FFC 280

Anna-Leena Siikala:
Mythic Images and Shamanism: A Perspective on Kalevala Poetry. Helsinki: Suomalainen Tiedeakatemia (Academia Scientiarum Fennica). 2003. 423 pp.

ISBN 951-41-0901-5 (hardback)
ISBN 951-41-0902-3 (paperback)

37 euros (hardback)
32 euros (paperback)

THE MYTHIC, SHAMANISTIC NATURE of the Kalevala has been emphasised 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 Siikala analyses 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 tietäjäs 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.

Mythic Images and Shamanism. A Perspective on Kalevala Poetry 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.

ANNA-LEENA SIIKALA is Professor of folklore studies at the University of Helsinki and was appointed Academy Professor with special reference to research in 1999. While specialising in shamanism, mythology, Kalevalaic poetry and oral narration, she has also conducted fieldwork in Finland, on the Cook Islands of the Pacific and among the Finno-Ugrian peoples of Russia, especially the Udmurts, Komi and Siberian Khanty. Works by her on shamanism include The Rite Technique of the Siberian Shaman (FFC 220, 1978 and 1989) and with Mihály Hoppál Studies in Shamanism (Ethnologica Uralica 1992 and 1998, Budapest).

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