In Scandinavian folklore, a rå (Swedish), is a keeper or warden of a particular location or landform. The different species of rå are sometimes distinguished according to the different spheres of nature with which they were connected, such as skogsrå or huldra (forest), sjörå (freshwater) or havsrå (saltwater), and bergsrå (mountains).
In accordance with old belief, all objects, animals and plants had its own rå or spirit which protected them. A rå could also have power over areas and phenomena belonging to humans, such as the skeppsrået (Ship's rå) and the gruvrået (Mine'rs rå). The rå was not only known in the Nordic culture, but was also known in the Sami culture, were it was called radie. Though the specific Rå's, such as the skogsrå and the bergsrå, was normally defined as feminine, the species rå as such could be both masculine and feminine. It was important for humans to cultivate a good relationship to them, as it had power over the nature forces and animals belonging to them, and could cause humans who interfered with them both luck and the opposite.
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- Hultkrantz, Åke, ed. (1961). The supernatural owners of nature: Nordic symposion on the religious conceptions of ruling spirits (genii loci, genii speciei) and allied concepts. Stockholm studies in comparative religion, 0562-1070 ; 1. Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell. LIBRIS 541848.
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