The indigenous Sami people have lived across Norway, Finland, Russia and Sweden in the Lapland region of the Arctic for thousands of years - their existence was documented by such writers as the Roman historian Tacitus. Those neighbouring countries have attempted to assimilate the Sami, levy taxes on them, divide the land they once freely roamed and impose restrictions on movement between borders. Some years ago, conflicts broke out there over the construction of a hydroelectric dam in Lapland.
I am interested on the Sami people’s traditional connection the Sun, which was known to them as beaivi. In the centre of the Sami shaman or noaidi’s drum is the Sun (beaivi) drawn as a rhomboid with four rays which spread to the sides. Along the rays spreading outward and surrounding the Sun are the deities which are the personified forces of nature. In this sense, the Sun symbolizes the central, animating source of the world and those lesser entities are subsidiaries of it.
One of the two main Sami creation epics “The Son of the Sun’s Courting in the Land of the Giants” describes the Son of the Sun making love to his bride and begetting the Gállábártnit, the ancestors of the Sámi. A passage from the poem describes the Son as father of the people: “On skin of bear and young reindeer doe / Bride is transformed to a Sámi / Becomes a human in size. / And with an axe from her own chest /Her doors become wider / The room made larger. / To the Sun’s sons she gave birth” (Gaski 101)
This is yet another example of how cultures around the globe that were seemingly unconnected over the thousands of years of their history, all developed an understanding that the Sun was the source of creation and life – and it continues to be so.