Healing and stemming bleeding

guhvllár (healer)
buorideaddji (healer)
diehtti (an expert)
čalbmegeaidi (clairvoyant )
lávvi (friend)
(North Sámi appellations for people with special healing abilities)

In pre-Christian Sámi society, the noaidi healed sick people by retrieving their souls from the world of the dead. Traditions of healing have been continued in Sámi society right up to the present day. Healers can treat chronic illnesses and disorders and also give acute help in stemming bleeding, for example.

To stop bleeding, the healer repeats special spoken formulae for stemming bleeding from cuts or similar. For this reason they are called “readers”. The formulae often include Christian prayers or words from the Bible. Stemming bleeding is not only a Sámi tradition, but is widespread throughout north Norway.

Those who have healing powers are often careful about talking about them. Openness might weaken their powers. Many believe the power has been given by God. Others say it is their deceased ancestors who have given them the ability to heal.

In many Sámi rural communities, it is well known that certain persons and families have such abilities. Many have visited the healer as often as they have the doctor, when modern medicine has not helped or when the nearest doctor was too far away.

NOU 1995:6, om sjamanisme og helbredelse

”Blod stĺ stille…”, Labyrint nr. 1, 2008

Solbakk, Aage, 2007: Samisk mytologi og folkemedisin, i John T. Solbakk (red.): Tradisjonell kunnskap og opphavsrett.

Guvllár guhppemin. Foto: Mihkku Solbakk