Talk:Sami shamanism

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The article calls Sami shamanism for neo-shamanistic or neo-paganistic. Then it describes the traditional Sami religion. I think then, we could drop the "neo", and we could also dop the paganism. Shamanistic in itself is enough. Neo-shamanism is a modern western form of shamanism, which has little to do with the Sami traditions. Traditional Sami religion is clearly related to the traditional religions of a number of northern Siberian peoples, which should be mentioned. This connection is much more evident than connections to Finnish mythology. --Laplandgerard (talk) 13:15, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

Sami or Saami?[edit]

Spelt both ways in the article.... Brian Sayrs

It should be 'Sami' - some use the double 'aa' spelling but there's no consensus among us for using that variety. Best regards Aanta

Saami is the finnish, Sami the Swedish/norwegian, Sámi the northern Sami spelling, Saemie is South Sami. English sometimes borrows the Finnish, sometimes the Norwegian Swedish word. One should at least be consequent. For now, I think Sami is the most used in English. --Laplandgerard (talk) 13:15, 11 April 2012 (UTC)


Changing the sacrifice bit to what I believe original intent was. Please adjust if necessary.


The last two or three paragraphs seem especially questionable, as does the first paragraph ("are clearly biased"). I realize that inauthentic practicioners (whatever their intentions may be) styling themselves as noaide do exist, but the article as it is now paints the saami traditions as entirely dead, as if anyone claiming to adhere to them must be a liar. Can someone back up these statements and come up with a way to state them in a more neutral manner?Lucky number 49 23:37, 15 July 2006 (UTC)

The ancient sami spitituality is not entirely dead, the shamanistic practice did however go away for a time.

And thats the problem with the description you have here, describing out faith as a "form of shamanism" only. Thats only part of the story, its a nature religion and not limited to shamanistic practises only. Best regards Aanta

Someone should rework the part that goes Missionaries did a thorough job in wiping out They certainly didn't, :and yes strange way of putting it. Best regards Aanta

finished off ..., too.

If violence or other inappropriate methods were used to convert people, it's better to mention that specifically, than hinting at it by using words associated with violence. It was a forced conversion to christianity yes, and that could very well be told. Best regards Aanta

JöG 18:23, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

  • According to this article [1], there is evidence that elements of Sami religion were practiced well into the 1940s. That doesn't sound as if the tradition had been completely dead at any time. 22:25, 18 November 2006 (UTC)
Yes the author there refers to the same fact as I do above here, and thats a better way of describing it that 'elements of this world view' still are around. Best regards Aanta
I have a book which shows that the Sami were the last Pagans in Europe to be converted to Christianity. Unfortunately, it isn't very specific; it simply shows that they were still there in 1483. Steve Lowther 07:46, 30 November 2006 (UTC)
Yes we we're the last people in continental Europe to be 'officially' converted. The Inuit of Greenland which belongs to Denmark are the last but that area are generally not considered to be part of Europe even though Greenland are part of the European union. The year 1483 are way early, the missionaries started their work on one organized way about 400 years ago a work that led to a sharp decline of the original belief system over the next 200 years. But that process have not finished completely and perhaps it will not either. You ask for reliable sources, to my knowledge there's none printed in English so I have left the presentation on the front unchanged and leave it to you official editors to get back to me or do the changed yourself. Best regards Aanta
  • (Note - I cleaned up this section of the talk page...) It looks like the article has since gone through some editing regarding the issue above. I would like to remove the POV tag to this article. Would anyone agree or would like to continue this debate. I personally know that the Sami traditional religion is not dead, however, it has gone through immense changes over the century(ies). Many sieidi, are still active both in Sapmi and among the Sami in North America - and they are not want-a-bees, but continue a long line of traditional believers. Let me know - Take Care... Dinkytown (talk) 00:47, 19 September 2008 (UTC)

Relation to Finnic mythology article[edit]

I have seen that since today, a merge template suggests merging this article with Finnish mythology article.

The Finnic mythology article seems to be a collective article, which has sections with {{main}} templates pointing to other articles like Finnish mythology, Estonian mythology, Sami religion etc.

I conjecture, the main question is: how diverse are the mythologies of the various Balti-Finnic peoples? If they are diverse, merging is not appropriate, at least not in the long term.

