The Kalevala is truly a gem of Finnish culture, folklore and literature which is one I have been fascinated with for years. It is also perhaps the most famous and republished piece of literature to come out of Finland. The Kalevala is a collection of tales from the creation of the world, stories of Finnish gods and goddesses as well as other figures of the folklore of Finland. I wanted to contribute by sharing this utterly amazing Finnish literature with my readers and explore deeper into its importance and tales. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
The first edition of the Kalevala came out in 1835. Elias Lönnrot compiled it from folk poetry recorded into notebooks during his collection trips among poetry singers in 1828–1834. At the time of publication of the Kalevala, Finland was an autonomous grand duchy, and before that, until 1809, Finland was part of the Swedish Kingdom. Especially for Finnish intellectuals, the Kalevala became a symbol of the Finnish past, the Finnish language and Finnish culture, a foundation on which they started to build the fragile Finnish identity. It also aroused much interest abroad, and brought a small, unknown people to the awareness of other Europeans.
The effect of the Kalevala on Finnish culture, arts and sciences has been significant. It has left its mark on the fine arts, literature, theater, dance and music. It lives on in popular culture, films, comics, games and commercials. During different periods, the Kalevala has been significant in different ways, and has given birth to different, strong interpretations. SOURCE(Finnish)
“Not so long ago, in the tiny, isolated villages of Finland, where prolonged summer days gave way to endless winter nights, people would pass the time by singing the many adventures of their favorite heroes: the mighty, magical men and women of ancient days.
They sang of old Vainamoinen, greatest of sages and magicians, who helped create the world but never could find a woman to wed him.
They sang of his friend and ally Ilmarinen, first among craftsmen, the blacksmith who forged the dome of the heavens.
They sang of Louhi, the ancient lady of Northland, whose crafty wit and magical powers made her a worthy opponent for Vainamoinen himself.
And they sang of Aila, Louhi’s lovely daughter, who captured the hopes of the two old friends and drew them as rivals to the shores of Northland.
And while these songs could still be heard, there came along a doctor, a scholar, who gathered and wove them together in a book he called the Kalevala. And so he created for Finns a national epic, and for the rest of the world, a work of wonder.
The Celtic God Cernunnos is a god I feel is somewhat neglected and even misunderstood in modern times by many even though he is a very important and powerful God of the Celtic pantheon. Also I have a few friends who work closely with the Horned God and I myself have studied much about him as well as created things dedicated to him. So with that said I felt it was important to put together this post regarding Cernunnos.
The Old God sleeps
down in the dark, moist,
Waiting for us
To put down our roots.
Cernnunos Sleeps by C. Hue Bumgarner-Kirby
At the Sacred Centre, in the Grove of all Worlds, He sits with legs crossed beneath an ancient Oak. Entranced, connecting the three worlds Earth, Sea, and Sky, and the worlds behind the worlds, the god and the Great Tree are One, His immense limbs widespread, stretching into distant sky and starry space.
His massive trunk, spine of the Middleworld, is the heart of the Ancient Forest around which all Life, all worlds turn; His limitless root web growing deep into secret earth and Underworld; above him the great turning circles of Sun, Moon, and Stars. All around Him subtle movements of the leaves in melodious, singing air; everywhere the pulsing, gleaming Green awash in drifts of gold and shimmering mist; beneath Him soft moss creeping over the dark, deep, moist of spawning earth. At His feet is the great Cauldron from which the Five Rivers Flow.
Through the forest stillness they come, whispering wings and secret glide, rustling leaves, and silent step, the first Ancestors, the Oldest Animals, to gather around Him: Blackbird, Keeper of the Gate; Stag of Seven Tines, Master of Time; Ancient Owl, Crone of the Night; Eagle, Lord of the Air, Eye of the Sun; and Salmon, Oldest of the Old, Wisest of the Wise leaping from the juncture of the Five Springs. He welcomes them and blesses them, and they honour Him, Cernnunos of the nut brown skin and lustrous curling hair; the god whose eyes flash star-fire, whose flesh is a reservoir of ancient waters, His cells alive with Mystery, original primeval essence. Naked, phallus erect, He wears a crown of antlers limned in green fire and twined with ivy. In his right hand the Torq of gold, testament of his nobility and his sacred pledge; in his left hand the horned serpent symbol of his sexual power sacred to the Goddess. Cernnunos in His Ancient Forest, His Sacred Temple, His Holy Grove, Cernnunos and His children dream the Worlds.Continue reading HERE.
