Landvättar, landvættir, land wights
The spirits of the land.
In our modern world some still believe in land wights, others don’t.
In Swedish we say ‘Landvättar’. Sometimes these spirits include elves, trolls, giants and more – and sometimes land wights are their own type of creatures. With a second sight you might see them, but there are other psychic gifts too. Perhaps some people hear them, while others feel them.
These spirits live in or under trees, water bodies and rocks. Perhaps like the Lady of the Elderberry tree – always ask before you pick her clusters of flowers.
A land without its wights is a harsh and dangerous place to be. You’ll get lost, and nothing you plant will grow.
The Vikings took this very seriously. Old records from the Icelandic Book of Settlement describes that, upon reaching harbour, it was forbidden to keep the gaping dragon-prow on your ships because this might scare the land wights. In Egil’s saga a terrible curse (nithing) details how the land wights was going to disappear, and because of this the people living there would wander astray.
Here in Sweden folktales speak more about Little People (jordvättar) who builds their homes underground. For example, if you were to pour out boiling water you always had to call out a warning first as to not hurt the Little People. Because if you did hurt them, they might make you sick or in worst case set your house on fire.
On Christmas the tradition to put out a bowl of porridge still lives. Nowadays, people say it’s for Santa, but going back one, maybe two hundred years or so, this bowl was for the house wight. A spirit looking after the house and the farm animals. A good relationship with these spirits was very important. The house wight has often been depicted as a small man with a pointy hat. Kind of like Santa, but dressed in grey and brown.
I love to just let my pen live its own life – see who wants to be drawn. Like a drawing practise.
Below are a few of these creatures.
Nothing but love,