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Loviatar

Loviatar

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. In some poems, she also gives birth to a tenth child who is a girl. She is mentioned in the 45th rune of the Kalevala.

Excerpt from the Kalevala

The blind daughter of Tuoni,
Old and wicked witch, Lowyatar,
Worst of all the Death-land women,
Ugliest of Mana's children,
Source of all the host of evils,
All the ills and plagues of Northland,
Black in heart, and soul, and visage,
Evil genius of Lappala,
Made her couch along the wayside,
On the fields of sin and sorrow;
Turned her back upon the East-wind,
To the source of stormy weather,
To the chilling winds of morning.

Relation to Louhi

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 and others give Loviatar the title "Whore Mistress of Pohjola"

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, and opposes Lemminkäinen in a spell contest.

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.

References

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