Máttaráhkká: Mother Earth in Sami rock art
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
Barbara Lerner Spectre On Twitter!
Kevin MacDonald writes in 2010:
In the video below, Barbara Lerner Spectre, who runs a government-funded Jewish study group in Sweden, makes the following remarkable statement—remarkable because she does not attribute anti-Jewish attitudes to irrational prejudices or even Muslims who hate Israel. Instead she says that it’s because of the “leading role” played by Jews in the movement toward multiculturalism:
“I think ...
Sweden investigating underwater wreckage as possible Russian submarine
What may be the wreckage of a Russian submarine is seen off the coast of Sweden
The Swedish military is studying a video taken by shipwreck hunters who say it shows a wrecked submarine, just off the country’s eastern coast, which appears to be Russian.
Ocean X Team, the company behind the discovery, said on its website: “It is unclear how old ...
The Dissidenti™™ and their frazzled hall monitors buzzsaw with talk about “cuckservatives.” It’s the shiv du jour, you see. As shivs go, it is in this ‘umble narrator’s opinion one of the more lethal of the semantic shanks employed by dark realists.
Lovers and haters of the Cuck Shiv gird for battle (well, the haters girdle for battle). The wielders love ...
The Inevitable - The Daily Beast Begins The Personal Attacks To Tear Down Trumpâ€¦.
Only the politically naive didn’t see this coming. The liberal outlet “The Daily Beast” begins to attack Donald Trump personally, through a method of hiding behind citations in old books and manipulating content/context delivery to attack their target.
The Daily Beast takes this very specific and very strategic approach because references to the statements/opinions of others allows them to avoid libel and ...
Residents of Dresden Wake up to Find Overnight, City Park Has Been Turned Into Migrant Camp For 2,000
The German city which dared to stand-up to their government’s policy of accepting Islamisation and mass migration appears to have been punished for dissent by the zero-notice imposition of a migrant camp.
Government employees stood by the entrance of a city park in Dresden, Saxony on Thursday night handing out fliers to passers-by informing them the next day the green space, ...
|More News » |