Folklore, Legends and Mythology

This page is dedicated to my interests in Folklore, Legends and Mythology.

I have been independently researching  folklore and mythology for years, and teaching classes in the SCA (primarily at Pennsic) since 2004.

Here are some of my handouts and other stuff I’ve written.

Russian Folk Demonology   an introduction to the basics of the Russian folk belief system and the most common of its unsavory characters. First taught at 2018 Aethelmearc War Practice, will also teach at at 2018 Pennsic University.

Dead Men Walking

A class based on my research into methods of burial designed to prevent the return of the dead in the Middle Ages.

In 2017 I wrote a Compleat Anachronist 178, on the medieval undead, Dead Men Walking. Click on the link to read it!

Introduction to Byliny, Russian Heroic Poems.

Very basic introduction to the genre with short bibliography, including works in English and Russian. Briefly talks about history, main characters, and structure.

I have first taught this class in 2006 at Pennsic, and then did not do any additional research on the topic until I was to teach it again at Sunderoak A&S night on January 4th, 2016. It was a lot of fun to revisit this topic, as more articles and books on the topic became available.

It was also published in the 2017 A&S issue of Althing, BMDL’s newsletter.

Elizabethan Fairies.

The class talks about the perceptions of fairies in Elizabethan England, both in folklore and in literature. I taught this class a few times at Pennsic, starting in 2006, and also at Sunderoak  A&S night on February 1, 2016.

On Foxes and Fairies.

Comparing European (primarily British) fairies and Asian (primarily Japanese and Chinese) fox spirits. I taught this class a few times at Pennsic, starting in 2007, at BMDL 12th Night once, and also at Sunderoak  A&S night on February 1, 2016.

Vampires – Separating Fiction from Fiction

A class on medieval revenants, predominantly European, comparing modern and medieval and folklore and literary perceptions of revenants.  I taught this class at Pennsic from 2009 to 2011, and in 2016. I am planning to redo the handout, and teach it again several times, including Sunderoak A&S night in May. Just realized that the copyright on the original handout goes to 2116 – will correct it later 🙂

Baba Yaga – the Villainess of Russian Folklore This is my first class i taught in the SCA, at AEthelmearc fall Aecademy, in 2004. This is probably the class I teach most often,  this year I taught at Pennsic, again, and at Sunderoak A&S in 2016. Baba-Yaga is such a huge topic! The handout is very brief, and if you have any questions, please contact me.

Fairy Tales and Composition in Performance – discussion of composition in performance as a period storytelling technique and summary of V. Propp’s structural analysis of the magic folktales. I usually teach it as a two-hour workshop. I added the composition in performance section to it in 2016,  beforeit was a two hour Fairy Tale and Legend Workshop I have been teaching at Pennsic since 2008.

The Grateful Deadoverview of the Grateful Dead motif, with examples and history.  Very interesting, because in most cases folklore revenants are malevolent, not helpful.  I have been teaching this one since 2008, and in 2009 (i think) i was invited as a guest speaker to a UU church in Ohio, and taught it there. I also used it as a part of my documentation for my storytelling entry for 2017 Ice Dragon.

Decoding Russian and Ukrainian Embroidery – a class dedicated to common motifs in Slavic embroidery, and their meaning. Discusses common motifs and symbols, their origins and change over time. I first taught a very early version of this class, I think in 2006, and have been teaching in intermittently at Pennsic, usually in conjunction with Pagan Beliefs in Pre-Christian Russia. I have also taught it at May 2017 BMDL Fiber Guild meeting, and will be teaching it at 2017 Aethelmearc War Practice.

Werewolves in Europe – overview of European werewolf tradition, from antiquity to the late Middle Ages and Renaissance, with some debunking of modern Hollywood tropes, and with a very brief introduction to psychopomps and the Cynocephali, including St. Christopher. I started teaching this class at Pennsic in 2009, and have taught it several times there. Most recently I taught it at the Sunderoak A&S night in February (i think) of 2017.

Pagan beliefs in ancient Russia – a class on much debated, fragmented and unclear Russian Mythology prior to official acceptance of Christianity in Kievan Rus in 988 AD. I started teaching in at Pennsic in 2006, and most recently, at Sunderoak A&S on 9/25/17. The class handout is periodically revised, as new informaton becomes available.

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