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Terra Feminarium

"Light comes from the North"

is the prophesy. What is it based upon?  Who said that?

Here I present clues and stories I have gathered from different sources over the times to shed light into the legends of the Ancient Nordic Paradise called Terra Feminarum, Qvenland, Hyboria, The Land of the Northern Light.


Who am I, where do I come from?


These are the question we ask of ourselves in order to find our roots, our origin, our true selves. 

Where is the magical seed home of us all that we still seem to remember in our dreams.  Who are the  Finns, whose origin has not yet been confirmed? What is the HERstory on this?  


The study begins


Ever since I read the Finnish Kalevala as a student in England,  have I wondered this: Why such seemingly unsignifigant nation would have such a signifigant epic?  There must be more to this than we know or have yet have discovered. So I started to study this in the libraries of London and the work still continues to find the missing pieces.  It is as if we have been deprived of our past, our far ancient history? But nothing is lost, it is still dormant in the cell memory of our body as it is in the Kalevala runes sung by the rune singers from their body memory.. As we fully embrace our feminine essence and open our body storage, we begin to remember who we truly are and where we came from. 


Terra Amazonium


"Before my trip to Brazil and to the Amazon rain forest, I had started working on my next knitwear creation. Upon my return I finished it and in it knitted the river spirits and caimans, symbols and my experiences there. . I named it the Amazon blanket.


The story was just a lot bigger than I expected …


I visited a village by the Amazon river, which was lead by a woman. She had nine children and many daughters, who had many children. The memory of this blissful village, where the sun of the heart was shining, where every child was loved and on someone's lap: the bigger on one sibling, or bigger child, grandmother, aunt, mother still deep in the memory of my soul like the memory of the ancient paradise where evryone lived in bliss.


Photo 1: Ad Astra by A.Gallen-Kallela, Amazon blanket by Mai Niemi.


The Amazons


We associate the word Amazon to the rainforest, but the name is borrowed there by the conquistadors. It is said that the Indians let their women torture the  conquistadors, because they had behaved barbaric towards them. Geographers and cartographers got the idea to name this river basin Amazonia. This name they borrowed from Greek mythology where the mythical heroes fought against the women - warriors called A Mazon, which means No breasts.

According to the myth these female warriors removed the other breast since it hindered the shooting with a bow. This can be both true or a story invented Hellanikok the Greek, which, however, lived on. The Greek word amazoi refers to the chest.


In history, there are references to these female warrior cultures for instance the Scythians. Archaeological evidence has been found in the current Kasahkstan Pokrovka´s territory of Kurgan graves. This statue depicting a female shaman, half animal, half human with one breast (photo), I saw on my own journey in the to Amazons, but only while writing this I found it on my own photo archives!


Photo 2: Wooden statue, Manaus, Brazil


Northland, Terra Feminarum


The northern Europe chroniclers locate the so called Kven amazon or the Terra Feminarum in the ancient region of Kainuu in Finland. Kainuu name is said to derive from the words Kvenland, Qwenland, Quenlandia, Cwen land and a woman meaning words Kvinna, kwen, qvens, queen. The old Myhtologica Fennica tells also about Finnish Kings like Fornioter (jotun, joter, jätti =giant) of Jotnahem (Kvenland), the land of Giants!


Chronicler Adam of Brem marked on his maps and books Terra Feminarum, the Womenland, which was located to the east from Birka and north from Revalasta (Tallinn, Tallinn)

According to Munter (On most Ancient Religion of the North before the Time of Odin, Memoires de la Societe des Antiquaires de France), the Scandinavian priest and king Odin, had originated the practise of magic about 70 000 years ago BC, but is has been proven that the mystical seremonies perforemed by priestess name VALAS, originate from a much earlier times.  


