Saami Folklore: Deities and Descriptions

Niina Pekantytär
Maria Vojtovicova/Unsplash

Saami´s are the native people of Scandinavia. The region of the Saami´s reaches from the northern coast of Norway to the Kuola Peninsula of Russia. Here are some enchanting mythical creatures from the Saami folklore.

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. 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 dark winter months
Beaivvi Nieida – (also known as aurinkoneiti) The sun maiden. The female personification of the sun. White reindeers were sacrificed in her honour during winter time to welcome back the sun maiden.

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

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.
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Jábmiidáhkká – Powerful goddess who ruled the world of death. Originally the Saami´s believed that the spirits of the passed away relatives lived in the star sky and in the northern lights.

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 of alder sap 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 home tent. In the shaman drums, Máttaráhkká´s daughters are often painted to the end bottom of the drum.
Maria Vojtovicova/Unsplash

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. Sister of Áhcešeatni goddess of darkness.

Ráddenáhcci, Radien, Veralden-Radien, Veralden Olmai, Tsorve-Radien (sarvi-Radien), Mailmen Radien, Kierfva-Radien - God of the sky, community and justice. God of fertility. Protector of reindeer´s.

Radienaimo – Equivalent to the Christian concept of heaven.

Rotaimo – an Equavelent place to the Christian concept of hell. Most often Rotaimo was described to be in a bottomless lake (natural lakes that have a fake bottom and an actual bottom are very common in Lapland).

Rutto, Rohttu – Spirit who brings diseases. Often appears in the form of a black cat or a rat.

Saivo Niejta – (also known as Saivoneito) Guardian of the underworld who lives in the waters of the bottomless lake.

Sala Nijta – Daughter of Beiwe the sun. Goddess of spring who had the ability to melt snow and frost away.

Sárahkká - Sárahkká was one of the three daughters of Máttarahkká. She was the protector of girls and women and would protect them throughout their lives. She was the goddess of childbirth and after successful labour people would sacrifice special porridge to her. 

Seita - Worshiping place, altar located in nature. Seita´s are usually stone formations.

Servge-edni – Goddess of spring.

Skoarru – Spirit of jealousy. Bringer of bad luck.

Skunka (also known as Mörkö) – Boogeyman that lives behind the oven or a rock.

Staalo (also known as stállu) – Origins of Staalo are ancient. He was an evil giant and the representation of the unknown darkness.

Uksákka - The Door Woman. Uksákka was one of the three daughters of Máttarahkká. She protected the child so that they would not hurt themselves. She was the guardian of home and the goddess of entries. In the human residents, she watched over doors and windows and even within the animal kingdom she was the guardian of the entries to bird nests, beehives, caves and other animal homes. 

Veaiga – Doubleganger that appears in front of a person to warn them about approaching danger.

Vuovru – Evil giant-like spirit

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Folklorist and historian. Alcott essayist. A host of the Little Women Podcast.

Finland, MN

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