Estonian Gods

Estonian mythology is a complex of myths belonging the Estonian folk heritage and literary mythology. Some traces of the oldest authentic myths may have survived in runic songs. There is a song about the birth of the world – a bird lays three eggs and starts to lay out the nestlings – one becomes Sun, one becomes Moon and one becomes the Earth. Other Finno-Ugric peoples have also myths according to which the world has emerged from an egg. The world of the Estonians’ ancestors is believed to have turned around a pillar or a tree,[5] to which the skies were nailed with North Star. Milky Way (Linnutee or Birds' Way in Estonian) was a branch of the World Tree (Ilmapuu) or the way by which birds moved (and took the souls of the deceased to the other world). These myths were based on animistic beliefs. Changes occurred in proto-Estonian mythology as a result of the contacts with Baltic and Germanic tribes, as well as the transition from hunting and gathering to farming. Personifications of celestial bodies, sky and weather deities and fertility gods gained importance in the world of the farmers. There may have been a sky and thunder god called Uku or Ukko, also called Vanaisa (Grandfather) or Taevataat (Sky Father). Proto Estonian pre-Christian deities may also have included a sky-god by name Jumal, known also by other Finnic peoples as Jumala in Finnish and Jumo in Mari.[1][6] Many recorded legends and myths depicting a supreme sky god are however probably of later origin and feature Christian and/or foreign influences.
Estonian legends about giants (Kalevipoeg, Suur Tõll, Leiger) may be a reflection of Germanic (especially Scandinavian) influences. There are numerous legends interpreting various natural objects and features as traces of Kalevipoeg's deeds. The giant has merged together with Christian Devil, giving birth to a new character – Vanapagan (a giant demon living on his farm or manor and his farm hand Kaval-Ants (Crafty Hans).

Some Estonian Gods;

Äiatar – a female demon

Äike - thunder god

Ebajalg - demonic whirlwind

Ehaema - Mother Twilight, a nocturnal spirit or elf, encouraging spinning

Eksitaja - an evil spirit who makes people lose their way in a forest or a bog

Haldjas (the ruler) - elf, fairy, protector spirit of some place, person, plant or animal

Hall - personification of malaria

Hiid - a giant

Hiiela - another world, land of the dead

Hiieneitsid - maidens from the land of the dead

Hiis - holy grove

Hingeliblikas – a person's spirit in the form of a moth

Hingeloom - a person's spirit in the form of an insect or a small animal

Hoidja - protector

Hämarik - personification of dusk, a beautiful young maiden

Hännamees – a demon who stole and brought food, money and other worldly goods to its maker and owner

Härjapõlvlane - goblin

Ilmaneitsi, Ilmatütar - Air Maiden, Sky Maiden

Ilmarine, Ilmasepp - a mythical blacksmith who forged among other things the Sun and the Moon (cp. Ilmarinen)

Ilo - Joy, the hostess of feasts

Jutta - queen of the birds, daughter of Taara

Juudaline - demon

Järvevana - Old Man from the Lake

Kaevukoll - bogeyman of the well

Kaitsja - protector

Kalevipoeg, Kalevine, Sohni, Soini, Osmi - giant hero, mythical ancient king of Estonia

Kalm - grave; spirit of a dead person; ruler of the land of the dead

Kalmuneiu - Maiden of the Grave; a girl from the land of the dead

Kaval-Ants (Crafty/Sly Hans) - wicked farm hand who deceives his master Vanapagan - the Devil

Kodukäija - a restless visitant ghost

Koerakoonlane - a demonic warrior with a dog snout

Koit - personification of Dawn, a young man, eternal lover of Hämarik

Koll - bogey

Kolumats – bogeyman

Kratt - a demon who stole and brought food, money and other worldly goods to its maker and owner in the form of a whirlwind or meteor-like tail of fire (also called puuk, pisuhänd, tulihänd, hännamees)

Kurat, Kuri, Vanakuri - devil (The Evil One)

Kuu - Moon

Kõu - Thunder; son of Uku, brother of Pikker

Kääbas - grave, death spirit

Külmking - a spirit of an unholy dead

Lapi nõid - witch of Lapland

Laurits - fire god or spirit, related to St. Lawrence

Leiger (player) - a giant living in Hiiumaa island

Lendva - an illness sent by an evil witch

Libahunt - werewolf

Linda - mother of Kalevipoeg

Lummutis - ghost, wraith

Luupainaja - incubus, nightmare

Lämmeküne - cp. Lemminkäinen

Maa-alune - a creature living under the earth and causing illnesses

Maaema - Mother Earth

Maajumalad - Gods of Earth

Majauss - domestic grass-snake, protector spirit

Mana - a hypothetical ruler of the dead

Manala - land of the dead

Manalane - inhabitant of the land of the dead

Marras - spirit of death, predictor of death

Mereveised - Sea cows

Metsaema - Mother of Forest

Metsavana - Old Man of the Forest

Metsik - a fertility god

Mumm - bogey, monster, ghost

Murueide Tütred - daughters of Murueit, beautiful maidens

Murueit - a female spirit of forest and earth, connected to the land of the dead

Nõid - witch

Näkk - mermaid

Olevipoeg - the brother of Kalevipoeg, city builder, related to St Olaf

Painaja - nightmare, incubus

Pakane - Frost

Pardiajaja - half-demonic warrior

Peko - Seto god of fertility and brewing

Pell - a fertility god

Peninukk - half-demonic warrior

Peremees - Master

Pikne, Pikker - Thunder, "The Long One"

Piret - wife of Suur Tõll

Pisuhänd - tail of fire, treasure-bringing goblin

Puuk – treasure-bringing goblin

Põrguneitsi - virgin of Hell

Päike - Sun god

Rõugutaja - a female deity, protector of the rye crops, women in labor and the city of Narva

Sarvik - a horned demon, a devil

Sulevipoeg - Sulev's son, friend of Kalevipoeg

Surm - Death god

Suur Tõll - giant hero living in Saaremaa Island

Taara - the supreme god of the pantheon of Estonian pseudomythology

Taarapita, Tarapita, Tharapita - mythological Osilian God of War

Taevataat - God, literally Sky Father

Tont - ghost

Toonela - land of the dead

Tooni - god of death, ruler of the dead

Toor, Tooru - a deity known in western Estonia, related to Scandinavian Thor

Tulihänd, Pisuhänd - "tail of fire" - flying house elf, helps to gather and protect the wealth

Tuule-Ema - Mother Wind

Tuuleisa - Father Wind

Tuulispea - whirlwind

Tuuslar - a sorcerer living in Finland

Tõnn - a fertility god related to St. Anthony

Täht - god of stars

Udres-Kudres - serf, called "Son of the Sun", hero of folksongs

Uku - the supreme god

Vanatühi - "Old Empty One", or Vanapagan, "Old Heathen" called Old Nick, the devil depicted as dumb giant farmer

Vanemuine - the god of songs

Varavedaja - loot carrier

Varjuline - shadowling

veehaldjas - spirit of the water, the weaver of a spring Ahjualune

Veteema – Mother of Waters

Vetevana - Water Spirit

Virmalised - Polar Lights

Christian saints interpreted as gods:

Jüri (St George) - god of agriculture

Laurits (St Lawrence) - god of fire

Mart (St Martin) - god of fertility

Tõnn (St Anthony) - god of the crops and pigs


Pantheons Index