For example, how different are Finnish and Sami mythologies? I have just one source at home discussing similar questions:

Ingold, Tim (1997). "Work, Identity and Environment: Finns and Saami in Lapland". In S. A. Mousalimas. Arctic Ecology and Identity. ISTOR Books 8. Budapest • Los Angeles: Akadémiai Kiadó • International Society for Trans-Oceanic Research. pp. 41–68. ISBN 963 05 6629 X. 

In this collection, several authors examine how various Arctic peoples build their identity, and how this is related to their environment. Sami (compared to Finns), several Eskimo peoples, Orochon, Sakha, Aleut are examined in this aspect.

Also the cited author compares Sami to Finns how they build their identity and how they are related to their environment.

Let us see some quotations from this book:

Land and landscape[edit]

Ingold 1997: 63–65:

I come now to the third level on which we can ask how participation in reindeer work affects the formation of personal identity: this is in terms of people's relation with the non-human components of their environment, principally animals and land. Here I believe there is a quite basic contrast to be drawn between Finnish and Saaami attitudes. For the Saami pastoralist, reindeer herds constitute a repository of wealth and value, and their reproduction is the primary objective of husbandry (Paine 1972). Among the Finns, by contrast, the reindeer has always figured as a secondary source of income an economy centred on farming and forestry. Social relations are anchored in the possession of land, and not in animals which are regarded as but means for converting natural pasture into meat that can be either sold or consumed directly. Reindeer, like corps, are grown and harvested—in other words, they are farmed. The repository of wealth of the Finnish farmer is his reserve of standing timber, held either on a private, bounded plot, or as a fixed share of common forest. Indeed in may ways, trees serve for him the same function — as a store of value — that reindeer do for the Sami. Where the latter is a builder of herds, the former is a farmer of the forest (Ingold 1983b).

This contrast, moreover, has implications for the way the forest itself is perceived. This may be expressed in terms of a distinction between land and landscape (Ingold 1983d:153–154). By landscape I refer to the morphology of the environment through which a person moves in the practical business of life. For the Saami the forest is a landscape in this sense, and its significance is relative to different kinds of tasks that draw people into it. Thus if a man is away from home, and you ask of his whereabouts, the answer will depend on what he is doing: if he is mustering reindeer, then he is in the 'reindeer-forest',; if he is trapping ptarmigan, then he is in the 'ptarmigan-forest',; if he is collecting berries, then he is in the 'berry-forest'. Yet as they go about these and other activities, people leave impressions in the landscape, even as the landscape impresses itself in the form of their own experience. Particular individuals are identified with their own paths, each a record of countless journeys made (ingold 1976:96–97). And the remains of a fire may call up memories of who stopped there to warm themselves, and what they were doing at that time.Through the inscriptions of innumerable traces of this kind, the forest — as a landscape — becomes a fabric into which is woven the lives of past and present generations. A man may be known, and remembered, by constellation of places and paths associated with is name, each linked to some significant component in his biography, and adding up to a record of who he is and where he has been. In this way the forest as a whole enfolds the history of a community, and to engage with it perceptually is itself to perform ab act of remembrance (Ingold 1973d: 152—153).[1]

Whereas 'landscape' denotes the world as it is known to those who move about in it, by 'land' I mean to express the idea of a universal substrate upon which (rather than within which) people work. The land, in this sense, isa kind of 'lowest common denominator' of the natural world. In Finnish this idea is conveyed by the term maa, which can refer just as well to the earth in which corps and trees are rooted as to the surface of the earth n its global extent, and equally to the territorial domain of a farm or a nation state. From the perspective of the Finnish farmer, then, the forest is not a landscape so much as a realisation of the inherent productive potential of the land, consisting in essence of the trees that grow on it. Accordingly, one kind of forest is distinguished from another not in terms of what people are doing there but in terms of the dominant type of tree — generally spine, spruce or birch. Where timber is a commodity, such distinctions are of considerable significance. Moreover the history of any stand of the forest is intimately bound up with the history of the house to which it belongs: here, an open-felled plot testifies that its owner has sold out to financea move to the city or clear a debt to his siblings in the contet of inherietance; there, a stand of overaged trees speaks of a miserly old farmer who is reluctant to relaise the value of his assets, or ofthe failure of his heirs to reach a settlement among themselves. thus, given an experienced eyeand a good deal of local knowledge, one can tell much about the changigng fortunes of a house from the condition of its forest.

