Images of Shamans and a Werewolf Girl in the Khakass’ Heroic Epic

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We have considered the images of shamans and a werewolf girl in the Khakass’ heroic epic. The appearance of the images of shamans and female shamans is due to the influence of shamanism, which has been developed among all the peoples in Siberia. There is no complete description of these images in the Khakass’ heroic epic, they are pictured schematically. Shamanic elements, actions, peculiar to shamans, are manifested in the descriptions of some magic objects used by this or that character. The werewolf girl’s image attracts attention: it has a special functional role - she turns out to be the donator of a soul to a child, the defender of a churt (home, homeland), the patroness of a brother and a sister. In her image, the influence of mythological ideas associated with totemism is discernible. The werewolf girl’s image is a personification of the image of a swallow, which has the idea of patronage and helping people. A swallow is a popular character in legends of not only the Khakass people, but also other Siberian peoples. The image of a cuckoo, which is a symbol of a heroine’s soul, became widespread in the Khakass epic as well. In the studied heroic tales, the mythological basis is seen in the presence of motifs of the first creation, childlessness, miraculous conception and miraculous birth, which receive a full-fledged artistic development in the epic. The mythological origins lie in the metamorphism of the characters, which can be explained by the ancient culture-bearers’ totemic notions.

About the authors

Natalya V. Mainagasheva

Khakass Research Institute for Language, Literature, and History

Author for correspondence.
ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8605-3450

Candidate in Philology, research fellow of the Department of Folklore

23, Shchetinkin st., Abakan, 655017, Republic of Khakassia, Russian Federation


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