• Andriy TEMCHENKO PhD (History), Associate Professor Associate Professor of the Department of the Ukrainian History of the Bohdan Khmelnytsky National University of Cherkasy, Ukraine https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3999-9459




The purpose of the paper is to study the semantics of the “sitting” position in the ritual practices of the Slavs in the context of bodily oppositions. The Methodology of the Research. In the study there have been used the methods of structural anthropology, in which a cultural text is seen as a system of semantic balances and counterbalances. The Scientific Novelty. The article focuses on the analysis of the oppositional models of the body code in the ritual practices of the Slavs. The Conclusions. In the mythological picture of the world, the sequence of ritual actions should follow the process of “divine providence”, which ends with the creation of man. As a result, a human body is a model of a sacred space organization. The repetition of natural locations, which is imitated by a participant of a rite, involves the transformation of global values into a plane of specific meanings. In particular, a horizontal position of a body is interpreted as inanimate, while a vertical state corresponds to the opposite value. At the same time, the ritual names of “horizontal / dead” include the idea of further resurrection (the prospect of bodily verticalization), as evidenced by taboo forms with a direct hint of the temporality of this state (“dead”, “deceased”). Thus, the myth denies the idea of an absolute completion, and life is understood as the alternation of birth and death.In contrast to the dual vertical and horizontal arrangements that denote the states of “life-death”, status mythological characters are in an intermediate (neutral) “sitting” position. Significant are the descriptions of their locations – on the island, the blue sea, under / near the tree, which symbolize the imaginary return of the patient at the time of creation of the world (the state of “pre-disease”). The main feature of “sitting” characters is the refusal to perform the work of “living”, associated with the manufacture of thread and canvas. Involvement in spinning and weaving associates these images with the goddesses of fate, who by the logic of the myth should “weave” the thread of life, but do not. A negative characteristics of the images of the goddess of fate are compared to the magic of healing-magic-destruction, which is realized by the reverse rotation of the spindle. Changing the direction of movement provokes opposite consequences – the transformation of “sick” to “healthy”, “indifferent” to “in love” or “living” to “dead”. For this reason, the “sitting” images of “grandma” and “virgin” have dual characteristics, combining the opposite states of “life” and “death”, which explains the dosed use of the attributes of the funeral cult in medical rites.The semantics of mythological characters with signs of the “otherworldly” is compared with the image of an archaic genitrix. The rudiments of honoring the great mother are recorded in oronyms, which could be used as ancient sanctuaries. A similar function is taken over by landscape objects of an artificial origin, for example, mounds on which anthropomorphic stone stelae were placed, or graves, the ceremonial use of which is combined with a sacrificial “throne”, which on funeral days serves as a kind of portal connecting “living” and “dead”. Ritualized elements of a “sitting” position are also recorded in transitional rites – at funerals while sitting next to / with the “deceased”, ceremonies of age initiations, enthronement ceremonies. In this way there is a ritual imitation of the actions of the Creator-Savior, who “sits” on the heavenly throne and justly rules the world.

Key words: goddess of fate, witch, axis of the world, divination, myth, sitting position, deceased, ancestor, ritual, world tree, Slavs, body.


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