Magic Songs of the West Finns, Vol. I: (illustrated)


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In , British author J. Rowling introduced the world to Harry Potter and a literary phenomenon was born. Millions of readers have followed Harry to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry where he discovers his heritage, encounters new plants and animals, and perfects his magical abilities. Although a fantasy story, the magic in the Harry Potter books is partially based on Renaissance traditions that played an important role in the development of Western science, including alchemy, astrology, and natural philosophy.

Incorporating the work of several 15th- and 16th-century thinkers, the seven-part series examines important ethical topics such as the desire for knowledge, the effects of prejudice, and the responsibility that comes with power. Nicolas Flamel, La Metallique Transformation, OB -- Aurifontina Chymica; or, A collection of fourteen small treatises concerning the first matter of philosophers Bland History of medicine consulting by Mark A. Waddell, Ph. Illustration of a basilisk , Konrad Gesner, Historiae Animalium , Illustration of a dragon , Konrad Gesner, Historiae Animalium , At Hogwarts, Harry not only learns magic spells, charms, and potions, he is also taught about the natural world and its uses.

This knowledge helps Harry and his friends survive innumerable adventures and ultimately defeat the villainous Lord Voldemort. Although they consider dragons highly dangerous creatures, wizards have created nature reserves with specialized caregivers to ensure the creatures can thrive without harming people. Dragons also have valuable magical traits—various parts are commonly used in potions and their heartstrings often compose the magical core of wands.

Illustration of an apothecary mixing theriac , Hortus Sanitatis, His most famous work, Historiae Animalium , is considered one of the first examples of modern zoology. Unique to its time, the book included not only Greek and Biblical descriptions of animals, but also information Gesner had gained from dissection.

Like many of his contemporaries, the naturalist believed that basilisks and dragons existed and he catalogued their medicinal uses alongside those of their reptile cousin, the snake. Illustration of a botany discussion , Hortus Sanitatis, I assume on the part of the reader an understanding that myths are often expressed through figurative language; I do not undertake any discussion of this topic here, since much has already been written on it.

As an example of what I refer to, consider the mental processes at work when a shaman says that his drum is a boat which takes him to the other world; having set off on this path of metaphor, the shaman is then free to elaborate the picture of the boat in question. Kirk 7— Introduction 11 but because I believe that ancient poets exploited all the potential readings of the myths they told, and of the words they used in telling them. This approach, typical of the nineteenth century,18 is now defunct;19 the point of mentioning it is to distinguish it from legitimate approaches to the uncovering of processes of religious change.

An important aspect of cultural change is the survival of elements from earlier stages, which may be simple practices, superstitions or aspects of the overall world view, which make statements about reality which are no longer experienced as true. In practice this means that in investigating any religious system, we should expect to find elements which are inconsistent with each other because they reflect different rates of change, or for that matter may reflect different geographical origins. In the unfurling of religious, and indeed cultural, change there is an interplay of the polarities of creativity and Urdummheit.

The term Urdummheit was used by evolutionists with reference to the supposed state of primordial human ignorance, but is appropriated by A. Thus, whatever stage of a culture we look at, we shall find such depleted routines, as well, perhaps, as newly creative forms of expression. These points are mentioned as a potential theoretical means of justifying the existence of something like shamanism, which is after all character- istic of socially non-hierarchical hunting societies, as a survival within Norse religion even though the society was clearly hierarchical and not primarily based on a hunting economy ; moreover, while it may have been a meaningful phenomenon in say the tenth century, it could have become fossilised and depleted by the thirteenth.

The nature of the sources The great majority of sources used in the present work are written; I delimit the field of investigation to exclude, other than incidentally, sources of an archaeological nature, or which stem from later oral folk tradition. Shamanic texts are mainly of a broadly ethnographic nature, recorded by outsiders observing the practices of shamanic peoples; they are mainly from the seventeenth to twentieth centuries.

The principal texts which are considered in the discussions are presented in the Sources section in the second volume which it is intended should be used in conjunction with the discussions throughout ; some general observations about the source materials are offered here, but more detailed presentations of the background and interpretation of the individual texts are given, in the main, in the course of discussion later in the volume.