Recently I appeared for the first time on a Podcast where we discussed much but the focus of the topics were the feminine side of Norse Paganism as well as the importance of the Lesser Known Goddesses of the Þursar tribe of the Norse Pantheon. It was a great show indeed and I already told the ladies who run the Podcast I am happy to be a guest again in the future. So please do have a listen to it and the other episodes they have already.
A Valkyrie is a female helping spirit of the god Odin. The modern image of the Valkyries as elegant, noble maidens bearing dead heroes to Valhalla is largely accurate for what it is, but a highly selective portrayal that exaggerates their pleasant qualities. To some extent, this tendency toward sanitization is present even in the later Old Norse sources, which focus on their love affairs with human men and their assisting Odin in transporting his favorites among those slain in battle to Valhalla, where they will fight by his side during Ragnarok.
As much as we know of the Valkyries from ancient text there is still much about them that are a mystery and an alluring one at that. So I felt the need to make this Blog post regarding them and provide you the reader the best resources I know of.
Sometimes the blood-covered Valkyrie-prophetesses are seen themselves as weavers, as in the poem Darraðarljóð where the valkyries appear to prophesy the outcome of the next day’s battle (describing the fall of Brian Boru to Viking forces at the Battle of Clontarf, 1014):
Blood rains from the cloudy web
On the broad loom of slaughter.
The web of man grey as armor
Is now being woven; the Valkyries
Will cross it with a crimson weft.
The warp is made of human entrails;
Human heads are used as heddle-weights;
The heddle rods are blood-wet spears;
The shafts are iron-bound and arrows are the shuttles.
With swords we will weave this web of battle.
The Valkyries go weaving with drawn swords,
Hild and Hjorthrimul, Sanngrid and Svipul.
Spears will shatter shields will splinter,
Swords will gnaw like wolves through armor.
Let us now wind the web of war
Which the young king once waged.
Let us advance and wade through the ranks,
Where friends of ours are exchanging blows.
Let us now wind the web of war
And then follow the king to battle
Gunn and Gondul can see there
The blood-spattered shields that guarded the king.
Let us now wind the web of war
Where the warrior banners are forging forward
Let his life not be taken;
Only the Valkyries can choose the slain.
Lands will be ruled by new peoples
Who once inhabited outlying headlands.
We pronounce a great king destined to die;
Now an earl is felled by spears.
The men of Ireland will suffer a grief
That will never grow old in the minds of men.
The web is now woven and the battlefield reddened;
The news of disaster will spread through lands.
It is horrible now to look around
As a blood-red cloud darkens the sky.
The heavens are stained with the blood of men,
As the Valyries sing their song.
We sang well victory songs
For the young king; hail to our singing!
Let him who listens to our Valkyrie song
Learn it well and tell it to others.
Let us ride our horses hard on bare backs,
With swords unsheathed away from here!
And then they tore the woven cloth from the loom and ripped it to pieces, each keeping the shred she held in her hands… The women mounted their horses and rode away, six to the south and six to the north.
The Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) is a phenomenon I have always been fascinated ever since I was a child. having the opportunity to see them twice in my life was truly a magical experience to say the least. What really makes them all the better is the folklore of the people living throughout the lands where they can be seen. From tales of Gods and Goddesses, mystical beings and more including how they even influenced rituals of native cultures. With that said I hope you enjoy the vast amount of resources below that truly capture how magical and influential the Northern Lights are.
The Vikings and the Northern Lights Bridge
by Lyonel Perabo
The Vikings never wrote books, but their descendants produced thousands of manuscripts during the middle-ages. However, within this corpus, only one sure mention of Northern Lights exists: in the Norwegian Konungs Skuggsjá (“The King’s Mirror”), written around 1250. The text’s author describes the Aurora as appearing only around Greenland and doesn’t mention any traditional stories about it. Other sources, this time of mythological nature do, however mention an intriguingly similar phenomenon.
