Flood myths are so ubiquitous that they could be grouped in with sexuality, language, cuisine, ritual, toolmaking and dress as a part of our shared culture as humans. Today’s Folklore Friday entry comes from Serbia – a heartening story of perseverance and folk wisdom. From Sacred Texts,
MANKIND perished by the flood, and there was only one who survived, and this was Kranyatz. Kranyatz fled higher and higher, till the water flooded the last mountain. The poor wretch saw how the pines and shrubs were covered; one vine, and one only, was still dry. To it he fled, and quickly seized hold of it, not from necessity, but from excessive terror; but how could it help him, being so slender and weak? Kurent observed this, for the vine was his stick, when he walked through the wide world. It was agreeable to him that man should be thought to seek help from him. It is true that Kurent was a great joker; but he was also of a kindly nature, and was always glad to deliver anyone from distress. Hearing Kranyatz lamenting, he straightened the vine, his stick, and lengthened it more and more, till it became higher than the clouds. After nine years the flood ceased, and the earth became dry again. But Kranyatz preserved himself by hanging on the vine, and nourishing himself by its grapes and wine. When all became dry, he got down, and thanked Kurent as his preserver. But this didn’t please Kurent. ‘It was the vine that rescued you,’ said he to Kranyatz; ‘thank the vine, and make a covenant with it, and bind yourself and your posterity, under a curse, that you will always speak its praises and love its wine more than any other food and drink.’ Very willingly did the grateful Kranyatz make the engagement for both himself and his posterity, and to this day his descendants still keep faith, according to his promise, loving wine above all things, and joyfully commemorating Kurent, their ancient benefactor.
Always seek personal growth. Always praise the vine!
Friend from Croatia Jurica is a stellar lute player. I was introduced to his work about a month ago and I thought I’d share with you all. A year ago he put out a Rodnovery inspired album with heavy emphasis on the microtonal scales of traditional Dinaric folk music (which I love).
Also check out his guitar skills – a true gift of Veles! (His names is Jurica after all. Think: Jurjevo - The solar holiday dedicated to the god Jarilo/Jura who returns from the underworld bringing spring, hope and merriment to the people.)
It’s been a long winter here in the States, but it’s almost over!
Do you believe in prophesy? Unfortunately, most of what what we know about the art is woefully informed by Christianity and things like the Book of Revelations. These are the Rapture-type apocalyptic tales of doom and gloom that we are constantly bombarded with in literature, television and film. The Germans had a name for this peculiar, morbid obsession with death and destruction – schadenfreude. This is what I am NOT going to engage in.
As noted in my previous post, traditional Slavonic ontology is non-linear as opposed to the Western world’s overemphasis on eschatology (the part of theology concerned with death, judgment, and the final destiny of the soul and of humankind). Slavic religion and philosophy has always veered more toward imminent rather than transcendent metaphysics. What that means is we tend to view the external world as something that asserts itself upon the individual, as opposed to the individual asserting itself upon the external world.
The primacy of nature in our worldview makes Slavic people, and especially Slavic women, well disposed to prophesy. You have witnessed the Rusalje mediums of Dubocka, Serbia. We’ve discussed the Slavonic understanding of fate visa vis time. The Russian word for witch is vedma, literally means “seer”. Perhaps the most compelling contemporary example of this worldview in practice is the story of Baba Vanga, the blind Bulgarian prophetess who is purported to have predicted numerous historical events. Certainly, one has take some of these prophesies with a grain of salt – Not only are their discrepancies in what is said about her on the internet versus what is said about her by her closest confidants, there are also political considerations that can be leveraged by certain groups. So to avoid those pitfalls, I included a video featuring Baba Vanga that focuses on how she worked with her individual clients – the things she saw, how she communicated and the remedies she prescribed. That is what I think is most important here.
Not to forget, January 8th is Babin Dan in Serbia; a day early in the new year set aside to consult the hag healer in the village and, in general, pay respect to our grandmothers. This was very important – if slighted or neglected she could just as easily turn into Baba Yaga!
People the world over are trying to make sense of our time on Earth. The most knowledgeable among them seek to solve the mystery of time itself. Yet following the technological optimism that saw a man land on the moon and a personal computer in every home, a creeping despair has set in over the Western world. We’re beginning to wonder what all we left behind as we impulsively took our great leap forward.
