Finnish Mythology

The Gods of Finland...


Finnish Air Goddess

Also known as Luonnotar

Picture of the Finnish Air Goddess Ilmatar from our Finnish mythology image library. Illustration by Chas Saunders.

Goddess of Air and creator of cosmic egg cookery

In the beginning there was only Ilmatar, the void and a great deal of wind. Ilmatar, tired of counting rainbows and letting the wind play with her hair, began to long for a son.

Her longing was so great that the East Wind itself took pity. She found herself buffeted and tossed by the wind’s tempestuous love-making until, exhausted, she could bear it no longer and collapsed. And there inside her was conceived Väinämöinen, the child of the wind.

Unfortunately he didn’t seem inclined to make an appearance, and after seven centuries or so she began to give up hope of seeing him. Then one day she noticed a Celestial Duck flying overhead. (Okay, it wasn’t a duck, it was an eagle. Have you never heard of artistic license?)

The poor bird was desperately pregnant and looking for somewhere to land. So Ilmatar helpfully raised her knee and the bird came swooping down. Half a dozen cosmic eggs were laid, followed by an egg made of iron. The bird then gathered them all up, sat upon them and went to sleep...

And now Ilmatar was faced with a problem familiar to anyone with a household pet. How do you move without waking them up? Her leg was aching, her knee was hotter than an incubator and she desperately wanted to go to the bathroom.

Slowly, carefully, she began to stretch out her leg.. and slowly, inevitably, the seven eggs rolled off and fell majestically into the raging sea.

Now, cosmic eggs are delicate things, and no sooner had they touched the water than the shells cracked and a vast Cosmic Omelet was formed upon the waves. Ilmatar watched in amazement as the churning mixture solidified into Heaven and Earth. One yolk slipped into the sky to form Päivätär, the Sun, while the egg white became Kuu, the glistening Moon. Stars were made from pieces of speckled eggshell, and thus the world was formed.

You may be wondering what happened to the iron egg. Well, the black yolk became a thundercloud. (That egg didn’t have a white as you can’t have a black white.)

Ilmatar was delighted with events, and busied herself shaping the lands and adding finnishing touches. And then she felt a stirring inside her. Väinämöinen had woken up after so many years and was eager to see the new world. He had quite a struggle to get out as no-one seemed very keen to help him, but he managed in the end and emerged, a bouncing bonny old man.

We’re not sure what happened to Ilmatar after that. Is she still tending to creation? What happened to the Celestial Duck? You are welcome to her feast day celebrations on 26th of August — and then perhaps you can let us know what the scrambled egg situation is.

Ilmatar Facts and Figures

Name: Ilmatar
Pronunciation: Coming soon
Alternative names: Luonnotar

Gender: Female
Type: Goddess
Celebration or Feast Day: August 26th

In charge of: the Air
Area of expertise: Air

Good/Evil Rating: Unknown at present
Popularity index: 17157

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Article last revised on September 14, 2018 by Rowan Allen.
Editors: Peter J. Allen, Chas Saunders

References: Coming soon.

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