The Bridge of the Gods, Bivröst (“Moving Way” in Old Norse) is mentioned in Snorri Sturluson’s Prose Edda, written around 1220 and in the Poetic Edda which is probably much older. In Snorri’s account, Bivröst/Bifraust is described as such:
Gvðín gerþu bru af iorþu til himins, er heitir Bifravst: “The gods made a bridge from earth to the heavens which is called Bifravst”
Later, Bivröst is said to be covered with flames and having three colors. Bivröst also appears in the Poetic Edda which carries numerous myths from Scandinavia’s Pagan past. In Grímnismál (“Grímnir’s sayings”) Odin gives it two names, the burning Ásbrú (“God-Bridge”) and Bilröst (“Unstable Way”). In Fáfnismál (“Fafnir’s sayings”), the dragon Fafnir, mentions Bilröst and its destruction before the Ragnarök battle. Lastly, Bilröst appears in Helgakviða Hundingsbana II (“Helgi Hundingsbane’s Second Poem”) where it is crossed by a dead warrior and is named Rodnar brautir (“reddened ways”).
Though little is known of Hela’s feasting hall known as Éljúðnir, there are those of us who feel the deep connection to the Þursar (Rökkr) who feel it is not a place of sorrow or darkness but like the other afterlife halls of Valhalla or those of Freyja, Rán and others.
Because Hela and her realm of Helheim was given such a terrible name after the conversion to christianity, she was associated for far too long to darkness, suffering and a place for the damned. This however is not the case at all regarding Hela and her great hall.
I share an opinion with many others that her hall of Éljúðnir is simply another option that one is chosen to go to depending on their deeds in this life. Being chosen to feast and live a joyous afterlife in Hela’s hall does not mean you are weak, disabled or a sick coward in this life. It means you are a person who I feel had the life experiences of a deep connection with both sides of life and death. One I am intimately experienced with.
We do not choose which Great Hall we will dine in once we cross over but I feel most of these places of afterlife celebration including Hela’s are benevolent. This of course is not to say that there are places for the wicked to reside in solemn punishment.
The truth is that we cannot be absolutely certain until our time comes but I will say that I have no fear or concerns about Éljúðnir if that is the Great Hall where you can rest and feel at peace.
Nimrud was the great legendary ruler of ancient Mesopotamia. One day, his two sons, Hunor and Magor went hunting. They saw a great white stag which they pursued. The stag continuously eluded them and led them to a beautiful and bountiful land. This vast land was Scythia, where Hunor and Magor eventually settled with their people.
The descendants of Hunor’s people were the Huns, and the descendants of Magor’s people were the Magyars. As they grew in strength and numbers, first the Huns, and then the Magyars went on to conquer new lands.
This story not only symbolizes the close ethnic relationship between the Huns and the Magyars, it is also a clear reference to their Sumerian and Scythian origins. The stag has also been an important symbol in the Sumerian and Scythian cultures.
The mythical story of the Wonder stag illustrates how myths and legends are based on historical facts as the archeological and ethnology-linguistic evidence supports the Sumerian-Scythian-Hun-Magyar relationship which is told by this story in ancient traditional mythological form.
Just as in Sumerian and Scythian mythology, in Hungarian mythology, the stag is also seen as a mystical being with magical powers and whose role was to indicate the will of god and to guide the Hungarians accordingly.
Finnish mythology dates its animistic and shamanistic beliefs of nature spirits to 3,000+ years ago. The objects of nature (sky, sun, moon and stars) are all considered distinct entities and deities. The earliest written accounts are from Bishop Mikael Agricola (1551), Gabriel Mexenius (1733), Daniel Juslenius (1745), Zacharias Topelius (1822), and then later Elias Lönnrot (1849) in the Kalevala.
Finnish mythology is from the close geographic region as the Norse pantheon (Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Denmark) yet is distinctly different. Where the Norse mythology influences are Germanic and Indo-European, the Finnish mythology stems from eastern Finno-Ugric languages. Interestingly, the Finnish legends go back so far they don’t even mention Swedes, Germans or Russians which is one of the reasons the poems are thought to be at least 3,000 years old. They may have originated during the time before the Finnish people separated from the Hungarians.
From Runo 9, The Healing Of Väinämöinen
“I myself know iron’s birth,
I can say the start of steel:
Air’s the first one of the mothers,
Water, oldest of the brothers,
Iron, youngest of the brothers,
Fire, the brother in the middle.”
