Linguistic sources

Sámi place names which include terms such as basse or passe (holy), hálde (of the underworld), sáivu, álda and others indicate cult sites and holy places.

Expressions in current use can tell us something about the thinking, traditions and concepts of earlier times; for example: Gávvilis olbmos leat eambbo juonat go suonat, which means “Clever people have more in the head than the body”. This saying plays on the similarity between juonat, “cleverness ”, and suonat, “sinews”, and harks back to a myth about Beaivebártni, the son of the Sun.

Individual words and phrases can also give us information about pre-Christian faith. In the north Sámi dialect we find the expression guovtte áimmu gaskkas. Today this is used to mean “confused”, but its literal meaning is “between two worlds”. The expression indicates a relationship with at least two worlds and may also be a description of the noaidi’s condition on the journey between them.

Mathisen, Hans Ragnar, 1991: Sámi kulturmuittut. Báikenamma čoaggina giehtagirji/Samiske kulturminner. Håndbok i stedsnavnregistrering .
Gaski, Harald ja Aage Solbakk (doaim.), 2003: Jođi lea buoret go oru.
Gaski, Harald, 2004: Tiden er et skip som ikke kaster anker – samiske ordtak.