Oh Tapio, King of the Forest,

accept these offerings

set on your Table

Take this bread

made from the three ears of rye,

in the dew of your kingdom

Take this holy ale

brewed from the water of your spring

made from the three ears of rye

Now bless these weapons of mine

as I lay them here before you

on your holy Table


A hunter`s prayer to Tapio

Tapio, King of the wilderness,

appease me

Master of the animals,

comply with my wishes

Take me to the hillock with your hare

give me my kill

Tapio was one of the major gods of the ancient Finns. Tapiola, the woods, was his kingdom. He was the god of hunters and hunting and master of the spirits of the woods. Hunting was an essential activity in those days and it practically kept people alive. So the role of Tapio was very prominent. Tapio could bring the game to you -or take it away. You were a guest in his woods and hunted HIS animals. The forest was the home of Tapio and as such a sacred place. His animals were also sacred, before and after the kill. To ensure the favour of Tapio offerings were made. For this purpose there were special places in the wood called Tapion pöyta, the Table of Tapio. This was sometimes the stump of a large tree but more typically a short and bushy spruce with all the branches pointing evenly downwards and with a flat, table-like top. On the "table" special offerings were laid which included some of the hunted prey. The cattle breeder could also place offerings to Tapio since his cattle grazed freely in Tapio's woods.

There were many members of Tapio's family. His wife was Mielikki to whom hunters turned when hunting lesser game. Animals also had their own guardian spirits. Loaus was the spirit of the elk and Lyydikki the spirit of the deer.

The bear also had a powerful spirit of his own, Hongotar, and the bear cult was very important in those days. You can read more on this topic in a separate article.