Pyhä / Noitatunturi 2015

Pyhä / Noitatunturi - following the lead 2015

It was August in 2015 when I followed the Arrow’s direction fromKilpisjärvi to the Pyhä mountain or more precisely Noitatunturi. The purpose of thevoyage was to follow the lead and determine why I was pointed there.

Pyhä or Pyhätunturi, consists various mountains. They names are.Isokero: big mountain, Kultakero: Gold mountain, Ukonhattu: Old man’shat as well Ukko means the high deity of skies, Noitatunturi: meanswitch mountain and its former name was Seitakero meaning a sacredmountain and a place of worship. Laakakero: flat mountain, Peurakero:venison mountain. 

At the foot of the mountain I noticed a white dot on the side of the Noitatunturi before climbing up. I thought it could be a remnant of snow from the previous winter, but after the warm summer that wasnot likely.  

At the summit of Noitatunturi was a bush-like Rowan tree accompaniedby a sign post with names and distances and numerous stone piles. Ireasoned that some of them were ‘seidi’ (worship stones) as the mountain’s former name indicates (seitakero).

Before leaving the summit, the last glimpse over my shoulder, I noticed a white stone looking like a sugar cube highlighted with the warm colours of setting sun on the east-north side of the mountain. The size was considerable and it looked remarkable within its surroundings. There it was, the same white dot, now as a distinctive white stone. I was sure that this was the reason why I have come here.

I believe that the name of the mountain (both previous andpresent) indicates the attachment of old animistic beliefs concerningthe mountain, especially due to the fact that there were numerousstone piles that served as places of offerings. When reviewing thelisting of the prehistoric, stone and bronze age findings of humanactivities in the Pelkosenniemi municipality, I realised the place
has a long history, and therefore the place names could echo pastfunctions. 

When it comes to my interpretation of the white stone, by its distinct colour and size, it could have been seen as a special object in the past with a function. For the material qualities of the stone I have come to conclusion that the stone is Milky quartz, and in Finnish it is called ‘Ukonkivi’ (old man’s stone or high deity’s stone). Historically milky quartz was used to make sparks with fire-steel and it has been connected to fertility magic.

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