Pagan Ritual and Myth in Russian Magic Tales a Study of Patterns

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This study challenges the prevailing claim that there is no connection between ritual and the Russian folktale. It reveals the author's discovery of two primary magic spell forms found in pagan ceremonies and folk literature. These binary and trinary invocation forms appear in a number of variations and contain basic rhythmic elements found in primitive music and folk songs. They are similar to those found on verbal and incident levels in 20 Russian magic tales. Their basic rhythmic elements are compared to like phenomena noted in the Russian language verbal aspect system, and to primitive music. In addition to the binary/trinary ritual forms, embedded patterns of ancient rituals have been delineated in "Shabarsha" and "By Pike's Command," two well-known Russian tales. Superimposed on these ritual patterns are yet other patterns of mythic images, revealing new insights into the mental world of those who created these tales of wonder.


"Marjorie Yovino-Young has assembled the entire necklace of Russian Folktales and has succeeded in penetrating through the opalescent layers of these pearls to the very kernel, where She reveals to us the illusive magic link." -Prof. Jan L. Perkowski, University of Virginia

Table of Contents




I Pagan Communities and Folk Literature

Trinary Invocation Forms
Binary Invocation Forms
Extensions of the Doubling Principle

II Twenty Russian Magic Tales

Verbal Forms from the Perspective of Rhythm
Duration and Finality
Acts and Episodes
Direction Fulfillment as Variation of Doubling
The Tale as a Whole: Embedded Images Based on Ritual and Myth
"By Pike's Command"


Appendix I - Titles of Twenty Tales

Appendix II - Transliteration Chart




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