Eagle of Lapland

kokkoImages by Tero Porthan, text by Tiina Porthan

Kokko, eagle, is a mythical, giant bird from Lapland.

It has an iron jaw, iron beak, iron talons, and it breaths fire.

The fiery eagle sits on a birch and keeps watch of people approaching the lands of the North.

A fiery eagle was on the birch,
its beak was like a sorcerer’s nose,
its talons like five reaping-hooks,
to draw a wizard’s arrow out,
to overcome the powerful ones,
to snatch away the soothsayers,
to keep watch over jealous folk,
so that no sorcerer’s arrows hurt,
no sorcerer’s darts, no witch’s knife,
no pointed iron of soothsayers.
Magic Songs of the Finns

The kokko is a powerful ally of ancient Finnish shamans.

It can be summoned alone, or carrying an army of iron men, which refers to the dead.

The eagle’s claws are shamans’ magical tools with which they chase diseases from the patient’s body.

From an eagle I shall take the claws,
the talons from a hawk.
There is an eagle, a famous bird,
plashing on the water of the sea,
dwelling on the billows of the sea,
one of its wings the water skimmed,
the other nearly touched the sky;
with its hard claws
I’ll chase the sudden maladies away,
I’ll crush to bits the ‘murderers,’
the evil-doers I shall squeeze.
Magic Songs of the Finns

Advertisements