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The influences which help shape the image of the modern male

The influence of oral tradition on the formation of beliefs Aado Lintrop One of the main sources for studying religion is beliefs, for example a Udmurt Votyak one: You must not take anything from the Holy Grove. The person breaking the rule shall be punished by the Lord of the grove.

Another essential source is narratives, above all legends and memorates related to them, for example a memorate formed on the basis of the aforementioned belief: The precentor of Buranovo village went to gather mushrooms in a grove. When the basket was full and he wanted to come out of the grove, an invisible force held him back. He threw the gathered mushrooms away and after that was able to come out of the grove unharmed.

More often than not, it is difficult to estimate the value of narratives as source materials from the point of view of the history of religion. While a folklorist is mostly interested in the authenticity of a narrative, a religious historian, besides that, also wants to know whether a concrete story reflects the current the influences which help shape the image of the modern male of a certain group or an individual or refers to some religious image from the past.

In the case of memorates, it has always been considered essential to differentiate between the supernatural experience presented in the traditional form of a story, and the details of secondary importance added later in the course of telling and retelling. According to Lauri Honko, this could be done, to a certain extent, by checking up on the psychological veracity of the memorate: It is also important to bear in mind the physical condition of the person: Psychologically unbelievable perceptions can often be considered as secondary ones, added to the story later on.

Here is a longer Udmurt memorate about the Lord of a Holy Grove keremet. Once, at about midnight, two people entered the cottage, a Tatar woman and man. The man remained standing at the door, the woman started hanging a scarf near the stove.

But the door was locked. I asked them what they wanted. They did not answer, only talked to one another. I called my father and told him we had Tatars in our house. He did not believe me and said that I was delirious. I got frightened and was waiting for the cock to crow; I hoped it would make the Tatars leave. At last the cock crowed, but they were still standing and talking. They were standing there until broad daylight. Suddenly I could hear someone coming up the stairs, trampling heavily with new boots.

He reached the door, but did not come in; he was talking to the people inside in a low voice and left again. After a while there were footsteps on the stairs again, the door was pushed ajar and I could hear voices again.

I could not bear it any more; so I took an axe, smashed the window, jumped out into the yard and ran to the granary where my brother was working. Soon after that the Tatars also fled, and my brother saw them as well. Next day when I was in the cottage alone, I heard someone calling me: The voice said, "Come on, sure you can! I said I was not able to walk even on flat ground, not to speak about climbing the ladder.

Gender Influence on Educational Process

I climbed up and saw - a Tatar was standing, leaning against the chimney, and there was a woman next to him and opposite him there was a young wife, presumably his daughter-in-law. The man said to me, "Well, Vassili, you don't seem to be afraid of us as you've come up here. You must know that God Inmar is the most important in the world, and we come next.

I only heard them flying through the roof like the wind. After that I became well again. The memorate seems to be quite truthful, as the event was experienced by a seriously ill person. The details obviously added in the course of retelling the story are lacking, except the statement that the narrators brother had seen the Tatars as well. The flying away of keremets through the roof also might cause some suspicion.

According to tradition, keremets appear as Tatars, and it is also customary for them to constitute a family. The memorate does not give an explanation for the appearance of the keremets; however, the reason can be realized as they remind the man of their importance. Most probably, it was the fact that the man undergoing the experience or even the whole family seemed to have forgotten about them for example, had not participated in the services held in the Holy Grove, had not given enough money for buying a sacrificial animal, had misbehaved in the Holy Grove, and so forth.

When speaking about the borderline between legends and memorates, we must stress that it is not very clear when exactly a memorate might develop into a legend. Although legends at the text level cannot be converted into memorates, they have an essential impact on them. As an introductory remark, it can be mentioned that they generate memorates if there exists a suitable input.

While working at shamanic stories, I became convinced that in Siberia they do not noticeably differentiate between memorates and legends, either. The reflexive stories told by shamans can roughly be divided into two groups: This kind of autobiographies and "travel descriptions" of shamans often comprise motifs of legends of origin as well as those of belief legends.

A memorate is like a broad framework in which individual experience shaped by tradition is intertwined with references to the origin of things and their mutual linkage order. For example, images of the abilities of a shaman's helping spirit are closely connected with the beliefs about animals and birds, as well as observations made about their remarkable capacities.

The qualities a shaman needs to move about in the shamanic world and to communicate with spirits, are expressed as certain abilities or skills attributed to animals, birds, fish, or supernatural creatures, and characteristic of them in legends. It is not a coincidence that a number of animals and birds acting as helping spirits to a shaman, happen to be popular characters of legends or fairy tales.

Let us recall, for example, the part played by the diver, one of the well-known helping spirits, in the legends about the creation of the world. The initiatory vision of a Nganasan shaman Semyon Momde speaks about a special role of another bird: On the first island there were some whitefronted geese, some of them hatching in their nests, some others walking about.

On another island there were scaups, on the third one - geese, swans and other birds One of my companions answered, "These are different kinds of birds.

