Years ago when I discovered I have Finnish blood it led me to learn much about the Kalevala which actually led me to begin studying the Saami (Sámi) people, their culture and of course their Gods and Goddesses which do vary depending on the region. The variety is due to the fact that these amazing people live in the northern parts of Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Kola Peninsula of Russia. Someday I wish to visit a Saami town and spend time with one of their Spiritual ones.
For those of you interested in learning about the Saami and their Gods and Goddesses, here are some great resources.
Sami, also spelled Saami, or Same, Sami, Sabme, any member of a people speaking the Sami language and inhabiting ….. and adjacent areas of northern Norway, Sweden, and Finland, as well as the Kola Peninsula of Russia. They belong to the Finno-Ugric branch of the Uralic family. Almost all Sami are now bilingual, and many no longer even speak their native language. In the late 20th century there were from 30,000 to 40,000 Sami in Norway and about 20,000 in Sweden, 6,000 in Finland, and 2,000 in Russia.
The Sami are the descendants of nomadic peoples who had inhabited northern Scandinavia for thousands of years. When the Finns entered Finland, beginning about ad 100, Sami settlements were probably dispersed over the whole of that country; today they are confined to its northern extremity. In Sweden and Norway they have similarly been pushed north. The origin of the Sami is obscure; some scholars include them among the Paleo-Siberian peoples; others maintain that they were alpine and came from central Europe.Continue reading HERE.
The Sami vs. Outsiders
By Káre (Kimmi Woodard)
According to historians, the proto-Sami were said to have inhabited most of Scandinavia and Northwest Russia. We first hear of them in the year 98 AD from the Roman historian Tacitus in his book Germania. At that time, they were called “Fenni.” Tacitus described them as a primitive hunting tribe who roamed the forests near Germany. In the second century A.D, Ptolemy of Alexandria spoke of a tribe in Scandinavia called the “Phinnoi.” And then in 555 AD the Greek historian Procopius in describing a war between the Romans and the Goths referred to a people called the “Skridfinns” who inhabited Scandinavia. And then once again in 750 AD Paulus Diaconus mentions a people called the “Skridfinns” who kept animals resembling deer. This name then spread throughout Scandinavia, to the Finns, the Russians and later to the Germans, Hungarians, Estonians and other groups. Today, the Sami prefer the name Sami, and their land is called Sapmi.
Viking Age Trade:
In the Viking Age there was a tremendous amount of trade (called the Finn Trade) along the coast of the Gulf of Finland and Bothnia. This area brought seasonal visits from Finns, Russians, and Scandinavian merchants, which eventually attracted the attention of the emerging nation states. It was during this early period that the Finns colonized the southwest corner of Finland. And in the 12th, 13th, and 14th centuries, there was also emigration into Sweden. As the Swedes, Finns and Norwegians pushed northward, Sapmi steadily decreased in size. In this early period we learn that the Sami merchants first traded with the Vikings, and later they traded with the travelers from northern Europe. According to the article “Important Years in Same History,” because of this early cultural contact, the Sami people advanced from a Stone Age society to a society that eventually developed its own monetary system; their currency was named tjoervie. The cultural contact not only benefited the Sami but other groups as well. The contact was often mutually beneficial. For example, it was quite common during this early period for different cultures to borrow words from one another. The Sami language, for instance, has hundreds of loanwords of Scandinavian or Germanic origin, as well as many from Finnish. Similarly, the Scandinavians and Finns have many words from each other.Continue reading HERE.
Ravens are perhaps the most common bird symbol in the mythologies and religions of ancient cultures. They assume a variety of roles, ranging from messengers of deities and sages to oracles and tricksters. They play a central part in many creation myths and are typically associated with the supernatural realms lying beyond the ordinary experience. What is so lurid about these black-feathered creatures and why does the sight of them send a wave of shivers down one’s spine? Studying the folklore of different cultures may unravel the motives underlying the superstitious beliefs and religious faiths.
In most North European mythologies birds such as ravens, vultures and others feeding on carrion—the flesh of the dead—commonly pass as symbols of war, death, and misfortune. Celtic and Irish goddesses were believed to appear in the form of a crow or a raven, gathering over the battlefields, where they would feed on the flesh of the fallen warriors. Also, seeing a raven or a crow before going into a battle gave a sense of foreboding and meant that the army would be defeated. When the giant Bran, king of Britain in Welsh mythology, was mortally wounded while warring against the Irish, he commanded his followers to behead him and carry his head to the Tower of London for his burial and as a sign of protection of Britain. A popular superstition arose declaring that if the ravens ever fled the Tower of London, the monarchy would fall. As long as they nested there, Britain would never be successfully invaded. In medieval times, these pagan legends resulted in demonetization of crows and ravens, which were consequently depicted as familiars of witches.
