Perhaps one thing i can observe in Scandinavian Forn Sed (exept for the temporal, non emphasis on the “Viking Age”) is a perspective that is more Fennoscandic.
To a Swede it is only natural that both Finnish and Sámi influences are very present in our language and culture since long back.
Or more correctly sámi álbmotbeaivi (aprox: The day of the Sami peoples).
Celebrated in Sweden,Norway and Finland on Febr 6, marking the first Sami Congress in Trondheim, Norway 1917.
The day has been celebrated since 1992 after a decision by the Congress in Helsinki, Finland.
Sapmi (the lands of the Sami) encompasses areas in northern Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia.
The Samer are the only official indigenous people wthin the EU.
My name is Christine, and I’m originally from America, but moved to Finland in the summer of 2009. For a long time I have been interested in Finnish paganism, but never found many sources out there in English. After I moved here, my knowledge about the practice increased greatly through personal experiences and meeting other Finnish pagans. Now I have created this blog in hopes that I can help other English-speakers gain some more wisdom about this religion.
One thing i think i had in my mind already when i started this blog was to have a certain “broadness” and thus perhaps present Nordic history and culture and Nordic Heathenry in a way that feels true to me as a Scandinavian Heathen.
One i can “recognize”.
I am happy to see that no one seems the least bit surprised when things that are very far from Heathenry proper (myth, cult) or a certain time (Viking Age for instance) pop up.
Swedish folk costumes. Traditional but “only” since the 18th century or so (max).
Not an eyebrow seems to move when things of a geographical or cultural diversity creeps in either.
Not when folklore only a few hundred years old, or customs of ethnic groups not even Germanic plays a part.
The reason this makes me happy is because they DO play a part.
At least the way i experience being a Heathen in Sweden, most of us seem to take it as a given that:
1: Our customs can not be tied down to a specific time (especially the, give or take, 300 years often referred to as the “Viking Age” ). Elements of it was around far earlier and is still around even in traditions seen as “Christian”,etymology, placenames, traditions and so on (parts of Sweden where wrinting runes in the 1800´s and there where even blots performed that late, though they where seen as “placating the spirits” more than as religion proper).
2: We are not separate. Especially our neighbours (Finnic, Sami and Estonian) but also many other peoples have affected our mentality, culture, language and folklore (and vice versa).
A Sami man in folkcostume
The English people are to a large part Germanic (as well as Celtic, Romance) have Norse heritage and speak a Germanic language. Finns, Sami and Estonians speak Finnic languages (not even Indo European) but have had such an impact on us (and still have) that they feel extremly close and very connected and relevant to our history and culture (as indeed they are).
Close to eachother as we are there has been exchange, conflict, alliances and everything in between and today Finnish and Sami are official languages in Sweden (as are a few other languages though far smaller).
Swedish and Sami in Finland and Sami and Kvenish (a Finnic language) as far as i know in Norway (correct me if i´m wrong).
I would go as far (and i think many Scandinivian Heathens would agree) that to study the Vikings (for instance) without realizing the Norse heritage of the British isles, Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and many other places would be doing yourself a disservice, but to study Scandinavia (including Heathenry ) and not even gazing at Finland, Sapmi , Estonia would be….not really possible….naive.
They have played such a role (and still do) that there is an almost “merging” of mentalities (note: ALMOST)…..(the Sami arrived when the glacier retracted so they have been around for a while….longer than metal)
We are distinct and different cultures, yet close enough for an understanding to be more or less immidiate.
There are cultural differences even within our countries and customs almost as “alien” as those of another ethnic group or nationality, and yet, one cant take, for instance, the Finns or Sami out of Swedish history and still have coherence.
Most (non Finnish speaking) Swedes can say “Hi, I love you” or “Go fu*k yourself in Finnish, and i suspect the opposite is true in Finland (and they use it).
Finns, Sami and Estonians have their own mythologies, traditions, folklores, customs and practicing contemporary Heathens/Pagans.
At the same time they have a “nearness” and shared history with us that both gives a familiarity and cant be denied (bearing in mind that our borders have moved around quite a lot the last 1000 years, often with Sweden as oppressors).
I think what i´m trying to say in my usual clumpsy manner is that i THINK most Scandinavian Heathens see their customs as a living thing, Not something dug up.
That is something taking the forms of several cults, passing through folklore and now taking forms such as “Asatru” or more folkloristic strains (“Norrön Sed”, based on contemporary, regional folklore rather than history, archeology and so on).
Passing through our history and its changes in culture ofcourse Heathenry as well as national identity must change, be affected and become a “whole” that we see today.
To understand Scandinavia, or in my eyes , its Heathenry ,takes understanding its history (and pre history) and its surroundings, including those peoples who have played a big role in it from as far back as possible until now.
“Finnkampen”, a sporting event where all Finns get a chance to prove that Swedes are flower arranging wuzzes, and all Swedes get a chance to prove that Finns are knife weilding alcoholics ,annually ;)
When a Swede performs a blot today, he or she is taking part of something that was already there to a large part (bearing in mind how late Scandinavia was “Christianized”) and incorporating his or her identity.
I think presenting an at least as “true” picture as possible of Heathenry, history, culture and so,on in The Nordic countries as i can ( and that resembles my experience) takes a broad look at things…..a context.
A kantele (pronounced [ˈkɑntele] in Finnish) or kannel ([ˈkɑnːel] in Estonian, harpu in Sami) is a traditional plucked string instrument of the zither family native to Finland, Estonia, and Karelia. It is related to the Russian gusli, the Latvian kokle and theLithuanian kanklės. Together these instruments make up the family known as Baltic psalteries. The instrument is also known as the kusle among the Volga-Finnic Mari people.