By Phoenix of Elder Mountain (compiled and additions) – Being Slavic never ceases to amaze me of what and who my ancestors were from a prehistory grandmother culture perspective, all the way to our modern day Baba Jaga (yaga). I am not interesting in the last four thousand years of ancestors, I am interested in Grandmother’s cultures before time, her shamanic and dreaming cultures. Modern people think connecting with ancestors, star seed aliens is a healthy endeavor spiritually than ones own ancestors. I disagree because every one has an indigenous culture if you seek deep enough.
The older I get, the more that is revealed of the Golden Baba’s past and her story through art, dreaming, stones, symbols, rivers and oceans, are all connected to my Slavic soul, my grandmothers Slavic soul and my great great grandmothers souls. Her name literally means “Golden Old Lady” and she was and still is worshiped among Finno-Ugric populations along the Ob River and also among Slavs like myself. Her various names are Slata Baba, Slotaia Baba, Zlata Baba, Zolotaya Baba, Zolotaja and Zolstoia Baba.
Let me share her original story first, then all the legemds amd subsequent stories:
The Golden Baba (stone grandmothers) is the Mystical Ancestor of all life of Earth, who flows with the “World River of the Sacred Mountain” rather than the World Tree traditions. The song of the Stone Grandmothers of Polovtsian, Ukraine is one of the traditions of the 8th-13th century and these stones represent the older traditions of the Scythian people (now Ukraine) when Grandmojther was leader and spiriual leader. Polovtsy was the name given to the Kipchaks and the Cumans by the people of the Indigenous Rusyns. How did these old traditions survive? Lie they always do, through folk stories, artists and their art.
The Matroshka doll was created to express and represent as a symbol of woman and her creation and destruction. In her creative form she is new life, containing succeeding generations which were birthed and came forth from within herself and the doll was originally based on that. Based on the ancient Slavic Goddess Jumala, the golden goddess of pre-pagan times.
Matroshka originally was originally created in the area of Vyatka, in the Ural foothills, once the center of Ugria, a large northern country which extended up both sides of the Urals to the Yamal peninsula in the north. The Khanty and Mansi indigenous people are known somewhat for their effigies in a more shamanic expression, they still livetoday in the forests and marshlands of the lower Ob River, and are the descendants of the Ugrians.
According to ancient Russian chronicles, the Ugrians principle Goddess was a Golden Baba statue made of pure gold called “Jumala” which rumors had reached Europe in the 10th century that she existed. Scandinavian sagas described an unsuccessful attempt by Vikings to steal the golden baba statue at a time when she stood at the banks of the Northern Dvina.
According to one saga, Torir the Dog reached the shrine of Jumala in 1023, but when they searched the area, the Ugrians carried the goddess across the Urals to where the Ob and Irtysh rivers meet. Sebastian Muenster and Gerard Mercator, and other sixteenth century geographers had a “golden woman” marked on their maps to try to find her. When Baron Sigismund Herberstein arrived in Russia in 1549, he was told that the golden statue of the goddess Jumala had a hallow singing interior and inside that was another figure of the goddess which inturn contained a third goddess figure.
No one of this ancient tribe was to see their goddess, who stood in a sacred forest; but every Ugrian who passed by had to leave a gold coin, a fur or fabric of something else of value on Jumala’s Tree. Every day the goddesses hereditary guards collected the donations and when enough gold was collected it was made into a new shell of the figure of the goddess and the old statue and all it contained, was placed inside.
When the English traveller Giles Fletcher visited Moscow in 1584, he sent an exhibition to the Urals, but, according to his ‘Rus of the Commonwealth’ no Golden Baba was found. After herbertstein, only four other men came into direct contact with the goddess Jumala mystery. Bogdan Bryazga, a cossack, invaded the territory of the shrine, but by the time theystormed their village, the tribe had taken their goddess and hid her again and she dissapeared.
