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Agrarian Religion/Agrarian Magic

(1,097 words)

Author(s): Naacke, Claudia
Agrarian Ritual and the Formation of a Nation 1. In 1865, folklorist Wilhelm Mannhardt (1831–1880), through the use of questionnaires, undertook extensive research in the cultural usages of various agricultural groups. The study of harvest customs in particular, he anticipated, ought to yield information on vestiges of Teutonic paganism—relics that would have survived as testimonials of earlier stages of culture among farming people. He tied this to an investigation of the Romantic myths, thereby seekin…


(1,909 words)

Author(s): Naacke, Claudia
1. Fertility can be described as the capacity of human being, animal, and plant to reproduce and maintain life. ‘Regeneration’ comes from the Latin re-generare, ‘beget again/anew,’ a process including the moment of discontinuance, death. This peculiarity of living matter is bound up in shapes, specific to each respective culture, which also subject the human being to a process of socialization. “To be fruitful and to multiply” (Gen 1:28) therefore counts among the basic concerns of groups that seek to see the guarantee…


(1,548 words)

Author(s): Naacke, Claudia
1. The mask is a means of temporary alteration of the physical appearance. It is especially the ‘look’ of the face, as a projecting mark of the human being's identity, which can be altered or hidden by masquerade. Thus, pleasure and vice are flaunted by masquerade, as at → Carnival; at the same time, masks serve as a means of the presentation of identities and events (→ Drama [Sacred]). Different views prevail on the question of how masquerade should ultimately be conceived. For some, the mask i…


(1,132 words)

Author(s): Naacke, Claudia
1. Regarded physiologically, hair is one of the derivatives of skin. Being without a nerve, it cannot directly communicate sensory impressions. Nevertheless, it is the material basis of the metaphorical description of experiences, in linguistic applications like ‘hairsbreadth,’ or even ‘hairy [situation].’ In its quality of being bound to the body, and yet separable from it, hair is everywhere to be found as a component of the symbolism of the body. Coiffure as Characteristic of a Group 2. The various symbolical meanings communicated by ‘headscarf’ can in general be seen…