Estonian mythology

The world of the Estonians’ ancestors is believed to have turned around a pillar or a tree,[5] to which the skies were nailed with North Star. Milky Way (Linnutee or Birds’ Way in Estonian) was a branch of the World Tree (Ilmapuu) or the way by which birds moved (and took the souls of the deceased to the other world). These myths were based on animistic beliefs.

“a mighty oak grows into the sky, is then felled and turned into various mythical objects”

PANTHEON

The Estonian literary mythology describes the following pantheon: The supreme god, the god of all living is Taara. He is celebrated in sacred oak forests around Tartu. The god of thunder is Uku. Uku’s daughters are Linda and Jutta, the queen of the birds. Uku has two sons: Kõu (Thunder) and Pikker (Lightning). Pikker possesses a powerful musical instrument, which makes demons tremble and flee. He has a naughty daughter, Ilmatütar (Weather Maiden).

Taara

The supreme god, god of all living. Celebrated in sacred oak forests around Tartu. Or Tharapita (=Taara’s Thunderbolt). Tartu=city of Taara.

Henry presents the story of Tharapita flying from a nice forest on top of a hill in Vironia to the island of Saaremaa.

“It has also been speculated that the route of Taarapita’s flight corresponds to the fall of the Kaali meteorite” The ancient Estonians must have perceived the meteorite as the god himself, who descended on earth with terrible destructive force and ear-splitting roar of thunder. The event definitely brought along changes in the contemporary worldview of the inhabitants of the area and in the more distant regions, and to be even more precise: it became a part of their worldview.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Kaali, main crater

http://www.folklore.ee/folklore/vol26/sutrop.pdf

Uku

Ukko,[1] or Äijä or Äijö (Finnish: male grandparent, old man),[2] parallel in Estonian mythology to Uku,[3] is the god of the sky, weather, harvest and thunder[4] in Finnish mythology.

Although portrayed active in myth, Ukko makes all his appearances in legend solely by natural phenomena when appealed to

Ukko possessed a weapon, often a hammer called Ukonvasara (English: Ukko’s hammer), sometimes also an axe (Finnish:Ukonkirves) or a sword, by which he struck lightning

There is evidence that the rowan tree was held sacred to Ukko.

Rowan treeRowan berries

Rowan tree

“the Thunderbolt that steers the course of all things”

http://www.folklore.ee/folklore/vol31/kulmar.pdf (on supreme sky god)

Linda

Daughter of Uku bird goddess, bird women, queen of birds

Jutta

Daughter of Uku bird goddess, bird women, queen of birds

Kõu

God of Thunder

Pikne

God of Lightning

In the Middle Ages, the pagan priests made animal sacrifices to Pikne.

Pikne was protector of the holy river Võhandu (close to Mooste, connected to bog Meenikunno)+ in Võru County+, and punished people who built mills there by sending them no rain.

According to the myths collected by Matthias Johann Eisen+, Pikne is the brother of Kõu+ and the son of Uku+. The evil underworld god Vanatühi+ stole his whistle or bagpipes. Without blowing it, the gods couldn’t help the farmers who were praying for rain. Uku was angered and sent Pikne back to Earth, where he worked as a farmhand. He visited a wedding, where he pretended to be a musician and regained his magic instrument (compare the Eddaic+ myth of ”Trymskvida+”).

Ilmaneitsi

or:Ilmatütar. Air Maiden, Sky Maiden

http://www.folklore.ee/folklore/vol26/sutrop.pdf

http://www.folklore.ee/folklore/vol42/jonuks.pdf

http://www.folklore.ee/folklore/vol42/valk.pdf

http://www.maavald.ee/en/ (neo paganism centre in Tartu)

http://andmekogu.hiis.ee/ (map of hii’s in Estonia)

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