Sami mythology comes to life

The age-old Sami mythology was almost completely forgotten a few centuries ago. The ancient religion, beliefs and stories featured several Sami characters, who appeared in numerous narratives right across the Sami area. These characters have now been brought back to life.

Stories in book form and more visualised mythological characters will be forthcoming through the year. The Sami body of folk tales is rich, full of legends and beliefs that are very important in understanding man’s communion with nature, both centuries ago and today.

Together with illustrators, the Sami writer Ante Aikio has created imagery representations for the characters who appear in his forthcoming books. Most of them are now given a face and habitus for the first time – after the stories have lived for centuries.

 

Spectacular opening of a Sami saga

The principal character of Part One of the series of books is young Aigi. He is the son of human beings, descended from the great flying sorcerer Vuolab, but grown up in the Saivo world, which is inverse to the world of the Living. Aigi’s journey in the worlds of Sami mythology begins with a contest over the first ray of the spring sun, continuing with a dive into the Saivo world to search for a childhood friend. During the fast-moving journey, it is helpful to know the Gobmi, Skaimmadas, and other beings with supernatural powers.

The Depths of Jänkäjärvi is a different fantasy story that enchants the reader. The story is based on characters from ancient legends. In the book illustrations, the sunny Njavezan, icy-pale Hahtezan, powerful Stallu and Water Draug, the ghost of a drowned person, acquire an outer appearance for the first time.

219 pages, bound, illustrated with drawings, collaboration Texthouse and Goranus. English version is under production.

 

The author, Ante Aikio, is a descendant of the legendary Sami reindeer herder Kaapin Jouni and inherited the strong desire to further his culture as a birthright. He has built the Samiland Exhibition and studied the ancient Sami belief system and mythology. However, above all else, Ante is a reindeer herder.