Armed with all these new toys, we set out to reaffirm our individuality. No longer bound by geography, culture became viral, fueling our American Dreams. As that wore off, we pivoted toward aesthetics and personal development. We looked to the wellness practices and imaginative ephemera of cultures past, all in an effort to fill an ever growing void – the chasm born out of a life lived increasingly in virtual space. We see what we are becoming and, in a faint attempt to escape, we grasp onto the railing of ancient history’s spiral staircase.
Materialism has reached a dead end – Just ask the people at CERN. In a vain attempt to save the old world order, some truly horrifying ideas are being put forth by trans-humanists. Yet despite all this, now has never been a more exciting time for cognitive science and research into human consciousness. The singularity feels near. It’s as if the moment we rediscover our innate power has humans, the nuclear bombs will detonate. On nukes, a wise sage once said, “We have dreamed this as an escape from the contemplation of our individual deaths.” My advice: Get with your gods and make peace with the inevitable – you could just be saving the world.
The Gods never died.
Millenarianism is a diseased and ego-maniacal notion we inherited from our brutal christian colonization. When we lived in earth-based communities we carried no such weight on our shoulders. We understood every ending was a new beginning, just like the cycle of the year. Yet we diverged from epistemology to eschatology when we embraced the dogma of positivism and linear time – a great illusion. What’s more, we internalized the messiah complex and projected it onto everything and everyone in Western culture; straddling us with paralyzing guilt that glorifies senseless martyrdom whilst diminishing the agency of other peoples and cultures.
In Serbian author Milorad Pavic’s Dictionary of the Khazars there is an “eyeless fish” deep in the Black Sea that swims in a circle – the timekeeper of the aeons. What happens when we catch this fish – Who blinks? Scaled to the modern world, perhaps that eyeless fish is swimming somewhere deep down in the black sea of our digital devices? What awesome power do we not know we hold? Could we not work Slavic traditional witchcraft using this as our bowl of living water?
We sense the imminence of history and the transcendence of tomorrow dancing upon the eye of a weaving woman’s needle. Far from any cybernetic form of magic, try spinning thread from pure wool; if you can, using a spindle and distaff. Then weave that thread into a garment for someone you love. More than mere textile, this craft once altered fates and tipped the balance of power in war. From wikipedia…
Many aristocratic Viking women wanted to serve Freyja and represent her in Midgard. They married Viking warlords who had Odin as a role model, and they settled in great halls that were earthly representations of Valhalla. In these halls there were magnificent feasts with ritualized meals, and the visiting chieftains can be likened with the einherjar, the fallen warriors who fought bravely and were served drinks by Valkyries. However, the duties of the mistresses were not limited to serving mead to visiting guests, but they were also expected to take part in warfare by manipulating weaving tools magically when their spouses were out in battle. Scholars no longer believe that these women waited passively at home, and there is evidence for their magic activities both in archaeological finds and in Old Norse sources, such as the Darraðarljóð.
The Third Argument – a graphic novel by Milorad Pavic
The fate of war is won with swords and axes insofar as man is only a material being. Yet man is more than just meat and bones. The women who weave know that the fabric of time and space plays an equal role. If you frequent the likes of this heathen boudoir, you no doubt experienced the weird and nebulous nature of non-ordinary space/time; whether through the medium of ritual, magic or entheogenic substance. Perhaps our bodies are equally nebulous. Indeed, when compared to other mammals, we are but frail babes in the arms of our arachnid mother. The one who is also a mother cow – nurturing us with the milk of ancestral memory before sending us off into the forest to meet our grandmother [Baba Yaga] who feeds on the bloodletting of forgetfulness.
Now Consider that it wasn’t always this way. Perhaps there was a time where we never forgot who we were – OR – alternatively, never needed to remember. Today the masses, deprived of their birthright, grovel in ignorance, slaves of spiritual impostors. After three thousand years of colonization, we are charting our return to the first principles of our pagan heritage. No longer will we be slaves to Babylonian sorcerers and priestly Manichaeisms. Remember, the weaver’s three fingers dance with the threads of time itself, not with the hands of clockmakers.
