Rod Ways: The Legend of Baba Vanga

200px-vangaDo 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!