Magician, Sage, God of magic, spells and sorcery, Vizier to Ukko
Citizen of Ancient Finland in the First Century BC
Identity: The general populace of Earth is unaware of the existence of Vainamoinen except as a mythological character.
Vaina, Wainamoinen, Ainomoinen, Osmoinen, Suvantolainen, Uvantolainen,
Place of Birth:
Marital Status: Single
Kave (father, deceased), Ilmater (mother),
(step-father), Ilmarinen, Lemminkainen (brothers), Kuu,
Otso (half-brothers), Beiwe, Tuonetar,
Suonetar (half-sisters), Kalma,
Group Affiliations: The Gods of Finland
Base of Operations:
First Appearance: (historical) The Kalevala by Dr. Elias Lonnrot, (modern) "The Day the Earth Froze"(1963)
History: Vainamoinen is the son of Ilmater, a member of the Kalevalans, an extra-dimensional race of beings who were worshipped as gods by the ancient Finno-Ugrian tribes of earth. Not much is known about the Kalevalan gods; there are very few documented records of their history and their involvement with mortals. Their exploits have been passed down orally rather than by written records. According to myth, Ilmater was the daughter of Ilma and Inma, the gods of air. While visiting Earth, she was loved by Ukko, the god of sky and storm, and gave birth to Pajonn, Kuu and Beiwe, the gods of storm, moon and sun among other deities. Among the gods she sired, she kept Vainmoinen imprisoned in her womb for another forty summers until one day Vainamoinen called upon his siblings for help to free himself from their mother. According to these tales, Vainamoinen was born an old man and his mother afterward returned to the heavens.
In yet another version, Vainamoinen was one of three mortal sons of Ilmater, the mother-goddess, and Kave, a mortal Finnish chief who ruled Ancient Kalevala, now part of modern Finland. Vainamoinen was one of three sons along with Ilmarinen, the blacksmith, and Lemminkainen, the bard, and were raised as mortals on earth. They were demigods, but they had skills and powers beyond that of other mortals. The three brothers were adept as magicians and adventurers, but were subject to the frailties of mortality.
At thirty years of age, Vainamoinen was revered as a great singer and musician. He was challenged by Joukahainen, another great singer, who offered Vainamoinen his sister, Aino, to be his bride if he could defeat Vainamoinen in a singing contest. Because of the mystical properties of his song, Vainamoinen easily won the contest, but Aino refused to be married to Vainamoinen and instead tossed herself into the sea where she descended to the frozen depths ruled by Nahti the sea-god. According to some stories, Nahti made Aino a mermaid that she could live in the sea, Vainamoinen rowed out to claim her, but she had found asylum in the undersea realm and would not return to the mortal realm to be with him. Joukahainen, meanwhile, believed she had committed suicide and held Vainamoinen responsible for the death of his sister and attacked him. He sank Vainamoinen's boat and left the magician helplessly adrift at sea.
Vainamoinen's body drifted north to Pohjola, the realm of the witch-goddess Louhi. She found him barely alive and nearly frozen in the icy sea and possibly realizing the inherent godhood in him, nursed him to full health. Waking from his delirium, Vainamoinen fell in love with her daughter, Pohjan, the goddess of the hunt. Louhi promised him the hand of her daughter in marriage if he could create an enchanted mill for her to survive the cruel winters of the north. Such a feat was beyond even Vainamoinen's skills and he promised to return to Louhi with the one person who could grant such a request. She cast a rainbow to direct Vainamoinen back home to retrieve Ilmarinen. As Vainamoinen began constructing a boat to carry him home, Hiisi, Louhi's grandson, the god of misfortune, distracted him that he cut part of his leg while chopping his boat into shape from a block of oak. Although wounded, Vainamoinen sang a healing enchantment that returned the blood to his wound and closed it. He then completed his boat and returned home to return with Ilmarinen to Louhi.
In order that Vainamoinen could marry Pohjan, Ilmarinen created an enchanted mill called a sampo for Louhi enchanted with mystical properties, but she reneged on her promise to allow her daughter to marry Vainamoinen. Lemminkainen also came to Pohjola to claim Louhi's daughter for his brother. Louhi had challenged him with three impossible tasks in order to claim her daughter, and Lemminkainen completed each of them, but Louhi refused to release her daughter. Louhi then cast a spell that banished the three brothers from her realm and they returned without their efforts back to Finland.
In order to break Louhi's spells, Vainamoinen sought to create a new grand craft capable of breaking through her banishment spells. He began construction on a new ship carved from the trunk of the largest oak he could find, gaining the mystical support of Sampsa, the vegetation-goddess, for permission to fall and carve the tree. Singing enchantments as he cut and carved the boat from the oak, Vainamoinen used all the spells he knew to endow the craft, but before he could finish it, he needed three spells to finally finish it. For these spells, he traveled to the underworld of Manala to commune with the spirits of long-dead magicians, but his half-sister, Tuonetar, tried to keep him from departing. She had a net created to block Vainamoinen from returning to the realm of the living. Since the old spirits had long forgotten their old spells, Vainamoinen instead focused on escaping the underworld and used wily and devious means to alter his appearance to escape his half-sister's clutches without having obtained the spells he needed.