However, the raven as a symbol, also have a positive interpretation. The omniscient god Odin, one of the chief gods in Norse mythology, had a pair ravens called Huginn (Thought) and Muninn (Mind) perching on his shoulders. Each daybreak they were sent out into the world to observe what was happening and question everybody, even the dead. By sunrise, they would come back to whisper their master what they had seen and learned. Since they embodied Odin’s mind and thoughts, they symbolized his ability to see into the future. The book also makes a mention of an early Norse poem Hrafnagaldur Óðins (Odin’s Raven Chant), in which Odin sends the ravens to the Underworld to investigate the disappearance of the lost goddess Idunn. Sometimes Odin himself would turn into a raven.
In North American folklore ravens are the creators of the world. Details of the creation tale differ, but essentially “the Raven”—a creature with the human body and raven’s beak—is believed to have made the world. He gave light to people, taught them to take care of themselves, make clothes, canoes and houses. He also brought vegetation, animals, and other benefits for the human kind. Much like the biblical story of Noah, he is said to have taken animals two by two on a big raft in order to save them from a massive flood. After all, he had done for the humans, he wished to marry a woman in turn, but her family refused to let her go. As a revenge, the myth says, the Raven created mosquitoes from crushed leaves to pester the humans forever.
Learn more about the raven in folklore, myths and spiritual meaning below.
Finnish mythology dates its animistic and shamanistic beliefs of nature spirits to 3,000+ years ago. The objects of nature (sky, sun, moon and stars) are all considered distinct entities and deities. The earliest written accounts are from Bishop Mikael Agricola (1551), Gabriel Mexenius (1733), Daniel Juslenius (1745), Zacharias Topelius (1822), and then later Elias Lönnrot (1849) in the Kalevala.
Finnish mythology is from the close geographic region as the Norse pantheon (Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Denmark) yet is distinctly different. Where the Norse mythology influences are Germanic and Indo-European, the Finnish mythology stems from eastern Finno-Ugric languages. Interestingly, the Finnish legends go back so far they don’t even mention Swedes, Germans or Russians which is one of the reasons the poems are thought to be at least 3,000 years old. They may have originated during the time before the Finnish people separated from the Hungarians.
From Runo 9, The Healing Of Väinämöinen
“I myself know iron’s birth,
I can say the start of steel:
Air’s the first one of the mothers,
Water, oldest of the brothers,
Iron, youngest of the brothers,
Fire, the brother in the middle.”
The land of Finland and its climate are reflected in the poetry and folklore of the myths. Finland is a places of mountains and marshes with lakes, rivers, seas and islands that often figure in the stories. The climate is cold and winter lasts a minimum of seven months. It is not surprising that their more prominent god controls snow, ice and hail. Due to the long winters, there is more focus in the myths on hunting, fish and herds of cattle rather than agriculture or fields, especially compared to other religions. The mythical beings focus on nature and not the realms of human emotion; there is no specific attention paid to wisdom, justice or law and even love is given to the realm of a forest demon.
Painting credit:The black swan of Tuonela, the realm of the dead in Finnish folk mythology. Painting by nationalist painter Akseli Gallen-Kallela.
For many years I have been fascinated with the ancient history and culture of Mongolia, specifically regarding the great Genghis Khan and what he created. Along my reading and watching documentaries about Khan I came across the native religion of Mongolia and the Asian Steppe known as Tengriism. Khan himself was a Tengrist. It was the major belief of the Xiongnu, Xianbei, Turkic, Bulgar, Mongolian, Hunnic, and Altaic peoples before the vast majority accepted Buddhism, Islam, or Lamaism. Primarily it revolves around the “Sky God”, known as Tengri. Tengri embodies the “celestial sky” who is timeless and infinite. However Tengriism is far deeper in its complexities and is in no way monotheist. In fact there are many other deities, spirits and other creatures in Tengriism. One of the most beautiful things about Tengriism is how openly welcome the people of this native faith are regarding other native faiths (Paganism/Heathism).
Another observation of mine are some striking similarities I noticed between Tengriism and Norse Paganism such as the complexities of their Gods and Goddesses as well as the absolute passion they have for their traditions, kinship and rituals. A dear friend of mine who is a Völva in Iceland goes to a large international festival every year where representatives of native religions from around the world are invited to and as she has shown me in photos, the Norse Pagans are always mingling with the Tengrists from Mongolia. To go even deeper into my own resonance with Tengriism and Mongolia itself, I discovered going way back through my own bloodline someone at some point had relations with someone native to Mongolia.
I even went so far as to make a personal wall altar dedicated to Tengriism and its Gods and Goddesses which you can see lower down in this post.
The Turkic/Tengri (Mongolian) Gods and Goddesses
Major Gods and Goddesses
Gok Tengri – God of Sky. Creator of everything. Tengri was the main god of the Turkic pantheon, controlling the celestial sphere. And this god is Mongolia’s traditional god.
