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Friends of the Woods

Once upon a time, in the stillness of the winter woods, I found the whispered beginnings of a story unlike any I had ever heard before. The story told of a time long ago when women could be seen in the woods. The woodswomen were guardians of the woods and keepers of the woodland lore. In their keeping was the very heart of the woods and in order to protect and preserve it, they had to keep it drumming by the singing of its songs, the telling of its stories and the remembering of its ancient medicine. Indeed, there was such a time in the mossy woods of my motherland. Skogsrå, skogsfru, huldra, vittra – the woodswoman of Nordic folklore is known by many names throughout Sweden. Some describe her as a part of the forest itself, with the ability to change into the shape of a tree, a stone or an animal. Sometimes she appears as an old crone and other times as a young maiden. But despite her beautiful appearance, there is always something amiss – be it her back, covered with bark or hollow…

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