The Generous Invitation to the Marriage of the Spirit of the North’s Wisdom: “The Midnight Sun” a Slavic & Balkan Tradition of Kolyadky & Auseklis By Phoenix of Elder Mountain, Edited by Sarah Burnt Stone
The Languages of Symbolism is very deep, rich and very ancient and it is an art to be able to saturate yourself into it, and then test it in the actions of yours and other peoples lives. If writing is the invention of the language of the mind and all that comes with that… prior to history, symbolism was the language of the soul and all that comes with that.
It is the root language of the empaths, the dreamers, the artists and the shamans which existed long before any creation of the runes, the alphabet or any written language and even the symbolism of paganism. The communications of our “subtle bodies” (our souls) or the “bones” is an “emotional” and energetic language expressed through the language of images, dreams, art, symbolism, imagination (manifestation of image) and intuitive energetic intelligence such as synchronicity and natural magic (nature).
It is our origin language, a dreamer indigenous language of our soul, who others call the “unconscious”. Some of us are conscious and work with our soul and that makes all the difference in understanding this life giving language. Most people today do not concern themselves with any pre-religious or pre-pagan traditions, and why should people seek such teachings of grandmother and women’s traditions. Men have only controlled earth for about 3,000 years but before this, we were less mind and more body and soul. But now that the next two ages come for the next 7,000 year cycle (Age of Aquarius and Age of Capricorn) we will be less and less bound by restrictions of loving nature and caring for her and protecting her. And as the grandmothers wisdom return, so will her medicines and prehistory ways.
But dreamers need to understand our empathic and old soul natures of prehistory for their own future. This is a path of a full spiritual journey (not just mind-body) and the thirst this lifetime starts from birth and lasts our whole entire life. In the beginning ages of the last 7,000 years it was body & soul (sun & moon), in the last 2,500 years it was body & mind (sun). Now we enter Soul & Nature again (Earth & Moon) and it is self understanding and reclaiming, first our human and its karma and then our nature (animism, celestial and elemental).
For most old souls it will just be a flexing of such reality, taking back what fairy tales and legends stole from us. Believing but not really believing (experiences) and to understand prehistory rites and movements with nature of symbolism, dreaming symbolism (not dream symbolism and there is a huge difference). And the subtle ritualistic art of dreamtime as a real language.
My focus is on one of the symbols of my ancestors which is called the “Star” or what was in prehistory called the “Midnight Sun” – and it is equaled to the ancient sacred Swastika and Sauwastika but with dual doorways (8 sides) instead of single arms and doors (4). This has to do with the consciousness (of mysticism) called nature herself in a more balanced feminine and masculine attribute to our bein, instead of just male or masculine so dominant since the 3rd century ce. The midnight sun is connected to the equinoxes and solstices based on nature’s teachings, not human. That is why its only retained in art and artistic expressions.
One of the Midnight Sun people are my own people, the Polish Kashubian or Kashubs also spelled Kaszubians, Kassubians, Cassubians who are a West Slavic ethnic group in Pomerelia, located in north-central Poland. The Kashubian people are believed to be an original Baltic tribe who have held onto their own language, which is similar to the Polish modern language. They have resided on the shores of the Baltic Sea since the 7th century ce. The landscape of mountains, meadows, sea, lakes, and forest and there is a legend that the lands and its people are protected by a Griffin who guard them forever which is much like the Fu Dogs who protect the Mongolian Indigenous tribes (not the military cults).
Kashubian traditional folk art is inspired by what was and still is around them, the flowers, the bees, butterflies, trees and sea life. Like many ancient cultures, portraying their identity through their art forms, the Kashubian Star represents the ancient “Midnight Sun of the Winter Solstice” and only specific more ancient tribes have such a symbolism.
The Auseklis – Midnight Sun, Goddess of the Dawn (now called a Star) and in Ukraine traditions, its called the Mysteries of Kolyadky…
This Midnight Sun (or Star as its called), is the The Season of Night which is Autumn and Winter. It is also the Season of Fire – Spring and Summer. I live within this prehistory dreamers language in my shaman’s life and my healing wok, dreaming life and each moon cycle and how it effects dreams, dreaming and dreamtime.
