Ways of Mitigating the Death of a Sorcerer (Based on Russian Mythological Stories from the Perm Region)

Альманах
Key words
mythological texts, Perm Region, sorcerer, healer, difficult death of a sorcerer, symbolic meaning of house construction
Author
Irina I. Rusinova
About the Author
https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3500-1604
E-mail: irusinova@mail.ru Tel.: +7 (342) 212-60-08
13a, Lenin str., Perm, 614990, Russian Federation
PhD in Philology, Senior Researcher, Perm Federal Research Center, Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Received
Date of publication
DOI
10.26158/TK.2020.21.1.010
Acknowledgements

The study was supported by grant from the Russian Science Foundation, project No. 19–18–00117, “Traditional Russian culture in the area of inter-ethnic contacts between the Ural and the Volga Regions.”

Body

 This article, based on mythological texts from the Perm Region, describes the actions performed by relatives or fellow villagers of a dying sorcerer (less often by the sorcerer himself) that ease and speed up his death. These actions are aimed at getting rid of the special knowledge that the sorcerer could not or did not have time to pass on to other people. Such “knowledge,” as well as evil spirits subservient to the sorcerer, are considered dangerous and sinful. In order that the sorcerer die faster, they can wash him like a dead man; cut him symbolically; take away the demons that torment him. The sorcerer may perform some actions himself, for example: “release” the words of spells into the chimney pipe; say these words onto water and pour it into the stove; cross a particular border of the house (a “matitsa” [joist] or threshold), etc. Most actions are associated with the structural elements of a house. In order that the sorcerer not suffer and die faster, his family may make a hole in the top edging of the building. The floor as the lower boundary of the house is much less often used for making openings. Parts of the house such as windows and doors are less often involved in facilitating the wizard’s death than those on its margins. In the traditional culture of the Perm Region these actions, described in the article, are aimed at protecting members of the sorcerer’s family from the danger posed by the demons that reside in him, and performed so that magical knowledge can pass to one of his relatives. 

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For citation

Rusinova I. I. Ways of Mitigating the Death of a Sorcerer (Based on Russian Mythological Stories from the Perm Region). Traditional Culture. 2020. Vol. 21. No. 1. Pp. 136–148. In Russian.