As a part of their traditional system of beliefs, Finns know a form of soul dualism suggesting that a (healthy adult) human's soul is a composite of three different entities, souls in their own right, named Henki, Itse, and Luonto. The post-Rash Finns, in particular, see an important connection between the magic powers of a Finnish mage and his Luonto.
Pre-Rash History Edit
The concept of the human soul was part of the Finnish pagan beliefs which, of course, extended beyond the humans and also included ideas of deities, spirits (haltijas), shaman medicine, afterlife etcetera. Such beliefs were rarely recorded in writing, the result being that certain details have varied between times and places; as an example, there are somewhat different statements about when exactly a human would receive each of his three souls.
In some cases, Finns did also operate with the straightforward translation of "soul", sielu, also being a separable entity. In the context of SSSS, the only mention of sielu is in the form of the sielulintu.
In the following, where in doubt, the terms shall be used in the sense of the post-Rash Finns, rather than selecting a particular pre-Rash variant.
The Three Human Souls Edit
Henki or Löyly is associated with the person's life force, associated with vital signs like breathing, heartbeat, or the body's warmth, and thus usually translated as "life" or "breath" (but also "spirit"). A person's Henki would obviously be present even before birth, and it leaving the person is synonymous to death.
Receiving one's Itse, at birth or within the couple following days, is considered the event that actually makes one a person, the Itse determining that human's personality. Unlike the Henki, but similar to Luonto, Itse could temporarily leave the person and its prolonged absence would lead to mental weakness/illness and misery. The Itse in particular could leave on its own after traumatic experiences, or be willingly sent out, especially in cases where other souls were missing and needed to be sought.
It was considered possible for others to see a traveling person at the destination though he had not yet arrived (etiäinen). In such a case, one of his souls supposedly traveled ahead and caused the apparition so as to announce his coming - but the actual part doing so is sometimes said to be the Itse, and sometimes the Luonto.
The Luonto is considered one of the human's souls, actually the person's version of a haltija, and simultaneously an external entity, a spirit protecting the human in question. The literal translation is "nature", and in SSSS, Luontos actually have the appearance of spirit animals. (Historically, the looks ascribed to a Luonto varied regionally, from (a possibly way different) human shape to animals to shapelessness.)
The mental and even physical strength of a human corresponds to the strength of his Luonto, who would also grant the human luck and certain skills. Mages can actually draw directly on their Luonto's power to augment that of a spell they cast, and some post-Rash Finns think that a mage's powers originate entirely in the Luonto.
Unlike the Itse, the Luonto may leave the human not only due to a traumatic event, but also after a "normal" injury, or because it could not keep up as the human traveled too large a distance too fast. While the historic belief was that a shaman could help and search for a person's lost Luonto, the SSSS states that "the only way to regain the spirit is to wait patiently for it to return". It is yet unclear whether a Luonto can be sent out on purpose, like the Itse.
A person receives their Luonto when the first teeth emerge (historic accounts also point to the time when the child receives its name), so infants are particularly vulnerable due to not having a Luonto yet. One notable danger to them are the activities of a Kade (pl. Kateet), a turned - literally "envious" - mage. If one's Luonto is a weak one, leading to matching weakness of the person, it is possible to strengthen it "through life experience, work, and hardship" - the historic Finns would have added spells and rituals to that list. The former would usually be associated with what Finns would call sisu, a typical (and often admired) trait of character that non-Finns would rather liken to stubbornness or relentlessness.
In SSSS, the Finnish mages may not only draw on their Luonto's powers to effect magic, but can actually "borrow its shape for himself if needed". We see Onni do so from on, and it is noteworthy that - apart from having Onnis eyes and being able to speak - he appears as a quite realistic Eurasian eagle owl. Lallis Luonto, both and , looks a bit abstract and neon-color-luminous, and even Onni/luonto seems to still have an aura .
It is currently unknown whether Onnis appearance in owl shape takes place in the dreamscape, reality, or both, and if it should be only one, whether he would be able to do the same in the other as well.
After their death, people would travel to a place called Tuonela or Manala, but it is apparently left unclear which of their souls would appear there to be laid to an eternal sleep. Descriptions of Tuonela vary, but it is said to be "a dark and lifeless place" that is underground, at the bottom of a lake, on the other side of a dividing river, or other such features suggesting remoteness and desolation.