19. Kalma Picture

Kalma: Finnish Goddess of Death and Decay

100 Gods and Goddesses Challenge

This was a hard one- I could barely find any information or images of Kalma beyond "Her name means the stench of corpses". Things from Norse and Finnish myth also seem to be popular names for metal bands.

Something interesting I found was that there were a few parallels to Greek mythology in Finnish mythology- Kalma, the goddess of the underworld, Tuonela, that is guarded by a large dog with a snake tail. Cerberus, anyone? In addition, souls reach Tuonela by way of a ferryman- or in this case, a ferrywoman, named "Death's maid".

It seems that pagan Finland was a very shamanistic religion, and that shamans could enter trances and retrieve lost souls of the still living who had been lost in Tuonela- similar to some native North American religions.

Finnish graveyards traditionally had forests between them to serve as barriers between life and death. The mourners would carve a karsikko marking of the person into the tree for their soul to recognize. The oldest of these carvings surviving dates as recently as the 1800s!

I know virtually nothing about Finnish myth/paganism, so this was a challenge.
Continue Reading: The Myths