Semantika vognju gončarnogo gorna v bilorus'kij kul'turi
The Semantics of the Pottery Kiln Fire in Belarusian Culture

Kostyantyn Rakhno



The article deals with the specific character of the traditional perception of the fire of a pottery kiln in the context of the mythopoetical model of the world among the Belarusians. This flame was identified with lightning, the stormy fire of Perun, which was interpreted as an emanation of this pagan God. The author analyses Belarusian legends on the origin of fire, Slavonic folk beliefs and rites connected with storm, thunder and lightning, the folk attitude to the fire, which was kindled by a thunderclap. There is a close correspondence between these concepts and Vedic mythology. The old Belarusian myth on the origin of the world, where the lightning of Perun plays an important part, has staggering parallels with ancient Vedic cosmogony. The fire in the potter’s kiln is a primordial flame, given by the Thunderer; it is frightful and dangerous owing to its appearance from the other world. It is opposed to ordinary fire, which is secondary and tame. But just this stormy fire, which retains its own demiurgic potential, is used by potters. An archetypal precedent is reproduced in the ceremony of pottery-making, wherein the ceremony is projected in the sacral time of commencement.

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