In the olden days the earth was covered by water.

  1. I said I was not able to walk even on flat ground, not to speak about climbing the ladder.
  2. We knew that 'body talk' affected women and young people and now we know that it affects men too," said Dr Phillippa Diedrichs, from the centre of appearance research at the University of the West of England.
  3. On another island there were scaups, on the third one - geese, swans and other birds He did not believe me and said that I was delirious.

It is not known whether there were any people at that time. Can you see this small duck. It is a scaup. It didn't remain sitting on its nest but descended underground through seven layers of ice.

The influence of oral tradition on the formation of beliefs

It dived into water and reached another island. It was seen carrying various sorts of grasses in its beak. It scattered the grasses all over the lake shore; this is how plant cover appeared.

What kind of impact does oral tradition have on the formation of beliefs? When analysing the motifs of the stories of becoming a shaman, I came to a conclusion that some of them describe the changes in the personality of the would-be shaman, its adjustment into the framework of tradition, some others demonstrate the subjugation of initiation period experience to the control of tradition see also "Hereditary Transmission in Siberian Shamanism and the Concept of the Reality of Legends".

I have borrowed the notion of generalized reality-orientation from Roland Shor, who has been studying hypnosis, but, to denote the orientation enabling possession, I have resorted to the term reality of legends.

By this term I mean this new orientation which springs from religious images transmitted by tradition and which arises onto generalized reality-orientation in some cases of altered state of consciousness. As in the case of cultures under discussion we can mainly speak about oral tradition, and a great part of the narratives influencing beliefs can be classified as legends, it is the importance of legends in the formation of religious experience that I have tried to stress with this term.

I have also heard opinions voiced that instead of the term 'reality of legends', it would be more correct to use the term mythic or mythical reality. However, as the myths of Estonians as well as of a number of other Balto-Finnic peoples have mostly been transformed into legends, and also because of unwillingness to relate this term to the mythical time of creation, I would prefer to stick with the term 'reality of legends'.

Supernatural experience can be influenced by tradition in several ways. First and foremost, it gives an impetus or motive for its formation. Man might have committed a sin against a social rule that traditionally should be followed by punishment imposed by a supernatural being related to it. The sinner is aware of it. He has also heard several stories about similar situations.

And then a supernatural being appears.

  • In the society of traditional culture oral tradition is essential;
  • The voice said, "Come on, sure you can!
  • I called my father and told him we had Tatars in our house;
  • But then, a tradition also moulds the supernatural experience induced by itself, as, in addition to situation descriptions, stories with this kind of plot also include the ones of supernatural beings;
  • The Ingrian barn spirit is characterized by a fiery-red nose Honko 1972;
  • After a while there were footsteps on the stairs again, the door was pushed ajar and I could hear voices again.

Or maybe someone is in a locality infamous for ghosts and, allegedly, even dangerous for being alone. He knows it, he has been told stories of similar happenings.

And then a ghost makes its appearance. Or else, someone is considered as a person of extraordinary faculties either by descent or by a certain distinguishing quality.

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He can perceive it that people whom he encounters day after day, are only expecting him to manifest his talent. He has heard several stories about his parents grandparents initiation. And his talent becomes evident. This list is not complete; however, it probably comprises the most essential incentives for supernatural experience.

But then, a tradition also moulds the supernatural experience induced by itself, as, in addition to situation descriptions, stories with this kind of plot also include the ones of supernatural beings.

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With reference to the descriptions given below, I have to admit that they are not too exact but leave enough space for everyone's visions for framing into, and for interpreting them. In the society of traditional culture oral tradition is essential. It is like a filter through which the world penetrates to the individual. Oral tradition combined with the information acquired by an individual by watching other people's behaviour and remembering the reactions expressing their evaluations, is the source for him for getting information about the world outside the borders of his immediate cognition.

  1. Lotman has divided all the existing types of text and communication of human culture into two large groups. The text forwarded with the aim of information processing or producing new information b-type text has to undergo a non-trivial shift of meaning.
  2. You must not take anything from the Holy Grove. The Ingrian barn spirit is characterized by a fiery-red nose Honko 1972.
  3. The precentor of Buranovo village went to gather mushrooms in a grove.
  4. Only his wet jacket front gives evidence of his real nature Lintrop These are various star people, observers, etc.
  5. In order to start reality of legends, we would need a certain outward incertable text which can be recognized by it.

In the modern society with mass culture the relative importance of oral tradition is much smaller. The boundaries of immediate cognition have become much wider. The information about what is going on outside these borders, reaches the individual mainly through mass media. Lotman has divided all the existing types of text and communication of human culture into two large groups: It is quite positive that religious experience and beliefs are formed by the texts of the second group.

In order to forward this kind of texts, oral tradition makes use of mainly the language of words; mass media, in addition to that, also resorts to the language s of visual images. Here a question arises as to what extent the texts transmitted with the help of the latter influence our beliefs and imaginations.