December 21, 2020

Winter's Enchantment: Quotes, Art & Folklore, By Amanda Bergloff

Winter is a most enchanting time of year. Walking with snow falling soundlessly around me makes me feel like I am in a different world. During the long winter nights, I want to read, light candles, cook more and also let my imagination wander while sitting in front of a cozy fire.

To inspire you, we've collected some of EC's favorite things about please enjoy the quotes, art, tales, music, and folklore below that highlight this magical season!
The Winter Solstice is the time of ending and beginning, a powerful time - a time to contemplate your immortality. A time to forgive, to be forgiven, and to make a fresh start. A time to awaken.
-- Frederick Lenz
The Holly King
In various folklore traditions, the Holly King and Oak King are personifications of winter and summer that engage endlessly in a battle that reflects the seasonal cycles of the year. The Winter Solstice is the day that the Holly King is at the height of his power, bringing winter to the land, but at the Spring Equinox, his brother, the Oak King, wins the battle and begins his summer reign. The Holly King then retires to nurse his wounds for the next six months until it is time for him to win the battle and once again reign over the land.
Out of the bosom of the air,
Out of the cloud-folds of her garment shaken,
Over the woodlands brown and bare,
Over the harvest-fields forsaken,
Silent, and soft and slow,
Descends the snow.
-- Henry Wadsworth Longellow, Snowflakes
Some Winter Folklore
Holly, ivy, mistletoe, and pine are all evergreen plants that are key elements of folklore and festivity. When brought into the home during the winter months, they are symbols of eternity and life.

Revontulet is the name given to the Northern Lights in Finland and is associated with the arctic fox. In folktales, it's told that when the fox runs north, it brushes against the mountains with its fur and causes the sparks of the Northern Lights to fly into the air. 

The Merry Dancers or the Nimble Men are what the Northern Lights are known as in Gaelic folklore. They are thought to depict glorious fights among celestial warriors in the sky.

Calileach or Beira is the winter goddess in Scottish folklore that carries a magical staff that freezes the ground wherever she taps. When she throws the staff under her sacred trees, the gorse bush and the holly, it's a sign that winter has come to an end.

The robin is a bird thought to represent the new sun in Irish folklore. On the Winter Solstice, the tale has it that he killed his father the wren (who represents the old sun,) thus getting his red breast from the bloody act.

In Russian folklore, it was thought that you could help the world transition into spring by creating a straw figure and either throwing it in the river or burning it on a bonfire.

The Oshiroi baba or "Face Powder Hag" in Japanese folklore, descends from the mountains into villages on snowy nights to bring a reviving drink of sake to anyone in need of some warmth in the snow. In times of starvation, there are tales of this old hag being seen washing rice at a well from a bucket that magically refills no matter how much rice is removed (as long as one grain is left in the bucket) thus making her able to feed many people.

When persimmon seeds are split in half, they reveal either a fork, spoon, or knife shape. The fork shape predicts that winter will be mild. The spoon predicts an abundance of snow, while the knife indicates an exceptionally cold winter.
"The first fall of snow is not only an event, it is a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of world and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment, where is it to be found?"
  -- J. B. Priestley
"In the winter she curls up around a good book 
and dreams away the cold."
Ben Aaronovitch, "Broken Homes"
"So with the stretch of the white road before me, shining snowcrystals rainbowed by the sun, fields that are white, stained with long, cool, blue shadows, strong with the strength of my horse we run. Joy in the touch of the wind and the sunlight! Joy! With the vigorous earth I am one."
--Amy Lowell, A Winter Ride
Real-life Fairy Tale Castles in Winter
to inspire your own stories & dreams
Burg Elz Castle - Frankfurt, Germany

The Alcázar of Segovia - Spain

Matsumoto Castle  Tokyo, Japan

Swallows Nest Castle - Crimea, Ukraine

Neuschwanstein Castle - Germany
Winter is the time of comfort,
for good food and warmth,
for the touch of a friendly hand
and for a talk beside the fire.
It is the time for home.
-Edith Sitwel
Easy Desserts 
to Warm the Winter Soul
Watch the recipe below:
"There is nothing in the world more beautiful than the forest clothed to its very hollows in snow. It is the still ecstasy of nature, wherein every spray, every blade of grass, every spire of reed, every intricacy of twig, is clad with radiance."
-- William Sharp

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.   
His house is in the village though;   
He will not see me stopping here   
To watch his woods fill up with snow.   

My little horse must think it queer   
To stop without a farmhouse near   
Between the woods and frozen lake   
The darkest evening of the year.   

He gives his harness bells a shake   
To ask if there is some mistake.   
The only other sound’s the sweep   
Of easy wind and downy flake.   

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,   
But I have promises to keep,   
And miles to go before I sleep,   
And miles to go before I sleep.
Featuring Vintage 
Snow Queen Illustrations
The Snow Queen Flies Through the Winter's Night, Edmund Dulac, 1911

The Dreamer of Dreams, Edmund Dulac, 1915

Noel, René Jules Lalique, 1905

Snow Queen, Albertine Randall Wheelan, 1925

The Snow Queen, Margaret Tarrant 1910

The Frost Queen, Dudley Hardy, 1895 

The Snow Queen, H. J. Ford, 1897

The Snow Queen, Edmund Dulac, 1911
The Full Moons of Winter
The Cold Moon
December 29, 2020
This first full moon of winter is named the Cold Moon because of the frigid conditions in December, when cold weather starts to reign in the Northern Hemisphere.
The Wolf Moon
January 28, 2021
It was Native Americans who named the second full moon of winter the Wolf Moon due to seeing packs of wolves in the wintertime howling at night.
The Snow Moon
February 27, 2021
The full moon for February is named the Snow Moon for the simple reason that it's cold and snowy at this time of year.
Check out
Edited by EC's Kate Wolford
Share what you love about this season 
in the comments section below
Amanda Bergloff, writes modern fairy tales, folktales, and speculative fiction. Her work has appeared in various anthologies, including Frozen Fairy Tales, After the Happily Ever After, and Uncommon Pet Tales.
Follow her on Twitter @AmandaBergloff
Check out her Amazon Author page HERE
Also, join her every Tuesday on Twitter for #FairyTaleTuesday to share what you love about fairy tales, folktales, and myths.

Cover Layout & Quotes/Various Graphic Design: Amanda Bergloff 


Maxine said...

A lovely collection. I love the pictures of the castles. This season to me is all about slowing down and taking stock ready to make improvements going forward. Happy and healthy Christmas everyone.

Lynden Wade said...

Lots to love here! My favourites were: the castles (Swallow's Nest Castle, Ukraine - what a fabulous name!), the illustrations for The Snow Queen, including the Pre-Raphaelite feel of Henry Ford's engraving, and Robert Frost's eternally mysterious poem, which I read aloud in a whisper to enjoy the full force of it. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

So happy you enjoyed my article!<3 Happy winter to both of you!

Guy Ricketts said...

This is such a beautiful, multi level love letter to Winter. I loved it all.
Especially your art, the photos of Winter castles, the Snow Queen gallery, and both musical pieces. A perfect Winter treat.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much, Guy. I'm happy you were able to share my love of winter through this post.

Lauri Meyers said...

Love all this inspiration!