The Soul of Russia

Magical Traditions in an Enchanted Landscape

Cherry Gilchrist

Out of print

Quick Look

A study of the fairy stories, folk art and customs of the old ways of life in Russia and how they still influence the Russian outlook on the world.

234 x 156 mm
Floris Books
Religion & Spirituality; Mind, Body, Spirit
30 colour illustrations
208 pages
Publication date:
27 Mar 2008


In the heart of Russia, fairy stories, folk art and customs still carry hints of the old ways of perceiving the gods and spirits of home and nature. The Russian soul, whether in the city or the country, remains open to the Slavic way of life and its ancient beliefs. Such traditions link human life to the landscape and rhythms of nature in ways that have been lost elsewhere.

‘Soul’, dusha, is of prime importance to Russians, and not only reigns supreme in their art and culture, but is essential to understanding the Russian outlook on the world. Many Russians, even those trained in modern schools, such as archaeologists, scientists and doctors, are open to embracing this heritage of myth and the mysteries of the universe, and include it in their everyday outlook.

Cherry Gilchrist has visited Russia over fifty times, and researched its traditional lore, arts and crafts, often staying deep in the Russian countryside. Weaving her firsthand experience with a thorough knowledge of history and culture, she invites us to enter the world of the Russian soul and discover its magic.


'[Geoffrey Findlay]thought I'd find [The Soul of Russia] helpful as I wrote my fictional account of a Viking girl's journey on the eastern route. I've only to look at my margin comments and pages of notes (and my wife's notes, too) on this very fine book to rediscover how right he was. My young heroine Solveig encounters the Slavic cosmos and shamanism and dvoeverie, Mokosh and bogatyrs -- all this and a great deal more is thanks to this book.'
-- Kevin Crossley-Holland, author of Bracelet of Bones

'Another gem from Floris! This book resonated deeply for me … for all lovers of Story, and of the Northern Lands, and of the Russia of the endless steppes and forests of dream, it weaves a song of hope for, and resurgence of the Soul of "moist Mother Earth" and all who dwell upon Her. Great pictures too.'
-- Inner Light Magazine, Summer 2008

'Cherry Gilchrist reveals an extraordinary open-mindedness regarding the continued practice of ancient rituals and customs, a landscpae empowered with unusual forces, and a supernatural world inhabited by spirits, pagan gods, shamans, wizards, witches and psychic healers. Highly recommended.'
-- The Cauldron, May 2008

'Cherry Gilchrist has been visiting Russia for 16 years, and has caught something of the national character. She has walked home on a warm summer's evening, hearing folk songs in the distance and seeing bonfires glow against the twilight. She mingles with the crowd at the carnival of Maslnitsa, and lived for a while in a traditional log-built home. She even has her own house spirit or domovoi … She turns to folktales for the deep wisdom that they contain and unearths the magic buried in everyday Russian life.'
-- Fortean Times, July 2008, 9/10 rating

'The author takes us on a spiritually rich tour around this culturally rich country, and demonstrates that the idea of the 'soul' plays a central aprt in the Russian mindset … Exploring the spiritual traditions of Russia, the book is complete with tales of magic and witchcraft, and examines how this affects the psyche of the people who live there today.'
-- Soul & Spirit, August 2008


Cherry Gilchrist is the author of over twenty books on mythology, alchemy, art and social history, including Elements of Alchemy, Stories from the Silk Road, and Russian Lacquer Miniatures. She lectures widely and runs courses on Russian culture, inner traditions and writing life stories. She lives in Stroud, England, and she has visited Russia over fifty times.

You can also visit the author's own website at

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