Isogaisa { 65 images } Created 28 Aug 2015

The Isogaisa Festival started in 2009. Isogaisa is the only shamanic festival in the northern part of Scandinavia and have participants from all parts of Sápmi (Sweden, Norway, Finland, Russia) as from other European countries. The festival runs for a week starting with lectures, workshops and nature walks from Monday until Thursday and then has its main events during the weekend.

The festival is run by the organization Isogaisa with Ronald Kvernmo as its director. Kvernmo is a member of the Sami community and is an author, cultural worker and shamanic practitioner who both studied Sami religion academically at University of Tromsø and attended the Saivo Sjamanskole[1] run by author and shaman Ailo Gaup.

Isogaisa is described as a social meeting place where different cultures blend. The old Sami spiritual way of seeing the world is combined with modern ways of thinking. Events of ceremonies, lectures, music/dance/theater performances are held where indigenous people present their own culture and practices and then take part in performances of other groups.

As using alcohol and other substances to alter consciousness never have been the way of traditional Sami shamanism, according to the official webpage, the festival has a very strict no drugs policy. This means in practice that if a participant enter the festival under the influence of anything stronger than coffee they will be asked to leave, festival band taken of them without any refund and not allowed back for a 10 year period. Another reason for not allowing any drugs is that all members, young and old, should feel comfortable to attend.

The creation of this event is important for the spread of information regarding the situation for indigenous cultures around the world and their struggle for survival in the contemporary world. The sharing of information between cultures creates a connection between people from all parts of the world and helps support them in the keeping and renewal of customs that for many years have suffered religious persecution. To be able to socially connect and create networks have helped communities to gain support and communicate information that is otherwise unavailable for the public.

The Isogaisa Festival have brought up many relevant questions for shamanic practice and culture and has been shown support from the Sami Parliament of Norway, the Cultural Council and the organization of shamans in Norway. The festival is held every Summer, mid-August. www.isogaisa.org
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