Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Wolf incantations

An incantation or incantations are the words spoken during a ritual, either a hymn or prayer invoking or praising a deity, or in magic, occultism, witchcraft with the intention of casting a spell on an object or a person. An incantation differs from the simple magic words, which are pronounced only one single time and for influencing of the object of the magic.
For instance, old Finnish incantations for the ancestor´s spectres or for the bugaboo´s sake:
Kalman ukko, kalman akka,
kalman entinen eläjä!
Kalman valtikka väkevä,
kalman herra voimallinen! (Krohn, Kaarle. Suomalaisten runojen uskonto. Werner Söderström Osakeyhtiön kirjapaino Porvoossa 1914.)
(Transl. Oldie from grave, soul from grave,
former being from grave!
Ruler of the grave,
lord of the grave!)
Estonian incantations toward wolves are related with the term of sin. This example has taken from A. Kitzberg´s drama "Werewolf": "Metsakutsa tuleb! Pelga pattu, latsõkõnõ!" (A forest mongrel comes! Fear sin, my child!)
Estonian wolf incantations are similar to the text above, despite all their differences, have a factor in common, namely the meaning, the thought itself:
Metsa hulli, metsa halli,
metsa ilusada isanda,
metsa karvane kasuka!
(Forest soul, gray creature, beautiful master of forest, hairy fur of forest!)
Metsa uku, metsa aku,
metsa kuldane kuningas,
kulda trooni neitsikene!
Ära otsi minu hobest,
ära vahi minu varssa...
(Oldie from forest, soul of forest, a virgin on the golden throne! Do not seek my horse, do not look my foal...)
Louis Hjelmslev can explain the vast similarities between Finnish grave- and Estonian wolf incantations: "Just as the same sand can be put into different molds, and the same cloud take on ever new shapes, so also the same meaning is formed or structured differently in different languages." (Hjelmslev, Prolegomena to a Theory of Language, Baltimore Waverley Press 1953 pp 31-32.)

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