Kayra (or Kaira) – Supreme God of universe. He is the Spirit of God and creator god in Turkic mythology. Son of the sky deity (Gok Tengri).
Erlik or Erklik-Erklikhan – God of the dead and of the underworld. One of the original gods in the pantheon, he kept his existence in Tengriism, as the evil deity (Like in Zoroastrianism).
Ulgan (or Ulgen) – God of benevolence. Son of Kaira. He is a Turkic and Mongolian creator-deity.
Mergen – God of wisdom. Son of Kaira. He is a Turkic deity of abundance and knowledge.
Kyzaghan – War god of the European Huns. The first Turks did not have a war god. Kyzaghan is the son of Kayra and the brother of Ulgan.
Umay or Umai – Goddess of fertility. She is the goddess of virginity and as such related to women, mothers and children.
Kubai – Goddess of birth and children. She protects women who give birth. She gives the children souls.
Koyash or Kuyash – Sun God. Koyash is the son of Gok Tengri “Sky God” and the Earth Goddess.
Ak Ana – Goddess of creation. Ak Ana, is the primordial creator-goddess of Turkic people. She is also known as the goddess of the water.
Ay Ata – Moon God. According to the mythology, he is a moon god and he have been living in sixth floor of the sky with Gun Ana.Gun Ana – Sun Goddess. She is the common Turkic solar deity, treated as a goddess in the Kazakh and Kyrgyz mythologies.
Yel Ana – Goddess of winds. In Hungarian folklore she is referred to as the “queen of wind” too.
Yel Ata – God of winds. In Hungarian folklore he is also referred to as the “king of wind”.
Burkut – Eagle God. The eagle god Burkut symbolizes the sun and power.
Öd Tengri or Öd-Ögöd – God of time. İs seen as the impersonation of time in Turkic mythology. Generally seen with the horse of time and Ödlek.
Boz Tengri – God mostly seen as the god of the ground and steppes.
Aisyt – Goddess of beauty. She is also the mother goddess of the Yakut people from Siberia.
Su Ana – Goddess of water. Su Ana is said to appear as a naked young woman with a fairy-like face.
Su Ata – God of water. He appears as an old man with a frog-like face, greenish beard, with his body covered in algae and muck.
Od Ana – Goddess of fire. Also referred to as goddess of marriage. In Mongolian folklore she is referred to as the “queen of fire”.
Od Ata – God of fire. In Mongolian folklore he is referred to as the Od Khan “king of fire”. He is a fire spirit in the shamanistic traditions of Mongolia.
Yer Tanry – Earth Goddess / God. As a fertility goddess, she was recognized as the giver of crops and abundance.
Etugen – Earth Goddess. Her name originates from Ötüken, the holy mountain of the earth and fertility goddess of the ancient Turks.
Hurmuz or Kurmez – God of souls. Also he is a god in Mongolian mythology and shamanism, described as the chief of the 55 gods.
Jaiyk – God of rivers. He is a god in Turkic pantheon, previously known as Dayık in Altai mythology. He lives at the junction of 17 rivers.
Alaz – God of fire in Turkic mythology. Also known as Alas-Batyr or sometimes Alaz Khan.
Baianai – Hunting Goddess. She is also the Yakut goddess of forests and joy.
Other Gods and Goddesses
Adaghan – Mountain God. He protects the mountains and the creatures that live there. His name means sacrifice acceptor.
Akbugha – God of medicine. He is the god of health and healing in ancient Turkic tradition. He has a white serpent.
Shalyk – Hunting God. He was the Turkic goddess of the hunt, wild animals, wilderness and protector of forests.
Inehsit – Goddess of childbirth and labour pains. She was the divine helper of women in labour has an obvious origin in the human midwife.
Qovaq – God of the sky. He brings up a new sun every day; for that reason, he is hunted by Yelbehen to stop her and cause total darkness.
Uren – Goddess of the harvest. She presided over grains and the fertility of the earth.
Zarlık – Goddess of Judgement. She was the goddess of justice, fair judgements and the rights.
Zada – Wind God. He is the ruler of the winds, and owner of Yada Tashy (Wind Stone).
Ukulan – Water God. He is the chief of the rivers, springs, streams and fountains.
Izıh – God of wild animals. He is especially the god of freed animals.
Chokqu – Goddess of good wishes. She fulfills wishes.
Talai or Dalai – God of Oceans. He was the personification of the World Ocean, an enormous river encircling the world.
Äbädä – Spirit of forest. It is an innocent spirit in Tatar mythology, that looks like an old woman. Äbädä also is represented in mythologies of Siberian peoples. He protects the birds, trees, and animals of the forest.
