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The sacred stone of the Lapps. They were natural stones, unfashioned by human hands, but usually water-moulded rocks of curious shape, even resembling human beings or animals. Such gnarled, convoluted, weather-worn stones were often placed together in a sacred place and were then believed to represent a family. Boons and predictions of future events could be obtained from these stone gods.

Besides the seides of stone, the Lapps had also wooden ones. They were either tree stumps embedded in the soil, or posts driven firmly into it. The Samoyeds of Russia are known to have traditions concerning upright stones, which on certain mountain peaks in the Urals were thought of as ‘bearers’ of the universe. They had a practical as well as a symbolic function: they actually supported the sky. The idea of a sky pillar occurs in the mythology of various northern peoples. Examples were the ‘evergreen’ tree by the temple at Uppsala and the Irminsul column destroyed by Charlemagne during his wars against the Saxons at Eresburg in 772.

Subjects: Religion.

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