In January the light starts returning to our region.
The Saami believes that this is when Beiwe, the sun-goddess of fertility and sanity, starts her journey over the sky once again. The journey is made in a structure constructed out of reindeer bones and Beiwe is accompanied by her daughter, Beiwe-Neia, to herald back the greenery on which the reindeer feed.
On the winter solstice, her worshipers would sacrifice white female animals and thread the meat on sticks which they bent into rings and tied with bright ribbons. They also covered their doorposts with butter so Beiwe could eat it and begin her journey once again.
Me and my brother goes hunting for capercaillie during this season. You go by skis in old forests of pine-trees to search for the big bird that during this season stays at the very top of the tree to eat and hopefully be touched by the rising sun for a couple of hours.
Traveling through this white and quiet landscape on skis is a magical experience. The waist deep powder snow makes you think of an endless cold white desert. Here and there mystical shapes can be seen under the white cover and your mind starts making up histories about what is hidden underneath. The snow covered old trees are standing like frozen giants all around you, hinting of an ancient glory, since long forgotten.
This is the sad part of the story. Sweden is a country covered by trees but only 0.5% is rich virgin forest (old-growth forest). The rest is the horrible result of industrialized forestry, a human constructed eco-system that is nothing but a dark reminder of our stupid way of living. Most people in Sweden today believes that these constructed forests is the way it should be and haven't seen a real virgin forest. They simply don't know the power and beauty of a 500 year old forest.
But I do.