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Depiction of Rasputin in the Basement of the Jusupov Palace on the Moika in St. Petersburg. (Allan Fetherolf / adobe stock)

Rasputin: The Rise And Fall Of The Charismatic Thaumaturge

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Gregorij Efimovich Rasputin was a country man with course manners and an immoderate passion for women and wine, a charismatic personality, a mystic with healing abilities and the scapegoat for the Russian empire. He is a legend. He was born in Pokrovskoe, in the Tjumen region, where there is a museum today, dedicated by Vladimir and Marina Smirnov to the most ‘legendary of Russians’.

Pokrovskoye in 1912 (Public Domain)

Pokrovskoye in 1912 ( Public Domain )

Rasputin’s Early Years

His date of birth, as well as other elements of his life, has long been the subject of controversy. The majority of authors, including the Smirnovs, currently converge on January 1869. At the registry office of the district where Pokrovskoe is located, Mr Smirnov discovered a note dated January 9, 1869 from father Titov who wrote in his own hand: “ In the village of Pokrovskoe in the family of the farmer Efim Iakovlevich Rasputin and his wife, both of Orthodox faith, their son Rasputin was born ”.

Rasputin with his children (Public Domain)

Rasputin with his children ( Public Domain )

According to several biographers, Rasputin was an intuitive and sensitive child who loved horses, and he joined his father Efim (hence the patronymic Efimovich) in tending to them. Rasputin spent his childhood with his father, his mother Anna Egorovna and his older brother Michail. One event is fundamental to understand some aspects of the complex personality of Rasputin. When he was eight or 12, Rasputin and his brother had gone fishing and Michail fell into the Tjura River. Rasputin dived in to save him. Within a few weeks, Mikhail died of pneumonia while Rasputin lay unconscious for days. One morning he opened his eyes and had a vision of the Virgin who appeared and spoke to him. “ The Virgin cured me” , he told his parents.

Rasputin had a precarious health and therefore did not receive a regular education. Nature, stories about the life of Jesus, tales of monks and wandering prophets were his children's books. He already showed unusual powers. Before the age of 20 Rasputin married Praskov'ja Fëdorovna Dubrovina, a few years older than him. During his life, he made several pilgrimages, within and outside Russia. Before visiting Mount Athos, a disappointing experience for him, he already spent a few months in a monastery in Verhoturje, where, according to various biographers, he met some members of the Chlysty sect. He attended Father Makary, a Russian Christian monk and considered a chosen one of God, capable of prophetic and healing powers, who became a mentor for Rasputin from whom, according to some, he learned to read and write.

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Alessandra Filiaci is the creator of ‘Tarosofia’, a system of study and creative use of the Tarot and author of the books I Tarocchi. Il Sentiero Degli Uomini E Degli Dei " (1999) and I Tarocchi Della Nuova Era. Percorso Spirituale, Divinazione, Applicazioni Ludiche  (Tarot of the new era. Spiritual path, divination, playful applications )(2017)

Top Image : Depiction of Rasputin in the Basement of the Jusupov Palace on the Moika in St. Petersburg. ( Allan Fetherolf / adobe stock )

By Alessandra Filiaci

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