Accepted paper:

Animal, female, supernatural, 'demonic': mora - fairy - witch

Authors:

Suzana Marjanić (Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Research )

Paper short abstract:

The humano-animal hybrids and/or mythic creatures selected from Croatian oral legends (e.g. the mora – fairy – witch) are compared with the selected hybrid personages (e.g. the Na'vi) in the fantasy film genre (e.g. James Cameron's 'Avatar') that are directed as a Utopian return to the Eutopian era when animals and Humankind were one.

Paper long abstract:

In this paper, the connections between animal and supernatural female phenomena (the mora - fairy - witch) in Croatian oral legends would be examined. Namely, certain characteristics of the mora and witches can be defined by the term zoopsychonavigation (navigation of the soul in an animal form), and we can differentiate three types of zoopsychonavigation - zoometempsychosis, zoometamorphosis as well as witches' riding, or flying on astral animal vehicles. Further, the zoomorphic characteristics of fairy creatures would be considered according to Croatian oral legends. In other words, fairies in the Croatian folk imaginary often have the feet of donkeys, horses or goats (hoofs), thus presenting the iconographic paradox of the fairy's body - the upper part of the body is ornithomorphic (with wings) and the lower half of the body is tellurian (ungulate, with hoofed feet). These humano-animal hybrids and/or mythic creatures in Croatian oral legends (for example, the mora - fairy - witch), whether in the spiritual (with respect to zoopsychonavigation) or whether in the physical sense (with respect to the animal features, for example, the fairy's animal-like feet) would be compared with selected hybrid personages (the Na'vi, for example) in the fantasy film genre (e.g. James Cameron's 'Avatar') that are directed as a Utopian return to the Eutopian era, when animals and Humankind were one. The film referred to shows the culture of the Na'vi that is based on the profound spiritual connection between all beings or, as Al Gore would say - a matter of the implementation of the concept of 'The Earth in Balance'.

panel P307
Places where and when species meet: human and non-human relationships in a new cultural and natural environment