« 2019. #3 (147)

The Ethnology Notebooks. 2019, № 3 (147), 684—697

UDK 398.1(=161.3):316.6:291.33:133.4:811.161.3





PhD Candidate at the

Department of the modern ethnology of the Institute of Ethnology of the

National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine

Svobody Avenue 15, 79000, Lviv, Ukraine.

Contacts: e-mail:



Homel society of local history«Talaka»

Liaљиynskaja, 26, 1, 246008, Homel, Belarus

Contacts: e-mail:

Abstract. We studied traditional Belarusian representation of such substances as blood, spirit, soul, power, knowledge, charms, evil eye. Many older Belarusians who live in the villages, believe that these substances have supernatural properties and were found in humans, animals, supernatural beings, things. People, other creatures, can transmit these substances, with the result that the state of the human body can be a healthy patient, that acquired supernatural properties.

We have studied the representations of substance and traditional medicine as a complex system based on the combination of methods of the theory of systems and cognitive sciences. We conducted fieldwork in Belarusian villages, interviewed informants about the substances of organisms, including metaphysical supernatural concepts, as well as medical ritual texts.

People who have supernatural properties of the substances of the body, play the social role of specialists having special knowledge — a wizard, witches, sorcerers, healer. Social relationships that arise as a result of these beliefs, have the character of rituals that aim to harm or treatment. Thus formed social system in which there are data exchanges information about the state of organisms and their procedures change states through rituals. Data management is done through the submission of the substance that forms the negative and positive feedback — respectively, aimed at improving or deteriorating conditions of the body, or the formation of new organisms. In accordance with the ideas of people that make decisions about social connections and actions, they have a ritual character.

Coordination in the control aspect is carried out at the level of individuals and experts through exchanges of data on the state of organisms and substances, with the formation of positive and negative feedback between people, experts in sacred knowledge, supernatural beings, natural units. The purpose of this system is the body’s deterioration or improvement of conditions or the formation of new organisms.

Keywords: Personhood, Person, European mythology, European paganism, soul, blood, spirit, power, sacred knowledge, traditional knowledge, charms, evil eye, social system, feedback.

Received 8.04.2019


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