ABSTRACT

The Virgin Mary as a shaman? A cosmic midwife? Women’s own transcendental mirror and aid? The Virgin Mary has a central role in the folk piety and oral folklore of Finland and neighboring regions. Mary is the ‘first of mothers’ who shares the experiences of ordinary women, such as pregnancy and childbirth, and is at the same time a powerful intercessor. In the collected oral folklore, Mary is present in poetry, incantations, laments, and songs. Parts of the material are translated for the first time in English for this book by the author and by Finnish folklorists. This original folklore material of the chapter is compared with the pre-Columbian sacred book of the Quiché Maya, the Popol Vuh, in which the virgin Xkik’ has a similar mythical role as in the Finnish folklore material.