Body and soul

In pre-Christian Sámi faith, all people had two souls: a bodily soul and a free soul.

The free soul was identical to the living person and his or her personality. It followed the person like a kind of shadow. But in dreams, visions and trances, the free soul could leave the body and travel off on soul journeys. When a person died, the free soul left the body for good and travelled to the realm of the dead.

The bodily soul was both spiritual and bodily. It could be the same as breath. When a person died, the bodily soul was believed to stay linked to the physical remains, especially the skeleton. If certain rituals for the dead were not performed, the bodily soul could temporarily desert the skeleton and return as a ghost.

Schanche, Audhild, 2000: Graver i ur og berg.

Ceavccageađge/Transteinen i Mortensnes. Govva/Foto: Mihkku Solbakk