Yet the thread itself is NOT where the magic lies. It is the space between strands – in the quantum vacuum – which holds the most awesome of all natural power. Perhaps it is the same form of power that captured the imagination of Nikola Tesla – the idea of zero point energy. Getting back to the science of first principles is a winding road filed with permutations and the reflective nature required to make that journey isn’t going to be easy. We have limited ourselves to one half of the laws of physics. So the process of return is akin to rewriting the DNA of European civilization. It is from here, that ambiguous idea of Fate can be observed. It is deterministic in its rhythms, yet subject to the cadence of intention. Let’s try to make our intention as beautiful as we can make it given the current level of uncertainty.
I posit that Fate is in our DNA. Fate has an organ. It is a transmitter; a Tesla coil working in a gift economy of phosphates, sugars and nitrogens – the Three Sisters. Despite decades of reckless experimentation by the biotech corporations altering the genetic code of plants and animals – like Dr Moreau splicing here and recombining there – the science of epigenetics (changes in an organism caused by modification of genetic expression / as opposed to alterations in code) might be Mother Nature’s greatest coup.
Now consider that the bifurcation that has been pulling apart East from West for over a thousand years since the Great Schism and First Crusade, is, by the grace of our pagan hearts, being reconfigured following a process similar in scope to the one that underwrites and overwrites DNA during replication and transcription. Until now, the Western and Byzantine worlds have been moving in opposite directions. This created a knotting tension that has caused the balance of European civilization to turn in on itself. Now, with globalization there is no where else to go. We are forced to look back at one another. This is fake news calling fake news fake. It is the hypocrite staring itself in the mirror. It is the rise of the entertainment industrial complex – of pantomime culture. It is the unchained prisoner of history walking through the fire, and out of Plato’s Cave. It explains how an internet meme killed Socrates.
The enzyme topoisomerase is interesting here because it participates in the untangling of DNA – It suggests that nature has a built-in mechanism to solve these messy situations. In other words, what is happening now might be the tough, yet necessary, medicine needed to solve the planet’s most pressing problems.
The Slavic people have a unique role to play in events to come. If you think 2016 was just an anomaly, I suggest you watch this for greater context. Be sure to watch until the end though, or else you’ll miss the part detailing how the Slavonic ontological worldview comes into play. Here I am reminded of the words of another sage: “It’s all in your head – you just have no idea how big your head is.” Perhaps we are seeing the emergence of the Sobornost? One can only hope – the alternative means yet another episode of mysticism vs dualism; ie endless conflict.
Finally, if you are having trouble understanding where all this is coming from, I leave you again with this Croatian folktale that helped form my identity and was the impetus for me starting this blog over three years ago. Even if you don’t agree with how I interpret recent developments between the Old Country and the West, perhaps you might continue to empathize nevertheless. After all, you are the ones who helped free me.
THERE was an enchanted mill, so that no one could stay there, because a she-wolf always haunted it. A soldier went once into the mill to sleep. He made a fire in the parlour, went up into the garret above, bored a hole with an auger in the floor, and peeped down into the parlour. A she-wolf came in and looked about the mill to see whether she could find anything to eat. She found nothing, and then went to the fire, and said: ‘Skin down! skin down! skin down!’ She raised herself upon her hind-legs, and her skin fell down. She took the skin, and hung it on a peg, and out of the wolf came a damsel. The damsel went to the fire, and fell asleep there. He came down from the garret, took the skin, nailed it fast to the mill-wheel, then came into the mill, shouted over her, and said: ‘Good-morning, damsel! how do you do?’ She began to scream: ‘Skin on me! skin on me! skin on me!’ But the skin could not come down, for it was fast nailed. The pair married, and had two children. As soon as the elder son got to know that his mother was a wolf, he said to her: ‘Mamma! mamma! I have heard that you are a wolf.’ His mother replied: ‘What nonsense you are talking! How can you say that I am a wolf?’ The father of the two children went one day into the field to plough, and his son said: ‘Papa, let me, too, go with you.’ His father said: ‘Come.’ When they had come to the field, the son asked his father: ‘Papa, is it true that our mother is a wolf?’ His father said: ‘It is.’ The son inquired: ‘And where is her skin?’ His father said: ‘There it is, on the mill-wheel.’ No sooner had the son got home, than he said at once to his mother: ‘Mamma! mamma! you are a wolf! I know where your skin is.’ His mother asked him: ‘Where is my skin?’ He said: ‘There, on the mill-wheel.’ His mother said to him: ‘Thank you, sonny, for rescuing me.’ Then she went away, and was never heard of more.
