In the Sami pagan culture their woodland deity was much revered, called Laib olmai meaning (alder man or good luck god) who subjugated over the entire woods and animals, who blessed its herds, and bestowed luck in gaming, and at times the reverse, it depended upon its will. Laib olmai’s approval was pivotal to the clan, affirmed by one author, the folks made offerings and prayers to their deity at dawn and at dusk. Storjunkaren definition in English means Earth god.
Illustration below of Sami men having a feast and offers to Storjunkaren. Circa 1724-25
Below a photo of Storjunkaren, a Sami Idol made of stone. This is named a Lapp Deity and was stored by Antikvitetsarkivet in Sweden before 1720. Storjunkaren, en Samisk gud. En Lapsk avgud forvarad av antikvitetsarkivet före 1720. Bildet er lånt fra følgende skrift: Arne, Ture J. Antikvitetskollegiets och Antikvitetsarkivets samlingar. Sid. 48-93
The clan/tribe and ancestor gods of the Sami were known in different parts of the country under the name of Seita or Storjunkaren. Each clan had its Storjunkaren standing in the region where they lived. Each Sami settlement had its seita, which had no common shape, and entailed flat or irregular stones handpicked out of a stream, of a wee pile of pebbles, of a trump of a tree, or a post. They were set up on a lofty, beetling place, or in a green meadow. Under and around these seitas they distributed leafy fir twigs in winter, and in summer lush,green leaves. These seitas defended their followers against bad luck to the reindeer herds, and gave directives how to catch the wild reindeer, and in return, the Sami folk offered up to it hides and hoofs of reindeer, calves, and on occasion a dog. At times a single person may also have his own seita, to whom it invoked good luck. The Storjunkaren are depicted as stones, similar to a person or an animal, that was placed up on top of a mountain, or in a cavern, or beside rivers and lakes. They were revered by covering fresh sticks beneath them in winter, and in summer meadow or foliage. The Storjunkaren had power over all mammals, birds, and fish, and granted good luck to those that gamed for them. Reindeer were awarded to them, and each clan and family had its own hilltop for offerings to the Storjunkaren.
The mainstream understanding of the Sami mythology is mainly based on archaeological relics and written sources from missionary work in northern Scandinavia during the Dark Ages and up to the early 18th century.
Above picture of a Sami woman in Traditional Sami clothes. Sweden, 1870 – 1898.
-Written by Nifty Brýn Buckles©2018
Sources and References:
*”The languages of Europe”. Encyclopedia of European peoples, Volume 1. Infobase Publishing. 2006.
*Pre- and Proto-historic Finns by Abercromby
*A History of Pagan Europe by Prudence Jones, Nigel Pennick, Psychology Press, 1995 – History – 262 pages Available on Amazon
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