Sámi traditional medicine
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Sámi traditional medicine, Sámi religion and noaidevuouhta
The Sámi traditional healing performed by shamans is several millennia old, no one knows how old it actually is because there are no written sources from the earliest times. In the Sámi language, it is called noaidevuohta. The Sámi shaman is called noaidi. The old knowledge possessed by the noaidi is alive and fully relevant today.
After the forcible christening of the Sámi people that took place during the 1800's, the noaidi and the noaidevuohta was considered sinful and evil. Irrespective of this, the noaidevuohta continued undercover. The noaidi now called him- or herself "guvllar," "buorideaddji" (healer) "diehti" (one who knows), and "oaidnu" (clairvoyant). Those who carry this heritage are extremely important to the old tradition and they have a critical role in the dissemination of the traditional knowledge.
A noaidi has the ability to listen and see beyond the appearance of all things, and to understand their true nature. Thus the noaidi is a seer.
A shaman/noaidi is a disseminator of knowledge, and also an artist, seer and lecturer in addition to being a healer.
A peculiar feature of the Sámi noaidevuohta is the use of the Sámi drum. The Sámi drum is used for drum journeys, but also for questioning and predictions.
A shaman/noaidi became typically chosen by the community. The people in the community became aware of the abilities of the person, and they stated that this person was a shaman. Shamanic abilities can be transmitted from one shaman to another. That can happen through heredity, or it can happen by one shaman's appointing a successor or "colleague." It is noteworthy that courses and instructions in Shamanism were also held in old times.
Frequently, ancestor spirits make a human aware of his or her abilities by creating disturbances, for example by giving the future shaman a mental disorder. Through the disease can the new shaman become aware of his or her gifts and calling as a shaman.
Shamans, for example the Sámi noaidi, have traditionally refrained from announcing their practice and their abilities. The shaman lived in close community with the other people in the village or siida. Today, the shaman does not necessarily live in the traditional surroundings in the close community. Therefore the shaman lives in a context where many do not know him or her from before. Then it may be necessary for the shaman to announce his/her ability and practice.
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