Mäetagused vol. 8
On the Demonology of Plotinos
The philosophy of Plotinos (204/5-270) has had an impact on both eastern
and western philosophy and Christian theology. However, Plotinos' philosophy
has been systematically worked on for only a couple decades. In this
short period, more has been written about him than in the whole one and a
half thousand years following his death. The dam broke after Paul Henry and
Hans-Rudolph Schwyzer published their new text critical 3-volume publication
of Enneaads (1973) by Plotinos, undoubtedly the most important
contribution to Plotinos studies since the Enneaads was published by
Porphyrios. The current article gives an overview of Plotinos' demonology.
Relative from Across the River of Blood: Lapp Folk Tales
About Totem Reindeer. V
In the current publication is continued the analysis of the 12th, 14th, 15th, 18th,
20th and 22st leaving stories and a summary of the whole block is given.
In the Meandash stories, there are two kinds of escaping: one from the mother,
the other from the wife. The second leaving type has been recorded all in
all 13 times, including those recorded near the Imandra, Aahkel and from the
Koltas, each story having two versions, the Kildin four and
three versions. In addition, three more stories of the first type
are known (two from the Koltas and one from the Turjala's).
The leaving block can accompany all three kinds of marrying (table 8).
However, half the cases (3 versions) are of the first
type. In these two versions the mother's reaction does not reveal which
escaping type we are dealing with. In a Kolta story (version III) the mother
wanted to breast feed her adult son what does not seem plausible.
In the differing Aahkkel story (22st) it is not clear what upset the reindeer.
In the 14th story we encounter burning
the spouse's skin; this is a loaned motif. In two stories from Imanrda
and one Koltan version, only the child pissing on the bed-skin is mentioned.
In the rest 8 stories (61.5 %) the rules of treating a pissed skin are
violated: it is not been thrown into water but put to dry in the sun. In two
Kildin stories (9th and 10th) and in one version of unknown origin (18th)
the skin is pissed at night by the father-in-law (a total of 23 %), while
in 8 cases (61.5 %) by the child. The 18th version is known for forgetting
several facts (see "Mäetagused", 1998, 7). In other versions
it is unclear whether the pisser is maybe not mentioned because it was
unimportant compared to violating the taboo and what followed this.
Before the children left, the mother did the following:
1) offered them breast food,
2) warned about dangers (men, animals),
3) cursed the son and/or
4) gave advice for life (table 9).
In 9 cases (56.2 %) the mother breast fed the children and in
7 cases (43,8 %) warned them about men. Other reactions are exceptional.
Thus it can be concluded that the escaping block that has small differences in
different versions graphically reflects violation of an ancient taboo and
the connected phenomena, also helping to answer some etiologic questions: 1)
why reindeer do not live with men? (version 8) 2) how reindeer-hunting
was started? (story 4) and 3) why the reindeer is shy? (version 5).
The Murdered Child and Child Murdering in the Sociocultural Context of Folklore
On a wider basis, the topic of the dead child in folklore includes conceptions
like the born dead, children dying or killed in infancy or
childhood. In the present paper, the only discussed phenomenon of the kind
is that of killing or executing the child. In Estonian folklore, the killer
is most commonly the single mother. There are texts where the characters
are both murdered children and their mothers; in others only one of
the two is active and the other is only mentioned, if even that. As Estonian
folklore lacks legends of independent supranormal childkilling beings,
folkloristic treatment of the material would allow focusing only on the
character of the murdered child. In the present paper I have tried to give
the wider background of the phenomenon, making it necessary to pay attention
to social factors and view the material from a wider point of view.
Kordo. Prophet or Witch
The first messages about folk prophets in Estonia date from the 16th century.
More plentiful and detailed
data can be found since the mid-18th century when the waking movement of the
Moravians or United Brethren reached Estonia. The Brethren's congregations
had an essential impact on the activities of the prophets of the
18th and early 19th centuries, mostly as a general activator of religion,
although in concrete visions and prophesies one could find elements
which were alien to the general Lutheran church as well as to the Brethren.
Even outright pagan elements occurred. Such distinctions, however,
can be made only by a distanced evaluator, for the participants everything
formed an integrated whole. Besides the well-known individual prophets,
even an extensive prophetic movement, sc. heavengoers, existed in the
early 19th century. Literature has also dealt with some earlier, 18th-century
prophets. Kordo in the Southeast lived at the end of 19th century. He was
critical of the church as well as of the Brethren. He was well known during
his lifetime and have survived in people's memory long after their death.
Kordo is more a folkloric than a historical figure. The Estonian folk
tradition has preserved the memory
of many, one could say, one-sided prophets, about whom nothing is remembered
but a few obscure predictions. Kordo is a rather versatile character.
One the one hand, he is accredited with numerous predictions of future
events, which to a great extent coincide with or resemble those attributed
to other folk prophets, on the other hand, there are stories which
characterise him as a sorcerer, conjurer and practical joker, sometimes
also as a fighter for social justice or even as a village fool.
On the basis of the varied heritage known about Kordo at present, it could be
said that he was
everything but an athlete and a healer. He was admired and feared, but he
was also sneered at. Oral tradition about him has survived in his home parish
and in the neighbouring areas for more than a hundred years after his
death, and even this is a noteworthy achievement not attainable for many.
Historical Strata of the Estonian Folk Music
The Estonian folk song is usually divided into two main historical-stylistical strata: the runo songs (songs in runo verse form, also called Kalevala-metre songs, alliterative songs etc.) and the newer songs with an end-rhyme and strophic form. Both are characterised by a special musical style. The first one belongs to the old Balto-Finnic culture and derives probably from the last millennium B.C., the latter one is related to the European traditional songlore of the last centuries.
