Saami Deities: List and Descriptions

Saami Deities: List and Descriptions January 19, 2023

The region of the Saami reaches from the northern coast of Norway to the Kuola Peninsula of Russia. There are as many different pantheons as there are Saami tribes and Saami languages.

Áfruvvá – Mermaid. Only known on the coast of Ruija in Northern Norway.

Áhcešeatni (also known as Háhtežan) – One of the oldest goddesses in Saami mythology. Ruler of autumn, winter and the nighttime. Protector of wild deer. Goddess of shadows. In her early form, she was worshipped by hunters who prayed to her for gain. Áhcešeatni was married to the cosmic bear and was the mother of the bear clan. In some stories, she is married to the moon. Sister of Njávešeatni the goddess of light.

Áhkku – (also known as Akka) Wife of Deirpmes (Tiermes) god of justice.

Beiwe – (also known as Beaivi) Personification of the sun. Sometimes Beiwe was portrayed as a female and sometimes as a male. When the sun was portrayed as a female she was connected to summer and the fertility of the land. She had the ability to bring positivity to people who suffered from depression during the dark winter months
Beaivvi Nieida – (also known as aurinkoneiti) The sun maiden. The female personification of the sun. White reindeer were sacrificed in her honour during wintertime to welcome back the sun maiden.

Biegga-almmái, Bieggagállis, Tuulimies – Windman. God of the wind. Rituals performed for Biegga-almmai took place on a mountaintop.

Boassoáhkká – Protector goddess of Boassu. Protector of food and possession.

Cáhcerávga (also known as Vesiraukka) – the Malicent spirit of a drowned person.

Cáhceálmmái, áhcolmmái – God of water and fishing.

Cáráhus – Trickster spirit who would make jokes on people while they were sleeping.

Deattán – Nightmare. Spirit that would press the chest of a person while they were sleeping. Appeared in a shape of an animal.

Gieddegeažegálgu – Goddess of witchcraft, shamanism and old knowledge. Guardian of morality.

Gorremaš, Guoržžu, Kortto, Koranus – Spirit of jealousy.

Gufihtar – Gnome-like creatures who lived underground. Also known as maahinen /ganes /ulda.

Horagállis, Äijjih (Inari Saami), Dearpmes (Northern Saami) Bájan (Ruija Saami) Áddjá, Hovregállis (southern Saami) – God of thunder, lightning and protector of reindeer´s.

Jábmiidáhkká – Powerful goddess who ruled the world of death. Originally the Saami believed that the spirits of the passed away relatives lived in the star sky and in the northern lights. Later on, when the belief system was more affected by Christianity home of the dead became a bottomless lake that lay deep inside the earth.

Jiehtanas – Giant

Juksáhkká – Goddess of the hunt, arrows, bows, protector of boys and men. Her name literally means bow-woman. Saami culture was originally a hunting culture where men had higher status than women. When a couple wanted to have a boy child they would leave offerings for Juksáhkká. She would bless the child by making them skilful hunters.

Láváráddjá, Láváráhkku – Evil spirit that lives in a rock or a bush.

Leaibealmmái, Leppämies – God of the hunt who lived inside alder trees. The red colour that people got from alder trees was used for painting the shaman drums and hunters arrow´s were dipped into it.

Lihatontta – Zombie-like creature. Living dead that was raised by a powerful shaman to revenge for them.

Luhtat/Luthakka – Wife of Staalo, the winter giant.

Mánnu – God of the moon.

Máttaráhkká – Goddess of all life. Mother of Sárahkká,Juksáhkká and Uksákká. Her three daughters lived in the ground underneath the kota the home tent. In the shaman drums, Máttaráhkká´s daughters are often painted to the end bottom of the drum. When the child was in the womb Máttaráhkká gave the soul to the child which she received from the sky god Radien.

Njávešeatni (Njávežan, Naavisemo) – One of the primal goddesses of Saami mythology. Ruler of spring, summer, and daytime. Protector of life. Goddess of bugs, butterflies and reindeer. In the oldest layer of mythology, Njávešeatni was the spouse of the cosmic moose and was the mother goddess of the moose clan. Sister of Áhcešeatni goddess of darkness.

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