Mythic Images & Shamanism
A Perspective on Kalevala Poetry

By Anna-Leena Siikala
October 2002
Finnish Academy of Science
ISBN: 951-41-0902-3
423 pages, Illustrated, 6 " x 9 "
$115.00 Paper Original

The mythic, shamanistic nature of the Kalevala has been emphasized ever since the epic was first published. The epic poetry and incantations on which it is founded afford a vista of a captivating world of archaic thought patterns and mythic images. This work by Anna-Leena analyzes the shamanistic images and metaphors encountered in the oral poetry of the Baltic Finns and at the same time examines the action of the ecstatic tietajas and the seers who fell into a trance. It thus reveals the images and metaphors and their variations associated with the shaman's skills, the topography and inhabitants of the other world and the shaman's journey there.

Siikala traces mythic images in the light of Old Norse poetry and sagas, the myths of Antiquity and the Middle East, medieval visions, Siberian and Sami shamanism, archaeology and linguistic developments. This book delves to the very roots of Northern European thought. The numerous incantations quoted, so far unknown to the English-speaking world, illustrate the visual nature of the poetry on which the Kalevala is based and the close relationship between incantations and epic as manifestations of mythic thinking.

Poetry; Anthropology
FF Communications, Vol. CXXX, No. 28

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