Accepted Paper:

Mythological ornament in transformation: from national symbols to healing  

Author:

Digne Udre (University of Tartu)

Paper short abstract:

The paper explores the transformation of Latvian mythological ornament in the course of the 20th-century - from national symbols, it has moved into various realms or human activities, including healing and alternative medicine.

Paper long abstract:

The paper explores the transformation of Latvian mythological ornament - from national symbols, it has moved into various realms or human activities, including healing and alternative medicine.

Mythological ornament embodies the idea that certain elements from folk ornament represent deities from Latvian mythology. To each of the main Latvian deities and some of the mythological creatures, a corresponding ornament can be found. This kind of interpretation was created within the framework of nationalism at 20-30thies of the 20th-century. It was a prosperous time for nationalistic ideas when the quest for ethnic symbols and special Latvian manner where searched everywhere.

However, in the course of the 20th-century mythological ornament has transformed into an interdisciplinary cultural phenomenon where belief, national and ethnic sentiments, esoteric outlook and economy are intertwined in a mutually constitutive way.

Nowadays the visual performance of ornament comprises narrative, which is connected with the benevolent qualities ascribed to the mythological ornament. Its practitioners promote the idea that mythological ornament one the hand can protect against evil forces, on the other - attract favorable ones. Paper will focus on the transformations of mythological ornament into the means of alternative medicine and its uses in the contemporary healing processes.

Case study represented in the paper will explore the techniques of a contemporary Latvian healer who uses mythological ornament in physical and spiritual healing and it will reveal how the mythological concepts are related to healing since the strengths of a certain ornament is based on its connection to the mythological deity.

Panel Medi04
Techniques of transformation, healing movements, and medicine worlds