“Things That Have Not Seen the Sun”

"When pressing boils and abscesses, one should use the snout of a pig and a “thing that has not seen the sun” that grows under the bark of a birch: Sink away, foul-looking,The moon vanishes when waning,The sun when setting,Vanish even more than that,Where the moon is unknown,Where the bottom is unfamiliar.May the roots of… Continue reading “Things That Have Not Seen the Sun”

Raven Stones, Turnip Patches, and Guardian Snakes

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

Healing with a Ringbranch

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

Snake’s Court Stones

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

Archaeology of Folk Religion?

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?