Gunilla Hultgren

Författaren Brudrovet Tidigare utgivning
Om mig själv Recensioner English Gästbok


Gunilla Hultgren writer of fiction, social anthropologist, translator.

In 1977 I published my first book about a North American Indian culture, The Way of Life, a book about the Hopi Indians (Livets väg, en bok om hopi-indianerna) in Arizona. The book is an anthology and based on texts from several books for example The Book of the Hopi by Frank Waters, but it also has my own texts, commentaries and an essay about the Hopi language based on Benjamin Lee Whorf’s analysis and written by Gösta Friberg, a Swedish poet. The fact that The Way of Life has become a minor classic in Sweden is probably caused by the fact that many young people are in search for an alternative to our Western way of life. It was published in a second edition in 1985, publisher was Gebers/Norstedts. You can also find it in the library in the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

My second book was a translation of Popol Vuh, the Sacred Book of the Ancient Quiché Maya by Recinos, Goetz, and Morley, which has been named the most ancient book of America. It is a story of creation, one of the few original texts that wasn’t burned by the Spanish missionaries. In 1983 it was published for the first time in Swedish with a foreword written by me about the Mayan culture.

In 1992 I published a book about the Navaho Indian sand-paintings, myths and songs, a result of a research in the field thanks to a scholarship from SIDA (the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency). And in 1987 I did research for three months in the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian in Santa Fe, New Mexico and in Indian reservations in New Mexico and Arizona. I had the opportunity to attend at a sand-painting ceremony. The sand-paintings are made on the ground or in a hogan (a round hut with the entrance to the east) to cure a certain disease or complaint. The patient sits in the sand-painting while the medicine-man is singing the songs of the ceremony and that can go on for up to nine days and nights.

The book is composed of four sand-painting ceremonies, each a selection of its sand-paintings and songs, based on a myth, all necessarily abbreviated and translated from English, most of the text is from Leland Wyman’s editions. First comes the Blessing Way, the mother and source of all the others, then the Night Way, a ceremonial that the Navahos still often use, and thereafter Mountain Way and Wind-way. The book contains a long informative text with commentaries on composition, colours and symbols of the sand-paintings, all written by me. It has become a very beautiful book, big in size with 60 pictures in colour of a selection of sand-paintings from the Wheelwright Museum and also other pictures of landscapes, people and the creation of a sand-painting, taken by myself during my stay at the Wheelwright Museum and in the Navaho Nation. Of course, this book as well is represented in the library of the Wheelwright Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

In 1995 l published an interpretation into Swedish of the 4000 years old Sumerian myth Inanna, the Queen of Heaven and Earth. S. N. Kramer, the famous expert on Sumer, has translated, arranged and combined fragments of the Sumerian cuneiform tablets. The folklorist Diane Wolkstein has arranged the cycle of Inanna into an authentic portrait of the Goddess from her adolescence to her completed womanhood and godship. She has also adapted the language into modern, timeless English and written commentaries in a very comprehen­sive way.

Abduction of the Woman and Her History is a research of the matrilineal cultures in the last centuries among American Indians, as a prototype, and in Ancient times in the Middle East region. The title is associated with the myth about the Phoenician princess Europa who played with her friends on a beach of Lebanon. But Zeus, the patriarch more powerful than mortal men, saw the beautiful girl and changed himself into a bull. Europa played with the lovely bull and adorned him with flowers. In her play with the bull she sat up on his back. Immediately he swam away with her to Crete, where Europa gave birth to three boys, one of them king Minos.

My hypothesis, which l newly (2009) published in this new book in Swedish, the Abduction of the Woman and Her History, is that the patriarchal conquerors, for example Akkad, nomads from the north-eastern steppes, did just this; successively they changed and reduced the Ancient Sumerian myth about Inanna, which in all probability has its origin in a matrilineal culture. The Gilgamesh-epos, a myth of men and heroes written in Akkad, is much more well-known. My explanation is that we still live in a patriarchy and are partially blind to the symbols, metaphors and images which indicate a female, matrilineal myth, a concept we never heard of.

The title in Swedish of the book Abduction of the Woman and Her History is Brudrovet, en nedtystad kvinnohistoria. - en del av Instant Book® 

Copyright 2010 Gunilla Hultgren