Sources for shamanism Our sources of information on shamanism are varied. After the Revolution, shamanism continued to be a subject of research by Soviet scientists; they are characterised by a more or less overt political agenda, predictably reflecting a materialist Marxist-Leninist perspective. I am not an archaeologist, and whilst accepting that archaeology may sometimes have useful material to offer, I remain generally sceptical that physical objects by themselves, without some piece of writing or other expression of human thought upon which to hang an interpretation, can suggest meanings as distinct from any utilitarian purpose their form suggests.

FFC 2. The nature of the sources 13 can sometimes call into question their value as scientific studies, and the self-adulatory tone of some of them, contrasting with what was actually taking place in the Soviet empire in particular programmes designed to root out all aspects of local cultures , can make them particularly sick- ening to read.


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Since throwing off the shackles of Communism research has fortunately continued and is moreover often published in English or German. These more general considerations lie outside the ambit of the present work. Not only is a questioning, comprehensive approach taken, but the very assumptions that a Westerner brings to the questioning are themselves questioned.

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Unfortunately, such approaches are rare, and have only taken place in very recent years, when shamanism has largely disappeared from many areas of the world par- ticularly from Siberia. Hence, whenever possible, I use materials which have been published in Western languages, which are more accessible to most scholars of Norse myself included , both linguistically and in terms of library holdings.

We cannot question the past in this way, only weigh up fragmentary and biased sources, and our results are bound to be more hesitant. Essentially, the further we go back from the present, the less satisfactory the sources become. Another way of looking at our records of shamanism is from the point of view of Rezeptionsgeschichte: almost all the accounts we have are etic, and therefore represent a view of one type of society generally a more primi- tive one by another in the main, a modern or early-modern Western one.

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Whilst this is a fascinating topic, which indeed has spawned a number of important studies such as Flaherty ; Hutton ; and, with a focus more upon neo-shamanism, Znamenski , it is concerned essentially with the recipient, non-shamanic, society, and hence lies outside the com- pass of the present study. There is one area of exception, however. The studies mentioned are almost invariably deficient in that they begin too late, often only with seventeenth-century accounts. My discussion of these sources therefore complements the published studies of the reception of shamanism in the West.

Shamanism was practised by speakers of many language groups. More obviously relevant to the Norse area are the beliefs of their neighbours the Finns. Various dialects were spoken in Karelia, all closely related to more westerly Finnish but distinct in certain respects Karelian dialects have now largely been displaced by Russian. The nature of the sources 15 present volume are not only shamanic but also mythic, and are mostly poetic; they are thus comparable to Norse sources, preserving ancient motifs in traditional verse.

The earliest writer to give information about Finnish gods is the Lutheran reformer Mikael Agricola — Yet working out what that point may have been is fraught with difficulty. Kuusi proposed a system for establishing broad dates for poems, based on various factors. Although it scarcely constitutes a full scholarly edition, I refer to FFPE for versions of relevant poems when possible, since it provides a fairly substantial collection in Finnish, with English translation, of some of the main Finnish poems including, on occasion, variants , as well as brief intro- ductions and commentary on each.

There is, of course, a huge literature in Finnish which informs these presentations, some of which is listed in FFPE, and which I refer to when it appears enlightening on points under discussion. One of the main earlier anthologies of traditional poetry in Finnish is Haavio , 2nd edn , which has valuable discussions of mythological background, though it is rather outdated being written in , presents the poems in standardised Finnish without ascription of singer, place or collector, lacks a line-by-line commentary, and does not discuss social context or purpose. In any case, the co-existence of stylistic features in two traditions only weakly suggests contemporaneity of these features, even if it can be proved; in fact, it is unlikely that Finnish oral poetry underwent similar chronologically determined stylistic develop- ments to Norse skaldic verse, from which it is utterly distinct in almost every aspect.

Kuusi also suggests a line of development of the Kalevala-type verse form, which he relates broadly to actual dates: but this chronological scheme is based on now discredited notions of when the Finns occupied given parts of Finland, and needs wholly reconsidering. The slow adoption of Christianity means that the gap between a pagan origin and the time of recording may not be as great as might be imagined. Norse and other sources for Germanic traditions The scope of sources discussed here is somewhat wider than purely Norse texts, as analogous materials are drawn from other Germanic and classical writings, but the Norse material forms the focus.

The method seeks to apply logical methods to determine the dissemination and development of poetic redactions through examination of recorded variants, and in this respect relative datings may emerge, but it is notable that Kuusi only mentions dating within the context of the section on stylistics, a section which lacks any detail, and where the reader is referred for more discussion to the introduction to Kuusi — where, in turn, scarcely any more detail is given. Chronicles and histories, notably the twelfth-century Norwegian Historia Norwegie, are occasionally cited.