One of the symbols sacred to the Latvian Balkan, is the Auseklis – The Midnight Sun, Goddess of the Dawn (now called a Star). In Ukraine tradition, its called the Mysteries of Kolyadky. The Aurora (Auseklis) is the Midnight Sun, Goddess of the Dawn is the oldest of all Slavic and Balkan countries symbols and its meaning, even older than all the pagan gods. It has magical meanings in Latvian folklore of the ancient understanding of the secrets of magical nature, the magical self in relationship to nature. If your bed sheets are covered with this symbols then bed sheet protect though the symbol the dreamer from any shadow or evil wandering souls in the vicinity.
The symbol is also associated with ancient medicine, the straight or turned cross style. Auseklis is used commonly in folk and peasant usage of the Latvian culture. This is the most important ancient symbol to them, which is with the references of the night. In Latvia, its the Night Sun or Midnight Star as it is associated with Winter, the Winter Solstice and the protection from evil and shadows of the underworld.
From Dawn Maid and Sun Maid: Celestial Goddesses among the Proto Indo Europeans by Miriam Robbins Dexter Antioch University, she writes: “The Indo-European Dawn Goddess appears in Northern Indo-European, particularly in Baltic folk songs. Proto-Indo-European Aus-tero gave rise to several cognate dawn goddesses, including Lithuanian AuSra, Latvian Auseklis, Old Prussian Ausca, and Roman Aurora. Throughout these folklore and mythology, the Goddess of the Dawn is often perceived as a woman and the Latvian daiqas, or folk songs, excuses are made for the late arrival of the dawn goddess.
Latvian folk songs are very creative in their excuses for the goddess of the dawn: Where is the Auseklis of the Morning, Whom I did not see rising? Auseklis [is] in Germany; She is sewing velvet skirts. The Lithuanian dawn goddess AuSra is often called AuSrelt (dear dawn), employing the very common Lithuanian diminutive of endearment. She is also called AuSrint a form which utilizes the adjectival suffix; AuSrinis means ‘morning’ and AuSrint Zvaigzdt is the ‘morning star. The Latvian Goddess of Dawn in Baltic myth, was the Mother of Mēness The Moon God.
The moon was either married to Saule, the Sun Goddess, or her daughter, Saules Meita. In another folk song, Saule has given her daughter to Ausekis’ son. The Slavic Goddess of the Dawn, Zarya is not linguistically cognate with her Baltic sisters. The moon god, according to Gimbutas, was unstable; not only did he fall in love with the daughters of the sun, in Latvian myth, he also married Saule herself and fell in love with Ausrine as well.”
Perhaps the most curious of the Kolyadki is a Carpathian song in which we find the following description:
Once there was neither heaven nor earth, Heaven nor earth, but only blue sea, and in the midst of the sea there were two oaks,
There sat there, two birds,
Two birds on the two oaks,
and they began to take
counsel among themselves,
to take counsel and to say…
“How can we create the world?”
Let us go to the bottom of the sea, Let us bring thence fine sand, Fine sand and blue stone.
We will sow the fine sand, We will breathe on the blue stone. From the fine sand the black earth, the cool waters, the green grass.
From the blue stone the blue heavens, the blue heavens, the bright sun, the bright sun, and the clear moon, The clear moon and all the stars.
~ Afanasief, Poeticheskya Vezzyeniya Slavan
We find a similar motif of Aurora in the primitive Sardinia, Italian language that Aurora, which is equivalent to Greek Ἕως, the rosy-fingered goddess, is no coincidence the Romans made it the hypostasis of gold (aurum > Aurora) for the splendor with which it appears. But aurum > Aurora was only a paronomasia, as the Latins had lost its oldest meaning, which turns out even in the Sumerian language, from a’u ‘one who drags ships, boats’ + ru ‘structure ‘+ ra ‘sun, splendor of the sun’: A’u-ru-ra which means: ‘She who pulls the boat of the Sun’ or life giving sun of the waking human life. Ἕως has the same origin, by Sumerian e ‘take out’ + u ‘sleep’, meaning ‘(the one who) brings out of sleep (the Sun)’.
