TIME AS AN INSTRUMENT OF MAGIC: COMPRESSING AND PROLONGING OF TIME IN THE SLAVIC FOLK TRADITION
In the traditional folk culture of the Slavs, time, together with other elements and features of the external world, is given both a positive and a negative meaning: it could be good or bad, clean or dirty, dangerous or safe. From the time when a man is born, his destiny is established, and by the time he is dead his destiny after death is defined; the selection of the accurate timing is an indispensable condition for success of all beginnings: ploughing, harvest, taking the cattle out at the
... elds, building a house, weaving, getting married etc. Time is the most important regulator of all practical and ritual activities of people and it presents one of the main instruments for managing the world and structuring of human life (10). The notions of time determinants in folk tradition are well illustrated in the example stated by D. K. Zelenin in his book "East-Slav ethnography": "In the south-Russian areas (but not only in them), there are certain periods when the ploughing starts (in different places those are different days) -in the region of Rjazan it is the Clean Thursday, in the region of Kaluzs those dates are 1st or 17th of April, etc. Even if on that day the weather is cold and not suitable for fieldwork, the ground is ploughed in a village house that has an earth floor. The plough is taken on the terrace, one person is holding it as if he was the ploughed, and another person pulls it as an animal (3,54). This relation towards time does not exclude the attempts to present it through different forms, to establish a control over it, or to use it in order to create an object and instrument of magic activities. The main forms of magical activities are presented through compressing or making time dense, as well as through the reverse activities as prolonging or lingering of time.