Serpent Symbolism in Vepsian Incantations

Pp. 65-74

  • Irina Vinokurova
Keywords: colour, incantation, snake, Vepsian incantation


Incantations are a little known and virtually unstudied genre of Vepsian folklore. About 35 incantations devoted to snakes were derived from published sources, as well as from archival and field materials. These texts formed the basis for the present study. 
An inherent feature of most Vepsian incantations is the listing of the kinds of snakes differing in coloration. During the study, 23 texts where snake colours are mentioned were found. Their analysis indicates that all texts mention, usually in the first place, the black colour - 23 occurrences, the second and third positions occupied by the motley (22) or grey (17) coloration.