So Tell Me ... What's The Weather Like on YOUR Planet?

23 January, 2008

Under the Surface

So among the many, many places I lurk is a mailing list for Slavic reconstructionism -- people who are interested in reviving/recreating/whathaveyouing the polytheistic religions of the Slavic peoples.

I only lurk there because it's not the path I'm called to, and because many of the people there come across as assuming that it should be the path I'm called to because of the blood of generations before me -- or, if not that one, one of the other potentially legitimated-by-heritage paganisms that I can claim by chasing lines of ancestors back to pre-Christian times.

Recently, someone came up with a word-phrase -- in Russian -- for this family of religions. And raised it as a possible thing to use more broadly than in their own personal use. And this went around a little bit, debating the usefulness of more ethnically-specific phrases and whether or not other people might object.

And someone in there made a comment about how maybe some people would prefer something in their own language, say, the Poles, and wonder if that speaker knew about the attempt by the Tsar to obliterate Polish language and culture in the late 1800s. I can't say that it read as aware to me, but maybe it was a thrown bone to mention the Poles as people who might maybe want a word for their thing that wasn't in Russian.

What awareness lurks under the surface? What blood descended from subversives who loved their home and their language enough to risk being murdered for preserving it lurks under my surface?

The past is another country, which sometimes invades this one with old bitterness and old wounds.

1 comment:

WordK said...

Oh, my -- the debate of what language "should" be used for a Slavic family of religions could go on forever. And modern Russian has relatively little relation to the Slavic language that would have been used prior to Vladimir (or Volodyrmyr, depending on who wrote the history one is reading), or by much of the rural population for a very long time after Vladimir. The Tsarist empire had a horrible history of wiping out, or attempting to, other Slavic languages. And from a earlier point (Kievan or Muscovy) -- much of any widespread standardization of local and regional Slavic dialects in the area would have taken place in the context of "convert or we'll make you unhappy -- oh, and we're going to build a church in your sacred place -- hope you don't mind." The historical memory that an Orthodox Christian skete was built on the top of hill sacred to Perun is alive and well in Novgorod. The monks are still having to justify it in elaborate terms.