dictionary

Book Review – Dictionary of Gypsy Mythology by Claude Lecouteux

February, 2019

Book Review
Dictionary of Gypsy Mythology
By Claude Lecouteux
Publisher Inner Traditions
Length 183 pages

I’ll be the first one to admit that I don’t know anything at all about the Roma, so I found the book interesting. There are several sources that Mr. Lecouteux quotes. His primary source is Heinrich Albert von Wlislocki (1856-1907).

The author states that there are 15 different gypsy languages, he has tried to remain faithful to everything as it appears in the source text. He also tells whether the words are feminine, masculine, plural, or singular. And he is very faithful in the way he listed the source text from which he gathers his information.

One of the first entries is for Adam and Eve pg. 16 (Damo and Yehwah is the way he has it listed in the book), I did not realize that in both the Rama and Jewish traditions that Adams first wife was Lilith. (But Eve’s name should not be confused with the Yahweh the name of God, spelled differently but pronounced the same way.) Each entry into this book is interesting; there are pictures, sigils, and in some entries little hand drawings.

There are four texts at the end of the book, one is on The Great Flood, the next is The White Hind, next is The Mountain of Cats, and the last one is the Bride of Phuvuš. I had never heard the stories before, so reading them for the first time was interesting.

Reading this book, I have gained a lot of insight into the mythology of the Roma. I feel that this book is written with a lot of respect for the tradition, and the people of the Roma society. I learned a lot that I didn’t know; it also sparked my interest into more of the mythology of the Roma.

I’m also inspired to start checking out more of Claude Lecouteux’s books. This being the second book of his I have read, he writes like a professor. At times a little dry, but always interested. If you want to know more about the Roma mythology, I would suggest this book, the Dictionary Of Gypsy Mythology.

Dictionary of Gypsy Mythology: Charms, Rites, and Magical Traditions of the Roma on Amazon

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About the Author:

Dawn Borries loves reading and was thrilled to become a Reviewer for PaganPages.Org. Dawn, also, has been doing Tarot and Numerology readings for the past 25 years. Dawn does readings on her Facebook page.  If you are interested in a reading you can reach her at: Readings by Dawn on Facebook at

https://www.facebook.com/Readings-by-Dawn-1608860142735781/

A Year And A Day

February, 2014

Paganism

 

Definitions of paganism are difficult because most Pagans do not operate within a centralised religious body or follow a standard set of rules.  However there are similarities between the various Pagan and Neopagan traditions, including reverence for the Earth and nature.  Many Neopagans share common beliefs with indigenous traditions including pantheism, polytheism, and animism.

 

Below are examples of some of the largest groups within the Pagan and Neopagan movement.  However given Paganism’s eclectic nature, these are purely generalizations and there are many variations and interpretations!

 

Wicca

Wicca is the largest of the Neopagan religious groups, thought to be started in the 1950s by Gerald Gardner in the UK.  Basic Wiccan tenets include duotheistic worship of the Goddess and God, practice of magic and altered realities, and belief in reincarnation and karma.  They celebrate the eight-fold Wheel of the Year through their Sabbats, and celebrate the Full (and sometimes New) Moon during Esbats.  Wicca has no central hierarchy or dogma, however many Wiccans follow a set of moral codes such as the Wiccan Rede and the Threefold Law (The Law of Return).  Wiccan groups are divided into ‘traditions’ such as Gardnerian, Alexandrian, Georgian or Dianic Wicca, with many Wiccans following an eclectic mix of cultural influences, either working in covens or solitary.

 

Druidism

The first neo-Druid order was formed back in 1717, and since then, several other groups have formed including the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids (1964) and Ár nDraíocht Féin (1983).  These groups are inspired by the pre-Christian Druids, and its adherents are often well-read in the history, mythology and spirituality of the pagan Celts.  They follow the Celtic Wheel of the Year, as well as have reverence for the three realms of Land, Sea and Sky.  Neo-Druids are often divided into Bards (storytellers, singers, poets), Ovates (seers, diviners, healers), and Druids (teachers, shamans).

 

Polytheistic Reconstructionism (Celtic, Germanic, Hellenic, Kemetic)

Reconstructionists attempt to revive culturally-specific ethnic traditions and practices based on surviving folklore, which is in contrast to eclectic groups which mix facets from different cultural sources.  Popular reconstructionist groups include Celtic, Germanic (including Nordic and Saxon), Hellenic (Greek), Roman, and Kemetic (Egyptian) cultural backgrounds.  These groups rely more on historical evidence and surviving folk traditions as a base for their practices, as opposed to piecing together different aspects from different sources, which was prevalent during the Romanticism of 19th century Europe.

 

Ásatrú, Heathenism, Odinism

Ásatrú or Heathenism is a modern tradition focused on Nordic mythology and culture.  These groups are thought to be reconstructionist in their view, in that they attempt to recreate the pagan practices of ancient Nordic people exclusively.  Most follow the mythology from the Norse and Icelandic Eddas and Sagas, in which the World Tree Yggdrasil is the home of the Nine Worlds.  Their deities include the All Father Odin as well as Thor, Frigg and Freyja.  Heathens believe in Wyrd and ørlög, which is similar to Karma and Fate, as well as the Nine Noble Virtues.  Their celebrations involve the Blót, a blessing ceremony historically involving ritual sacrifice, and the Sumbel, a feast or gathering.

 

Ceremonial Magick, Occultism and Thelema

Ceremonial Magick, or High Magic, describes a practice that uses specific sequences of words and tools in their rituals.  It became popular in the 19th century with the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, which was a huge influence on Western Occultism.  Thelema was developed by Aleister Crowley, the 20th century Occultist and Ceremonial Magician.  He coined the term ‘magick’ to differentiate from the magic performed as ‘stage tricks’.  The core tenet in Thelema is “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law”.  Western Occultism, Ceremonial Magick and their traditions follow closely the esoteric principles of Eastern and Western mysticism, Qabalah, Hermeticism, Enochian magic, Alchemy, divination and metaphysics for their spiritual development.

 

Shamanism

Shamans use altered states of consciousness and contact with the spirit world, often by using drumming, dance or entheogens, to perform healing, divination or other work.  Shamanism was present in many pre-Christian cultures around the world, such as Native American and other indigenous traditions.  However Neo-shamans attempt to revive these ancient practices that may or may not have been wiped out by periods of conquest and colonization.

 

Santería, Voudon

Santería  and Voudon/Voodoo are derived from the West African Yorùbá religion and Fon and Ewe cultures, later spreading into Central America, South America, and the Caribbean.  It is thought that practitioners fused their beliefs with Roman Catholic ones in order to appear converted and avoid persecution.  Both religions usually involve communication with ancestors, drumming and dance, and animal sacrifice.  Santería mixes Spanish Catholicism with Yorùbá beliefs, and has a heavy presence in Cuba.  Voudon is influenced by French Catholicism, and is prevalent in Haiti and also New Orleans.

 

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modern_paganism

http://www.druidry.org/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polytheistic_reconstructionism

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shamanism

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ceremonial_magic

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thelema

http://thenewpagan.wordpress.com/page/paganism/

Paganism: An Introduction to Earth-Centered Religions by Joyce & River Higginbotham