To go into further details of literary theory would take us too far beyond the topic of this work; many works already deal with this topic within the Norse field, such as the recent study of Clunies Ross on Old Norse poetry and poetics where further references may be found. The reasons for the survival of ancient myth and legend in a Christian society is an interesting one, but is not relevant here;14 however, it is relevant to bear in —75, s. As Tacitus is the earliest extant author to give any detailed information about Germanic peoples, the reliability of his account has come under scrutiny; it is generally agreed that his picture is coloured by influences from his own Roman culture, but the extent to which this invalidates what he says is a contentious issue.

The matter needs a more thorough discussion than appears to have been undertaken any- where; my own stance is to err on the side of accepting him as reliable but being aware of a certain degree of distortion due to classical influences or rhetorical considerations. Jankuhn argues that in general archaeology confirms his reliability, and in the field of beliefs, McKinnell for example 51—2 also considers him generally reliable.

The opposition between paganism and Christianity is but one aspect of the development of religious notions, and their expression, over the centuries. Norse paganism itself was certainly no monolith, unchanging over time and place, and our surviving monuments doubtless represent traditions or fragments of traditions of different geographical and chronological origin. Yet, with some few exceptions, it is generally difficult or impossible to trace the date or place of origin of pagan motifs. The uncovering of parallels, for example from classical sources, can sometimes suggest that a motif is ancient; yet even if a motif is in itself very ancient, its context, and hence its specific meaning, may nonetheless vary greatly.

Unless otherwise indicated, any suggestion in the present work of the existence of a pagan Norse motif including those which are arguably shamanic is intended to place the motif in the religious belief system of some not necessarily all Scandinavians of the few centuries preceding conversion, with the impli- cation sometimes made explicit by reference to more ancient analogues that such motifs are often derived from yet more ancient and centuries-old tradition, but also with the understanding that a countless line of poets and other tellers will each have used such motifs for their own specific purposes.

Some of the main types of Norse sources are Skaldic poetry. It is commonly by named authors, and can be fairly accurately dated often to within a few years. In another vein, Nordal , esp. The nature of the sources 19 and ascribed to early skalds, but often by the saga writers themselves, or their immediate predecessors: such verses are of uncertain often late date.

Deriving actual pieces of information from skaldic verse is therefore fraught with difficulty. Eddic poetry. The contrast with skaldic diction should be clear. The largest collection of Eddic poetry is found in the Codex Regius GkS 4to , written down in Iceland around — Lokasenna certainly alludes to myths we no longer have in poetic form, but other Eddic, and indeed skaldic, poems could well have been extant in say the twelfth century where such myths were presented.

Robinson — These date from the twelfth to fourteenth centuries and some even later. Laws of Norway and Iceland and occasionally other Scandinavian areas. Laws were originally handed down orally, but began to be committed to writing soon after the arrival of Christianity, and underwent many revi- sions thereafter. Icelandic laws rarely mention anything connected with paganism, but the mainland Scandinavian codes have slightly more.

The amount of variation between performances is accepted as being potentially great. The aim of reconstructing the original text, by consideration of likely interpolations and so forth, is rejected.

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This is scarcely an acceptable approach to Norse texts, and it moreover represents the imposition on our sources of a particular theory of orality derived from outside the Norse field, against the evidence proffered by those sources, and is at the least disingenuous in its ignoral of the clearly scribal history behind the recorded versions of texts;25 moreover, it seems to me an uninformed approach, given the recognition afforded by scholars working on indisputably oral traditions that each tradition is different, and values memorisation to varying degrees, sometimes deeply see the contributions to Honko , to pick but one example.

The situation is in fact bound to have been a complex one; a scribe, and before him a singer in the oral tradition — and singer and scribe may on certain occasions have been one and the same person — could alter a text either through carelessness, or deliberately, or else because variation was a natural part of re-realising a song. Arguments can be made either way for the existence of written forms of Eddic poems between about and , but they appear to have achieved something approaching the form in which they are recorded in the Codex Regius during this period.