Koleda beckons. The grandchildren of Stribog howl and Morena bites your bottom lip after a slow kiss goodnight. So the wheel turns over on a most sordid year, a bad seed. A year that will live on in the darkest corner of our collective imagination. Now a new one is being born from the forge of Svarog – but what will it be? What will it look like? Who will it call mother?
We no longer live in a world that pretends to love us. We live in a world that has declared war on us. Us? – Those who keep the flame of the Old Ways. Those who keep the flame to light the way for the ancestors. May they continue to visit our steads this winter. We need them now more than ever if we are to remember ourselves in the new world. We are no longer separated by First, Second or Third Worlds. We are the Fourth World. The oligarchs of consciousness plot their grand stage left exit and will take the First World with them. The forces of Chernabog lurk behind the black mirror as I type. Eh… nothing a crash course in cyber security and a VPN with rotating IPs can’t solve.
On the surface the unremitting dance of the seasons twirls along like a Bolshoi ballerina – The Slavic people make prayers to Mother Earth crawling on her back – “Be still” she whispers ”A new sun will be born”. I’ve discussed here how my patrilineal and matrilineal ancestral lines have worked their trans-generational magic on me. The Kokić, from Serbo-Croatian “kokot” the rooster, a universal harbinger of the raising sun; and Vuković, from Serbo-Croatian “vuk”, the wolf that seeks to devour it. How does one reconcile the duality within themselves in world whose institutions of finance, government, culture, science and technology refuse reconciliation as a possibility? Moreover, is it possible that Perun may yet yield to the calls for peace, or that Veles might cease all provocation?
If our ancestors knew such a time, we no longer remember it. So call them now, summon the oldest of the lot. Only they know for sure what is what anymore. On this winter solstice do something unpredictable – decorate your tree/log with decaying forests stuffs instead of plastic nothings. Go to The Nutcracker and count the nuts in the audience. Listen to Wagner’s The Ring Cycle backwards. Bake bread in the oven of your heart. The days are young, so keep vigil for the sun as the twilight creeps. Embrace your family and friends – hold that embrace a little longer than would be considered polite. Eat until it hurts. Laugh until it hurts worse. Share a portion of it all with your gods.
If you frequent this site or have listened to any of my talks, you may recall me extolling the virtues of “living water”, a staple element of Slavic religious rituals and craft rites. Today I’ll share a bit more information about its mythical concept and why it is so fundamental to Slavic tradition, especially during this time of year.
It begins with one of the oldest Slavic Goddesses - Mokoša (Old Russian Мокошь) who is the protector of women’s work and destiny. She may have been an an outgrowth of the ancient earth goddess Mat Zemjla. Others argue that she is one of the three Slavic Fates called Rozhanitsy. Her name is derived from mohkri, the Slavic word for moisture. However, this was a specific type of moisture – the clean, pure water that sprang from deep within the earth; this being separate from “dead” water that had accumulated debris and bacteria on the surface, namely ponds, bogs and ditches. Not only was living water seen as a miracle of nature, it was a substance believed to contain magical and medicinal properties; whereas standing water, the result of chthonic forces or manmade alteration, had a destructive power. This is why Mokoša, the mother of living water, was worshiped by placing offerings on stones that resembled female breasts. The bosom is the part of a woman’s body that yields life-sustaining milk for the newborn babe.