The Khanty and Mansi people had concealed Jumala again for her protection. Another Russian traveller named Konstantine Nosilov in 1904, met an old man who recalled the legend about the golden baba being carried across the Urals, but he too refused to disclose where she was. The first known Mtroshka doll made by V. Zvezdochkin created his doll in honor of Jumala and thats why the doll has many smaller matroshkas within.
The Rusyns are a group of indigenous peoples who live in the Carpathian Mountains, the source of the Dniester, Tisza and Vistula Rivers which form the natural border between Slovakia, southern Poland, and then extends southward through Ukraine and into Romania. There are Golden Babas, Stone Babas (złoty baba) in a few places and one is near the Golden Stream by Janow, Lublin, Poland.
The Polovtsian stone women are in the Kursk Region of Ukraine at Kremenets Hill which is the highest point of the Kharkiv region, located along the Eastern Ukraine and Russian borders. There are many golden baba statues and the most common is the Mansi Goddess, Sorni-Equus, meaning Golden Grandmother or Woman.
The earliest mention of the Golden Baba was found in the Novgorod chronicles of 1398, recorded after the missionary activity of Stephen of Perm: “This land Permskuyu (the women’s bird tribe cultures or shaman grandmothers), teaches to bow before the animals and wood, water, fire and their Golden Baba (grandmother).”
After Stefan and his Archers destroyed the sacred sanctuaries of the grandmothers in Perm, they put up the church and the old prehistory connected to the last parts of the pagan cultures had fallen. According to numerous reports from the Khanty, Mansi and Russian elders, the Golden Baba statues were kept in the Belogorye – a location on the Ob near the confluence of the Irtysh.
This confirms the Siberian Chronicle, which tells about the adventures of Bogdan Bryazgin, closest friend and ally of Ermak. After the capture in 1583, Ostyak Samar visited the prayer grounds of Belogorie Ostyaks. The Golden Baba is mentioned in many medieval folktales about the wonders of the North, and the first reports were written in the Russian Chronicles in the 11th century and also the Novgorod Chronicle in 1398 which reported that Permichi (Komi-Permian) people prayed to the Golden Baba as a deity.
The Slavic and Balkan people, more than any other culture are built upon the root foundation of the matriarch and the leadership of the earliest pagans and pre-pagan (goddess and shamanic cultures) where the eldest Grandmothers were the spiritual leaders and shamans of the tribes, in which the Golden Baba is testament. Some put the Golden Baba stones in the lower reaches of the Ob River in Obdorsk, flows with rivers that originated in the Big Stone Belt (The Ural Mountains) as a reminder of their past.
Unlike the European pagans who followed the Greek and Roman lead, to the banishment of the grandmothers and then the wisdom of the grandmother leaders and when writing was invented it was purposely left out to ascend grandfather’s kingdom, which is what we have at its accumulation today. If some small gem did get into writings of a female over the age of thirty it was eventually destroyed, as historical accounts of her would prove the war against women, the feminine and the soul and its cultures of shamanism and dreaming. Grandfather just replaced adult women and grandmother leaders with maidens and the Isis, Venus and Aphrodite cults which still stands today.
Golden Elder Woman or Golden Baba as a narrative of worship, is both wise elder women, nature, elements, birds, animals, rivers, oceans and springs all in the form of the goddess, dreaming and shamanism and her cultures. This information is mythical to most but the earliest Russian road builders tell us that Lukomorye was a place called the earth belt near the Ob River.
Its said that the Golden Baba’s people fell asleep in the Autumn and woke up around the Spring Equinox like the hibernating bears do. Nearby peoples continue the story of the people who were dreamers and slept in night (autumn and winter) and they lived in the ancient descriptions of the edges of the known world into the mythical worlds.
Both the modern artist and these ancient stone makers bring a refreshing breath and spiritual winds to our modern spirituality which is saturated in the enormous plethora of men and maiden cultures after the 7th century . The ancient stone baba statues stand like unknown creatures from an earth we no longer have remembrance, dream about or remembered and honored in written cultures.