In fact we only rarely have different versions of texts on which arguments about variation can be based; when we do, it seems to me that the vast majority of difference can best be explained as a result of scribal, not oral, change whereas, for example, the many variants in Finnish traditional poems are almost entirely oral in origin. The assumption Quinn notes as being fairly commonly espoused by Old Norse scholars that skaldic verses found cited in various prose texts derive from immediate oral tradition may also be questioned which is not to say it need necessarily be discounted, however : though we have no direct evidence of a skaldic collection equivalent to the Eddic Codex Regius, the erstwhile existence of such a manuscript is eminently possible — if the Codex Regius had happened to perish, for example on one of the many ships transporting manuscripts from Iceland to Denmark which were indeed wrecked on occasion , our view of the interplay of orality and literacy in the Eddic tradition would be quite different, which should act as a warning when speaking of the skaldic corpus.

Adhering to my standpoint as set out above, the earliest records antedate the official introduction of the new faith around , though not its influence. I take as my starting point that familiarity with the old beliefs waned with the coming of the new; hence greater familiarity indicates greater proximity, usually in time, but potentially also in place, to pagan belief and practice.

Whilst all relevant factors must be considered, and may alter our assessment, in general I believe that this may be used as a principle of dating, though it can scarcely be anything but vague as our only point of comparison is the small corpus of dated skaldic poems, which indeed do not necessarily lend themselves easily to such comparison. It is possible to take the line that if we wish to uncover anything reliable about Norse paganism, our study should be confined to poems definitely composed in the tenth century and before, a line pursued for example by Marold This seems to me a deceptively simplistic temptation.

Several very obvious factors militate against such an approach. We do not have direct access to any actual pagan verbal material, except a few enig- matic runic inscriptions: the early skaldic poems were all written down in roughly the thirteenth century, and were therefore the ones chosen for preservation by a society long Christian; the centuries of oral transmission before their recording will have had some effect on them, and vicissitudes subsequent to their recording have further reduced their number through the loss of manuscripts.

We must, certainly, be ever on guard when using the much fuller sources composed in the twelfth to fifteenth centuries, but when their reliability as transmitters of lore from the pagan period is taken into account sufficiently, I do not believe we end up with a picture of pagan- ism which is any more distorted than if we chose to ignore them, and is certainly a lot fuller.

Marold objects to a structuralist tendency to ignore the nature of sources and reconstruct meanings on the basis of disparate pieces of information. Harris The nature of the sources 25 inconsistent features existed alongside each other, with poets and others making their own varying structures and deriving their own meanings within the kaleidoscope of living tradition; unfortunately, we can only work with what we have, which may to a great extent leave the impression of a monolithic mythic structure which never existed.

Nam et divini et augures et magi et incantatores ceterique satellites Antichristi habitant ibi, quorum prestigiis et miraculis infelices animae ludibrio demonibus habentur. They say that among other works of virtue he had a great zeal for God, so that he evicted sorcerers from the land: the whole heathen world overflows with their number, but Norway in particular is full of such monsters.

For diviners and soothsayers and magicians and spell-casters and other satel- lites of Antichrist dwell there, by whose tricks and wonders unfortunate souls are made a laughing-stock of demons. The practice is attributed to both gods and men. Yet there may be some grain of truth in his statement.

Such a view was adopted and developed by Che Guangjin in his rich, ethno-ar- chaeological and multi-cultural study substantiating the religious beliefs reflected in boat-coffin burials. He argues that "the idea of immortality and the notion of rising to heaven to become an immortal, on Yue territory, first took form and developed in the Wuyi Mountains in Fujian and at Guixi in Jiangxi among other places. Such a theory, however, cannot be applied to the Wuyi Mountains without raising doubts, since the dating of the Wuyi boat-coffin burials preceded the Warring States period; the influence could well have worked the opposite way.

To be able to draw a conclusion from such elusive evidence, the issue of beliefs needs to be addressed along the lines formulated by the historian Ian Hodder, in his Reading the past: "can the notion of cultural belief be seen as reachable through archaeological evidence? However, a new chapter opens, when, from the time of the Han, one can begin to trace through documentary evidence what was done to or with these ancient mortuary remains.

Indeed, from the Han to the Qing, scattered records and accounts pertaining to the Wuyi Mountains appear in a variety of sources such as tomb contracts, imperial histories, poems, religious texts, epigraphies and local gazetteers. If these texts do not solve the question of the beliefs held in the original boat-coffin culture, they attest, on a descriptive level, to the material presence of the coffins and also to their cultural appropriation.

