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Huldra – The Seductive Forest Lady

A Huldra is a dangerous seductive forest creature found in Scandinavian folklore. She is a member of a family of a very ancient beings that inhabit the forest, but remain hidden from humankind.

In Scandinavian folklore, the Huldra (Norwegian, derived from a root meaning “covered,” “hidden,” or “secret”) is a very elusive and seductive creature of the forest. The huld-rå being is a rå, which is a keeper or warden of a particular location or land-form. The different species of rå are sometimes distinguished according to the different spheres of nature with which they were connected, such as Skogsrå or Huldra (forest), Sjörå (freshwater) or Havsrå (saltwater), and Bergsrå (mountains).

Other names include: Huldra, huldrå, Hylda, Skogsrå or Skogsfru/Skogfru (meaning ‘lady (ruler) of the forest’ or ‘forest wife/woman/spirit’) and Tallemaja (‘Pine Tree Mary’). They are often referred to as Ulda by the Sámi.

As a whole, they are known as Huldrefolk or Huldufólk. They are hidden folk of the forest. Her name suggests that she is originally the same being as the Völva Huld and the German Holda. “In Scandinavian mythology, Huld is only referenced by Völva or Seiðkona, which is a woman who practiced the Seiðr. She is mentioned in Icelandic tales and sagas, such as the Ynglinga saga, Sturlunga saga and a late medieval Icelandic tale. One source states that she is Odin’s mistress and the mother of the demi-goddesses Þorgerðr Hölgabrúðr and Irpa. As her name suggests, Huld may be in origin the same being as the Huldra and the German Holda.” <Nordisk familjebok (1909)>

The males are called Huldrekall (hulder man), Huldu, or Huldrekarl are often said to be hideous in appearance and have grotesquely long noses.

A Swedish forest spirit visiting a charcoal burner. Illustration by Per Daniel Holm, from Svenska folksägner, Herman Hofberg (1882), Public Domain.

The Huldra (forest woman)

Huldra/skogsrå, The Scandinavian Goddesses

Skogsrået

Huldra – Norse Forest Lady

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