Sami shamanism


Sami shamanism

The knowledge of the mythology and religious practices of the Sami people is primarily based on archeological remains and written sources from missionary works in northern Scandinavia during the Middle Ages and up to the early 18th c. The religion was a form of shamanism, practiced by the shaman for the most miscellaneous problems. The shaman, termed noaide in the Sami language, had great influence on the people in the village, since he or she was the link between man and gods, spirits and forefathers.

In the landscape throughout Northern Scandinavia, one can find "sieidis", places that have unusual land forms that are different from the surrounding countryside. They are considered a spiritual 'focal point' and are worshiped as a gateway to the spirit world. At these "sieidis", archeologist have found objects called "Samic metal depots" (due to the large numbers of metal objects) dating back to 800-1300s. These objects are mostly coins from medieval Germany and England, parts from weapons such as arrow-heads, and other minor findings such as antler from reindeer.

The instrument used for ceremonies was the rune drum, but even a domestic flute, the so-called "fadno", was used. The traditional Sami chant, joik, was used in ceremonies where the noaide fell in trance and left his or her body to transcend into the divine world of "saivo", where he or she could negotiate with gods, spirits and forefathers to improve the fate of the group he or she represented.

Males confessed to sacrificial male gods, whereas females confessed to female fertility gods. Sacrifice of animals and metal objects was also included in some religious ceremonies. "White" animals (white reindeer, cows, sheep, etc.) played an important role.

As with other circumpolar religions, the Sami religion contains a hunting ceremony especially for bears, known as the bear cult. We find elements of nordic mythology as well as Christian ideas in the religious practice in the later years of Sami religion.

Sami people in northern Scandinavia today belong to the main Christian churches, though many are now secular or non-religious, as are the majority of people in the Scandinavian countries. During recent years, there has been a movement in some churches to encourage the use of the Sami language and culture in expressing the Christian faith. Official Sami bodies exist today in the Lutheran Church of Sweden and Church of Norway, as well as in the Mission Covenant Church of Sweden.

See also

* Lars Levi Læstadius
* Finnic mythology
* "Fragments of Lappish Mythology"
* Noaide

External links

* [http://www.utexas.edu/courses/sami/diehtu/giella/film/pathfinder.htm Folklore, Boundaries and Audience in The Pathfinder]
* [http://www.faqs.org/faqs/nordic-faq/part2_NORDEN/section-2.html The Sámi people]
* [http://www.tjatsi.fo/?side=491b24523f05ea96689d93e856f99618 Beivve] , including many other related topics (e.g. soul dualism of Sami)
* [http://www.tjatsi.fo/?side=f18ed9eecb220d1cf8ff2271cfe499cd The fraticide with the reindeer-antler]
* [http://www.eng.samer.se/servlet/GetDoc?meta_id=1129 Sápmi]
* [http://www.folklore.ee/folklore/vol11/meandash.htm Folktales of Meandash, the mythic Sami reindeer]


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