Aiatar is most frequently described as a malevolent disease spirit living in the forests of Estonia and Finland and on the tundra. Proximity is sufficient to cause illness: no direct contact is necessary. She is an ancient Finno-Ugric spirit banished by Christianity; hence, she lingers in desolate areas where people are unlikely to bother her. Trans mis sion of disease is her way of saying “keep away!”—similar to a skunk’s emissions. Aiatar is sometimes called the “devil in the forest” or “the devil’s mother.”

Post-Christianity, Ukko, the Old Man, leader of the Finnish Pagan pantheon, was identified with the devil, his name sometimes used as a synonym for Satan. It is possible that Aiatar is his mother. Among his symbols and sacred animals is a snake.

Also known as:

Ajatar; Ajattara (Finland); Ai; Aijo; Aijater (Estonia)


Aiatar may appear as a dragon, as a snake, or as a woman suckling snakes.

See Also:


Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses– Written by Judika Illes

Finnish Mythology

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