Photo 3: Louhi of Kalevala roleplay

styling & design by Mai Niemi


Louhi, the dragoness shaman


Finnish culture has been originally matriarchal, where the husband joined his wife and household matriarchally. The Kalevala matriarchy paid respect to the pre-patriarchal Europe and Permilan winged goddess culture and the Women Warriors, represented in Kalevala by Louhi, The Mistress of North. Winged goddesses were made evil spirits. The name Louhi refers to the dragon (Lohikäärme = dragon in Finnish). Dragons fly as well. Louhi was a skilled shaman who dominated the dragony transformation energies and could, if necessary, change herself into such and fly.


In Finland, in Ostrobothnia, still lives the Easter tradition of broomstick flying witches that fly on Easter Saturday (Holy Saturday) from the Witchmountain with their cats to make mischief and magic. Bonfires are burnt on that day to prevent the evil spirits of witches to do vandalism. In Denmark, by the North Sea, the same purpose bonfire is burnt at Midsummer. There the wooden and paper witch doll sits on top of of the fire.

Photo 4: The Theft of Sampo by Akseli Gallen-Kallela

(Louhi transformed into a bird on the right, left Väinämöinen, the National deva of Finland.

Photo 5: Flying witches drawing by Mai Niemi at age 12


The origin of Northern Paradise in Veda scripts


The Zarathustrans knew about the ancied "root" land of Golden era, the home of Aryans/Indoeurepean people, whom the Ice Age forced to migrate to India, Iran, Russia, Greece, Italy, Germany, France, Scandinavia, England, Scotland and Ireland. The King of this paradise was called Yima (Juma), who was told to have dispelled old age and mortality. According to Veda scripts this ancient home was situated in the arctic regions of the Northern Russia.

Vendidad, the ancient Iranian script also writes about this magical place.

The Indian scholar Bal Gangadhar Tilak describes this Northern paradise as a place where there were nor cold nor warm =( no winter, nor summer), no sickness, nor death, and where people were immortal, did not need anything and were wonderously happy.


Hyberborea, the land of peace


The ancient kingdom of Perman was called Bjarmia in the sagas. The Romans spoke of Hyberborean, Bermion´s golden mountains, which are guarded by griffins. For the Greeks, Northern peoples, hyborians, were righteous, peaceful, rune singing half-gods surrounded by golden treasures. Hippocrates wrote that Boreas, the north wind, arrived from the mountain Rhipai (hyper tá Rhipai Ore), but behind the mountain were calm and balmy (Eternal Spring). Hyberboreans, the North people behind the mountains were respected, peaceful and long-living (eternal youth) accordingt to Herodotus Halikarnos (c. 484-425 BC.).

Father Christmas, the magical multidimensional Lapland shaman, who is considered to be hundreds of years old may just be a memory remrant of this time. The Hyborians lived in woodlands and forests and danced and rejoiced in their festive banquets with garlands in her hair. All hyberborean knew the flying skills. ( Martti Haavio: The heyday and fall of Bjarm´s power). In the Anastasia books (Vladimir Megre), Anastasia refers to the ancient Vedruss culture which once extended to the Baltic sea and as far as the current England.


Finland is considered to be one of the most peaceful minded nations and a land that has never has started a war. Finland has been and is still active in war and conflict mediator. (Eg., Our former president Martti Ahtisaari or Elisabeth Rehn).


Photo 6: Spirita gown by Mai Niemi

with ”Light comes from the North” symbolism.


The Golden Atlantis of the North


According to Herodotus, Hyberborea extended to the sea and there was a sacred grove of Apollo and a circular temple with its rich treasures, where Apollo withdrew annually. According to sagas Perma-Bjarmia wonderland located by the Viena rivers along the shore of the White Sea and you traveleld there bypassing the northern Kuola Peninsula to the Vina river mouth. (Viena, vaina, Vina, Dvina).

