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Let's discuss Russian "spirituality"...


There are some words which have purely subjective meanings in my view, and "spirituality" is one of them. For me, this word has nothing to do with God or religion. As an agnostic, I'm not attached to any church or religious rituals, yet I still consider myself a spiritual person. This seems to be a key word in Russian media and culture, as discussions about "spirituality" are constantly thrown around on LJ and in comments, usually to insult the non-spiritual and decadent West. I saw it just this week when the pro-Kremlin blogger "politichanka" grew outraged at Varlamov's recent posts about bad Sevastopol, particularly his focus on all the trash in the city. The reason for all this shit on the ground? She claims that "Ukraine in 23 years failed to instill spiritual values in the youth. Therefore, young people behave like pigs and there is garbage everywhere." Of course, this is an absurd statement but I grew curious and decided to ask her what her definition of "spirituality" is. Her answer? "Actually I don't know."

I never use words I don't know or understand, especially when I'm insulting people. For me, spirituality is an aura, the energy and emotion that you evoke when encountering complete strangers, your charitable contributions to the overall good of humanity, a connection to something bigger than yourself, and an overall sense of openness and positivity toward the world and its inhabitants....and how about you? How does Russian culture define "spirituality," and why is the term so commonly used there? Help me understand. :)


Dec. 17th, 2015 03:53 pm (UTC)
Official religion in Russia was always - "bad guys". There is a story written by Pushkin "The tale of the Priest and his workman Balda" where he was making fun of the priest. There are paintings of famous artists showing the hypocrisy of the church. For example "Easter Procession in a village" by Vasily Perov. The priest is completely drunk there.
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People in Russia are very superstitious and full of pagan believes and rituals (it's a custom to do fortune telling during the christmas night and find out who will be your husband)
So for a long time religion was there to keep simple people in fear and make them obedient. After the Revolution when the Church lost it's influence on the government level, the religion became more like an underground cool and dangerous thing to practice. So in a way, you could be a rebel if you were a believer. The communist party's ideology was a new religion. After Perestroyka and a big collapse of the communist party, the religion is back on track(supported by the government so they have at least something to control people). It was back and forth and all the way around with religion. Very confusing with what to believe for people.
I think that for Russians the meaning in "spiritual values" is something that doesn't correlate with religion, it's more like the real values of piece and kindness. Something like a homemade Moonshine - clear, strong and easy to use :) With all the constant changes it's hard to teach your children what is the right thing....
Dec. 17th, 2015 04:52 pm (UTC)
Fortune telling on Christmas night? :)) I have never heard of this tradition! I wonder how often the fortune teller is right? This does not seem like a reliable way to find your prince charming. :)
Dec. 17th, 2015 05:15 pm (UTC)
It's 100% reliable :) Usually, unmarried girls get together and do all kinds of traditional destiny inquiries about the sole mate: for example, you need to sit in front of the mirror in the dark with only candle light, then you ask:"mirror, mirror show me my groom" and then watch carefully - there should be his image in the mirror.
Another one is simple: you go outside and throw your "valenok"(you probably saw these traditional russian winter boots made out of compressed wool?). Your prince charming are gonna come to you from the direction that the fron end of the boot shows.
Or you can tell your destiny by pouring melted candle wax in cold water (by looking at the shape) or coffee grind(make espresso, drink it and put the cup upside down on the plate) is good too.
You can try it! Orthodox Christmas is January 7, so on the night from 6 to 7 and then all the way until 19th the borders between our world and another world are melting so you can see your future :)
Dec. 17th, 2015 05:24 pm (UTC)
Amazing! And what if you don't want a husband? :)
Dec. 17th, 2015 05:49 pm (UTC)
Well, in that case you can use a candle in another way
Dec. 17th, 2015 05:52 pm (UTC)
Ouch! There are other ways to achieve self-pleasure! :)
Dec. 17th, 2015 06:01 pm (UTC)
That cannot happen, every woman MUST have a good (preferably russian) husband! The earlier - the better. Or you can end up as an old maid(they also called "bluestocking") with 40 cats!
Dec. 17th, 2015 06:02 pm (UTC)


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