A cunning person protects the turnip patch from thieves: After a new turnip patch was planted, ploughed, and fenced, the owner would summon a snake to guard it. If a thief would try to come into the patch, the guardian snake would attack. It would guard as long as the turnips were growing, until they… Continue reading Raven Stones, Turnip Patches, and Guardian Snakes
The collection of the National Museum of Finland include many parts of animal bodies that have been used as magic objects. The most common species of animal in this respect is the brown bear (Ursus arctos). It is the only native species of bear in Finland. The bear has a special place in the mythology… Continue reading The Power of the Bear
There is something special about naturally formed circles. In Finnish folk magic, this is visible in the magic objects called ringbranches (Fin. umpipuu). These are usually branches or roots of trees that have grown so that they form a circle. These objects have especially been used in healing practices. A healer would pour the ingredients… Continue reading Healing with a Ringbranch
The old “magic objects” card index at Finland’s National Museum in Helsinki form a collection of over 300 objects used in folk magic. The index was initiated in the early 20th century and it is not updated any more. Thus, it forms a closed collection of objects that have been acquired in the late 19th… Continue reading The Magic Objects Card Index
The magic objects collections in Finnish museums include large amounts of small, roundish, water polished pebbles. These are often called “snake’s court stones” in the local tradition (Fin. käärmeenkäräjäkivet). According to folklore, vipers gathered in the spring to hold a court hearing. They needed to find and punish the viper that had bitten more people… Continue reading Snake’s Court Stones
What is archaeology of folk religion? Basically, folk religion means beliefs and practices that are not part of an institutionalized religion's theology. Often folk religion is contrasted with such institutionalized religion, so if the latter is lacking in a society, other terms are used (for example indigenous or ethnic religion). The connection between folk religion… Continue reading Archaeology of Folk Religion?