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Ancient Gods of Hunting

During ancient times, hunters searching for food may worship, pray to, or give offerings to gods and goddesses associated with hunting. In this article, you will encounter some of the ancient deities that were believed to increase the chances of enjoying a successful hunt.

Mielikki , Finnish Goddess

Mielikki is the goddess of forests and the hunt for the ancient Finnish people. In myths and folktales, she was known as the wife or daughter-in-law of Tapio , the forest spirit that men sent prayers to before going on a hunt. Most often called her husband, he was said to have possessed a beard made out of lichen and eyebrows of moss.

Some of the folklore that includes Mielikki includes the Kalevala, where the hero Lemminkainen offers prayers to the goddess and Tapio, as well as gold and silver so that he can catch the Hiisi elk. Another passage shows Mielikki’s help is needed to protect cattle grazing in the forest. If one lived in the country, where hunting, gathering and cattle grazing ranked high, staying in good favor with the goddess was something to strive for.

It was not uncommon to see people praying to Mielikki when they went off to hunt small game or went into the forest to gather berries and mushrooms. Mielikki is also believed to have played an important role in the creation of the bear.

Another attribute of the goddess was her ability to heal the paws of animals that have escaped traps. She also comes to the aid of young birds that have fallen out of their nests. She also treats the wounds of wood grouses after they have performed their mating rituals.

Cernunnos , Celtic God

Known as the horned god, Cernunnos is associated with fertility and hunting , worshipped throughout the ancient Celtic lands of the western part of Europe. The god mostly has a connection to male animals with horns, such as rams and stags. In Wicca and other neopaganism religions, the horned god is highly respected. It is the horned god of these belief systems that is related to the seasons of the year in a similar manner as the yearly cycle of life, death and rebirth.

Sedna , Inuit Goddess

Inuit myths speak of Sedna , a deity and goddess with ties to marine animals, especially creatures, such as seals. It is said that she calls Adlivun , the Inuit underworld her home. It is there that she serves as ruler.

One myth that involves Sedna mentions her as the daughter of the creator-god Anguta. She is described as a mermaid in the myth, who becomes so large and ravenous that she eats everything in her parent’s home. It is said that she even ate one of her father’s arms while he slept. Her father was so upset that he tossed her over the side of his kayak. Unwilling to let go, Sedna grabbed onto the sides of the kayak. Her father chopped her fingers off (one by one) until she released.

It is then that she sank to the underworld, where she became ruler of the monsters that called the deep waters their home. Her huge fingers transformed into the walrus, seal and whales that supplied food for the Inuit.