So you see, reconstructing Rodnovery is quite intuitive actually. Our ancestors had a keen eye for analogy. Not unlike the hermetic axiom As above, So below, the Slavic axiom might be better phrased As within, So without. This living water was analogous to newborn life – a clean slate that could be used by the priest or wise woman to impart magical intent, just like how a parent imparts his/her character traits on to their child, thereby shaping destiny in a co-creative way. Just as the act of sacred weaving possessed the power to alter fate, so too did living water, which was used in countless rituals, spells and potions. Naturally it was deployed in rituals to consecrate newlyweds…
“In the Ukraine the ceremony involves the entire wedding party on the day following the wedding, after the couple have slept together. The couple wash together in a river or spring and water is often poured over them, especially over the bride’s breasts. The young bride then carries water into their home. In northern climates the ritual is performed in a bath house. Elsa Mahler records the Russian tradition in which the mother of the groom pours cold water over the bride in the bathhouse, encouraging the young bride to fear her as she fears the cold water.
In another wedding ritual the mother of the groom wears a fur coat inside out and sits astride a rake or large fork and rides three times around a baking pan on which a loaf of bread lays. As she goes she spreads seeds of grain and water is poured over the fork from a jar. Both the jar and the fork are later broken and discarded… The destruction by man of the jar and the fork, the fur of an animal turned inside out, and the fork itself, an instrument which slices into the earth, can be associated with destruction at the hand of man. Water poured over a ring of strewn seed, centered around a loaf of bread, the product of the growth which the water will bring forth from the seed, can be related to the recognition of the life-giving properties of water. “
Historians and ethnologists generally agree that Mokoša’s lore was absorbed into the cult of St. Petka Paraschkeva observed in the Eastern Orthodox traditions of the Balkans. Petka comes from the Serbian word for “Friday” - Petak. Her feast day is October 14th. Also on this day, is the feast of the Intersession of Virgin Mary called Pokrov, meaning “veil” or “covering”, which takes place mainly in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. Together we can see how the goddess Mokoš may have been honored on Friday and/or believed to wear a protective veil. I would conjecture that water could be viewed as a veil – a shroud covering Mother Earth. The significance of Friday is important too. The Russian word for Friday is pyatnitsa, a matronymic word meaning “fifth day”. This day marked the end of the work week and was likely set aside as a time for ritual bathing. Our ancient ancestors naturally preferred to bathe in hot springs and those places teaming with fresh, living water.
In the Balkans, living water is defined as any water that comes from a spring or stream that is not used for drinking and goes through no metal pipes. A majority of the spells featured in Radomir Ristic’s Balkan Traditional Witchcraft involve the use of a brass or copper bowl filled with living water. This is the canvass par excellence upon which magic becomes art. Whereas the bowl of water no doubt symbolizes the womb, the specially made black-handled Kostura knife represents the phallus. Like the artist’s paint brush, the witch uses the knife to cut the water three times thereby making space to plant his/her seed of intent. In this way, the water goddess Mokoša and the blacksmith god Svarog (Dabog) are still being honored, her cooling waters make solid the scalding ore forged by his hammer. The wise woman who makes magic in this way is reenacting, in erotic fashion, their sacred marriage rite. The occult symbolism is clear, even if the person performing the working professes to be a Christian, secular, or whatever else.
The rites of the Slavic witch that prescribe living water connect directly to the ancient fertility cults that inform the modern practice of Rodnovery. The agrarian Slavic societies worshiped the forces of earth, sky and underworld. The pantheon is made up of a complex, and highly morphological corpus of gods and spirits, whose dynamic symbolism and imagery explain the mysteries of reality – with deities who move vertically between the three worlds, horizontally through the five elements, and diagonally across the kolo’s eightfold cycle of the year. Mokoš (or Živa in some west Slavic traditions) is the water that returns to the earth from the sky to nurture the grain crop; fore during the dry summer months she was the cloud goddess Perunica (Dodole), wife of the thunder god, viewed as a divine cow whose utters held rain. Linen and flax were particularly sacred to her since these were woven by women to make garments for the winter. They were harvested at Dozinky in mid September, dried, threshed and spun over the course of month culminating in her mid October veneration. This took place on a Friday eve. All weaving was prohibited and all fiber was put up lest the goddess arrive and spin an unfortunate fate for the household. This was undoubtedly thought of as a time when the water goddess was moving from the earth to the underworld. This is the opposite of Semik, when the goddess was seen traveling from the underworld to earth as enacted by her hypostasis Jarila (Lada), queen of the Rusalki…
“… a Ukrainian folksong in which Kupala [Jarila/Lada], the plant spirit, spends the winter in springs of water and the summer in the wheat. Pavel Sejn notes that in Bobrujskij Uyesd peasants believe that the water nymphs, the rusalki, spend the winter in the rivers and on about Trinity Day leave the rivers to spend the summer on land. This concept is portrayed in the Russian folk tradition in which a selected young woman from the village plays the role of a water nymph, is taken out of the village and into the fields. There she is abandoned, and after remaining for a period of time she returns secretly to the village. He relates this directly to supplying the fields with the necessary moisture for plant growth.”
