Notes on: THE PLEIADES AS OPENINGS, THE MILKY WAY AS THE PATH OF BIRDS, AND THE GIRL ON THE MOON: CULTURAL LINKS ACROSS NORTHERN EURASIA

3 cosmic motifs distribution coincide in E. Baltic and Middle Volga region – Cosmic vocab of Balts and B. Finns are the same:

– Milky Way path of birds (Amur Evenki);
– Pl. sieve (E. Europe-Siberia);
– water-carrier motif/ (orphan)girl (sometimes with boy Arkhangelsk Prov) with bucket on moon (Balts and Slavs)
Water-carrier motif particularly known across Eurasia (E of Yenissei, Yakut, Buryat, Evenki) from E Baltic to the Sea of Okhotsk -Khalkha Mongols, Buryats (pre-Mongol phase of stepdaughter water-carrier)
motif is absent in CAS-Altai, except myth that the ogre abducted him as he went to fetch water and a yoke and pail in his hands / Tofa – orphan boy / Darkhao boys went after water, ended up on the Moon –
Tilbegen/Jelbegen got to the moon but the Moon abducted
Ainu girl with bucket, but see lunar disc as a boy insulted the Moon; Ryukyu (Okinawa & Miyako) boy who insulted ends up on the Moon
path of birds overlap with water-carrier motif – N. Russian, Ukrainian, Volgan-Permian reigon
Kirghiz (stepdaughter went to draw water, ended up on the moon)-Pamir region, Kazakh(spots on the moon),
Ireland: two boys carried a stick with a pail of water on it/two men held yokes with water-tubs/Scandinavia – two children with a yoke and a pail/two old men tried to drown Moon with water
woman who insults – version know over in NW coast of N America and Fraser River basin
– Path of birds (migratory birds or waterfowl) also known to Lusitanian Sorbians, Lithuanians and Poles
Path of cranes, birds’ path, trace of the route of birds, sometimes=’route of dead souls’ Milky Way River
Milky Way=’ski trace’ among the Ob-Ugrians connected to myth of the hunt of the sky elk / Samoyeds, E Siberia, Lower Amu and Alaska
Russians call Milky Way ‘path of geese’ and in Siberia and Evenki (Middle Amur)
Path of birds: Khanty Mansi, Hungarians, Turks, BUT NOT Sayan-Altai peoples, Algonkians, Ojibwa.
Among the Southern Tutchone Athabascans: path of the loon who had cured the blind hunter

Coincidental area – Finno-Ugric and Baltic, Saam, Turksi (Milky Way concept overlaps with Pleiades = ‘sieve’
Path of birds motif appeared in Eurasia before the split of Proto-Uralic into two branches
Pl as sieve known to Hungarians, Italians

Girl on the moon – typical for Macedonia and NE Bulgaria, Romania / Saami – Pl= girls / Chukchi= ‘group of women’
Orochi, Uilta of Sakhalin – Pl=bseven openings and Lower Amur: ‘seven women’ (usually connected to lakeside or
S. and W. of Baltic Sea – absent
Therefore, there is a difference a boundary between Balts and Slavs.
Pl – 1) Hen with its chickens/brood W,S,C. Europe; Balkans; W. Ukraine (absent among Yugoslavia, Spanish Pyrenees)… except Basque W. Africa the Sudan, NE India and SEAs…Near East??? N. Africa? Touaregs Pl. called ‘chickens’ (late spread into Europe)
2) Wild duck’s nest (egg, eggs) of wild duck, or a flock of ducks – Nenets, Komi-Zyrians, Udmurts, Ob-Ugrians Siberia, NE Europe=Uralic coinciding cosmonyms; among Turkic Khakas Pl.=also a ‘duck’s nest’ or a ‘flock of ducks’; pre-Slavic N. Russians the ‘duck’s nest’-brought motif to E. of Urals – Siberia ; Yakuts, Kamchadals??? duck shrine and Kofun haniwa imagesof ducks and waterfowl//duck’s nest equated with Uralic territory & language spread – Connection between Samoyeds and Finno-Ugrians
3) Sieve:continuous N. Eurasia / N.-E Siberian continuum / Canadian Ojibwa: stars or constellation in the sky dome/vault with openings – E. Baltics-Volga distribution: Chukchi, Koryaks(Asian NE)’small sieve’ Ke’tmet and Katmac; in Dagestan (Kumyks, Laks, Avars, Andi, Dargins,Tavli); kazakh, Astrakhan Tatars; in Russian Vologda prov; in the Middle Volga (Chuvash, Bashkirs, Udmurts, Tatars, Mari E. Baltic Prussians, Lithuanians, Letts, Livonians, Estonians, Votians, Finns
Later, from the Volga region, spread, transmitted from Finno-Ugrians to Turkic peoples; in Europe, Pl as sieve only recorded in the Alto Adige district of N. Italy. Sieve=crivello or shovel for winnowing grain, note Lithuanians and Laks: sky sieve used by god to winnow cereal grain. Hungarians only ones in Europe to see sieve as openings in sky =may mean idea borrowed from the East. And Yakuts – wolf skin used to plug holes in sky
Japan:late Buddhist imagery Myoken and dead ancestor souls go to take spot in sky openings beside N pole
Stars as openings in firmament also known to (Miao); S. China; Borneo, Malay, Kayan, Mentawei, Klemantan,
Also among Estonians, Mari, Komi, Nenets, Nganasans, Khanty, Kets, Yakuts, Evenes, Negidals, and among Central Yupiq, Inupiat, Mackenzie Delta, Netsilik and Iglulik Eskimo; and maybe Chukchi and Kamchadal
Image of a particular star Polaris as an opening thru which souls penetrate to the Upp World
Stars=persons/spirits/living creatures: Am natives, Australia, Oceania, Indo-Pacific Asia
Odd ones out:
Persian-Arabic Soraya – Pl=’cluster of lamps’ or ‘chandelier’
Mordvinians – Pl=beehive / nest of wasps: Russians, Ukrainians, Bulgarians, Hungarians
Selkup – Pl=’hare’s droppings’ or ‘hare’s shelves’
Nganasans – Pl are hunters who catch souls of dead men and reindeer
. .. However, the areal patterns of the motifs reviewed above make us suggest that there was also some migration
taking place from the East. Even if the Evenki and Algonkian data concerning ‘the path of birds’ are ignored and the motif of stars as sky-openings is not considered specific enough, the pattern of the spread of the ‘water-carrier on the Moon’ makes the hypothesis of trans-Eurasian migration plausible. Remembering the detailed American and Polynesian parallels for the Eastern and Southern Siberian variants, the Northern Eurasian East, rather than the West should be suggested as the earliest zone of the spread of this motif. The Bulgarian-Macedonian enclave of the ‘water-carrier’ clearly cannot be a source
for Siberian, not to speak of Amerindian and Polynesian myths, and Bulgarian materials rather demonstrate the existence of some late Baltic-Balkan links

Source: THE PLEIADES AS OPENINGS, THE MILKY WAY AS THE PATH OF BIRDS, AND THE GIRL ON THE MOON: CULTURAL LINKS ACROSS NORTHERN EURASIA by Yuri Berezkin

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