Besides runo songs (which are represented in the Estonian tradition first of all by lyrical songs and by working songs, ritual songs, game songs, etc., less by the narrative ones) there exist a number of ancient non-runo genres which are characterised by a special intonation mode depending on the contents and function and which do not denote music in the accustomed meaning.
Ancient non-runo vocal genres. Here belong:
1. Cries, shouts, calls with the function to signal, communicate or co-ordinate rhythm (herding and
hunting calls, signals for co-ordinating working processes, ritual calls, etc.)
2. Imitations of natural sounds: either natural or artificial. The first have generally practical, utilitarian function (they are used by hunters for alluring birds or animals even today); the others might have had primarily magic significance and were later used for amusement (e.g. the so called birds' songs containing a poetic text whereas the respective bird sounds are imitated both as phonic compositions and by intonation). Here belong also "conversations" of animals, birds, as well as spinning wheels, carts, church bells etc. The significant expressive means alongside with imitation is the tonal and temporal contrasting of certain phrases or words (high - low, fast - slow).
3. Incantations and spells used for influencing and inducing natural forces, animals or human beings, for inciting the working process, for healing, sauna charms, etc. which occur as verse incantations in Estonia. While in Finland and Karelia they are predominantly in the Kalevala metre, then in Estonia a large part of them are either in the accentual metre or in the heterosyllabic free verse. These were performed either as a half-whispering mutter, a recital with free rhythm (half-singing, half-speaking), as a monotonous scansion with fixed measure, or while shouting.
4. Laments (death dirges, wedding laments, later also lamentations for recruits and for other occasions). In Estonia they preserved longer mostly in Setu 1986). Death dirges are noted also in other parts of East Estonia. Laments were known also by the Karelians, Vepsians, Votians, Izhorians and other Finno-Ugrians.
5. Songs in fairy tales. Besides explicit songs which are dissimilar in verse metre and musical characteristics, there occur also recitative monologues and dialogues which hardly differ from the rest of the text (as is the case with tales and shamanistic performances of Siberian peoples).
6. Children songs. Hereto refer
1) songs performed for children (lullabies or simple asemantic lullings, nursery songs performed with respective gestures and movement to amuse the baby, incantations for children, songs in a restricted sense);
2) children's own repertoire (traditional addressings to birds, animals and objects of nature with an initial magic background, banter words and other jesting verses, songs in a restricted sense etc. ).
7. Chain songs (which initially had a magic background but have later become a part of children songs).
These genres occur also by those Balto-Finnic peoples who do not know the Kalevala-metre songs.
They represent rather universal phenomena in archaic cultures. In many cases the question arises
whether we are dealing with songs altogether, or rather with phenomena preceding songs? What is a song after all? This conception has different interpretations in different cultures.
The Balto-Finnic peoples regard as song (laulu) in general a vocal genre which consists of a
poetic text and a melody with a certain structure. The word laulu is common to all Baltic Finns who
know the runo song, and to Livonians (by whom the runo-song form is not documented). This
conception expresses the consistency of poetic texts and melodies. Runo-songs have always been
performed while singing but originally there existed no special word for denoting the melody (the
Estonian word viis is of Germanic origin).
The Epic Layer of Lyroepic Setu Runo Songs
According to the literal scientific definition, lyroepics is a compound type
where lyrics and epics blend with lyricism appearing first of all in lyric
swerves from the epical topic. The aim of the current paper is to have a
closer look at some aspects of the epic half of Setu lyroepic runo songs.
In runo songs, the youngest epic layer is made up of ballad and the ballad hero
- phenomena disrupting the epic time and space and trying to
adapt the old formulas with present time. Thus we could depict the changing
of the runo song's plot on the following general developmental scheme:
myth --> heroic epics --> ballad
Setu lyroepics is characterised by minimal concentration on the conflict
and especially the weakness of the hero's conception,
having given no ground for the myth to develop into narrative(s)
of more or less linear plot. The main character of the lyroepic runo song
does not remind of the syncretic hero of many natons' older epics. For some
reason (thanks to the domination of female singers, historical and social
peculiarities (see Annist 1969: 41 ff)), heroic peotry did not appear in
neither Setu nor Estonian runo songs (unlike for exmaple in Karelian epics).
Because of this, the material has followed (a lack of) principles unknown to
us before the appearance of the new (ballad-like) aesthetics and thinking
formulas. Pieces of old myths and combinations of them have been as if tried
to "update" but this has not resulted a in new quality.
Looking at the developmental schema (myth --> heroic epics --> ballad),
Setu (and Estonian) lyroepic runo
songs have more connections with first of all the mythical and ballad-like
what are also their main epic layers. On the one hand, the obscurity
and variety of the hero and plot - as story dominants - are a sign of
the longevity of runo song traditions, but on the other hand testify the
waning of epic pretension in them by the end of the previous century.
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A New Song
A song "Marss" and comments by Andres Piirimäe.
The Gold Spitter and the Turquoise Spitter. Tibetian Fairy Tale
Translated by Kai Vassiljeva, illustrated by Lembit Karu.
Ello Kirss, one of the best Setu (southeastern Estonia) folklore collectors
begins her diary:
When in the spring 1938 I voiced my wish to become an exhibitioner of the
Estonian Folklore Archive, I was most suitably appointed
to my home -- Setu. I had to collect material from the Setu-Russian
villages area of Meremäe and Vilo parishes in the middle of
which my home farm was situated. Main emphasis has to be put on narratives,
cantation songs and Orthodox folk tradition. Work was to be started as soon
as the exams allowed as the threatening hay season was only a month away.
I decided to start collecting in villages closest to my home, Krantsova,
Vasilde and Serga and then bit by bit go farther.