Who is Mielikki?

Mielikki is the Finnish goddess of the forest, hunting, druids and wanderers. The name originates from the old Finnish “mielu” which means “luck”. Her name appears in Forgotten Realms. She is often depicted as a young girl with hair made of leaves and moss and clad in green and yellow. She goes to battle astride a unicorn armed with a scimitar. But she is not a belligerent god and claims neutrality. She believes that “intelligent beings can live in harmony with nature and do not need to resort to destructive means in order to obtain peace.” For her, nature is the path towards goodness.

Country folk would pray to Mielikki for protection. If the hunt was bountiful, she would show herself to men as a beautiful woman bedecked in gold and silver jewellery. If the hunt was poor however, she would appear as a hideous hag dressed in rags and shoes made of straw. Legend has it that she has a chest full of honey that she gives to the spirits that live in the forest. All the hunters of Finland dream of finding this chest which will help them gain the favour of the spirits during their hunts.

Again, according to legend, Mielikki played a major role in the creation of the bear: “Otho was not born in a bed and never slept in a cradle. The fine baby Otho was born and raised in the regions of the moon and the sun, in the land of the stars, in the arms of Ottawa (the Great Bear). Ukko, the king of the heavens, the old man in the sky, cast a flock of wool into the water, which carried by the wind and gorged with mist, was brought by the waves to the banks of the flower islands, to the promontary where the bees seek their nectar. Mielikki, the sweet virgin of the forest, the brave wife of Tapio, flung herself into the waves and took the flock of wook and hid it in her breast. She then placed it in a small silver basket, inside a golden cradle, and she hung it from the leafy boughs of the forest. And then she gently rocked her beloved Otho, and fed him at the foot of the humble birch tree in the small pine forest, among the honey heavy flowers. But the baby bear had no teeth and his claws had not yet grown.

Mielikki looked all over to find him some. She looked under the bark of hardwood trees, in the heart of lightening trees, she looked in the green hills, in the pine-wooded plains, in the fields full of strawberries. Now a pine tree and a birch tree grew on a hill. Inside the pine tree was a silver branch and inside the birch tree was a golden branch. Mielikki took these branches and made teeth and claws for the bear. She built a shelter of plum tree branches and wanted the bear to live there instead of roaming in the marshes, wandering in the woods and losing his way in the plains. It is hence that our Otho came to be, that our golden host was brought to us.”

Taken from the book “Les Iles d’Aland” by Louis Antoine Léouzon Le Duc, published by Elibron Classics.