Al Basty – Female daemon spirit. She is an ancient female spirit, the personification of guilt, found in folklore throughout the Caucasus mountains, with origins going as far back as Sumerian mythology.
Archura – Forest monster. Archura usually appears as a man, but he is able to change his size from that of a blade of grass to a very tall tree. He protects the animals and birds in the forest.
Ardow – Spirit of water. Ardows are spirits of human souls that died drowning, residing in the element of their own demise. They are responsible for sucking people into swamps and lakes as well as killing the animals standing near the still waters.
Azmych – Road spirit. He is an evil-spirit that causes disorientation and leads a person aimlessly around and round. The term also refers to lose one’s way.
Basty – Spirit of nightmares. Basty is best known for its shapeshifting abilities and it is an evil spirit or goblin in Turkic folklore which rides on people’s chests while they sleep, bringing on bad dreams (or “nightmares”).
Bichura – A household spirit in Tatar / Turkic folklore. Traditionally, every house is said to have a Bichura. It has also been said that Bichura can take on the appearance of cats or dogs. It wears red dresses.
Cadı – A witch or a woman who practices witchcraft. The stereotypical Cadı is commonly portrayed as wicked old woman who has wrinkled skin, pimples, and pointy hats. They also have warts on their noses and sometimes long claw-like fingernails.
Chak – A folk devil. He was specifically busy corrupting peasants. While sometimes shown in any rustic setting, he was usually pictured standing on or near a willow tree at the edge of a swamp.
Chesma iyesi – cat-shaped spirit that lives in wells or fountains and tempts youths to drowning.
Çor – A jinn-like creature, responsible for mental disorders.
Erbörü – A creature like Werewolf. It is a mythological or folkloric human with the ability to shapeshift into a wolf or an therianthropic hybrid wolf-like creature, either purposely or after being placed under a curse or affliction (e.g. via a bite or scratch from another werewolf).
Erbüke – A creature like Shahmaran. An Erbüke is often depicted as a wise and benign man with the features of a man above the waist and those of a serpent below the waist. He is held to be king of the snakes.
Hortdan or Hortlak – A monster, who goes out from graves. The Hortdans are creatures of Azerbaijanese mythology, as a representation of evil spirits, the spirits of the dead.
Irshi – A fairy-like spirit. She is generally described as a beautiful girl) appearance and having magical powers. Although they are often depicted as young, sometimes winged, tall, radiant, angelic spirits.İye – A spirit assigned to a specific element, animal, lineage or place.
Karakoncolos – A malevolent creature. Bogeyman. According to Ottoman Turkish myths, they appear on the first ten days of ‘the dreadful cold’, when they stand on murky corners, and ask seemingly ordinary questions to the passers-by.
Kormos – ghost of the deceased
Khyrtyq – A female swamp demon. In Turkic mythology she is known for being malicious and dangerous. She was said to live in thickets near rivers, streams and lakes.
Mhachkay – Akin of vampire. It is a creature a bit similar to vampire in Turkic (and especially Tatar) folklore. People who were born with two hearts and two souls were believed to be Mhachkay.
Neme – A spiritual being. They are mythical creatures originated in Turkic folklore. Nemes are elves very similar to other ones but they keep watch over forests, mountains, caves and underground.
Orek – Animated corpse like zombie. In Turkic folklore it is an animated corpse brought back to life by mystical means such as witchcraft.
Shurala – Forest daemon. According to legends, Şüräle lives in forests. He has long fingers, a horn on its forehead, and a woolly body. He lures victims to a thicket and tickles them to death.
Susulu – Mermaid in Turkic mythologies. She is a legendary aquatic creature with the upper body of a female human and the tail of a fish. She is the daughter of the Sea King.
Ubir – A monster like vampire. It is a mythological or folkloric being in Turkic mythology who subsist by feeding on the life essence (generally in the form of blood) of living creatures, regardless of whether it is undead person or being.
Uylak – A witch or spirit, that infested with people. An Uylak can turn into any animal or any object. He is capable of shapeshifting into a horse, a moth, or a wolf. He is also resistant to Archura’s enchantments.
Yarbogha – A creature like bull. Yarboghas are half-man, half bull; having the torso of a man extending where the neck of a bull should be. They were said to be wild, savage, and lustful.
Yaryond – A creature like Centaurus. The centaurs are half-man, half horse; having the torso of a man extending where the neck of a horse should be. They were said to be wild, savage, and lustful.
Yuxa – Queen of serpents. According to popular beliefs, every 100-year-old snake is transformed into Yuxa. In fairy tales, Yuxa is described as a beautiful damsel who would marry men in order to beget offspring.
Zilant – Serpent-like dragon. Since 1730, it has been the official symbol of Kazan. This winged snake is mentioned in legends about the foundation of Kazan. Zilant should be distinguished from Aq Yılan (White Snake), which is the king of snakes.