The land of Finland and its climate are reflected in the poetry and folklore of the myths. Finland is a places of mountains and marshes with lakes, rivers, seas and islands that often figure in the stories. The climate is cold and winter lasts a minimum of seven months. It is not surprising that their more prominent god controls snow, ice and hail. Due to the long winters, there is more focus in the myths on hunting, fish and herds of cattle rather than agriculture or fields, especially compared to other religions. The mythical beings focus on nature and not the realms of human emotion; there is no specific attention paid to wisdom, justice or law and even love is given to the realm of a forest demon.
Painting credit:The black swan of Tuonela, the realm of the dead in Finnish folk mythology. Painting by nationalist painter Akseli Gallen-Kallela.
For many years I have been fascinated with the ancient history and culture of Mongolia, specifically regarding the great Genghis Khan and what he created. Along my reading and watching documentaries about Khan I came across the native religion of Mongolia and the Asian Steppe known as Tengriism. Khan himself was a Tengrist. It was the major belief of the Xiongnu, Xianbei, Turkic, Bulgar, Mongolian, Hunnic, and Altaic peoples before the vast majority accepted Buddhism, Islam, or Lamaism. Primarily it revolves around the “Sky God”, known as Tengri. Tengri embodies the “celestial sky” who is timeless and infinite. However Tengriism is far deeper in its complexities and is in no way monotheist. In fact there are many other deities, spirits and other creatures in Tengriism. One of the most beautiful things about Tengriism is how openly welcome the people of this native faith are regarding other native faiths (Paganism/Heathism).
Another observation of mine are some striking similarities I noticed between Tengriism and Norse Paganism such as the complexities of their Gods and Goddesses as well as the absolute passion they have for their traditions, kinship and rituals. A dear friend of mine who is a Völva in Iceland goes to a large international festival every year where representatives of native religions from around the world are invited to and as she has shown me in photos, the Norse Pagans are always mingling with the Tengrists from Mongolia. To go even deeper into my own resonance with Tengriism and Mongolia itself, I discovered going way back through my own bloodline someone at some point had relations with someone native to Mongolia.
I even went so far as to make a personal wall altar dedicated to Tengriism and its Gods and Goddesses which you can see lower down in this post.
The Turkic/Tengri (Mongolian) Gods and Goddesses
Major Gods and Goddesses
Gok Tengri – God of Sky. Creator of everything. Tengri was the main god of the Turkic pantheon, controlling the celestial sphere. And this god is Mongolia’s traditional god.
Kayra (or Kaira) – Supreme God of universe. He is the Spirit of God and creator god in Turkic mythology. Son of the sky deity (Gok Tengri).
Erlik or Erklik-Erklikhan – God of the dead and of the underworld. One of the original gods in the pantheon, he kept his existence in Tengriism, as the evil deity (Like in Zoroastrianism).
Ulgan (or Ulgen) – God of benevolence. Son of Kaira. He is a Turkic and Mongolian creator-deity.
Mergen – God of wisdom. Son of Kaira. He is a Turkic deity of abundance and knowledge.
Kyzaghan – War god of the European Huns. The first Turks did not have a war god. Kyzaghan is the son of Kayra and the brother of Ulgan.
Umay or Umai – Goddess of fertility. She is the goddess of virginity and as such related to women, mothers and children.
Kubai – Goddess of birth and children. She protects women who give birth. She gives the children souls.
Koyash or Kuyash – Sun God. Koyash is the son of Gok Tengri “Sky God” and the Earth Goddess.
Ak Ana – Goddess of creation. Ak Ana, is the primordial creator-goddess of Turkic people. She is also known as the goddess of the water.
Ay Ata – Moon God. According to the mythology, he is a moon god and he have been living in sixth floor of the sky with Gun Ana.Gun Ana – Sun Goddess. She is the common Turkic solar deity, treated as a goddess in the Kazakh and Kyrgyz mythologies.
Yel Ana – Goddess of winds. In Hungarian folklore she is referred to as the “queen of wind” too.
Yel Ata – God of winds. In Hungarian folklore he is also referred to as the “king of wind”.
Burkut – Eagle God. The eagle god Burkut symbolizes the sun and power.