Aurora is the Sun Goddess, but when the patriarch began to change all mythology into their new mythology she became the wife or consort and the male ended up in a higher status as the all life giving Sun God and from him all the gods rose, like Helios, Apollo, Mars, etc. The Aurora or Auseklis – The Midnight Sun, Goddess of the Dawn has magical meaning in Latvian folklore and it means you understand the secrets of magical nature, the magical self in relationship to nature. If your bed sheets are covered with this symbols then bed sheet protect though the symbol the dreamer from any shadow or evil wandering souls in the vicinity. The symbol is also associated with ancient medicine, the straight or turned cross style.
Latvian Auseklis at her root, is a Celestial Goddess, collective rather than personal goddess or woman self-hood, and she and her symbol has much power, but like any ancient symbol, you do not get its power, you must match its power within your life and that is a long and painful journey. No symbol is power given, it must be completely earned and most times its given power by peoples shadow (their need for attention, jester or magic tricks for attention, the ego, false strength of the warrior etc). These are all superficial and not in harmony with the feminine and goddess from which they were birthed. The symbol represents the complex eight-sided star, which must be drawn in one continuous line without lifting your hand to receive the benefit of his blessings.
Simplest form of star is simple cross which symbolizes as elements, the Fire and the Light which are basically the same thing, called Spirit. Pagan Latvians believes that magical rituals can be performed with this symbol and it often has a great meaning to those who use it in a sacred way
During late paganism eras (after the 8th-10th century), with the influences of Christian and Catholic Religions, the Midnight Star has been called Koliada in Ukraine and other Slavic and Balkan pagan winter traditions, which is most important as ancient winter ceremonies and celebrations and then later into Christmas and Christian Religions. The Midnight Sun (star) as a simple art image today, in the basic Christmas ritual.
The main attribute of Christmas and the Mysteries of Kolyadky is since ancient times, as it was pagan octagonal star, called by the ancestors as Sura (from al-atar “white or heat-combustible”) in Ukraine. Star-Sura is a Ukrainian eight pointed star which represents the eight major cycles of nature within the four seasons. Its characteristics are within folk ornamentation, especially the Hutsul. Overall, this symbol is found in every area of folk art in Ukrainian pysanky, Ukrainian embroidery, folk carving, etc.Esoteric, Sura is oktahramu: projection diamond (heavenly light) to the square (the material world) and their mutual peresikannya. It connects all corners of the world and marks the absolute balance, harmony and balance, making a powerful healing effect.The very high star attached to a pole firmly and rays swirled around the axis using the power and extended in lace from him. On one side of the star depicting the human face or the sun, the second – kolyadky scene. Inside sometimes inserted a candle, creating a sort of “magic lantern”. In making this week the stars came from the time because their produce in advance.
Belarusian Каляда, Kalada, Kalyada Bosnian, Croatian, Czech, Slovak, Slovene koledsa Bulgarian, Macedonian, Serbian Коледа, Коледе Kashubian kòlãda Latvian an older ancient symbol Auseklis Lithuanian Kalėdos, Kalėda Polish Kolęda Old Polish Kolenda Old Church Slavonic Колѧда Romanian Kolinda Russian Коляда, Kolyada Ukraine Коляда, Kolyadá
To understand any spiritual teaching of earth at its root, one must walk backwards into the past and prehistory of self, not the present or knowledge and definitely not forward or the future. To understand ancient cultures rituals before 3,000 bce (grandfather’s patriarch), information can be found only in three ways:1. Visions and Out of Bodies, 2. Peasant folktales, folk songs and 3. Ancient art and pieces of remaining Folk art. One question is: “Were the origins of the Winter Solstice Ceremonies Dances or Songs or both” ?Koleda is always celebrated with Carolers, but the root of the term “Carol” actually refers to “dancing” rather than its common connotation regarding song or singing. In Old French, “carole” is translated to “dance.” Similarly, in both Latin (choraula) and Greek (choraules) the root of the term means “to dance with the accompaniment of flute”. Thus caroling can actually be traced to more archaic traditions of solstice ritual dance much like kukeri, the bear dances or mummer’s purification dances (in some purer villages) in its shamanic roots.
