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<P align="justify"> In the tradition … <P align="justify"> In the traditional Saami view of the world, the barrier between man and woman was stronger and more difficult to cross than that between humans and animals. It easily happened that humans changed into animals and vice versa, and this was possible not only for shamans ([[Noaidi (engl. ver.)|<i>Noaidi</i>]], [[Shamanism|Shamanism]]) but also for ordinary people. The shaman on his journey of the spirit might take the form of his animal spiritual assistant, and the strongest of these assistants, the bull reindeer, was at the same time his alter ego; for example, when it died, the shaman died too. The shaman might also move in the guise of an animal in this world ([[Peaivvas|Peaivvas]]) .In the case of the journey of the shaman s soul, it was not always a physical transformation that was involved; the shaman's free soul ([[The soul|soul]]) moved into an animal of this or the other world while his body was in a trance, but when an ordinary person took the form of an animal there was a physical metamorphosis. This kind of metamorphosis might be voluntary or caused by a shaman. According to legend, voluntary metamorphosis into an animal was usually achieved by means of a magical procedure, in which one of one of the most important elements involved circling a tree that had been bent over into a curve. The transformation took place when the person crawled under the bowed tree three times in an anticlockwise direction. His return to human form took place by means of the opposite procedure: by going round the same tree three times in a clockwise direction. Circling in an anticlockwise direction is a semantic element that is linked to the other world in magical practices, and correspondingly a clockwise movement is associated with a normal state or a return to it ([[The sacred|Sacred]]). Metamorphosis into a bear or a wolf was common. Particularly popular were stories about Skolt Saamis who changed themselves into bears; these tales were often malicious or mischievous stories about neighbours. Metamorphosis into a bear and a wolf happened in the same way. In the case of a bear, the tree used in the ritual had to be bent towards the north, which is an indication, relatively rare in the Saami tradition, of the mystical, otherworldly associations of the direction north. There was more of the otherworldly in the nature of the bear than in the wolf ([[The bear worship and ritual|Bear cult]]), and this required a ritual with semantic elements that created a stronger link with the other world. In the case of a wolf metamorphosis ([[Werewolf|Werewolf]]), the tree had to be bent towards the south. Evidence for metamorphoses into bears and wolves was found in animals in whose carcases objects like a belt with a knife or a money pouch were claimed to have been found when they were skinned. Unlike an ordinary bear, one into which a human had metamorphosed himself was feared and abhorred; a bear that caused damage was regarded either as a bewitched animal one under the spell of a shaman or a metamorphosed human being. In the same way, a wolf into which a human had transformed himself was hated more than an ordinary wolf.</P>ated more than an ordinary wolf.</P> +