Caves as Entrances to the World Beyond, from Where Fertility Is Derived. The Case of SW Slovenia
Jame kot vhod v onstranstvo, od koder izvira plodnost. Primer JZ Slovenije
This paper addresses the question of the prevailing meaning of the caves on the basis of recently discovered folklore material and some archaeological discoveries from south-western Slovenia. Among the different meanings of caves in the local landscape, the author explores their function as the entrance to the world beyond, characterised by the unnatural passing of time. Obtaining new-borns from caves or keeping dead children in caves, frequently in connection with Baba or without her, rituals of fertility, and the sexual symbolism indicate that caves were perceived as places, from where fertility was derived.
Caves; fertility; folklore; phallus; vulva; symbolism; world beyond
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