Skogsfruar, the “Forest Wives,” are guardians of the woods. They have dominion over hunting, assisting those whom they love but obstructing those who do not ask for their permission. The Skogsfruar protect forest animals; they are the spiritual regulatory board determining who can hunt and who can be hunted. Hunters who run afoul of the Skogsfruar have no luck and find no prey but may find trouble instead.
Skogsfruar manifest in the form of beautiful, naked women who mysteriously appear in the forest, often joining men at campgrounds, luring them deeper into the woods, from whence they never return (whether because they’ve met with foul play or because they’re too happy to leave is unknown). Forest wife is also sometimes a euphemism for “witch,” and it is not entirely clear if all these Skogsfruar are spirits or whether some are human forest dwellers.
Epipogium aphyllum, known as Ghost Orchid in English, is called Skogsfru (“Forest Wife”) in Swedish
The Skogsfruar accept silver. It’s traditional to make offerings to them before entering the woods and before hunting; it’s always advisable to beg their permission.
Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses – Written by : Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.