Today is the Winter Solstice.
Winter is desolate and dark and cold. Grey. Quiet.
In the far northern hemisphere, where my family hails from, the days are short and glancing. The harsh light and landscape gets dimmer and the light slower to rise and then, we celebrate.
In Scandinavia, this is the celebration of light. When the winter solstice comes it is the darkest day of the year - the shortest day and the longest night - and we can begin to watch the days grow longer, the light glow brighter.
The colors of summer wouldn't be what they are without this rest. And so we celebrate and sing.
Songs and Poetry
The celebration now represents so much aside from the historic religious connection.
I remember it as a small child as a magical and mysterious time. All the children would participate in a peaceful and beautiful procession dressed in long white robes each carrying a candle.
Sankta Lucia was represented by the oldest girl who wore a red sash and a wreath of candles in her hair. Elsa Beskow is one of my favorite authors and illustrators. Her sketch above gives the sense of the tradition.
And, the lovely song that we sing is so beautiful - both the haunting melody and the poetic lyrics:
Meditation with Molten Glass
The Winter Solstice Glass Collection
Happy Solstice and let there be light! See you on the other side…
This one's for you, my lovely friend, Jules xox
I've recently had lots of folks asking me: "What in the world does 'Baldur' mean? Is it Swedish for something?"
Well, earlier this year I wrote a little piece about it. Mainly just for me and those unusual folks who like to read long posts (like my Mom). I figured it was just a backdrop kinda thing and didn't want to bore people with it. You know - all those w-o-r-d-s. Blah blah blah. So, I buried it at the bottom of my "About Us" page on the website. Just a footnote.
Funny - Because now I find myself trying to direct everyone on where to find this little entry way down there at the bottom of the page. And it's been a bit awkward so... I decided it was time to give it a home on my blog and it's very own link. Here you go:
Why "Baldur" Studios?
Just in case you are curious, here's a little bit of the back drop.
I have a fond connection to my Swedish heritage, and love of things nostalgic and organic. Consequently, it seemed appropriate when I stumbled across the story of this ancient Norse mythological figure from Viking times, named "Baldur". He was going to be my muse and connection to my heritage.
Baldur was known as the spirit of hope and renewal, like a "shining day in spring". Imagery of him suggested that he glowed. He represented innocence, peace, beauty, and kindness. And he is often connected with white blossoms and flowers - in particular Lilly of the Valley which is so lovely and delicate and innocent! And special.
For those of you really into the mythology, Baldur was the son of Odin and Frigg, and his siblings were Thor and Vali.
According to legend, Baldur lived at a place called "Breidablik", where the roof of his house is made of silver which was resting on pillars of gold.
I just love what this figure represented to ancient Norse people and want a tiny bit of that romantic energy to visit this little venture of mine.
More on the lilies
I absolutely adore Lily of the Valley. More so because it seems so remote to me now, living here in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona. It feels like such an elusive, and mysterious bloom. The sweet fragrance appearing only briefly for a show in earliest spring. Is it really true that the roots are poisonous?
An old botanical print of a Lily of the Valley is even more fabulous! This one is a 19th century illustration by Franz Eugen Köhler, in Germany. He was an incredible illustrator who published three books focusing on medicinal plants.
Meanwhile, until I can get my hands on one of these prints, anyone out there living in the... "north land" have images of Lily of the Valley growing in your garden, or nearby woodlands? PLEASE SHARE!
My mama recently shared this lovely memory with me:
When I was a young girl, living in Uddeby Cottage, we went to a special place -- an island in a big lake - although the ‘water' was a farmer’s plowed field and the "island" was in the middle of this field where there was an ancient pile of enormous rocks. There were many birch trees and other wild plants growing. It was quite large. And, that is where the beautiful, elegant, fragrant Lily of the Valley grew in the spring. It was such a special thing. And usually it was a fleeting moment of early spring, and then gone. They don’t last long. As far as we knew it was only there they grew. On this rock "island" in the farmers field in Sweden. Never found them anywhere else.
"Uddeby" is the name given to Mom's family home on the water of the north shores of Lake Vänern nearby the ancient fishing village of Kristinehamn in Sweden.
Our brand new Logo
If you still want more --
For more background on us and how we got "here" you can read lots of words on the About Us page.