In Pre-Christian eras, Northern Europeans and Eastern Europeans would travel in order to join together to sing and dance in honor of the sacredness of the Winter Solstice. Although after the 13th century most carols centered around religion or pagan celebrations. These dances were directly birthed from the sacred shamanic dances of women that occurred during the winter moons of the time of peace when the oceans became calm and they were joined in dreaming by all their shaman and sacred sisters around the earth, called dream incubation of the cave eras.
Before wars descended upon the earth, men also had their essential roles and parts in the great rituals of the tribe and clans. Their rites (like most cultures) are historically viewed as war dances, but in actuality there was no war-based intentions in their origins, that was propaganda, a myth projected as real when they were just dances.The ancient tradition of creating art is also an important path, as both talisman (to be worn) and amulet (to be placed or hung) has also been carried on in Slavic traditions of Christmas. As the Christian stories of the “Son of God” or Muslim and Jewish Religions gained cultural momentum, the symbols often found on these amulets and talismans lost their reference to the fertility (of both the Fire Goddess (of the summer solstice) and her twin mirror the Night Goddess (of the winter solstice) and her heavenly fertility.
Although the original meaning of the Midnight Sun was displaced, the symbol remains present in Slavic celebrations due to tendency of Slavs and Balkans to bring their own traditions into Christianity rather than lose them. As religion became the leading influence of commerce for artisans, traditional craftsmen and women were given work to change these ancient symbols and adapt them to support both the new power of religion and male power in general. The work of these artisans combined with the domination of written pagan-god culture is what ultimately transformed the meaning of these shamanic symbols.
The verb ‘koliadovat’ means to go from door to door, singing ritual songs, asking for sweets and the pagan aspects of wearing animal masks. Koliada is the time between Korochun (the Winter Solstice) and the first week of January. Lighted fires and candles are to light the darkest time of the year which was to echo the ancient pagan custom of banging the sparks from the burning Budnik ritual log, that is lit up at Koliada, much like the English Yule log. Sviatky in Russia is equivalent to yuletide and is celebrated in January where all the young girls and women in the family would practice folk divination, which is mostly melted wax into a water bowl.
Koliada in its older traditions is the name of a cycle of winter rituals that aligns with the new moon stemming from the ancient Calendae. The modern term of children and caroler’s singing is called kolyadovannya in Ukrainian and is now applied to similar Old East Slavic celebrations. In Bulgarian and Macedonian traditions of koleduvane (коледуване) or koledarenje (коледарење) which are also around Christmas and the Kolyadka (songs) are sung as well.
Koleda is also celebrated across northern Greece by the Slavs of Macedonia in Florina to Thessaloniki which is called Koleda (Κόλιντα, Κόλιαντα) and Koleda Babo (Κόλιντα Μπάμπω) which means “Koleda Grandmother” in Slavic and this directly ties Koleda (Winter Solstice) to the Winter Goddess Marzana making it the most archaic Koleda. This is a ritual of gathering in the village square and lighting a bonfire, followed by local Macedonian dancing. There is also a dance from Dubrovnik called “The Dubrovnik Koleda.”
Wigilia is the traditional Polish Christmas eve celebrations and sometimes called “gwiazdory” which is reference to the “Star” carriers. Before the 11th century they were all pagan celebrations and rituals and the oral traditions which were passed down for millenniums for generation to generation were lost and all we have left is a very small narrow culture of religious songs that lack the mystery. Poland’s Koledy, like other Slavic countries still bright Star along with the singers and folk musician spreading seasonal good wishes.
Hieroglyphs, Petroglyphs, Cave Drawings, Ancient and Contemporary Art, Esoteric, Divination and even major business logo’s all draw from nature-based symbols (images of artists and dreamers) and contain a root language of our past and our souls journey. Traditional oral stories can be traced to these sources of images throughout history and prehistory and their original meanings can be understood when one recognizes symbolic language as their “first language.” Symbolism as a tool, has been birthed forth from sacred dreamers, shamans and artists since the dreamers societies and this continues today in a less elaborate and less powerful and less meaningful shamanic ceremony. But at least fragments still exist and can be built upon for the future.
The Sun Goddess (in both Balkan and Slavic cultures) has a far more ancient symbolic meaning, than what is used in today’s rituals of the recent pagan past. In the past several thousand years her symbol evolved to be regarded as a “star” and this is a relatively recent concept. Prior to the evolution of astronomy, astrology, science and religion, the eight pointed star (associated with the Sun Goddess and Goddesses like Ishtar, Tanit and some older archaic goddesses) it represented the Midnight Sun of the Winter Solstice here on earth, not in the sky and that is the most important of all.
