I needed to hibernate for a while, it was necessary. Now, obviously, I am starting to peek my head out again. I am starting to write again, and ignored projects are starting to clamor once more for mental space. So, I am going to start putting words to page once more.
Which, I am sure you guessed, also includes this blog. During my time in hibernation, aside from sorting out some things, I have been reading and doing research. I have two great sources that I am going to be working my way through in the coming weeks/months.
The first is the Kalevala, the 19th century Finnish national epic. It has been on my reading list for some time, so now I am going through it and will share my thoughts here. It is chock full of goodies, to be honest. Being a book, I will be working through it with a series of posts, instead of just one or two.
The second is the Finnish Folklore Atlas, by Matti Sarmela. This 669 page work represents thirty + years worth of work by the author, and it is dense. Once again, chock full of goodies. I have not read all the way through it, but just the parts that interested me most. To be honest, I expect to get a good couple of months worth of posts out of this one. It is one of those sources that just “speaks” to you. I have skimmed several parts already that just make me so happy to see another put them into words.
Really, since the FFA draws a great deal from the Kalevala, I think it appropriate that the two sources are discussed in parallel, if not together. As I write out the next series of posts, I may draw from one, the other, or both.
The first thing about the Finnish sources, is how markedly different they are from the Norse sources. As I have commented before, the Norse sources are the product of a warrior culture. The warriors were the focus of the stories. According the Norse creation myth, one of the first things the gods do is slay the giant Ymir. The Finnish sources are quite a bit different, something I will explore more in the coming posts. So, I leave you with a quote from Sarmela, commenting along the same lines;
” Compared to ancient Scandinavian sagas, militancy and violence are almost totally absent from the archaic poetry of the Finnish people.”
Ah, it is good to be back… Plenty more on the way!