They also reveal the construction of a totally transformed landscape as the Wuyi Mountains became the possession of a dominant religious elite. The threshold of this historical change remains, however, to be placed into context. The Qin-Han transition. It also sheds a new light on the geo-political significance of the cult of the Wuyi Mountains in Han times.

No vestiges dating from after the middle period of Western Han were found at Hancheng.

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As to the dating of the founding of the city, several archaeologists agree on the beginning of the Western Han dynasty. A plausible year life span, stretching from to 1 10 BC, could thereby be assigned to this "Han city. To summarize, the excavations at Hancheng reveal that Han influence was already strong in Jianzhou prefecture by the Western Han period.

Socio- economical, cultural and political aspects of both cultures, Min Yue and Han, were shared in Minbei territory, and these exchanges were channeled through the natural passes of the Wuyi range. The Wuyi Mountains were located on the way to Hancheng, and the Lord of Wuyi, who may have been an ancient tribal chief or a god of the aboriginal Min Yue people,50 attracted the attention of Han Wudi for other reasons than those attributed by Han historians to his quest for immortality in Han histories! Once Hancheng was under his control, the Wuyi Mountains could become a strategic base for the pacification of Fujian.

The appropriation of these mountains by Han rule and religion, ostensibly as a residence for immortals, could in itself become a powerful means to suppress the Min Yue threat. From then on, it was the Qin-Han conquest of Fujian that was going to mark the starting point of the history of the Wuyi Mountains, as argued in this reconstruction of the past by the celebrated Neo-Confucian Zhu Xi 7fcH 1 :. The name of the Lord of Wuyi has been known since the time of the Han, when he was offered dried fish in sacrifice; it is uncertain whether he was a god. In the present Chong'an, there is a mountain called Wuyi where he was said to have lived.

Peaks, cliffs and ravines gracefully emerge in strange and extraordinary [shapes] as the clear Nine Turn Stream passes between them. Frequently, [pieces] of dry wood are overhung on the rocky and inaccessible heights of cliff-walls. Boats have been stored in the cracks: actually they are boat-coffins inside which were left dry bones and pottery ware; all are still intact and I was perplexed by those things!

In earlier times, when the roads were not yet practicable and when the [Nine Turn] River did not yet exist, the Yi tribe! In Han times, a sacrifice was offered to their chief. It might have been he who ruled over the [Qin]. Among the numerous peaks of this mountain, the most imposing one is surely Great King; half way up its summit is a small mound which was perhaps the residence of the Lord of Wuyi.

In reality, the accounts in ancient sources are misleading and incomplete: they cannot be verified. Another problem is that the region was dense and wild, difficult to circumscribe. Like the modern archaeologist and historian who observes, reads sources and advances hypotheses, Zhu Xi outlined problems which are still debated today: the ethnic origin of the early inhabitants, historical dating, and topo-geographical considerations. However, his attempt to reconstitute facts with an objective scrutiny does not conceal a biased interpretation which had the implication of legitimizing the adoption the Lord of Wuyi into Han culture and its social framework.

His "tribal chief appears as a benevolent hero figure who hosted the innocent Han refugees fleeing from the Qin, and therefore his status was no longer that of a wild barbarian. Institutionalization and cosmologization.

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Even if the province of Fujian became the prosperous "kingdom of Buddhism" by the Middle Tang period, and especially under the 37 years of rule of the empire of Min , the Wuyi Mountains harbored a predominantly Taoist tradition, which had received imperial recognition from Han Wudi's reign. It reached its apogee in the Song and, due to its remoteness from Fuzhou and the major cities on the coast, was not affected by the same historical contingencies which provoked the decline of Buddhist institutions and landholdings from the middle period of the Southern Song in Eastern Fujian.

After the reestablishment of the central power of. Echoing this socio-economic boom, the Song period at Wuyi witnessed an intense period of enfeoff- ments of local gods and bestowals of sacrificial statutes, which reveal at once the efficacy manifested by the local Wuyi pantheon, and the efforts on the part of the central government to control such a religious effervescence so as to absorb the prevailing local charisma into a coded form of state Taoism.

From these words by Xionghe Wcfc , a prominent scholar- official of Chong'an, such a religious fervor can be observed:. At the time Han Wudi performed sacrifices to mountains and streams, the construction of an altar for the god of the soil [i. Each dynasty granted titles to [temples] and developed numerous shrines and abbeys. One stone inscription [dated to] the third year of Tianbao during the Tang and a plaque [dated to] the second year of Baoda during the Southern Tang have been preserved.

