Ilmarinen – The Magician (english version)


Keywords: the magician, cosmic smith, communication, flexibility, brilliant intelligence, intuitive action, creation, mobility, ideas and visions gaining concrete form.

The smith Ilmarinen, hero of Kalevala, was the second one of the three brothers to whom Ilmatar gave birth at the time of creation of the world; Väinämöinen was the eldest, Lemminkäinen youngest. Ilmarinen was an old god of air and wind who controlled the weather and storm winds, which were born when he fanned the flames of his forge with his bellows. He was also the protector of travelers. When the cosmos was created, Ilmarinen forged the celestial sphere and adorned it with stars.

In the tales of Kalevala, Ilmarinen is a mighty blacksmith, who forged wondrous things from practically nothing. For Louhi, Mistress of Pohjola, he made the Sampo in exchange for the hand of her beautiful daughter, Maid of Pohjola. To succeed in the arduous tasks that Louhi gave him, he forged himself a fiery eagle and a golden plough, which he uses to catch the great pike of Tuonela and to plough the field of adders. He helped the mother of Lemminkäinen by forging a rake which she used to collect the body parts of her dead son from the bottom of Tuonela’s river, and he also began to make a shackle for Louhi, who had hidden the heavenly lights inside Pohjola’s stony hill. Upon seeing what Ilmarinen was forging, the terrified Louhi released the lights to shine again to all of creation.

It is told in Kalevala, that when Ilmarinen began to forge the wondrous Sampo, he didn’t have tools, a forge or a smithy. There was not one handle of a hammer to be found in all of Pohjola. Furthermore, Louhi had ordered what materials Ilmarinen could use, and they were as unsuitable as could be. But nevertheless, Ilmarinen began his work, as impossible as it seemed, for he had something that is required from a true magician; he was able to forge concrete wonders founded on his own visions, and he used skillfully all the four elements. He could execute his ideas on a concrete level. He was the enforcer of visions and fantasies, who controlled his thoughts so well that ideas materialized and refined themselves to their full glory in his hands. He was adamant and carried on with his work despite of numerous setbacks. Even Ilmarinen couldn’t produce his wonder-works without putting proper effort and work in to them, and they didn’t succeed at first try. He forged miracles because he was willing to learn through trial and error how to make them. Many a useless contraption was cast back to the flames of his forge as he honed his idea to ever higher level.

It could be said that Ilmarinen’s greatest fault was his gullibility. In the tale about the birth of iron he let the hornet trick (see The Birth of Iron), and also allowed old Väinämöinen to fool him up to the top of the spruce and then spirit him away to Pohjola against his own will. His tireless industry also almost cost him the hand of the Maid of Pohjola, when Väinämöinen tried to woo the lady while he toiled in his smithy.

Conclusion: The smith symbolizes the forging of strong, new forms in your life, as well as power and masculinity. Ilmarinen forged the golden plough and eagle, which helped him to overcome Louhi’s tasks. This reflects the forging, the shaping, of your higher self, as well as the eradication of the worms of your subconscious, your doubts and fears, from your mind. Gold symbolizes the divine light and love and the great treasures within you. On the other hand the eagle represents immense strength and the boundless freedom that spreads before you, which you must utilize wisely.

You have great skills and talents that you should refine further. Don’t give up once you’ve discovered the gifts hiding inside you, even if you wouldn’t first succeed as well as you expected. Work on your ideas and you shall see how they will begin to soar when time is right. Do everything you can to make your dreams come true. Trust your vision. Trust your instincts and your own strength, and dare to show others what you are capable of and who you really are.


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