Issitôq

Issitoq

Issitôq, “giant eye”, is a gloomy helping spirit that appeared to the Iglulik Inuit mystic Anarqâq. As Anarqâq had just lost his parents, Issitôq consoled him. “You must not be afraid of me; I, too, struggle with sad thoughts, so I will go with you and be your helping spirit”.

Issitôq has short bristly hair that stands straight up. Each of its eyes is in two sections. Its mouth is vertical, with a single long tooth at the top and two shorter ones at the side. It specializes in finding taboo-breakers.

References

Rasmussen, K. (1929) Intellectual Culture of the Iglulik Eskimos. Glydendalske Boghandel, Nordisk Forlag, Copenhagen.

Qiqirn

Variations: Quiquern

Qiqirn

The Qiqirn is a huge dog of Inuit folklore. It is hairless except for its mouth, feet, and ear and tail tips. The mere presence of a qiqirn around men or dogs causes them to suffer fits, a state which ends only when the qiqirn leaves. However, the qiqirn is also extremely scared of humans, and will run away if an angakoq sees it.

Merkur suggests that the “fits” induced by the qiqirn’s presence may be a symbolic reference to shamanic initiation. It shares this feature with the initiatory bear spirit of Baffin Island.

In the Second Jungle Book, the qiqirn – as Quiquern – appears in a snowstorm as an enormous, toothless, and hairless dog, with two heads and eight pairs of legs. He leads two Inuit hunters towards more fruitful lands, and proves to be two sled dogs tied together.

References

Boas, F. The Central Eskimo. In Powell, J. W. (1888) Sixth Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology. Government Printing Office, Washington.

Kipling, R. (1921) The Second Jungle Book. Doubleday, Page & Company, Garden City.

Merkur, D. (1991) Powers Which We Do Not Know. University of Idaho Press, Moscow.