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In Scandinavian folklore, a (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[1][2][3] or huldra (forest), sjörå[4] (freshwater) or havsrå (saltwater), and bergsrå[5] (mountains).

In accordance with old belief, all objects, animals and plants had its own or spirit which protected them. A 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 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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Granberg, Gunnar (1935). Skogsrået i yngre nordisk folktradition. Skrifter / utg. av Kungl. Gustav Adolfs akademien för folklivsforskning, 99-0440828-9 ; 3 (in Swedish). Uppsala: Lundequistska bokh. LIBRIS 321677. 
  2. ^ 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. 
  3. ^ Häll, Mikael (2013). Skogsrået, näcken och djävulen: erotiska naturväsen och demonisk sexualitet i 1600- och 1700-talens Sverige (in Swedish). Stockholm: Malört. ISBN 978-91-978751-2-7. LIBRIS 13887591. 
  4. ^ Nationalencyklopedin, multimedia plus, 2000
  5. ^ Grimberg, Carl; Åberg, Alf (1960). Svenska folkets underbara öden. 4, 1660–1707. Stockholm. LIBRIS 8074835.