many child’s has they own tree when they are born, or if someone past away, we can give he/she memorial tree. Also when couples get married, they can plant tree together. This tells a lot about our relationship to trees, we live with them together in the life circles. Trees see our born, our death, our love and all that is important to us in this life.

We hug the trees, we ask from trees what to do. We cry in the forest when we have sorrow and the trees will listen. Go and try, hug a tree and listen what message it has for you. We believe here in the north that the trees can heal you.





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Finno-Ugric area

The original home of the Finno-Ugric peoples is generally believed to be west of the Ural Mountains, in the area of Udmurtia, Perm, Mordva and Mari-El. By 3000 BC, the Baltic-Finnic groups had migrated west to the shores of the Baltic Sea. At about the same time, the Saami migrated further north and further west, reaching the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. The Magyars (known as Hungarians in English) made the longest and most recent journey from the area of the Ural Mountains to their present home in central Europe only in AD 89.



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