Early in the Duanping year , the Thirteen Immortals were bestowed ranks and titles. Whenever they prayed for rain and sun, an [imperial] envoy [accomplished the rite of] throwing the Jade tablet of the Golden Dragon into the grotto, and each time there was a reply. The greatest among [these gods] became the brilliant assistants of the Sage Emperor for three generations of rulers in the Song and were venerated by all in return. If the state Taoist discourse was prominent, the importance of exchanges with Buddhists and the local gentry of literati and officials should not be underestimated, especially in the fertile intellectual milieu of the Song: they shared the same geography and interchanged sites; they had tea fields and competing technologies to make the best tea.

Over time, one site such as Water Curtain Cave 7jcJ! However, the smaller and less structured institutions did not conquer the transcendent and spectacular scenery of the Nine Turn Stream and remained scattered on the southern or northern interior ranges. Apart from the Fifth Turn, which became an important Neo- Confucian center during and after Zhu Xi's lifetime,57 the cliffscape of the Nine Turn Stream was regularly dominated by the Taoist presence which manifested itself through architectural constructions, numerology 9 turns, 36 peaks, 99 rocks , and an accumulation of legends and lore that became attached to each particular site, metamor-.

The Wuyi Mountains had become a hotbed of practices. The Min shu mentions that teachings and transmissions of rites were exchanged between masters coming and going from surrounding regions: Mt. Lu JSllj. Such masters practiced inner alchemy, performed Qingwei :MWi and thunder rituals, prayed for rain, cultivated perfection and became immortals. Nevertheless, it was no coincidence that the abbeys and hermitages were concentrated on the sites of the First, Third and Fourth Turns, which contained the most archaeological remains see the appended map, illustration 1.

We shall now deal with the active role that the Shang-Zhou artifacts, by their mere presence in the Wuyi cliffscape, played as material culture. We can ask, with Hodder, how these objects "acted back" on society within a social framework of beliefs, concepts and dispositions60 and how the landscape itself was thus challenged and altered. Such an enterprise, suggests Hodder, points to the role of an agent who, positioned in a particular historical situation, "manipulates material culture as a resource and as a sign system in order to create and transform relations of power and domination.

How, thereafter, were the later generations of occupants going to confront these peculiar vestiges of the past encrusted in the landscape? As we shall see, in the context of the post-Han era in Wuyi, the burial props of the Shang-Zhou eras were still potent and not yet ready to end their careers as museum relics.

The appropriation of the sites. From the earliest sources, the Lord of Wuyi was associated with the funeral remains as well as with the cult of immortals. Half-way up their cliffs, there are several thousand hanging coffins SUfil- It is said that in.

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In the cliff crags, several openings form cave chambers in which some wooden planks are tucked; a garment is visible from outside; it is said that it is the residence of the perfected Lord [of Wuyi] who is the Director of Destinies it] pp. The presence of remains — here associated with traces of a human presence, perhaps of unknown squatters — in the residence of a Lord of Wuyi described as a "Director of Destinies," in charge of the underworld, hints that he was connected with mortuary cults.

Great King Peak is the imposing peak that dominates the scenery and opens the sacred area at the First Turn — ft. If it was its prominence that prompted the Taoists to. Even though glimpses of such a numinous place were rare according to Taoist records, this one exposed itself fully to the eyes of common mortals:. Inside the cave, there are five porcelain jugs impressed with the thunder pattern; they are filled with the exuviae and bones of the immortals.

There is also a rock vault of which the opening, on the eastern side, is too narrow to serve as an exit. At the entrance to the grotto there are wooden pieces of yellow heart wood [that] were part of a path along the precipitous cliff; they cannot be used any more but have not yet fallen nor decayed after such a long time.

Moreover, there are four boats, [placed by pairs], one laid upside down on top of the other And there are a couple of hollowed-out wooden [planks] tucked transversally which were part of the [Rainbow] Bridge at the western cliff; in another crevice, there are an incense burner, musical instruments and ceramic ware. The spirit immortal left a cicada exuviae in front of the verdant cliff. Solid gold, smooth jade, his bones remain, Hidden in clouds and mist, for how many years has it been? The appropriation of our archaeological site by Taoists could not be more explicitly demonstrated.

