Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Speaking of inspiration, Yiddish demons, hoodoo and other mad ramblings

I just stumbled upon a seriously good blog on Yiddish everything called Rootless Cosmopolitan by Rokhl. I don't know about Yiddish anything, other than TV clich├ęs and snips and snaps gleaned from the three productions of Fiddler on the Roof, which pretty much informed my childhood. As a child of four, I watched my mother play Golde and was astonished that to my mind, she was simply playing herself! Golde's daughters bring some firewood in from outside and ask their mother where they should put it. 'I don't know!' she bewails, 'Put it on your head!'. Just like home, I thought.
Anyhows, my poor brain is sore from the work out it has just had delving into Rokhl's blog, which is intense, serious, humorous, involved and fascinating. No skim reading there. One of her posts mentioned not only Dybbukim, which are Yiddish demons, but also Eastern European folk religion, of which I am starving to know more (anything?) about.  I have a gnawing obsession with Baba Yaga and things like, um, antlers and moss, you know? Maybe you don't. Which is why I made a Pinterest Board a few weeks back, by way of downloading these internal yearnings, musings and knowings. So, instead of frantically waving my hands in the air, or looking sky-wards as a plea for help whilst trying to talk to people (fruitlessly scrabbling around my brain in the hope of words), I can just say, check this, these things live inside me, these things shape me: 

Carreg y Bwci, Ceredigion, Wales

Oh but, I forgot the best bit, connections:

I live in west Wales and like to visit a huge recumbent stone called Carreg Y Bwci (Goblin's stone), high up in the Cambrian mountains. I wonder whether it is a glacial erratic, for it is a conglomerate, which is anomalous for an area comprised mainly of Ordovician mudstone and shale. Welsh for hobgoblin is bwci bo (sort of pronounced 'bookey boo') and Yiddish for demon is dybbuk.  This makes me wonder whether there is some common root word. Good, aye? Yes, 'tis good, especially when you see what I had already gathered on my Pinterest board: Baba Yaga; my favourite Welsh artist Mary Lloyd Jones's 'Swyn' (runes, folk magic and a conjuror man); and Lower East Side, New York (which connects us back to Rokyl's blog, as she is an American Jew and many European Jews first settled in Lower East Side). I admit the connection may not be obvious, but to me it is tangible; and when I look over my Pinterest board, visible; and when I say 'bwci boo' and then 'dybbuk', audible. Considering that some shamans believe that shamanism has core beliefs and practices the world over (think about it), you might start to contemplate common threads, shared roots and some form of ancient magic not yet lost to the world. It might be folk magic and folk memory, perchance. 

Dealing with Duppies and Dybbukim in Wales

Searching for Baba Yaga in Lower East Side- what is she doing there?

P.S. There's more on duppies, or more specifically, duppy feminism, over at my geography blog, Gender Specs does Geography.

P.P.S. Maybe I am not actually completely bonkers (yet), I drafted this post an aeon ago and since then I have found various online articles alluding to a linguistic connection between Welsh and Hebrew (of course, Yiddish comes from Hebrew) so yanno, Lost Tribes an' all. Cawl and Cholent? Not too dissimilar.

Papillon  X

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