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Tonu Soidla Interview - Part 3 - July 20, 2010

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— Many transpersonal researchers speak about the role that non-ordinary states play in perception and exploration of archetypes and mythological holographs, as I call them. You said that… well, from your works we know that you are researching the topic of female goddesses, archetypes of female goddesses, in particular Kali—or, you prefer to say, Ereshkigal—the goddess of Death. Could you please elaborate your research interest in this field? — Well, to say it is a "research" it would probably be to say too much: there are certain hypotheses that I have about the historical path of the image of the horned goddess Hathor from Egypt… or Hathoret, because many Egyptian female names in fact all end with "et" sounds— so anything else is not very correct to pronounce. So Hathoret has felt and gone through an adventure of spirit; and she has reached Russia and transformed into the image of Baba Yaga which, in her turn, obviously didn't emerge only out of this source. Baba Yaga emerged not only as a result of horizontal travels of different tales but also as a result of vertical ones—which emerged out of the depths of history, out of shamanic practices of various places in Russia, especially those on the northern border between forest and cultivated fields where there was an interaction between Finno-Ugoric and Slavic tribes. So this path, these paths, the combination of horizontal and vertical paths of image transition— it evokes a German formula: it would be a broad highway (and Germany is famous for its roads); and on that highway there is a huge truck van that transfers from checkpoint A to checkpoint B and reaches it. And it was thought that it was the way the fables (sujets) travel. Of course, this description is far from what actually happens. Fables travel, most likely, as… well, imagine the Amazonian river basin; and now let's imagine that it exists in three or four dimensions, this Amazon river— that would rather be a more accurate model. But if you feel a very manybranched structure you could focus on particular fables: for instance, you could say a few words about Orinoco— that would be what I am trying to convey. So that is that sort of things I am speaking about. But these works, they are done, even though I am very interested in them, without a necessary humanitarian excellence. There is a second kind of works; they are in the form of semifiction [semiartistic] research. Artistic image is a thing which is quite tricky; and it brings forth a lot of things from both near and distant places. And I let certain images to interact with me. I couldn't say that what I did was exactly diving after Ereshkigal. Once upon a time in order to see Ereshkigal her sister Inanna dived after her… And for Inanna it all ended in a quite tragic way as we know from the Sumerian mythology. Frankly speaking, Inanna is a wonderful trickster woman; and she turned her defeat into a victory. But in any case I hadn't planned anything like that. I just started to write some… to describe certain experiences for which no other language would be adequate with an exception of the artistic language. So into this fabric different faces, different voices started to climb; in particular it was Ereshkigal, too. And now she took one of the leading roles. But this writing project of mine is still in process; and now I am finishing the last, third part; and even though sometimes I feel that I have already heard enough from these archetypes— at least for me—enough important things, I have a hunch that there are still some tricks left in their hat. So let's not hurry; and this is what is happening now and this is not an end of the story. These archetypes, they mean something; and of course they replicate… You know, as Propp, a brilliant Russian folklore specialist pointed out, they replicate as creatures from a different world; and in that different world… there the protagonist turns into a rabbit, a rabbit turns into a horse, a horse turns into a wolf and so on. So this infinite kaleidoscope of forms is not characteristic to our world, it is characteristic to the reality which can be entered through Baba Yaga's hut, and it happens there. And, of course, Ereshkigal and co. they show you a wonderful round dance which I, for instance, love very much in Fellini's movies: these round dances of characters which are probably even better than any fabula [sujet]; and they have a certain truth in them for which I am very greedy-guts. — Tonu, you have stood—as many scholars admitted— you have stood in the beginnings of the Russian transpersonalism; and we have literally a few minutes; and I would like to hear about the second legendary founder of transpersonalism— a few words that you could say— about Vasily Vasilievich Nalimov who is known for his profound explorations of non-ordinary states of consciousness, he wrote many books on that topic. — Yes, Vasily Vasilievich… he was, probably, truly —and, perhaps, it is not to good to speak like that— but in many aspects he was indeed the only major Russian transpersonalist. I mean in the sense of modern transpersonalism. That is, Vernadsky, say, comes simply from a different time; and it wasn't transpersonalism, it was rather Russian cosmism and so on… And in the contemporary transpersonalism if we are to measure the scale of influence then of course Vasily Vasilievich stands as an exception. And all the transpersonal in him was packed into an envelope of an old political prisoner with a broken nose… a man who understands that one should not complain, one should not ask, one should not hope. And if it is combined with the transpersonal it is absolutely phenomenal! Incidentally, in the concentration camps he knew another spiritual seer very well —I mean Daniil Andreyev. They have bumped into each other. But as for Vasily Vasilievich… it happened that he worked in Moscow and I worked in St. Petersburg and our meetings were rare and fleeting… And perhaps you should attempt to have an interview with his widow, Zhanna Drogalina, while you still have such a unique opportunity… I would readdress her with these questions, if she has anything to say and if she relaxes in front of your camera so as to speak some important things; and it would be wonderful for those who would watch these recordings. — Thank you very much! — Thank you, too!

Video Details

Duration: 11 minutes and 8 seconds
Country: Russia
Language: Russian
Views: 90
Posted by: on Aug 15, 2010

Part 3 of the interview with Tonu Soidla, Ph. D., D. Sc., leading scientist of the Institute of Cytology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg, Russia. Filmed on July 20, 2010 for

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