Hexvessel's songs are magical tapestries of forests, fungus, and sacred entities. Their reverence and love for nature deeply resonates with me. Aren't the Northwest trees around me connected to Finnish forests via spores and sky? Regardless, the spirit translates.
In working on their second album, No Holier Temple, I immersed myself in the wondrous world of Finnish folklore. I attempted to depict a sort of amalgamation of the entities such as Tapio, with beard of moss, or the forest guardian with birch mask and staff. The importance of the bear ancestor in Finland prompted me to include the skull. I am fascinated by the traditions surrounding bears.
From Wikipedia: Karhunpeijaiset is a celebration after a bear hunt. A bear was never hunted; it was merely brought down. A single man could claim to have hunted and killed a bear, but in a community effort, the bear simply died. The ceremony was always a much more elaborate affair than the most influential member of the community would have merited. In eastern Finland it would have copious mourners and wailers, and the people would address the bear as a relative or as the son of a god. Its flesh was not eaten — that would have been cannibalism — or, if it was, an elaborate show was made to symbolically render the meat into that of another animal, e.g. venison. The bear's head was usually mounted on the top of a young tree, or on a pike. Carrion-eaters would then eat it, leaving only the skull, which would then become an object of veneration. A courtyard would also be cleared around the skull. Traditionally, only bears were sanctified thus.
Sometimes the ceremony was held as a sacred marriage rather than a burial. In such cases the bear was either propped up inside a frame or strapped to a cross. With all due ceremony, the chosen bride would marry the bear.