Irdhingekujutelm Kihnu memoraatides



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The conception of free spirit in memorates from Kihnu island dealing with encountering with the dead. The aim of the current B.A. thesis is to analyze and discuss conceptions of free spirit in the basis of memorates collected from Kihnu during two fieldwork trips in September 2010 and August 2011. Kihnu is a little island in the Gulf of Riga with a rich and living heritage, what is known among the Estonian folklorists as one of the two "cradels" of folklore (the other one is Setumaa). It is known for its cultural and folkloristic naturalness and living folk beliefs. Free spirit is a term from Estonian folklore researcher Oskar Loorits. According to his work the conception of spirit consist a belief in multiple of spirits with their own functions. Free spirit is a spirit that is able to leave one’s physical body in one’s lifetime or after the death. Free spirit can continue one’s independent life in abode of the dead or alive. Nowadays the belief in free spirits is strong in Kihnu island, dead manifest themselves at home, in historic places, in graveyard or around the local school, museum and culture centre. To perceive the attendancy of free spirit one does not need to be in specific state of mind, it can be perceived while sleeping or while everyday situations. Attendancy of the dead is not limited by time - it means that spirits are able to manifest themselves during the whole day. The reasoning for manifesting spirits is believed to be uneasiness of the dead that might be caused by violent death, abjuration of religion or disturbing the peace of the grave. According to Kihnu belief, dead can return home by their own will. Visitant might warn its family before its death that he/she would return home after the death. In Kihnu island free spirits are believed to be all-around dangerous to living people. If a free spirit is visitant, it might scare or even attack living people. Therefore it can be said that free spirits are viable and physical body decreases it strength. Free spirits have greater powers than alive – they are able to change the weather, create spectres etc. Therefore free spirits are dangerous to the people and to the nature. People in Kihnu island use also different magical rites against the dead, but they seem to be not quite effective.