Current issue: 54(3)
According to universal primitive beliefs, there was a huge pole or tree in the centre of the universe to support the sky. These beliefs gave rise to innumerable customs where both trees and wood have been used to promote health and good luck. Even today, many such customs exist: the Christmas tree, maypole, Midsummer birches, birch whisks in the Finnish sauna, ritual tree plantings etc. In addition to the tree, also the forest as both a protecting and a frightening maternal symbol can be considered as an archetype. Intensive forestry diminishes the archetypal contents of forests, which may be one reason behind critical attitudes towards modern forestry.
The paper is based on a lecture given in the seminar ‘The forest as a Finnish cultural entity’, held in Helsinki in 1986. The PDF includes a summary in English.