Shamanism was a a very important institution in the life of ancient northern peoples.

The shaman of the tribe was a man or a woman with special abilities to contact the Under World or spirits of the nature to gain information. This information could be about healing a person, to locate game or to ask any advice in general.

We have no direct historical evidence wether shamanism was also in use with the ancient Finns but considering the many special technical terms which have survived in the common language it was very probable. Also the duet singing or chanting of the incantations with rhytmical body movements used by the ancient Finns was a typical method used by shamans.

Also in the Finnish folk poetry we meet characters with distinct shamanistic features such as Väinämöinen and Antero Vipunen.

To get access to the secret knowledge the shaman had to go into a trans. To do this he used various methods the most common of which were singing and/or drumming. Especially the Lapps used drums but very probably drumming was used with chanting also by the Finns.

After reciting the verses the shaman went into a trans. He fell down in a kind of stupor. This trip typically lasted for an hour during which the shaman talked to the spirits. He could also move freely as a spirit, often as an animal spirit, to distant places and so gain information.

To revive the shaman ususally needed the aid of an assistant and immediately after regaining consciousness he told the people what he had learned.

Shamans were links between the living and the dead and could in their spiritual form meet and discuss with the dead.