Last week was a little hectic for me but this Friday I am honoring Mokoša’s transit to the underworld by fetching some living water from the forest – half of it will be set aside for Craft stuffs and the other half to make some apple cider chai. I’ll bring home a fresh bushel, grain seeds, a ball of twine, an apple and some cottage cheese for the Goddess – maybe even a little hemp! I will begin the internal work of separating the wheat from the chaff in my personal life, so I go into Božič feeling light – ready to take on another year. Can you believe I made my first sacrifice to Mokoš three years ago when I launched this little site? Now we see about 500-600 unique views a day – three times as many as last year! This validates what I believed in my heart all along; that Slavic people the world over are coming together to meet the challenges of a new century and the gods are gathering to prepare us for the role we will play in the world to come.
So be sure to honor your mother Mokoš before November arrives and it’s too late. Be sure to bless your home with some living water using a stalk of fresh basil after you do – you’ll thank me later! Even if you live in an urban area, you can start your relationship with living water by visiting a fresh water spring near you.
I found some interesting first person accounts of witches, shamans and wise women of the Carpathian region. There are some nice nuggets here for those interested in Slavic Craft as it is practiced in Southern Poland, Southwestern Belarus, Western Ukraine and Eastern Slovakia.
Babka Yanina, Belarus Whisperer: “My uncle taught me to whisper. He was a powerful sorcerer. He knew words that you could say to paralyse a snake. I am able to heal tumours, fears, nerves and stammering. I attained my gift when I became blind.”
Babka Nadzeja, Belarus Whisperer: “My mother’s gift was feared because of the times she lived in: the Soviet government did not recognise anything holy. During the war I fought as a partisan against the Nazis, and then worked in the school. People would laugh at me when they found out about my gift but when they asked for help I could not refuse them. Sadly, I could not help my family, Whispers only can help strangers in our family tradition.”
Babka Stasia, Belarus Whisperer: “My Catholic family was very religious, but I lost my mother when I was three and my father when I was seven, and I became an orphan. Most whisperers are Orthodox not Catholic. When I was older my mother-in-law and two old women in my village taught me to whisper, and how to burn threads and use smoke (smudge) to heal people.“
Babka Fiadora, Belarus Whisperer: “I never went to school, not even once. When I was young times were hard, and children had to work. For 12 years I looked after cows in return for food. It was my grandmother who showed me how to use herbs and taught me to whisper. It was all word of mouth, because I can’t read. I only treat people when I know I will be able to help them.”
Babka Katia, Belarus Whisperer: “There was a communist in our village called Misha. One day he mowed the grass near the river and he was bitten by a snake. He became really ill and was close to death. He sent his wife to me, to ask for help. I was scared because he was a Communist. They disliked us believers so much; they mocked us, closed churches and sent priests to Siberia. But I could not say no, so I whispered in the water and he drank it and he got better. I don’t know if Misha ever believed in God but he knew the power of the word.”
Recognizing the extraordinary power the digital imaginarium has to communicate to a new generation the Old Ways and the message of the Old Gods, I (at Veles’ behest) started an Instagram and Twitter account. I’ll use this to facilitate my work and the work of so many others looking to revive and reconstruct Slavic polytheism and witchcraft traditions.
No longer can we assume an idle posture, content with individual academic study and private practice. If Rodnovery is to be religion recognized on the world stage – If it is to be a neo-pagan movement on par with the Wiccan communities and Asatru congregations throughout the world – we need to shift how we view ourselves and our gods. We must begin to consider new methods of outreach, yes. But first we must consider our own perception of Slavic identity as Westerners largely alienated from the Old Country. If we only view ourselves from this isolated perspective we will remain just that – isolated. We will never have our local sabors and the small spark Svarožič gave us years ago will run the risk of being snuffed out with the frigid ease of a Russian blizzard.