This will become even clearer further on, when we explore the destiny of these former bone remains of the Bai Yue transformed into bones of the immortals. Another major source of remains was the cliffs at the south side of the Third and Fourth Turns. The latter were too steep to construct temples, but they were ideal sites for both boat-coffin burials and Taoist reclusive training.

At the western side of Great Repository Peak, at Fowl Nest Cliff HHHi , was found a large quantity of vestiges, among which "thirteen cases of immortals' exuviae;71 each case [containing] one or two skull parts, one or two pieces of shinbones, one or two sections of hands and feet, [all] wrapped in fine handkerchiefs. In one of the cases there were the head and foot bones of a crane. The place, which was described as occupied by some unexpected worshippers — She people or mountain dwellers?

Thus, new forms of cults sharing the same Bai Yue remains thrived at the same time and at the. The transformation of remains. As we have seen, bones were "borrowed" from site to site for ritual purposes, carried in wooden cases that insured their safe transfer outside the burial cave see above. The "portability" of these material elements increased their chances to become manipulated, semantically as well as physically. On one hand, the apprentice immortals, following in the footsteps of the remote Bai Yue inhabitants, ultimately supplemented in the form of their exuviae, the supply of bones; on the other hand, the local people made use of these bones to obtain rain and relief from calamities.

Such a "joint venture" which juxtaposed elements of folk religion with Taoist theology gave to the bones a ritual function, regulated through the intermediary of local officials or Taoist priests. Such was the. As his request was granted, he had a sacrificial hall erected for the owner of the bones.

The exuviae had become a powerful cult object for multi-purpose social action. In a sense, what developed in the Wuyi Mountains was a cult of relics: the bones used in rituals were believed to be those of famous immortals who had cultivated themselves and transmuted their bodies. As relics, their placement in potent sites was a condition for their efficacy. Such a correlation had repercussions on the lives of the local inhabitants through the performance of fertility rites. Rain was the most frequently recorded motive for prayers mentioned in gazetteers: water was primordial for insuring the subsistence of a population whose economic development had been based on tea cultivation, as early as the Song and increasingly in the Ming and Qing periods.

The efficacy of the bone-relics was, however, not unanimously recognized and Zhu Xi would not have fetched a case of bones, even if the ancient remains were part of his poetic vision or a pretext for intellectual debates:. There are exuviae in the cliff [but] no more results; The people of this world vainly pity themselves. Zhu Xi They also focus on these things. We have explored cases of mortuary remains transformed into objects of cults. We are now going to deal with a new "virtual" object which did not exist as a vestige but which was inspired by their sight and imposed to the Wuyi landscape as a pure inven-.

However, in the Song religious landscape, these planks had become the tokens of a Rainbow Bridge. The Rainbow Bridge is a commonly cited icon in Taoist lores and legends and it is not surprising to find one in the main legend that glorified the Wuyi Mountains and its pantheon in Song times.

It is through the magical feat of launching a Rainbow Bridge over to the summit of the peak that the local inhabitants of Wuyi were able to climb and feast with the Taoist gods who had invited them. Alas, at the end of the day, they had to return to the world below, and it is with great sadness that " Once they had reached the mountain foot, a sudden violent wind arose and snapped the bridge into pieces; when the people lifted their eyes to look at the summit, they saw nothing but the evergreen cliffs.

Among these gods, the Lord of Wuyi had been transformed into a local agent of state power in the divine bureaucracy of the Song. The profane spirit who was formerly addressed in tomb ordinances as the god of the earth, was now sinicized and sanctified in his new role of servant of the Tao. At the level of individual practice, the legendary Rainbow Bridge had the same.

Magic Songs of the West Finns, Vol. I: (illustrated) Magic Songs of the West Finns, Vol. I: (illustrated)
Magic Songs of the West Finns, Vol. I: (illustrated) Magic Songs of the West Finns, Vol. I: (illustrated)
Magic Songs of the West Finns, Vol. I: (illustrated) Magic Songs of the West Finns, Vol. I: (illustrated)
Magic Songs of the West Finns, Vol. I: (illustrated) Magic Songs of the West Finns, Vol. I: (illustrated)
Magic Songs of the West Finns, Vol. I: (illustrated) Magic Songs of the West Finns, Vol. I: (illustrated)
Magic Songs of the West Finns, Vol. I: (illustrated) Magic Songs of the West Finns, Vol. I: (illustrated)

Related Magic Songs of the West Finns, Vol. I: (illustrated)



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