The title gonagas (or konagas), bird man, was a shaman ranking level in Northern Scandinavia amongst noayddes, which possessed special level of spiritual knowledge and visualized themselves to have possession to transform oneself into a bird figure to "fly" over mountains. Because of this spiritual ability, Lundius states they were treated more respectfully or had a higher position than other peoples. According to the myth they could "spiritual communicate," i.e. travel to trading ports in forehand and see what peoples would come to trade. And in the witchcrafting period, the figure could not be burned on the stake because the fire would be smothered in the same way water cannot be ignited.
The word ultimately derives from a Germanic word for "king" (Compare to Finnish Kuningas and Lithuanian Kunigas, both from Proto-Germanic *Kuningaz; in archaic contex the Finnish word simply had the meaning of "leader" or "high-ranked person" instead of monarch).
- "Descriptio Lapponiae", Nicolaus Lundius Lappo (1905)
- Suomen sanojen alkuperä, Finnish Literature Society (2000)
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