Öd Tengri or Öd-Ögöd – God of time. İs seen as the impersonation of time in Turkic mythology. Generally seen with the horse of time and Ödlek.
Boz Tengri – God mostly seen as the god of the ground and steppes.
Aisyt – Goddess of beauty. She is also the mother goddess of the Yakut people from Siberia.
Su Ana – Goddess of water. Su Ana is said to appear as a naked young woman with a fairy-like face.
Su Ata – God of water. He appears as an old man with a frog-like face, greenish beard, with his body covered in algae and muck.
Od Ana – Goddess of fire. Also referred to as goddess of marriage. In Mongolian folklore she is referred to as the “queen of fire”.
Od Ata – God of fire. In Mongolian folklore he is referred to as the Od Khan “king of fire”. He is a fire spirit in the shamanistic traditions of Mongolia.
Yer Tanry – Earth Goddess / God. As a fertility goddess, she was recognized as the giver of crops and abundance.
Etugen – Earth Goddess. Her name originates from Ötüken, the holy mountain of the earth and fertility goddess of the ancient Turks.
Hurmuz or Kurmez – God of souls. Also he is a god in Mongolian mythology and shamanism, described as the chief of the 55 gods.
Jaiyk – God of rivers. He is a god in Turkic pantheon, previously known as Dayık in Altai mythology. He lives at the junction of 17 rivers.
Alaz – God of fire in Turkic mythology. Also known as Alas-Batyr or sometimes Alaz Khan.
Baianai – Hunting Goddess. She is also the Yakut goddess of forests and joy.
Other Gods and Goddesses
Adaghan – Mountain God. He protects the mountains and the creatures that live there. His name means sacrifice acceptor.
Akbugha – God of medicine. He is the god of health and healing in ancient Turkic tradition. He has a white serpent.
Shalyk – Hunting God. He was the Turkic goddess of the hunt, wild animals, wilderness and protector of forests.
Inehsit – Goddess of childbirth and labour pains. She was the divine helper of women in labour has an obvious origin in the human midwife.
Qovaq – God of the sky. He brings up a new sun every day; for that reason, he is hunted by Yelbehen to stop her and cause total darkness.
Uren – Goddess of the harvest. She presided over grains and the fertility of the earth.
Zarlık – Goddess of Judgement. She was the goddess of justice, fair judgements and the rights.
Zada – Wind God. He is the ruler of the winds, and owner of Yada Tashy (Wind Stone).
Ukulan – Water God. He is the chief of the rivers, springs, streams and fountains.
Izıh – God of wild animals. He is especially the god of freed animals.
Chokqu – Goddess of good wishes. She fulfills wishes.
Talai or Dalai – God of Oceans. He was the personification of the World Ocean, an enormous river encircling the world.
Äbädä – Spirit of forest. It is an innocent spirit in Tatar mythology, that looks like an old woman. Äbädä also is represented in mythologies of Siberian peoples. He protects the birds, trees, and animals of the forest.
Al Basty – Female daemon spirit. She is an ancient female spirit, the personification of guilt, found in folklore throughout the Caucasus mountains, with origins going as far back as Sumerian mythology.
Archura – Forest monster. Archura usually appears as a man, but he is able to change his size from that of a blade of grass to a very tall tree. He protects the animals and birds in the forest.
Ardow – Spirit of water. Ardows are spirits of human souls that died drowning, residing in the element of their own demise. They are responsible for sucking people into swamps and lakes as well as killing the animals standing near the still waters.
Azmych – Road spirit. He is an evil-spirit that causes disorientation and leads a person aimlessly around and round. The term also refers to lose one’s way.
Basty – Spirit of nightmares. Basty is best known for its shapeshifting abilities and it is an evil spirit or goblin in Turkic folklore which rides on people’s chests while they sleep, bringing on bad dreams (or “nightmares”).
Bichura – A household spirit in Tatar / Turkic folklore. Traditionally, every house is said to have a Bichura. It has also been said that Bichura can take on the appearance of cats or dogs. It wears red dresses.
Cadı – A witch or a woman who practices witchcraft. The stereotypical Cadı is commonly portrayed as wicked old woman who has wrinkled skin, pimples, and pointy hats. They also have warts on their noses and sometimes long claw-like fingernails.
