The Imp of Winter
In English folklore, Jack Frost is the imp of winter, the trickster of winter and he creates crown-like spirals into windows. He makes people feel chilly during winter and according to some sources in autumn time, he is the one who paints the leaves.
Norwegian Winter Giant
The origins of Jack Frost are in Scandinavia, more precisely in Norway. He was a giant/nymph-like creature called Jokul Frosti (trans. icicle frost). In Norway and in Iceland it was believed that giants created the icecaps and glaciers. Jokul Frosti was the son of the wind goddess Kari. Joku Frosti was also immortal and he was forever young as long as there is snow, Jokul Frosti is around. Jokul painted beautiful images on the windows during the night and he would nip the noses of children.
In many stories told in different cultures, Jack Frost is a teenage boy. He is a trickster and he likes to pull pranks on people and other nature spirits. He is a playful spirit who is usually dressed up in white, blue or silver, spiky with icicles, he waves his magic wand to cover everything with frost crystals. You can sometimes hear his laughter when he is nipping the toes and fingers of people who try to stay warm.
Jokul Frosti was sometimes also seen as a more frightening figure. Someone with only darkness and bitter cold with him. In Finland and in Russia we can see a similar dual presentation. In Finnish folklore, there is Pakkaspoika (the frost boy) and Pakkaukkko (the frost man). In northern Russia and in Finland Frostman was a feared creature and people would sacrifice porridge for him so that he would leave reindeer alone and spare people from his giant blizzards.
Jack Frost is a classic example of a nature spirit. He rules the wintry world and he only exists in that world.
“Then he went to the mountain, and powdered its crest,
He climbed up the trees, and their boughs he dressed
With diamonds and pearls…”
Extract from “The Frost” by Hannah Flagg Gould (1789-1865)
He is a mysterious elvish creature. Frost has always fascinated human minds with its beauty. Formed from water vapour clinging to freezing surfaces. Air bubbles become attached to the ice crystals creating the white colour. Hoar is a frozen version of dew and it creates beautiful swirly patterns. As with all breathtaking natural phenomena, people in the past did not believe that a creature who created such beautiful artworks could have been entirely evil.
Snow Queen is best known for Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytale, but her character existed in folk tales long before that. Snow Queen represents the death of winter. She is a trickster and seducer. A vampiric spirit who took the form of a beautiful woman in order to seduce her victims. Once enchanted, they become powerless and unable to escape her. If they are lucky, the spell is broken, usually thanks to selfless love.
Snow Queen is immortal, but humans have something that she desires, a human soul. This is why she traps men and children. She wants their souls. While she traps souls, she is never content or can fully appreciate the world of men. Another way in which she steals energy is by insinuating herself into the minds of men as the perfect, unattainable woman, making them unable to fall in love with anyone else. Snow Queen lives in the far north, in an ice palace. From time to time she emerges in pop culture. We can find her in the legends of Narnia and other fantasy literature.
Protecting yourself against the Snow Queen
Mugwort has been used to protect oneself from the Snow Queen. It should be worn as a protective amulet. Another plant is St John’s wort, a flower fueled with solar energy. St John was the protector saint against the forces of darkness and his sacred day is June 24th the summer solstice. This is when the power of the Snow Queen is weakest.