So here is what you can do to keep that from happening
Affirm for yourself a Slavic and Rodnover identity
Make your national identity subordinate to your Slavic and Rodnover one (sectarianism has derailed Slavic people from achieving global unity [a la Jewish culture] for centuries).
Connect with other Slavs and Rodnovers in the Old Country to broaden your knowledge and reach (with social media and translation tools this isn’t as hard as it sounds)
Confront the politics of monotheist belief systems without disrespecting its believers (Catholicism, Orthodoxy & Islam have been used to suppress Native Slavic culture and colonize Slavic people for easy exploitation, but who remembers that? – You do.)
Be unafraid to discuss your faith and practice with those who are curious to know more (move yourself from the shadows of Marena into the light of Dazhbog)
When you meet another Slav greet them as you would a brother or sister (show them the type of hospitality that would make your Babushka proud)
Demonstrate the fullness of Slavic identity by just being you (Proselytizing the virtues of the Gods or the power of traditional craft will spook anyone who views themselves as an ordinary Western secularist or devout Christian. Your job is to guide them on their own journey, to gently nudge, until they realize Slavic identity for themselves)
Organize! Organize! Organize! (social outings, supper clubs, folk dances, craft seminars, festivals, study groups, hikes, rituals, retreats, ect.)
Find me @SlavicSorceress on Instagram and @SlavicPriestess on Twitter
One of my fav’s from the Old Country – Plug (Cro. Plow). The title translates as “At the Door of the Temple of Wisdom”. Classic Balkan stings set the stage for syncopated flute notes that tug at your weary heart, reawakening the ancestor spirits and reinvigorating the body for one last kolo in the meadow before harvest.
As Dazhbog makes his decent to Navi, the black sun of the autumnal equinox stands as a threshold. Our shadow is the doorway, behind which lies the inner temple. Go there. Make praise and sacrifice to Svarog for another year. Pour libations to Mokoš in gratitude for your bounty. Aid in the healing Mother Zemlja – for her labor has born you a priceless gift. Dožinky is near… So like the beard of Veles, trim from your life that which you no longer wish to carry with you into light of the newborn sun – Because Božić will be here before you know it!
Tomorrow morning I will be fielding a presentation entitled Slavic Folk Belief and the Rebirth of Rodnovery at the Many God’s West conference, an annual event dedicated to polytheist theology, theory and practice. It was founded two years ago by Nikki Whiting and Rhyd Wildermuth following an expressed demand within the broader pagan community to create space for self-identifying polytheists to gather, share ideas and practice ritual devotion to our respective gods. The event’s theme is “Many Gods, Many People”, which sums up well its commitment to inclusion and diversity.
A more subtle theme permeating the zeitgeist of last years event, which I attended, was “Many Gods, No Masters”, a play on the slogan “No Gods, No Masters”, used by the labor movement of the early twentieth century. This carried with it some political overtones that left some feeling uneasy. As a pan-Slavic democratic socialist, this didn’t bother me much. Though I’m not inclined to view monotheists in antagonistic terms (since many of my Slavic brothers and sisters are still monotheists), I think the idea of polytheist inspired anarchism is quite novel and worthwhile simply because I support most anything that confronts neo-liberalism and American cultural hegemony. That said, I had a wonderful experience – taking part in a number of breakout sessions on topics such as Regional Cultus, the Feri Tradition, Norse Polytheism. I also partook in a number of rituals including a rite of possession in honor of the Gaulo-Roman Matronnae, as well as a wine-infused Bacchanal in honor of Dionysus.
Though polytheism is the central focus, there are a number of presenters from across the pagan spectrum, including pantheists, monists, and animists. If you just so happen to be in the Greater Seattle area, Many Gods West is now under way at the Red Lion Hotel in Olympia, WA. My ninety minute presentation beings tomorrow at 11 am. If you wish to receive a copy of the power-point, drop me a note with your email and I will send it to you next week.