View Full Version : Loviatar/Louhi [goddess of the week]

April 10th, 2008, 07:31 PM
Finnish deities are not easy to find information on (and what is to be found has to be separated out from RPG info, they seem to be very popular with RPG's...)

I've put Loviatar and Louhi together because it seems that before the Kalevala, the names were used interchangeably.


Loviatar (alternative names Loveatar, Lovetar, Lovehetar, Louhetar, Louhiatar, Louhi) is a blind daughter of Tuoni, the god of death in Finnish mythology. She was said to be the worst of them all. She was impregnated by wind and gave birth to nine sons, the Nine diseases. She is mentioned in the 45th rune of the Kalevala.[1].

When Elias Lönnrot compiled Kalevala, he made Loviatar and Louhi two different characters. However, in the old folk poems the names are often used interchangeably. Some poems specify Louhi as the mother of the Nine diseases[2] and others give Loviatar the title "Whore Mistress of Pohjola"[3]

There is one difference between Louhi and the various forms of Loviatar in the poems. The Loviatar name family occurs only in spells where diseases are banished to go back to her while Louhi occurs also in epic poems. She gives quests to heroes,[4] and opposes Lemminkäinen in a spell contest.[5]

One hypothesis is that Louhi and Loviatar were regional variant names for the same goddess and that the epic poems were composed in an area where Louhi was the primary name. A large portion of the epic poems speak only about the Mistress of Pohjola and don't call her by name at all.[6]

Pohjola (place of the north) was located in the far north. It was thought to be dark and very cold place ruled by the Mistress of Pohjola, usually known as Louhi. Pohjola was home to many things including diseases, frost and misfortunes. The diseases were born when Loviatar, the blind daughter of Tuoni (the ruler of Tuonela) was impregnated by the wind. Louhi acted as a midwife while Loviatar gave birth to nine sons: Consumption, Colic, Gout, Rickets, Ulcer, Scab, Cancer, Plague and Envy. These diseases were then send to torment mankind. However, Väinämöinen fought against them and defeated these diseases with his healing skills and knowledge. According to folk poetry the realm of Pohjola is also home to many other weird inhabitants such as sons and daughters of Louhi, witches and esoteric monsters like Nuolennoutaja (Retriever of Arrow), Kielen kantaja (Carrier of Tongue) and Sydämen syöjä (Eater of Heart).


Race: Deity
Title: Mother Of The Plagues
Gender: Female
Father: Tuoni
Children: The Plagues (father the East-Wind); Colic, pleurisy, fever, ulcer, plague, consumption, gout, sterility and cancer.

Lowayatar is the blind daughter of Tuoni who in famous for giving birth to the spirits of the nine most dreaded diseases (colic, pleurisy, fever, ulcer, plague, consumption, gout, sterility and cancer). She had been impregnated by the East-Wind.

In Finnish mythology and the mythology of Lapland, Louhi is a queen of the land known as Pohjola. She is described as a powerful witch with the ability to change shape and weave mighty enchantments. She is also the main opponent of Väinämöinen and his group in the battle for the magical artifact Sampo in the Kalevala. She has a number of beautiful daughters, whom Ilmarinen, Lemminkäinen and other heroes attempt to win in various legends. Louhi, in true fairy tale form, sets them difficult to impossible tasks to perform in order to claim such a prize.

As many mythological creatures and objects are easily conflated and separated in Finnish mythology, Louhi is probably an alter-ego of various other goddesses, notably Louhetar, Loviatar, Lovitar.

"Louhi" or "lovi" also refer to a state of trance, or of magic. This can be seen, for example, in the opening lines often-used in spells that go "Nouse luontoni lovesta, haon alta haltiani" or variations thereof, translatable to "rise my nature from the lovi, (rise) my spirit from beneath the threshold".

April 12th, 2008, 03:57 PM
Again, thanks for the cool info :).

April 14th, 2008, 10:49 PM
huh! I've never heard of her!

January 14th, 2010, 01:25 PM
So much win! :) Thank you. I have been trying to find info on pre-Christian Finnish gods and goddesses for such a long time...I'm only just now starting to have luck.