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In the Kalevala, the Finnish national epic, Ilmatar was a virgin spirit of the air.[1]


The name Ilmatar is derived from the Finnish word ilma, meaning "air," and the suffix -tar, denoting a female spirit. Thus, her name literally means "female air spirit." In the Kalevala she was also occasionally called Luonnotar, which means "female spirit of nature" (Finnish luonto, "nature").[2]

She was impregnated by the sea and wind and thus became the mother of Väinämöinen.


Sibelius’s Luonnotar[edit]

Jean Sibelius composed the tone poem Luonnotar, for soprano and orchestra in 1913. In this work, the mythical origin of the land and sky, recounted in craggy verses from the Kalevala, becomes an intense Sibelian metaphor for the inexorable force—even the terror of all creation—including that of the artist. One of the composer's most compelling works, it alternates between two musical ideas. As heard at the outset, these are the shimmering stirrings of ever-growing possibility; and, underpinned with dissonant, static, harp strokes, the even more incantatory, distressed cries of the "nature spirit" (Luonnotar) herself, heavy with child.

In finance[edit]

The Ilmatar Fund is an Eastern European multi-strategy hedge fund for investors.


  1. ^ Lönnrot, Elias, compiler. The Kalevala: Epic of the Finnish People. Translated by Eino Friberg. Otava Publishing Company, Ltd., 4th ed., p. 365. (1998) ISBN 951-1-10137-4
  2. ^ Lönnrot, Elias, compiler. The Kalevala, or Poems of the Kaleva District: A Prose Translation with Foreword and Appendices. Translated with foreword and appendices by Francis Peabody Magoun, Jr. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1963.