This star can be seen in the symbolism of folk ritual, folk art, rich textiles, pysanky eggs and sacred art of both the Slavs and the Balkan people. One later example is the early Medieval Slavic Moravia Magna (Moravian Empire) and it’s 8 pointed Vesna symbol which looks like a “flower”. Vesna is the Goddess of life, beauty, love and the spring and asscociated with the Goddess Lada.
Because the earth was woman’s only focus prior to men’s teachings (paganism and religion) the symbols and images belonging to woman’s prehistory were actually quite different and in many ways an opposition of what we have today in the meanings of symbols. If we release the associations created through these dominant teachings of the Sun Cults (which began to around 2,200 bce) we can begin to see the symbols come alive and express a more healing and magical meaning, which came forth from women weaving connectedness to the immediate surroundings and to accepting the dark winters without rushing to bring any light forth ahead of spring. In these ways we were accepting of the dark night and the time of silence. We were accepting to go inward and enter the night forest of mother earth and to heal the deepest during this time.
If we look at the Rozhy as a sacred symbol, which emerged from ancient earth-focused artists (who were generally the healers and enactors of rituals and leadership) we can see that the eight-pointed Ruzha (ружа) is not a “star” but a “flower”. The Rozhy (mallow flowers) are so often similar to the eight-pointed star motif that during the shift from feminine to masculine-dominated teachings to see everything linear, the flower took on the connotation of the solar god and began to be regarded as a representation of the sun itself. Today this symbol still represents the feminine, and woman’s sensitivities of the beauty of nurturing, and symbolizes love and caring for others. The Sun Goddess’s symbol, which retains both the meaning of the “Sun” and “Flower” allows us to trace its origin to the archaic symbol of the “Fire Flower.”
One of the most beautiful symbols of the Winter Solstice (which remains passed down from a direct lineages of the Matriarchal structures) is the 8 pointed Midnight Sun (or Fire Flower) that is carried atop a ritual staff by Ukrainian carolers at Christmas. Long ago shamanic ritual and Fire Dances would have accompanied these singers in their solstice celebration. The names of the Mallow flower (which is representative of the Fire Flower) in various Slavic and Balkan countries are:
In China, the mallow flower is called the “power of magic” for its abilities to ward off shadows and shadow-natured humans who walk between the worlds (this world and across the veil into the dream worlds which are all on earth). A similar reference is found in Polish mythology which mentions Fire Flowers in much of their folklore. The ritual of the Vesta is a distinct Fire Flower rite and is a shamanic ritual in origin. The rite of the Fire Flower wasn’t a game or a celebration, but a real shamanic initiation which could last five to twenty years.
In today’s pagan ritual its said that to find the Fire Flower the seeker must enter a forest before midnight on the Eve of Kupala of the Summer Solstice. Blooming precisely at midnight, the brightness of the flower is so brilliant that no person can look at it directly. The reference of both “Flower” and “Midnight” in these stories also connect to the observance of the solstices.
For this powerful flower to be harvested, a circle had to be drawn around it. The seeker would encounter demons who would try to distract or prevent him/her from completing this task. It was said that if you answered the voices, or faltered during the task the cost would be your life. Anyone who succeeded in possessing this flower gained the ability to repel all evils. Thus, within the folklore of this Fire Flower lies the symbolism of the spiritual tests of the Shamans from these regions.
Midnight Sun symbolism of the Winter Dark Goddess
The ancients like myself as a shaman recognize and live by these two seasons: Summer and Winter and when one tries to relearn alignment with the celebration of these two seasons of earth, rather than the four we have come to regard as wholeness, one begins to be in rhythm with the rhythms of their emotional body as the earth herself does. These two-halves of the (whole) year are divided into two :
FIRE (spring-summer / solstice) Light half of the year from Spring to Autumn
NIGHT (autumn-winter / solstice) Night half of the year from Autumn to Spring
These two halves of the year are marked by the solstices and correlate with the north and south axis of Earth. These axis are the gates where dreamers, dream walkers, and soul bodied astral traveling shamans and humans exited and entered the mystical veils of earth (not off earth, like the new 4,000 year teachings of star lore wishes you to believe). Once the pyramids were built on earth, these were to disrupt magnetic energy and slowly eradicate your dreaming and this ability through the magnetics of your emotional body and soul.
