Bear’s archetype in different nations’ cultures.

Bear’s archetype in different nations’ cultures. E.V. Mozol “Comparative analysis of bear’s and wolf’s cults in Old Russian pagan traditi...

Bear’s archetype in different nations’ cultures.

E.V. Mozol “Comparative analysis of bear’s and wolf’s cults in Old Russian pagan tradition”.
In Eastern Slavs’ culture bear’s ritual significance has increased and wolf’s significance has decreased, comparatively with the ancient Indo-European tradition. The wolf’s cult means aggressive beginnings, connected with warriors, princes, notion “alien”. And the bear’s cult means the creative beginnings. It’s connected with such notions as “several”, “master”, fertile power.
In the Baltic, Germanic and Eastern Slavs tradition, i.e. European Indo-European peoples who were in similar ecological habitats: In an area of deciduous and coniferous forests of Europe, there is the expansion of the ritual significance of the bear and the loss of the wolf’s cult, saving Indo-European base, many functions of it. This is not about more or less ritual significance of these animals in Eastern Slavs culture, and on the delimitation of spheres their application.

The bear’s cult symbolized land’s fertility, the forests, but opposed to the water element: in fairy tales, and legends a bear defeated and casted out water’s spirit. This is another difference between the cults of these animals. Antithesis land-water continued to represent the boundary, the turning point, and these concepts, as noted earlier, have been connected with the wolf. Bear’s image was characterized as wedding symbol, symbol of fertility and fecundity. It was demonstrated in a wedding ceremony, love magic, in the treatment of infertility, and so on. Bear was seen as a symbol of health and strength, which was reflected in the medicine. For example, for fever’s treatment bear had to step over the patient, who was put face down on the ground, moreover a beast had to touch his back with his paw.
Systematic, genetic and comparative-historical methods of the analysis of wolf’s and bear’s cult allowed to create objective criteria in the study of their origin and development. Continuing tradition of the Indo-European origin, cults of these animals in Russia show two opposite sides of being. Wolf’s cult showed active, aggressive beginnings and was associated with warriors, the concept of "alien". Bear’s cult showed creative power and had been associated with fertile power of the earth, with the concepts of "several", "master".

U. A, Koshkarova "Basis of bearish archetypal myth"
A story of man’s and bear’s relationship is known to other peoples. For example, in the volume "Yukagir’s Folklore" in the Siberian folk series in the "Tales of the ancient people", placed the legend "How was born Goosin people ", which says that Yukagirs of Goosin kind start from a woman’s and a bear’s  descendant. In this text the bear-grandparent warns:
"Seeing a bear, his [bear’s descendant] children must say:" I’m your relative". Then a bear will know them". Khunt’s myths also consist of examples of stories about the origin of humans from the bear; so in the myth "woman Mos”  a woman turns into a flower, after that it was eaten by a bear, which had born three children - two sons and a  girl who were bears. A girl was a Khanty girl. The bear explained this girl how to bury her sons’ bones when they would killed (i.e. explain how to carry out a burial in a bear festival).
We think, that the most archaic variant of the bear’s myth in the Ob Ugrians. In this myth, bears and girl appear in the bear, after penetrating of the spirit of the first woman Mos into her, who was a daughter of the earth goddess. What clearly shows the time of myth’s occurrence in the period of the matriarchy, and the archetypal nature of the veneration of bears’ image as a demonstration of Mother’s Nature archetype.

In Marie Kashe’s blog bear described as a sacred animal of our ancestors. It’s very interesting to see alive pagan beliefs in other cultures and see links with your culture.

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