Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Cherry Gilchrist, Questbooks
Welcome to the enchannted landscape of Russia, locked away for almopst seventy years is a land now open to every one revealing a land of deep oppulent treasure. What follows is an interesting book that delves into the sould of the Russian psyche. While the title may say Russian Magic in this book you will find no spells or theory. Instead you will find an analysis of Russian mytgh and lore. Cherry Gilchrist herself is an alchemist who has written several other books. After reading thsi one I am sure that I will want to read more.
Russian Pagan beliefs have stood the test of time surviving from ancient times all the way through the Byzantine Church and communism. To the Russians it isd no big deal to embrace esoteric lore and combine it with modern scientific things. In fact in the Russian mind they can exist side by side without contradiction.
Central to Russian mytholgy is the Oak Tree which for them is the Tree of Life. It is similiar to the Norse Tree of Yggdrasil. The upper part of the branches is the Celestial realms whwere the Gods live. The trunk is the human earthly realm while the roots is where the sould of the dead reside. Russians leave offering for the spirits of the departed and there is no discussion of reincarnation.
In the Celestial realm is where the Sun God Yarilo dwells along with Peron the thunder God dwells along witha host of other celestial stars. Peronm has been combined with Elijah and offering are left to this saint-god in order to avert storms and make for a healthy harvest,
On the trunk level dwells the Deep Earth mother. She is the mother earth. All healing and self regenerating. On the lower level is Vlous the snake god who has a quarrel with Peron. Every time they fight it creates thunder storms.
The building of the Russian house echoes or reflects the design of the great tree. The attic is the realm of the sun god Yarilo. It is here that women do thier spinning and have innocent conversation. It tends to be light and airy with access to the sun. THe living quarters are designed for the people and the Middle Realm. On corner is an icon for saints. The otrher end is the kitchen stove which keeps the
living area warm and is also slept on when winter is in full season. It is also where the eating table is. The eating table is the cneter of Russian house hold life. Hspiatality is verything and in Russia relative can come over at will and stay as long they like and they must be given tea and fed as tradition calls for.
THe basement represents the lower realms of the dead. This is where the spirit of the house lives. The spirit of the house is called the Domovai. The Domovai is supposed to follow the family where wever they go. When moving from house to house you are supposed to invite the Domovai to come with you. Be nice to the spirits as they can wreak havok or be rather helpful. THere is the spirit of the bath hosue where people not only bath but also practice rituals of magic. THe spirit of the house is called the Bannik. Leshi is the nature spirit and there is one for each forest. When going into the forest always be respectful of them.
The book covers lightly some methods of divinition especially with regards for determining what a future mate mate will look like or who will get married first. Animals like the bear and the the firebird are discussed as are some of the figure in Russian mythology. Bears represent wealth and fertility and are connected to the underworld and spring for their hibernation and awakening after the winter. Heros are discussed as are diferent kinds of folk tale. Russian mysticism is very related to Siberian Shamanism.
Over all great book I definitely plan to read more works by the author. However I feel the book discussed mytholgy and folk ways of the Russian nation as opposed to Russian magic. I give it a 4.5 out of 5 stars.
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