The demarcation of two halves of the year is one of the main differences between prehistory dreaming rituals and tribes and the rituals that have taken their place in the the past 4,000 years. This resulted in the loss of our connection to our dreamer and night dreams as real and powerful which our astral body crosses back and forth. Woman’s prehistory rites and rituals, link directly to the power of dreaming itself and these celebrations involving the Spring and Autumn Equinox seasons are actually intended for our ordinary and mundane life of the waking world and not for the in-between worlds of the shaman, dreamers or mystics.
Many pagans who observe Halloween and Samhain celebrations would find this odd because (due to the rising power of the men of both Paganism and the Religious Sun cults) much significance has been placed on observing the Equinox and Religions over-took the Solstices and changed them to the mundane world. Nonetheless, the Spring and Autumn Equinox celebrations are important and mark significant turning points in the year, but not the spiritual in-between the worlds’ year.
Another important facet of the Midnight Sun (or reverse sun sometimes called the second sun (core magma of the earth’s center) is its role as symbol of the feminine power of the internal fire and nature’s core of fire. Connected with the archaic Goddess figures of Marzanna and even how she rolled into the Black Madonna, this symbol can be traced back to the lineages of the shaman or cave grandmothers era’s of earth.
The Midnight Sun or Central Sun as some new age groups call it, it is the fire in the belly of the Mother Earth (which is fire). One of the ways to reconnect to the root of Woman’s prehistoric teachings (which have been both lost, destroyed and corrupted) is to reclaim a path of the Powerful Self which is our inner Fire. To do this requires both a healing journey, and a purification process involving working towards the unification of both perception (emotion / souls) and perspective (mind / beliefs) when living our mundane and creative life.
Like most cultures, celebrations which contain vestiges of the original Solstice rituals have changed. Many of the Singing Carolers of Ukraine carry images and amulets of the Svarha (сварга) or Swastika during the Winter Solstice. But before pagan eras, this symbol denoted the movement of Ursa Major across the heavens and the four seasons in symbol form were the four spinning arms of transformation. As Pagan and then the Sun Cults (religions) came into power the symbol began to represent the Sun’s travel across the sky. In Slavic culture this symbol represented the Midnight Sun of the Dark Goddess (like Marzanna) of the winter and would then in later eras symbolized Dazhboh, a benevolent Sun God, in the Summer.
When i look at modern pagans today of both Slavic and Balkan countries, I see a lot of war loving viking imagery and associations and male dominance in the leadership, I see the same in men’s religions. If women are to heal themselves and work with their soul, they must begin to find a way to incorporate the more personal meanings of the moon, the sun, nature and personal ritual that weaves them together, both with intentions of health and letting go of what no longer serves their spiritual paths.
When the complex multi-spoke designs of the “Star” of Christmas became popularized, the rites of the women and grandmothers were eventually conferred to rituals enacted by children. By the 17th century the star lost most of its reference to its previous symbolic meaning and women were no longer allowed to participate in many of the solstice traditions.
The creation of amulets or star symbols, once used in the shamanic rites of women to protect their villages from shadows, were ultimately demoted to a child’s craft activity of Christmas folk art at local museums or schools. But this will change as more and more Slavic pagans return to their origins peacefully again.
So what is the Midnight Sun before paganism and religion ?
It is the path of the dreamers, the dream cultures, when night is of the (Autumn and Winter cycles) mean sleep, we did not wake up until the spring and hibernated like the animals. Hard to imagine today that the dreamers and soul people lives in peace. They did.
Sources: Fire Потерчата, 1963, Polish traditional stars, The coloring in Ukrainian by Puzyrna Galyna; Ukraine Illustrator Vera Pavlova; Illustration by Nadia Starovoitova; Verteps parade in Lviv, Ukraine; https://sasartiglia.com, via http://www.urbanetka.com. All photos and images belong to their rightful owners and shared for women’s dreaming educational purposes only.