Finnish Neopaganism

Finnish Neopaganism ( _fi. suomenusko or " _fi. suomenuskoinen pakanuus" [cite web |url=http://www.taivaannaula.org/suomenusko.php |title=Suomenuskoinen pakanuus |accessdate=2008-08-20 |publisher=Taivaannaula ry |language=Finnish ] ; also formerly " _fi. ukonusko") is a Neopagan religious system that attempts to revive old Finnish paganism, a pre-Christian ethnic religion of Finland. Finnish paganism died out during the millennia-long period while Finland has been a part of the Christian world. Many of the pagan traditions however have remained even under a Christian context.

The main problem in the revival of Finnish paganism is the nature of pre-Christian Finnish culture, which relied on oral tradition and was completely illiterate. The primary sources concerning Finnish native culture are written by latter-era Christians. They may be biased, tainted or unreliable.

Finnish Neopaganism is pantheistic-polytheistic; believing in a number of deities as representation of the ultimate reality, identified with Ukko.

Beliefs

Deities

Finnish Neopaganism is essentially pantheistic-polytheistic, with a pantheon of many deities worshipped:
*Ukko : the sky god, and chief deity in the Finnish pantheon
*Rauni : goddess of fertility, and wife of Ukko
*Kuu : the moon god
*Äkräs : the fertility god
*Ahti : the sea god
*Peko : god of the crops
*Nyyrikki : the hunter god
*Mielikki : goddess of forests and the hunt
*Ilmarinen :
*Tuoni : god of Tuonela, the underworld
*Kalma : goddess of death and decay

Afterlife

For Finnish Neopagans, the afterlife is a place called Tuonela, and it is a place where several different deities live, including Tuoni.

Festivals

Various folk festivals are followed:
*A festival held in May to protect the crops.
*Mittumaari, in June
*Midsummer
*Kekri
*Jul, the winter solstice.

Texts

There is no sacred text in Finnish Neopaganism, such as the Christian Bible, but the folk epic of Finland, the Kalevala is important as it is a collection of folk beliefs describing the gods and goddesses.

Worship

Some Finnish Neopagans visit sacred forests, where wooden god-images or sacred stones can sometimes be found. Some celebrate the circling of the year at certain dates, for example by burning bonfires, dancing, sacrificing, or making other kinds of rituals. One ritual, which is also an authentic practice of the ancestors, is to drink a toast for the thunder god Ukko at the midsummer festival. [ [http://www.taivaannaula.org/finnish_paganism.php Finnish Paganism] ]

Relation to Asatru

Some Finnish Neopagan circles in Finland are Asatruars, considering Asatru a part of Finnish culture and tradition. Others think it is foreign, and prefer Suomen religion over Asatru. Those who oppose the spread of Asatru in Finland think it is based too much on beliefs of neighbouring countries and not on their own local traditions. Some even see Asatru as a kind of cultural imperialism. Still, the ancient faiths of Finland and its Scandinavian neighbours have many similarities, for example a thunder god who strikes lightning with his hammer, and rides in the clouds with his chariot making thunderstorms. (compare Thor and Ukko). Finnish folklore told about a great wizard Väinämöinen, the first and oldest human being, and maybe originally a god, who is — according to some — close to Odin.

External links

* [http://www.lehto-ry.org/english.html Lehto] - Finnish organization for Earth-based religions
* [http://www.taivaannaula.org Taivaannaula] - Finnish Neopagan organization
* [http://www.hiitola-foorumi.net Hiitola] - Finnish Paganism Forum
* [http://nic-nac-project.de/~anssix/finnish_paganism.html Finnish Paganism] by Anssi Alhonen

Notes

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