Hard times are a fact of business and a fact of life. As we get over and begin recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, we realise that as difficult as this period has been; it has also brought with it many blessings. As life begins heading back into a sense of normalcy, some of us realise that we have made significant shifts internally and that we cannot go back to being who we were before the pandemic.
When the outer world does not have much to offer us, it is an opportunity for us to retreat inwards and follow our own inner light. This journey, however, is not easy; for when the world burns bright, there is much to see, do and be excited about. During these times, it is easy to take life for granted and think that the good times will never end. But then, winter comes and everything suddenly changes.
Experiencing life’s winter is never easy. We can become depressed and pessimistic. We feel that we are at the mercy of external circumstances and that there is nothing that we can do to change it. No matter what we do, the situation doesn’t seem to improve. We begin doubting and questioning ourselves and our own abilities.
But change everything does; for it is Mother Nature’s Way.
Beaivi and Beaivi-Nieda
High up north in the Arctic circle, the winter is long, bleak and dark. The sun remains hidden from human eyes for extended periods of time. It is there that the Sami people have lived and herded reindeer as they awaited the return of their Solar Goddess, Beaivi and her daughter, Beaivi-nieda.
It is said that the absence of the Solar Goddess and her daughter adversely affected the mental health of those who were deprived of her presence during the long winter months. People’s lives and livelihood would deteriorate and they would become pessimistic about the future.
In the spring, however, the Goddess and her daughter would return. The world bloomed and the reindeer would flourish and multiply. The return of the duo meant that many blessings would be bestowed upon those who resided there.
When Beaivi returns, prayers are made on behalf of those whose psychological and physical health had deteriorated from their extended winter. It is a new beginning.
The Sami live in the Arctic region of Norway, Finland, Sweden and the Kola Peninsula of Russia. They are a Finno-Ugric people, related to the Hungarians and indigenous peoples of Russia. Traditionally, they were reindeer-herders and the reindeer took centre stage in all aspects of their life.
Reindeer husbandry has been and still is an important aspect of Sámi culture. Traditionally, the Sámi lived and worked in reindeer herding groups called siidat, which consisted of several families and their herds. Members of the siida helped each other with the management and husbandry of the herds.
About 10% of the Sámi are connected to reindeer herding, which provides them with meat, fur and transportation. 2,800 Sámi people are actively involved in reindeer herding on a full-time basis in Norway.