Title of the article:



Elena A. Okladnikova

Information about the author/authors

Elena A. Okladnikova — DSc in History, Professor, Russian State Pedagogical University, Moika river Embankment 48, 191186 St. Petersburg, Russia. E-mail: okladnikova-ea@yandex.ru


Theory and history of culture




Vol. 53


pp. 8–20


January 22, 2019

Date of publication

September 28, 2019

Index UDK


Index BBK



The relevance of this paper is determined by the need to describe current social situation sustaining the existence of a number of features of the traditional culture of the Russian North. During the field study, we were focused on the issue of extent to which the poetics of traditional folklore in the broad sense, — i.e., traditional costume, ethnographic items, family photo albums, notebooks with apocryphal prayers (such as “The dream of the Virgin Mary”) and occult spells written down by older relatives and transmitted to the generation of our informants — remains relevant to the modern inhabitants of the North Russian villages. The occult spells that we studied up during field research in the Tarnog district of the Vologda region in the summer of 2018 are presented for the first time in this article. This mystical knowledge, being on the periphery of the modern social activity of the rural population of the Tarnog district of the Vologda region, is however an important part of their mentality. This occult knowledge (apocryphal prayers, spells), that the residents of the Tarnog district of the Vologda region shared with us, are an integral part of the intangible cultural heritage of the Russian population of the Vologda region. On the other hand, this knowledge, and the associated world of traditional artifacts (clothes, grandmother's chests, family albums and kitchen utensils) are the sources of that power that nurtures (through the female line) the idea of reviving dying villages of the Russian North today.


spells, protective motives, Vologda region, traditional culture of the Russian North.


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