Nowadays one may think, that the petroglyphs and pictogram s strewn across the rocks in Finland and Karelia are the only remaining traces of shamanism that is left in this region. But that is far from it. Because there also is the Kalevala!
Since ancient,pre-christian times the descendants of the mythical hero Kalevo have preserved and transmitted their cultural knowledge, their ways of being, of courtship, of hunting of waring, healing and shamanizing in the form of poems called Runes. These Runes were sung on all kinds of occasions and especially the ones containing spells were also used in ritual context.
From 1832 on Elias Lönnrot, a Finnish physician and linguist carefully collected a vast number of these Runes and corresponding folk tales and then assembled them into the Kalevala, the Finnish national epic. He revised and expanded this monumental work in1849 to include more Runes from other Rune singers he had previously not visited. This, the revised Kalevala, an adventure tale about the ageless Elder shaman Väinämöinen, the blacksmith Ilmarinen, that forges magical treasures, the maiden Ainu that transform herself into a Pike, a Fish besaged with powers, the adventurous Lemminkäinen, son of a very powerful shamaness, that defies death itself and many others is a good source to uncover the old shamanic heritage of modern day Finland.
As a shamanic practitioner interested in the old Finno-Ugric ways, one may very well criticize Elias Lönnrot for having created this epic according to his own notions, and in accordance with his Lutheran worldview as well as the times he lived in. as you know, in the mid 19hundrets nationalism and finding pride in one’s own national identity as well as the romantic movement certainly influenced him deeply and steered him while assembling the Runes he saw relevant to create a Finnish epic, while letting others fall by the wayside. He however kept clear and concise notes of all his findings and all the Runes he collected. Today I consider this material a treasure trove of information.
As a shamanic practitioner I also am adventurous enough to see beyond Lönnrot’s “limitations” and travel directly into the Kalevala to meet Väinämöinen and listen to the spells he sings as he plays his kantele, created from the magic pike, that ones was his beloved Aino…
I invite all of you to do the same 🙂
read more here:
During my stay in Finland so many years ago, I myself met 2 people, who knew a number of old Rune poems and spells and were willing to share, what they remembered.>> See My Kalevala Summer:
Lemminkäinen’s mom, the woman shaman, fishes the body of her son out of the Fires of Tuonela – the land of the dead, and them sings Runes over him that will revive him……
Stay tuned for a few words about the Kalevala Tarot 🙂