Finnish shamanism on tap
Special to The Chronicle-Journal
Saturday, April 6, 2013 – 08:00
Stories and traditions of Finnish folklore and shamanism will be shared at Lakehead University next week by a traditional practitioner visiting from Finland.
Dalva LamminmäkI, will be hosted by the university’s Anthropology Department on Wednesday to present The Story of Finnish Shamanism.
“I (will be) talking about the rock paintings and animals in those paintings and also about the world view at that time. At that point we’re talking about the shamanistic culture and the pre-history of Finland and the pre-history of the Finno-Ugric area,” said Lamminmäki, who traces her lineage to the ancient practices of the Karelia area of her homeland.
“In the rock paintings they are hunting, you can see how they have lived. But rock paintings are very sacred places; they have been the places of community to make rituals and ceremonies,” she said. The Finno-Ugric peoples are believed to have originated in Russia. By 3,000 BC, the Baltic-Finnic groups had migrated west to the shores of the Baltic Sea into present-day countries like Finland, Estonia and Hungary. Shamans traditionally took trance journeys to Otherworld spirit helpers and used the singing of runes to achieve altered states and promote healing, according to researcher and blogger Harold Arden.
Still practiced in the present-day, Finno-Ugric healers believe that the world is animated with spirits, whether they are in animals, trees, rocks or waterfalls.
Lamminmäki relates Finno-Ugric shamanism to modern-day society because, she says, it revives many ancient and largely forgotten or hidden practices.
“As our modern culture is changing, more and more seekers are discovering the ancient spirituality and are remembering and reclaiming the remaining wisdoms,” she said.
Part of Lamminmäki’s talk will discuss the importance of restoring the human connection with nature — something that she says has waned over time. In Finland, “we have a strong belief that in nature there is medicine, but also feel that walking in the forests and (among) the trees is something that calms you down,” she said.
“We are living in the cities and in an urban environment, and we have our work and our studies — there is a busyness in this life. But it doesn’t take a lot once in a day to go outside, to look at the trees, to enjoy nature and feel that you are part of everything.”
Lamminmäki’s talk will be followed by a drumming demonstration and a discussion.
The talk takes place in room BB2006 of LU’s Braun Building at 7 p.m.
Carney Matheson, chair of the Department of Anthropology, was unable to be reached for comment by press deadline.
Lamminmäki will be visiting several cities in Ontario throughout April and May for presentations to local groups, as well as workshops and drumming circles that are open to the public.