Máttaráhkká: Mother Earth in Sami rock art
2013 06 10
By Inga-Maria Mulk | Past Horizons
In this article I explore the meaning of the images scratched, engraved or painted on to rock surfaces in northern Fenno-Scandia. Some of these images have been interpreted as symbolic representations of the Earth Mother figure whose existence and agency underlie much of the pre-Christian world-view of the Sami people. Before examining the evidence of rock art representations, some background will be presented for this region and its inhabitants.
The Sami, formerly known as Lapps, are an indigenous population who occupy today the northern fringes of Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Kola peninsula of Russia.
Figure 1. Map showing the Sami language compared to other Finno-Ugrian languages.
The various Sami languages all belong to the Finno-Ugrian family, with linguistic connections to Finnish, Estonian and various languages in northern Russia (Figure 1). The Sami number today about 100,000 people, and we think of them as occupying the sub-Arctic fringes of nations that extend further south. The archaeological evidence, on the other hand, suggests that in the past the cultural links of the Sami people were mainly to the east, with Finns and other related peoples in northern Russia.
Rock art in Fenno-Scandinavia can be divided into northern ‘hunter’s art’ and southern ‘farmer’s art’ styles. The distribution of rock art sites shows that ‘hunter’s art’ is found not only in the area where Sami people live today but also across a much more extensive area settled in earlier times by the ancestors of the Sami (Figure 2). The rock art takes various forms, including polished carvings, pecked engravings and paintings made with red ochre. Very often the rock art is found in sites that are associated with water, for example springs, waterfalls, rivers and close to the sea. The commonest motifs are zoomorphs (often elks and reindeer), boats, and anthropomorphs. In this article I will suggest that many of these rock art motifs are direct or indirect representations of the Mother Earth deity known to the Sami as Máttaráhkká.
Máttaráhkká within the Sami cosmos
Who is Máttaráhkká and what is her place in the Sami cosmos, or world view?
We can attempt to represent in visual form the Sami world-view, using a range of historical sources (Figure 3). As with other northern Eurasian peoples, for the Sami the cosmos consisted of upper, middle and lower worlds. The Upper World was associated with the South, with warmth and life, and with the colour white. It was the domain of both the Sun (always female gendered) and the Earth Mother figure (Máttaráhkká). The Middle World was the everyday world in which we live, associated with the colour red. People shared this world with special liminal creatures such as bears. Through sacrifices and rituals, humans were able to gain access to these other worlds.
In Sami myths, a River of Blood separates the Middle World from the Underworld. Across this river the souls of the dead must cross after death, while at birth new souls come back from the Underworld to the land of the living. Sinister diving creatures like otters, loons and seals can travel underwater to the Underworld, which has associations with the North, cold, the colour black, and with bubbling springs and deep caves.
Read the full article at: pasthorizonspr.com
Tune into Red Ice Radio:
Robert G. Johnson & Janey Westin - Hour 1 - The Last Kings of Norse America
Scott Wolter - The Kensington Runestone, The Hooked X & Templars In America
Scott Wolter - The Kensington Rune Stone
Nils-Axel Mörner - Hour 1 - Ale’s Stones: The Sun Ship Calendar
Mikael Jalving - Hour 1 - Absolut Sweden: A Country Undergoing Change
Christopher Knight & Alan Butler - Civilization One, The Moon & The Megalithic Yard
Hugh Newman - Megalithic Sites of New England
Freddy Silva - Ancient Sacred Sites, Invisible Temples, Giants & Our Ancestors
In Hebrew’s revival, a Nordic people see hope - The Sami
Going Secular: Norway abolishes state-sponsored religion
The Magic and Sorcery of Iceland
Female Genitalia Carvings Are Europe’s Oldest Rock Art
"Amazing" Rock Art May Revise Australian History Books
Perthshire Rock Art Sheds Light on Scotland’s Prehistoric Past
Latest News from our Front Page
Equinox: Homicide In Kennewick
2014 09 19
Description text from Youtube: One of the most important and controversial archaeological finds ever made, Kennewick Man’s remains were dated to around 7000 BC. Found on the banks of the Colorado River, his facial structure, however, was unanimously reported not to be a Native American by all the scholars who have taken a close look at the remains... The implication ...
The Israeli exception to US foreign policy advocating gay rights
2014 09 19
From an op-ed by James Bamford in the NYTimes on his conversations with Edward Snowden (Israel’s NSA Scandal):
Among his most shocking discoveries, he told me, was the fact that the N.S.A. was routinely passing along the private communications of Americans to a large and very secretive Israeli military organization known as Unit 8200. This transfer of intercepts, he said, included ...
Russia to ban Bitcoin by next spring
2014 09 19
RT, an English-language news outlet in Russia, reports that a top official with the Russian government has announced that a law will be passed banning Bitcoin’s exchange into real money by next spring because of Bitcoin’s use by criminals and terrorists.
Deputy Finance Minister Aleksey Moiseev said to journalists in Moscow:
“People can play with their chips, and they can call them ...
Ingraham to Zuckerberg: Time for Open Borders at Your Mansion
2014 09 19
Talk radio host Laura Ingraham re-iterated her challenge to debate Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and criticized him for securing his property while demanding the US allow illegal immigrants to remain in the country on Monday.
“In the end, borders work for these guys. Right, I would not want to be on [Facebook board member] Marc Andreesen’s household staff if ...
MasterCard tests Orwellian national ID card on Nigeria
2014 09 19
The march toward enslaving the world’s population by a handful of globalist statists and corporations continues, with the latest chapter unfolding, of all places, in Nigeria, compliments of MasterCard.
According to the website GovtSlaves.info, the credit card giant is rolling out a card in Africa’s most populous country that has the ability to retain all personal, health insurance, tax payment and ...
|More News » |