Northern Religions and Shamanism


pp. 50-53 Irinya V. Ilyina : " ‘To:dis’ of the Komi People"


p. 51 acquisition of supernatural power

"the teacher took him [initiate] to the bath-house at midnight. A red dog [would] come there and belched food onto the floor, which had to be licked by the initiate."

"to acquire the wizard’s power one [would] have to find a black cat and put it into boiling water at midnight in the bath-house. At that time a face with two burning eyes appeared at the bath-house window. If the man was not frightened, this frightful being came inside and taught him how to do witchcraft.

Those who obtained the witchery grasses growing under the water in pools achieved the greatest power. There was an owl near the grasses. The one who caught it remained on the bottom of the pool. The initiate [would] have to put himself under three pools, not get caught by the owl, get the grass and thus receive supernatural power".

ripuarian journeys

p. 51

"Then the people surrounding the bath-house saw that it burnt all around with a cold blue fire." {cf. blue fire stole by Algonkin Manaboz^o} {fire is regularly cold in dreams}


to restore eyesight to hunter :- "the eyes were hidden in a deep pit on the bottom of the Pechora, where he had to put himself using his special power to go under the water."

p. 52

"the sorcerer went alone at night to the forest [in order to obtain] branches of three birches or junipers (nine branches from every tree), to the river for water from the mouths of 3 tributaries (or three wells), the went down to the underground for cobweb from the cellar’s corners and for shavings from three stairs leading under the ground."

p. 52 shape-shifting

"The legendary wizard Oshlapej could in turn change into a big brown bear, a big pike and hide himself ... in a river ...

As the sorcerer from the village of Lopidino said, in order to change into a bear he maybe only took off his dress, three times turned over against the sun (shondi go:n panyd – literally ‘against the sun pelt’). Turning along the sun motion (shondi go:n n’ylid – literally ‘along the sun pelt’), he regained his former state."

p. 52 dying of a wizard

"The dying wizard took from the forest a fir-tree dug up with its roots. He confessed behind it and died. After his death the fir-tree was taken back to the forest and planted in the same place."

"before death : the sorcerer did find a ‘new master’ for the spirits, experienced torture, and that who agreed to take them perceived ‘a gift of witchcraft’ as a heavy burden."


pp. 138-145 Hultkrantz : "Aspects of Saami (Lapp) Shamanism"

p. 140 Skolt Saami in northernmost Finland

"The father entrusted his guardian spirit (kaddz, ‘companion’) to his son just before he died, and similarly a mother gave her spirit to her daughter. The recipient must not be younger than twenty years. The spirit showed itself in a dream to its new owner and offered its services".

p. 140 the shaman’s 2 kinds of assistant spirits

"guardian spirits in the strictest sense (saiva olmai) that gave their clients counsels when he so demanded, and


"The former, human-like beings living in certain sacred mountain, were also the spirits that antagonized {tested} the shaman during his vocation {novitiate} period.

helping spirits (saiva animals) that executed the tasks he imposed upon them"


The helping spirits appeared in animal form – as a bird, a fish or a reindeer bull – and went with the disembodied shaman on his journeys into the supernatural world."

pp. 140-141 behavior of candidate

p. 140

"when he is visited by the spirit for the first time he behaves himself in affectation like a madman for half a year. He is then unable to stand his wife, his children or his servants, but moves lonely about in the wilderness imagining things."

p. 141

"severely obsessed by the spirits ... described ... as tongues of fire, naked men and long shadows. Sometimes they were as many as nine ... They caused him frightening headaches, and they made him throw around books, quickly climb trees and ... He often wanted to be alone, could not stand other human beings and ran so fast that a horse could not keep up with him. He spoke in the woods to himself as if he had been accompanied by eighty persons".

p. 141 accoutrements of noaidi (‘shaman’)

"the shaman wore ... a belt as the most distinctive feature in his dress."

"the shaman’s ... drum ... had an oval shape and consisted mostly of a wooden frame and a membrane made of reindeer shammy [deer-leather]. The shaman drew figures on the drum-skin with the juice from the alder-bark. They represented gods, spirits ... Usually these figure were arranged around a circle in the centre, representing the sun ... The back side of the drum had various power objects attached with leather thongs, such as bear claws, bear penis bones and bear teeth."

p. 142 drum-divination

"The diviner drummed so that a small object, called arpa, moved over the drum-skin. The figure where it stopped was the answer to the question that had been posed : Where can I find the wild game? What spirit caused the disease?"


pp. 158-165 M. Khrushcheva ; "Shamanism in the Udmurt Ethnic Tradition"

spiritual practitioners






beadle, maker of vo:s`as`-kons (‘prayers’)







p. 159 the dead

"According to the ... Udmurts, the soul of the dead turned into a moth.

The Estonians ... similar".

pp. 159-160 deities in the worlds





In S`o:r (‘sky above’)

In-Mumy (‘heaven’s mother’)

S^undy-Mumy (‘sun’s mother’)

Gudyry-Mumy (‘thunder’s mother’)


In Dun`n`e (‘sky-world’)

Inmar (sky-air [god])

Kwaz` [Northern Urdmurt] (weather [god])

To:l-Peri (wind spirit)


Tapal Dun`n`e (‘this world’)

N`ules-N`un`a / N`ules-Murt (god of woods & winds)

Kyldys`in, Kyl`c^in, Mu-Kyldys`in (earth [god])

Mez^a-Voz`mas` (boundary-protector)

Bytsym-N`un`a (cattle-protector)

In-Vu (‘heaven’s water [god]’)

Vu-Murt / Vu-Kuz`o (water-spirit / water-god)

Vors^ud (‘keeper-feeder’ : protector of kin)

Korka-Murt (‘home spirit’)

Gid-Murt (‘yard-spirit’)

Mync^o-Murt (‘bath-house spirit’)

Obin`-Murt / Obin`-Kuz`o (‘barn-spirit / barn-god’)


Sopal Dun`n`e (‘other world’)

Voz^o (evil [spirits])

C^er (illness [spirit])

Kutys` (violent-death [spirits])

p. 161 "calendar of timing of prayings" to deities


prayer & sacrifices to __ (deity)

e ke-l`an


eve of Gery potton (in Dzekkwala)


eve of Gery potton (in home tent of skins)


eve of Gery potton

all the deities

Gery potton (in the field)


Gery potton (in the village houses)


Gery s`ektan



ETHNOLOGICA URALICA, 3 = Miha`ly Hoppa`l & Juha Pentika:inen (eds.) : Northern Religions and Shamanism. Budapest : Akade`miai Kiado`; Helsinki : Finnish Literature Society, 1992.