O is for Otso/Orpheus
Anyways, today I’m doing a Finnish mythology being, but I have a tribute to an extra one based in Greek/Roman mythology that I couldn’t let slip by.
Name: Otso (also known as Ohto, Kontio, metsän kuningas (the king of the forest), and mesikämmen (honeypaws) my favorite, lol)
Type: bear/nature spirit
Origin: Finnish mythology
Description: The Otso is basically a bear spirit. He’s typically called friend, brother, uncle, or forest cousin (read below on its name). In some of the traditions, bears were thought to be relatives who had ran away from the community and were transformed by the forest’s power.
Interesting Facts: Despite the long list of terms for it, this spirit wasn’t properly named since the Finns did everything they could to avoid directly referring to it due to it being that sacred to them. They even have a ritual called Peijainen for if a bear was killed. There would be mourners and wailers for it. The bear’s skull, which is where the bear’s spirit resided, would be placed in a sacred clearing and taken care of and given gifts.
Now to the extra credit: Orpheus. He was a legendary musician, poet, and prophet in Greek mythology. His ability to play music and sing was seen as almost divine, and it charmed or entranced. His music even overrode that of the Sirens who were known for their bewitching voices.
There’s some controversy over whether he was a coward or not (ahem, because he had caused the gods to allow him to go to the Underworld to try to bring Eurydice, his wife who died by snake bite after being chased by a satyr, back instead of… dying so he could be in Hades with her *rolls eyes*). They think he wasn’t truly in love with her for that, and therefore that the gods had punished him and only gave him an apparition of his wife in the Underworld.
Regardless of all that, I enjoy picturing Orpheus as this guy someone caring and… err… attractive. 😉 Maybe it’s the romantic in me. Here’s Eurydice by Sleepthief. I’ve listened to this song so many times, and it’s absolutely beautiful and romantic, even if it’s also sad.
Tell me what you think! Also, can you name any other O beings or creatures?