The power of metal

šiella (north Sámi)
sjiele (south Sámi)

The Sámi believed that various metals, and especially brass, had special or even magical properties.

The noaidi could use brass rings as pointers on the drum. Brass was important for the rituals involved in bear hunting and as protection when a body was to be prepared for burial.

Brass has been used on knives to protect the owner and it has been important in Sámi folk medicine to stop bleeding and cure boils and pains.

Brass rings were also used as šiella. Šiella can mean many things: offerings of small metal items at burials, small offerings of metal at holy places, metal objects which were used as protective amulets and objects which were given as presents at childbirth, naming and weddings. Šiella can also mean finder’s reward.

Messingringer. Govva/Foto: VSM