Grammaticus tells the king Gormin´s journey to Bjarmia like this: The further north and closer to the destination the expedition arrives, the more mythical going gets. On arrival there awaits the enormous treasures and the fabled monsters and Mansions of the Dead. Bjarmalandia there is with gold and precious stones adorned temple that illuminates the plains. Later, the Vikings also told fables of Bjarmia, where it says, the Thor's temple was.


Bermion gold mountain, Apollo's birth places, Jotunheimr ´s giants, Hades (Tuonela, Valhalla) mansion, benevolent hyberboreans, gold treasures and witchcraft were placed to the area reaching from the Arctic Ocean to the bottom of The Gulf of Bothnia, goverend archaeologically by Fenno-Ugric cultures. In Kalevala, Pohjola (The AncientNorth) was located behind the sea in the furthest North, in Lapland, in the land of Tuonela. The name Kuola can refer to Kuolema, Kuolla (Finnish) which means death.


The Bible says that Noah's grandsonson Japheth? Inherited the Northern paradise, which began from Lake Ladoga in Carelia. Could this refer to the ancient Bjarmia?


The ancient world saw the North West as the region of wonders. The Kalevala heroes pursued the riches of the Northland of which the most famous was the Sampo, Magic Mill of Wealth. Otherwise, the Finnish mythology does not tell of these riches. It was not necessary, because people wanted to protect the treasures. Even today, Finland is considered as a great secret, because we are unable to market our own country and its riches. This silence may have roots from this distant time practise. The same thing has happened to the stories of Finn´s participations to the Vikings' travels and conquest expeditions. We are also too modest to boast about them.


The Maidens of the North


According to Herodotus, the Hyborian Maidens, Arge and Opis, came from the North to Delos, "and brought the Goddess with them" as well as gifts to the goddess of Delos Penthelesia, The Amazon queen, to get relief for childbirth ailments. It is said that hyborians had the connection with the Delphic oracle. The word Delfoi actually meand womb (delphys).


Finland`s shape is seen as  Maiden, whose right hand is waving to Europe. The left arm was cut off when she was annexed to Russia as a result of new border after The World War II.

In Northland was famous of outstanding beauties, The Maidens of the North, whom the heroes of the Kalevala courted. In shamanic and esoteric sence she is the Higher Self who everyone wants to marry in themselves. She is weaving the rainbow brigde between the worlds and realities.


Photo 7: Bliss Design Knitwear´s first logo 1989.


Land of Shamans


Even today North of Finland, the land of Saami people, is known as the land of shamans where those interesed in shamanism travel with their drums. There, this shamanistic culture is still alive and ceremonies powerful.


The Finno-Ugric tribes that still live in various parts of Russia and Siberia are practising their nature religion in their sacred groves with village elders and shamans.


There is a local newspaper in Ilomantsi, Finland, named Bogosta, meaning news from the sacred grove. (Bog = god). The Bjarmi the name for god is Jómali, Jomala, Jomalanum, Jomala. In Finnish language, Jumala.

To Sibelius, Akseli Gallen-Kallela other national romantics artists the ideal represented of the ancient Finnish culture was the ancient Archangel Carelia, as well as Bjarmia or Perm cultural and formed into Carelianism.


Photo 8: The Wedding at Pohjola

by Mai Niemi

Background painting by Ekman:

Väinämoinen plays Kantele


Photo 9: Lapland series by Mai Niemi: Arctica and Northern Lights seen through the eyes of an Italian photographer.

The task of ther myths


What, then, is true and what is false? In any case, these stories maintain the memory of the mythical ancient matriarchy that was paradisial.


Myths are connected to a deep intuitive wisdom, which rises from the universal and the collective unconscious. Myths and art affect the human subconscious level, touching intuition, emotion and imagination. Myths are not, however, figment of the imagination, but references to the world of archetypal forces. Once reality, now a legend and fairytale.

Genuine and sacred myth endures through the ages unchanged and dynamic, manifesting itself in symbols and stories that are full of meanings in guiding people to explorations to the unknown within.



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