3 Otso


In Finnish mythology Otso, Ohto, Kontio, metsän kuningas (the king of the forest), and mesikämmen (honeypaws) are some of the many rarely uttered circumlocutory epithets for the spirit that was never directly named. Generally, the spirit of the bear was referred to as friend, brother, uncle, or forestcousin, or ways were thought up that would bypass the need to refer to the spirit at all, even indirectly.

Some sub-traditions considered the bear to be a relative who had fled the community and been transmogrified by the power of the forest.

If a bear had to be killed, a sacred ritual of Peijainen (which some[who?] consider the source of the Odin and Wotan myths)[citation needed] was held, and the bear's spirit in the form of its skull remained in a sacred clearing which was upkept, and people would bring expiatory and tributory gifts to it.