Death and dying were regarded in early Rus in two aspects: material one-human mortal remains and cult objects, and spiritual one-different doctrines, beliefs, and traditions with respect to the departed. In a recent issue of the magazine CHELOVEK (Man) these important aspects of the life of the Early Slavs have been discussed by an expert in this field Prof. Tatyana Mordovtseva, Cand. Sc. (Phil.) of the Taganrog Institute of Management and Economics.
To begin with, the archaic cults of our forefathers rested on their faith in the reincarnation of souls. Pagan Slavs believed in the ultimate transfiguration of humans from the ordinary daily routine into eternity of a different kind. And that was not accidental because on one hand there was fear of the departed whom they tried to separate from the border between life and death. And on the other hand, as was justly observed by Acad. Boris Rybakov (1908 - 2001), our ethnic forefathers were constantly "reaching out" for things ecumenical and those who abided therein. The rites of the "winners" were accompanied by sacrificial ceremonies and exorcisms invoking invisible spirits. And that means that the notion of measure, dividing line and border possessed not only the "sense of separation", but led to the "acquisition of alien space" with its living and the dead. Crossing the border of the two worlds, our ancestors believed that, hard as they try they were unable to occupy any realm, or space, they would choose, and the departed were the full masters of their ultimate choice. That being so, later generations inherited the belief that it were the spirits which could encounter the living and not the
Reconstruction of early-Slav burial mound (excavations of G. S. Lebedev and V. A. Koltsov in Daimishche village, Leningrad Region, 1975).
House-spirits. Carved wooden figures of household deities. Novgorod (excavations of Corresponding Member of RAS, Prof. ArtemyArtsikhovsky).
other way round (with some very r ... Читать далее