Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Magical Folktakes from Eastern Europe - Georgia

 Here is a book review of Georgia Through Its Folktales by Michael Berman. It comes to us from Henry at the Elhaz Ablaze blog:

"...Georgia is an Eastern European region which hosts a range of related cultures, many of which to this day maintain pagan customs and beliefs in one form or another. Berman waxes lyrical about the rich traditions that persist in this land, the complex and subtle ways in which its people have woven incredibly disparate influences from east and west into a truly unique whole...

Yet this book is much more than a kind of travelogue. Berman contends that stories are doors into trance, both in the telling and in the content of the tales themselves. With a background in shamanism, it is no wonder that he turns his attention to the traces of shamanic influence that course through the stories recounted in this book. Characteristic Georgian folk tale conventions – such as vagueness about time and even whether the events recounted are real or not, as well as recurring numerological and symbolic patterns – are analysed by Berman as markers of shamanic experience, suggesting that these stories are rooted in deep spiritual experience and not merely in flights of fancy." ...(Cont.)...