Vuolukoulu in english

The History of the Wooden Bird

There are mentions of the wooden bird and its versatile symbolics in the
cultural history of mankind since the time immemorial. There are different
nominations: The academic Martti Haavio talks of a particular soul bird and
N.E. Hammarstedt of an inspirational bird. In the Egyptian mythology the
hieroglyph denoting the soul is shaped like a bird.

In the baptism of Jesus we encounter a bird theme: in Matthew’s Gospel the
Holy Spirit is described to arrive taking the form of a dove. According to
Hammarsted, in Gotland people believed that if the Christmas tree was
burned completely, a cuckoo – summer bird would arise from it. My own
father might have called his birds cuckoos because a cuckoo will not build
its own nest. He experienced in his own life that he hadn’t reached to
settle in a home of his own. This thought you can also interpret, in one
way and positively, that one should not get too attached to their Earthly

I think it is important to remember the traditions and rediscover stories
and tales of the wooden bird. The spiritual inspiration for this carving
guide is precisely the wooden bird. Its carving, like carving in general,
is part of our own nation’s living spiritual tradition. In carving, like in
any other handicraft, concentration, silence and a flying imagination are
important. This is how a person can encounter themself and work on and
investigate their inner thoughts, just like the wood, in the right way and
according to their own personal mental and physical abilities.

The knife and the wood are our national assets. With them we learn to know
ourselves better and also value ourselves as we get to know our own
culture, just as well it is possible for us to know and value other
cultures and their manifestations.

(An extract from the book: Opi vuolemaan)