Chak – A folk devil. He was specifically busy corrupting peasants. While sometimes shown in any rustic setting, he was usually pictured standing on or near a willow tree at the edge of a swamp.
Chesma iyesi – cat-shaped spirit that lives in wells or fountains and tempts youths to drowning.
Çor – A jinn-like creature, responsible for mental disorders.
Erbörü – A creature like Werewolf. It is a mythological or folkloric human with the ability to shapeshift into a wolf or an therianthropic hybrid wolf-like creature, either purposely or after being placed under a curse or affliction (e.g. via a bite or scratch from another werewolf).
Erbüke – A creature like Shahmaran. An Erbüke is often depicted as a wise and benign man with the features of a man above the waist and those of a serpent below the waist. He is held to be king of the snakes.
Hortdan or Hortlak – A monster, who goes out from graves. The Hortdans are creatures of Azerbaijanese mythology, as a representation of evil spirits, the spirits of the dead.
Irshi – A fairy-like spirit. She is generally described as a beautiful girl) appearance and having magical powers. Although they are often depicted as young, sometimes winged, tall, radiant, angelic spirits.İye – A spirit assigned to a specific element, animal, lineage or place.
Karakoncolos – A malevolent creature. Bogeyman. According to Ottoman Turkish myths, they appear on the first ten days of ‘the dreadful cold’, when they stand on murky corners, and ask seemingly ordinary questions to the passers-by.
Kormos – ghost of the deceased
Khyrtyq – A female swamp demon. In Turkic mythology she is known for being malicious and dangerous. She was said to live in thickets near rivers, streams and lakes.
Mhachkay – Akin of vampire. It is a creature a bit similar to vampire in Turkic (and especially Tatar) folklore. People who were born with two hearts and two souls were believed to be Mhachkay.
Neme – A spiritual being. They are mythical creatures originated in Turkic folklore. Nemes are elves very similar to other ones but they keep watch over forests, mountains, caves and underground.
Orek – Animated corpse like zombie. In Turkic folklore it is an animated corpse brought back to life by mystical means such as witchcraft.
Shurala – Forest daemon. According to legends, Şüräle lives in forests. He has long fingers, a horn on its forehead, and a woolly body. He lures victims to a thicket and tickles them to death.
Susulu – Mermaid in Turkic mythologies. She is a legendary aquatic creature with the upper body of a female human and the tail of a fish. She is the daughter of the Sea King.
Ubir – A monster like vampire. It is a mythological or folkloric being in Turkic mythology who subsist by feeding on the life essence (generally in the form of blood) of living creatures, regardless of whether it is undead person or being.
Uylak – A witch or spirit, that infested with people. An Uylak can turn into any animal or any object. He is capable of shapeshifting into a horse, a moth, or a wolf. He is also resistant to Archura’s enchantments.
Yarbogha – A creature like bull. Yarboghas are half-man, half bull; having the torso of a man extending where the neck of a bull should be. They were said to be wild, savage, and lustful.
Yaryond – A creature like Centaurus. The centaurs are half-man, half horse; having the torso of a man extending where the neck of a horse should be. They were said to be wild, savage, and lustful.
Yuxa – Queen of serpents. According to popular beliefs, every 100-year-old snake is transformed into Yuxa. In fairy tales, Yuxa is described as a beautiful damsel who would marry men in order to beget offspring.
Zilant – Serpent-like dragon. Since 1730, it has been the official symbol of Kazan. This winged snake is mentioned in legends about the foundation of Kazan. Zilant should be distinguished from Aq Yılan (White Snake), which is the king of snakes.
I want to welcome you to my website of the Úlfsvættr Craftsman. This is the culmination after years of study and working to fine tune my craft in order to produce the highest of quality. Items that easily could become heirlooms passed on to younger generations. But more than that is this Blog where I have so much I want to share with you from my vast experiences and wide variety of knowledge crammed packed into my mind. I hope you enjoy what you see and in some way whether you visit to browse my shop, look through the gallery or just read through this Blog which will be added to four times a month. In time or perhaps by the time you are reading this I will also have a newsletter available as well. Thank you again for taking the time to read this welcome message and remember to always “Keep the Primal Side Alive.”