To sum up the contrast I have drawn here: for the Saami the forest is a domain in which lives and identities are inscribed, for the Finns it is a resource to be appropriated and transformed. Linked to this is a more general contrast in attitudes to the natural environment. Among the Saami, the environment is seen to lay down, in its temporal rhythms and the spatial disposition of its features, a course to be followed rather than a resistance to overcome. One works with the world, not against it. The Finnish farmers whom I came to know took a much less benign view of their environment. They would forever complain about the harsh, god-forsaken land in which they were condemned to live, about the long winters, and the cold. Life for them is regarded as a struggle in which people pit their energies against nature, in competition both with their neighbours and with themselves. It is through such struggle, in the record of achievement in the face of adversity, that personal identities are forged.

Footnotes [also belonging to the quoted text]

  1. ^ Nelson (1983:243) makes a very similar observation in his fine account of the way in which Koyukon, native hunter-trappers of Alaska, perceive their landscape:

    The Koyukon homeland is filled with places … invested with significance in personal and familiar history. Drawing back to view the landscape as a whole, we can see it completely interwoven with these meanings. Each living individual is bound into this pattern of land and people that extends throughout the terrain and far back across time.


Although the text cited above does not deal directly with mythology, rather it is discussing the identity-building of contemporary, living people, but still, I propose an over-cautious attitude: not to merge the article with Finnic mythology.

Physis (talk) 05:52, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

A vote for "No" for merging[edit]

I vote no for the merging for the follwoing reasons: 1) the Finnic mythology page is very poor and needs a lot of work; 2) I know a some amount of Sami mythology but very little of Finnic mythology, however the Finnish Kalevala I know is not part of Sami mythology. This it shows that there is some divergence - possible a great deal of it - between the two mythologies; 3) Moreover, the other finnic links, Finnish mythology, Estonian mythology, and Mordvin mythology have not been requested to be merged with the Finnic mythology page. In addition, if you read their mythologies, they have little in common under the present wiki pages.

I vote *No* for the above reasons.

In a week's time, if nobody responds or removes the tag, I will remove it myself has this thread is preaty old. Thanks and Take Care... Dinkytown (talk) 23:15, 13 September 2008 (UTC)

Thank You very much for that — I support the removal of the {{merge}} template. I am not accustomed yet to wiki administrative things, thus I did not dare to remove the template myself. Best wishes, Physis (talk) 22:20, 16 September 2008 (UTC)
Hi Physis - I've done it before but only after a period of time. Anyone can place one and anyone can remove one, just courtesy for a time period. If the person cares, they would be watching this page anyway. If they are not watching, they shouldn't care (in my opinion...). Let's give it a week and see what happens - then no one can complain - take care... Dinkytown (talk) 00:29, 17 September 2008 (UTC)


The relation between shamanism and the "other" parts of the belief system seems for me to be a sophisticated question in generally in ethnology. I lack knowledge how this problem is present in the case of the Sami, but still I propose a more generalized title, for example something like "Belief systems among Sami peoples". (At the same time, the title refers to possible diversity among Sami themselves.) Physis (talk) 05:52, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

The best way to resolve this would be to rename the page "Sami religion" (since all shamanistic belief systems are religions, but that the converse do not hold, the most general term should be used) and then have the shamanistic side of the religion as a sub section, preferably in relation to the noaidi. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:30, 1 January 2010 (UTC)

non sequitur[edit]

"Animal Gods. Aside from the Bear Cult..." What about the Bear Cult? What does it include? There's no link here to a separate article. Poor article structure. (talk) 00:41, 22 February 2010 (UTC)

Neopagan template[edit]

I am removing this as there are traditional Sami people who maintain their ways and it's not appropriate to lump them in with Wiccans and such. On that template "Contemporary Pagan" is used as synonym for "Neopagan". If you want to write something on Neopagans who consider themselves connected to the Sami, put it in its own section. That is, if you can source it to WP:RS and WP:V standards. Then put the template or one like it only in that section, not up top. Thanks. - Kathryn NicDhàna 22:55, 13 May 2012 (UTC)

The label "Contemporary Pagan" or "Neopagan" does not include exclusively syncretic religions or religions just inspired by old Pagan religions. They encompass both syncretic religions such as Wicca, reconstructed European religions, and reinvented indigenous European religions such as the Mari or the Chuvash religions which base on unbroken tradition. As you can find, the term "Neopagan" is used by many of the sources which describe the revival of these religions (for example Shnirelman's Christians Go Home! A Revival of Neo-Paganism between the Baltic Sea and Transcaucasia). --Schwert von Feuer (talk) 11:31, 14 May 2012 (UTC)