Forest mother (Estonian: metsaema
) is sylvan deity from Estonian myhtology/ ethnic religion. I heard about her first time in 5th grade when I was on class excursion to Nõva. I think we visited some kind of wilderness preserve and guide told us folktales about local costline and forests. One was about forest mother and huge ancient pines called "hongad" (if I remember correctly they could talk to according to the folktale). Forest mother was the keeper of the forest and she wouldn't harm nobody unless someone had evil intention against the forest. She was described as white lady who could move like a ghost in the forest. Those stories freaked out many classmates and one point everybody kind of panicked and claimed they heard voices or saw ghostlike lady.
Some folklorist presume that in Estonians' prechristian belief there were no gods, but the elves/fairies ("haldjad", there is no difference in Estonian) as place spirits were the deities. In some places in Estonia sylvan deities were called forest mothers or forest fathers, in Mordvins folklore there is also a sylvan deity who is called forest mother.
My vision of forest mother is an elf woman in a white dress, who is part of the forest. If you wonder why there are lace and necklace tied to the brances then, it's because of an old tradition in hiidet
(in Estonia they are holy forests) to tie lace, ribbons, necklace, belts and such to tree brances. The ornament/symbols around her are archaistic embroidery's motifs.
and check out my other entry: [link]