Pohjolander

Explanation of the term “Pohjolander” as my online pseudonym:

Pohjoland [roughly pronounced PO-hyo-land] is an English name for Pohjola, a land of Finnish mythology. The root word pohja means either “north” or “bottom”; ancient Finns understood the north as the bottom of the world, where the Sun disappeared each night. This place name is similar to Pohjanmaa, an historical province in western Finland with which I have strong ancestral ties.

I am often interested in exploring the worldviews of those who came before me, and am therefore inclined to investigate Finnish mythology. These stories precede, by untold eons, the much less interesting Finnish era of strict Lutheran orthodoxy. I personally grew up in a remarkably Finnish setting, but as many other first-generation Canadians, I went off to university and settled elsewhere. Despite the move, I continue to feel a strong kinship with Finnish culture, and reportedly demonstrate Finnish cultural peculiarities from time to time.

As civilization begins to overcome the myth of pure evil, I have become intrigued with the Finnish cultural understandings of Pohjola as the source of evil: an abstract, permanently cold and foreboding land far to the north. The spectacular ambiguity of this “evil” fascinates me. Occasionally, I feel as if I were an average Pohjolander abroad, misjudged yet tolerated by the locals. The stories of our day tend to humanize antagonists and demonstrate that evil is but a facet of all minds, rather than anything separate. Consequently, I am inclined to adopt “Pohjolander” as my online name, not only as a nod to my heritage (and general preference for northern climes), but also as a way to symbolically adopt and embrace the misunderstood other.

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