On the way home, Vainamoinen traveled to the mountain tops and consulted with Puhuri, Etelatar, Ahauti and Nyrctes, the gods of the wind, and they told him to seek out Antero Vipunen, the ancient earth-god and enemy of Louhi for the spells he needed. As god of earth, Antero had overheard all the spells of earth. In order to get Antero's attention, Vainamoinen had his brother fashion him iron shoes for the long journey to the home of Antero, copper gauntlets and an iron skirt. Traveling through the woods of Tapiola for the far end where Antero dwelled, Vainamoinen carved open a tree and dug deep into its roots into the earth to force out Antero's spirit from the earth. At first, Antero ignored Vainamoinen for violating his home underground, but then Vainamoinen began using the iron skirt to create a blacksmith's forge with which he belched out smoke and fire from the burning roots of the tree. Choking from the foul smoke of the magician, Antero finally appeared and promised him a great steed greater than any horse owned by Hiisi, but Vainamoinen would not budge. Finally, Antero relented and whispered to Vainamoinen the enchantments he wanted. Spending a week collecting the spells, Vainamoinen finally quelled his flame and stopped his forge before thanking Antero and departing his presence.
Armed with the lost spells of the ancients, Vainamoinen returned to completing his boat and returned to Pohlola with his brothers to clam Pohjan. Pohjan, however, in league with her mother, used deceit to marry Ilmarinen for the secrets of the sampo. For the deceit, Ilmarinen transformed Pohjan to a sea gull and helped Vainamoinen to extract their revenge. Lulling Louhi to sleep with a spell, the three heroes opted to steal the sampo which was rightfully theirs. Louhi, however, awoke and gave chase, using the wreckage of boats to create wings to pursue them from the air. Finally, Vainamoinen and his brothers tossed the sampo to the sea where the sky-god Ukko shattered it with a lightning bolt, and it sank in pieces into the sea where later legends claimed it created the salt in the ocean.
For their bravery and perseverance, Vainamoinen and his brothers were accepted as gods into Celestial Kalevala. Alongside the gods, they continued to battle Louhi as she sent a giant bear to terrorize earth. She also kidnapped Kuu, the moon god, and Beiwe, the sun-goddess. Ilmarinen eventually cleaved chains to bind Louhi for eternity. Kuu and Beiwe were finally freed in her absence from their imprisonment.
Vainamoinen eventually retired from earth after the birth of the child of Marjatta. Marjatta was the name the Finnish Gods gave to the mortal Hebrew woman named Mary whose son, Jesus, born in a stable, became a great prophet and messiah as an adult. Promising to return to earth if he was ever needed, Vainamoinen retreated from earth for one final time. In 1157, however, King Eric IV of Sweden conquered Finland and introduced Christianity to the region.
In 1849, Dr. Elias Lonnrot collected the stories of
Vainamoinen and put them into print for the first time. Before then, the legend
of Vainamoinen had only been repeated through song and oral story-telling.
Through Lonnrot's efforts, Vainamoinen's story was reveled to the Western
Height: 6' 2"
Weight: 275 lbs.
Strength Level: Unrevealed, Vainamoinen rarely engages in feats of physical strength.
Known Superhuman Powers: Vainamoinen possibly possesses the conventional physical attributes of the Kalevalans or Finnish gods. Like all Kalevalans, he is exceptionally long-lived, but not immortal like the gods of Olympus: he has aged at an extremely slow rate since gaining godhood and cannot die by any conventional means. He is immune to all Earthly diseases and is resistant to conventional injury. If he were somehow wounded, his godly life force would enable him to recover with superhuman speed. It would take an injury of such magnitude that it dispersed a major portion of his bodily molecules to cause him a physical death. Even then, it might be possible for a god of significant power, such as Ukko, Tapio or Ahti or for a number of Finnish gods of equal power working together to revive him. Vainamoinen possibly possesses some form of superhuman strength and his Kalevalan metabolism provides him with far greater than human endurance in all physical activities. (Kalevalan flesh and bone is about three times as dense as similar human tissue, contributing to the superhuman strength and weight of the majority of the Finnish gods.)
Vainamoinen has extraordinary power to tap into and manipulate mystical energy for feats of magic. As a mortal, he was an exceptionally gifted mystic, and as a god his knowledge, training and awareness of the mystical arts is almost equal or beyond that of Ukko, Chieftain of the Finnish gods. He makes exceptional use of creating spells and incantations and can move matter and summon mystical energy he can weave or sculpt into various objects. He can change his size, form and shape, project his mind to attain sensory awareness and imbue normal objects with extraordinary properties. His power of magic could be equal to gods like Zeus and Odin and mortals such as Merlin and Doctor Strange.
Abilities: Vainamoinen is a very shrewd, wily and
creative individual able to use knowledge and resourcefulness to help him in any
situation. He is also a capable singer and he has some inventive expertise,
having created the zither, a musical instrument. He is also a very patient, beneficent
and charismatic being not given in to bouts of anger.
Pets: Vainamoinen sometimes rides a great stallion.
Comments: Vainamoinen has yet to be seen in the Marvel or DC Universes, although a small handful of Finnish gods were documented in Marvel's Thor & Hercules Mythological Encyclopedia. Vainamoinen has been depicted in the 1963 Finnish motion picture, "The Day The Earth Froze," run in the United States on Mystery Science Theater 3000.
Vainamoinen is the star of the Kalevala, one of the most famous pieces of Finnish literature. His analogues include Odysseus of the Greeks, Merlin of the Celts and Loki of Viking mythology.
In Finnish mythology and literature, Pre-Christian Finland (Suomi in native Finnish) was made up of the lands of Kalevala ("the land of heroes"), Pohjola ("the land of snow"), Ahtola ("the land of water"), Tapiola ("the land of forest"), Tuonela ("the land of the dead") and Karelia, now part of modern Russia. It is possible that Kalevala and Pohjola are actually Finland and Lapland.
Last updated: 09/04/12
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