Painting by Akseli Gallen-Kallela, depicting a scene from Kalevala, a Finnish
epic poem. The warrior Lemminkainen had been killed, his body hacked to pieces
and thrown into the dark river that flows through the underworld, Tuonela. His
mother, having collected the parts from the river and sewing them back together,
looks up to see a single bee bringing back honey from the halls of the god Ukko,
a wondrous ointment that would bring her son to life.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Tuonela is the realm of the dead or the Underworld in Finnish mythology, similar to Hades in Greek mythology. Tuonela, Tuoni, Manala and Mana are often used synonymously.
Tuonela is best known for its appearance in the Finnish national epic Kalevala. In the 16th song of Kalevala, Väinämöinen, a shamanistic hero, travels to Tuonela to seek the knowledge of the dead. On the journey he meets the ferryman (similar to Charon), a girl, Tuonen tytti, or Tuonen piika (Death's maid), who takes him over the river of Tuoni. On the isle of Tuoni, however, he is not given the spells he was looking for and he barely manages to escape the place. After his return he curses anyone trying to enter the place alive.
The Finnish version of
Hades, the land of dead was Tuonela. It was an underground home or city for
all the dead people, not only the good or the bad ones. It was a dark and lifeless
place, where everybody slept forever. Still a brave shaman could travel to Tuonela
in trance to ask for the forefathers' guidance. To travel to Tuonela, the soul
had to cross the dark river of Tuonela. If he had a proper reason, then a boat
would come to take him over. Many times a shaman's soul had to trick the guards
of Tuonela into believing that he was actually dead.
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