« 2019. #3 (147)

The Ethnology Notebooks. 2019, № 3 (147), 622—640

UDK 398.332.1/.2:58(=161.2:477:292.452)





Candidate of historical sciences / Doctor of Philosophy,

Researcher fellow of department of Historical Ethnology

of the Institute of Ethnology

The National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine,

15, Svobody Avenue, 79000, Lviv, Ukraine

Contacts: Е-mail:

Abstract. Introduction: The article deals with the mythology of the world tree in world mythologies and monuments of the Ukrainian Carpathians traditional culture. Problem Statement: we can assert that the image of the world tree is universal, archetypal and in one form or another is fixed in ideological representations of people all over the world. The structure of the world tree almost everywhere has a clearly delimited three-tier structure, in which you can distinguish three main areas of being development: the beginning or the lower sphere, identified with the roots; the middle, identified with the trunk; the ending presented by the crown. Each of these tree spheres is the repository of certain characters and images of the living world. The purpose of the article is to systematize and analyze data on the mifologems of world tree and the beliefs associated with them in the traditional culture of the Ukrainian Carpathians. Methods: The main methods involved in the article are structural, comparative and analytical. In the process of research, we used an interdisciplinary method and involved archeology, ethnology, art studies, religious studies and petroglyphistics materials.

Conclusion: All these beliefs are somehow reflected in mythological representations, folklore, rituals, various household objects and clothes of different people around the world. Thus, according to the analyzed sources, the archetypal image of the world tree is traced back to the late Paleolithic monuments of Ukraine. In this regard Ukrainian Carpathians region, and Ukraine in general, are not exceptions. We can see the constant presence of this motive in rituals and everyday life of people. In particular, we have followed this motive in many ways (from very conditioned images and to the reproduction of complex mythological stories of Carpathian Easter eggs) on the monuments of decorative and applied arts, which, despite considerable local flavor, clearly correlate with the monuments of plain terrains. In this context, another significant feature of the world tree image attracts attention — its correlation with human. This, on the one hand, manifested itself in folk art (for example, the image of anthropomorphic trees on towels “rushnyk”), and on the other hand in traditional beliefs, where trees in general were correlated with a human (they had age, gender, had to die «by its own death», could be a counterpart of living person, even more, according to some Carpathian legends, individual families carried their genealogy from a certain tree). Therefore, it is advisable (apart from the cosmogonic motive, symbolism of fertility, the embodiment of the idea of constant revival and eternal life) to distinguish the anthropomorphic motive of the world tree, when it can be correlated to a person in its interaction with surrounding world.

Keywords: tree symbol, mythologies, traditional ritualism, spring-summer cycle, Ukrainian Carpathians, beliefs, cult of vegetation.

Received 8.04.2019


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