Friday, 4 March 2016

Margarita - a witch of Russian descent

      I assume that I have special relations with this book . Its incredible author M. A. Bulgakov created a  genius novel, which has been interest of many researchers for over sixty years. "The Master and Margarita" novel was introduced to me by my mom long before I studied it at school. The novel seemed to me strange, I didn't understand it completely and couldn't give value to its language and plot.
     Later, when I read the novel with the full awareness about its contents, I started enjoying it much more, liking certain chapters and details. Then I realised that I fell in love with it forever. No wonder "The Master and Margarita" became one of the subjects of my final diploma project in the university. This is when I started exploring the novel from a scientific point of view, discovering more and more beauty in it and getting to know new things about the world of the novel created by Bulgakov.
an illustration to the novel The Master and Margarita
      The topic I am raising today is quiet broad nevertheless interesting and directly related to the idea of my blog. I am going to make few posts telling the story of Margarita - a witch of Russian descent.
     Margarita is the most famous witch of Russian, and perhaps, World literature. There are numerous books written about her character and I in turn would like to concentrate on her witchy side.
       As soon as it is a novel I am talking about, there is a great love story in it and Margarita is a part of it. She is pictured as an ordinary woman living an ordinary life with a husband she doesn't love. The routine life makes her to search for a wonder of love. And she finds it... or it finds her?
       Margarita means "pearl" (derived from a Greek word "margarites"). Pearl is a talisman of arts, inspiration and spiritual perfection and besides is used in witchcraft.  Margarita is a symbol of  Master's renewed belief in creation, this is she, who saves few pages of Master's novel he intents to burn, and also a symbol of sacrifices done in the name of love.
       I used to tell in the first posts, that a witch plays a dual role in humans' life: good and bad. Witchcraft helps people get what they want. Margarita decides to become a witch and makes a deal with Devil  in order to find her lover Master who seemed to be lost somewhere.
     Though it seems that Margarita is chosen by Woland (Devil in Bulgakov's novel) randomly, it is not so. She was always meant to be someone else. Margarita has a squinting eye which is considered to be a mark of a dark power, she has black hair and she wears preferably black attire - a color of witchcraft; she sees prophetic dreams and is very sensitive towards the meaning of the signs around her. Her soul feels that something is going to happen.
     Bulgakov describes how Margarita turns to a witch. But why turns? Because her very appearance changes when she applies a cream given by one of the servants of Woland, Azazello, on her face and body. She becomes a twenty years old instead of thirty, her eyes turn greener and she feels like... laughing! She gains strength and happiness she never knew before. Here we see one of the attributes of a witch: a magical ointment. Moreover, Margarita's initiation into a witch happens during a full moon when most of the important magical  rituals are done.
Margarita in modern art

    Our Russian witch is now ready to act, she is awaiting for signal to move out of her boring house... After a call Azazello gives her, she hears a strange knocking behind the door of her room. When she opens it, a floor broom comes out jumping and eager to fly away through the window. So here comes a necessary tool of a witch  a broomstick, though a bit modified. Margarita then heads  to a gathering of the witches called Sabbath (rus. Shabash) naked what once again refers to a usual practice of witchcraft.
     I have tried to explore which features and attributes of a "typical" witch Margarita is bestowed by Bulgakov. Among them are magical tools like broomstick and ointment, a ritual of initiation during a full moon, features of Margarita which make her look like a witch before and after initiation. I am going to continue with the novel The Master and Margarita in my next post. There is plenty to tell about :)

Yours sincerely,
Witchcraft and Literature


  1. I've never heard of The Master of Margarita before. But your description (and the blurb) made me add it to my to-read list. I can't pass the idea of a vodka drinking cat!

    1. Surely, if you find time do read it.. it's a very good novel and has many story lines which are interrelated in symbols and meanings.
      lol... this cat has been my favourite literature cat:)

  2. Came here via Magaly's blog, pleased I did because this is an interesting story, I always wonder how many times nuances are lost, parts of stories added (or left out) in these classic old tales, I think they end up having a life of their own? Good read Anna!

    1. Hello!!! Thank you! Well, thanks for coming to this blog which is unfortunately not being updated regularly... at all...
      Yes surely, all the modern and past fiction is based on ancient knowledge and beliefs, and that's great I think, it's like a link between past and present :))