15 Oct The Mystical Meanings of Mist and Fog
At this time of year, it’s not uncommon to wake up and see the world enshrouded by mist and fog. It can be a beautiful sight; in the countryside you see the mist linger between the trees, and in more urban surroundings it makes the streetlights take on an otherworldly air.
It’s unsurprising, then, to learn that mist and fog have their place in the myths, legends and superstitions of many people.
In common with many other aspects of the weather, mist and fog have been used to predict longer-term weather conditions, for example:
Fog in the hollow, fine day to follow; fog on the hill, water to the mill.
For every fog in August, there will be a snowfall in winter.
However, for many, they also have a deeper meaning. In Norse mythology, one of the Nine Worlds was called “Niflheim” which can be translated as “Mist-Home”. It was a frozen and ancient place, one of the two primordial realms of cold and heat from which the steam of creation began. It was home to the Frost Giants who frequently feature in Norse legends, and to the Nibelungs, the treasure-hoarding spirits who are referenced in the title of Wagner’s opera The Ring of the Nibelungs. Niflheim was also the realm to which Loki’s daughter Hel was cast, to watch over the dead who were not worthy of Valhalla – those who had died of sickness or old age. The dual nature of Niflheim – that it was vital in the creation of the world, yet also a realm of the dead – is reflected in the way fog and mist are often seen.
Fog can be soothing; giving you the sense that the things which trouble you are far, far away, and allowing you to let go of the stresses and strains of your everyday life, reflecting the creation aspect of the Norse myth.
However, it can also sometimes be obfuscating and unnerving; the sense that there are things hidden in the fog, yet close to you, can often shake the nerves and it’s not surprising that it would therefore be associated with a realm of the dead. It is also frequently seen as we approach Hallowe’en; All Hallows Eve or, to pagans, Samhain, is a festival upon which it is said that the spirits of those who have passed over are closer than ever.
A kind of mist or fog is also often seen in certain kinds of psychic readings; when practising divination through scrying in a mirror or crystal many psychics report seeing a swirling mist or fog which lifts to reveal the desired vision.
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