These Golden Babas give us an ethereal connection to our archaic past with no real memories, much less emotional connections which effects the life of our soul and our ability to honor ourselves as women from our story of the peaceful earth and its wisdom. The earth was a very different reality before written languages and theirs, like those of the true dreamers is a no-time (timeless) circle that always returns like the new moon each month.
These more archaic traditions are pretty rare on the earth of an earlier time when the grandmothers were leaders, shamans and chiefs of clans and tribes of white indigenous people. Grandmothers or elders before the 2nd century bce is barely alive from the earliest pagan traditions and today.
“The people who fell asleep to hibernate were called “black” not because they had black skin but because the far north was covered with the midnight sun (more night or dark than the days sunshine). The Russian medieval encyclopedias (Azbukovnik) mentioned the sleepy people who were called the Orion as a nickname, and they seemed to be asleep in the winter.
At the same time, as they say in the ancient treatise “Do not go near the eastern country” for these dreamers flow like the water and the water is frozen now, they are near the ground sleeping and if a stranger were to touch the frozen ones, such a native would break off like an icicle, they would be unhappy that they woke up and die immediately. Its believed that their souls were traveling.” ~Christian philosopher and theologian named Origen.
These people are obviously one of the last dreaming indigenous white cultures that made it into modern times (8th century). However, the legends of the sleepy peoples of the north is much older than the middle ages and even Origen’s writings, they date back to the ancient times of Herodotus.
Stories of the Scythian people at the foot of the high Riphaeus mountains where these people lived. These were animism dream cultures which cannot be separated and the stories of the Nganasans or the Volga were corrupted into thinking humans were creatures, half animal and half human. It is not this way, it is the soul who carries this power, not the physical aspects.
Why this corrupted teaching in mythology so widespread is beyond me because real shamans carry the traditions of understanding that the soul is what animism is about, not the mind-body. Through experience, rare shamans like myself hold these realities and teachings and it takes great sacrifice and devotion to master and heal one’s karma. Turkic peoples have some of the same beliefs as the Volga religions.
Some statues have been found also in the southern regions of Ukraine. They sit in a geological place where these monuments were made from the Upper Cretaceous and Jurassic rocks with numerous remains of the organic world. They all seem to date between the 8th and 15th centuries.
There is a modern artist in Altai, Biysk district, the village of Polevodka, who has created a Golden Baba, much like the references of a golden Buddha and made an effort to bring the prehistory alive (see the video below).
Simultaneously the Kremenets on this mountain have statues of grandmother, not destroyed in the many conquering wars of Russia over the millenniums and their insurgents to control Ukraine, the root of the Slavic and Balkan Matriarchal past. The most interesting thing on the mountain Kremenets is that these are perfectly preserved statues.
The Polovtsi people led a peaceful nomadic life, moving their livestock to quickly find the waterhole in the wilderness, on a hill. Probably because these were women led cultures, there were no signs of the occult, no sacrifices, no artifacts that showed destruction. These Stone women were representatives of their Ancestors and ancestral lineages besides guardians of the mountains and hill.
In the Kipchak steppes are called the Cumans-Kipchaks in Georgia, are of an ancient nomadic Turkic people who occupied the southern Russian steppes. These ancient sculptures called Kamennaia Baba (stone grandmother) were planted as charms long ago to protect the Kipchak people, and the women and the steppes. These talismans still stand there now and are approached as talismans, with adoration by the locals. When a shepherd comes in the range, he honors them because these are ancient shaman women, guardians.
In the eighteenth century, they were called “people’s Stone” or “Devia Kamena” and “Kamennaia Baba” stone grandmothers or stone women. Translated from the Turkish “Vav” means “Ancestor” and in Russian, the word has come to mean “woman”. These ancestral female idols, stone menhirs, the women never made sacrifices in the form of slain animals, not people and the animals were eaten as sustaining food. The ancient Slavs did not have any such traditions, offerings were always in the form of grains, fruits, mushrooms, rose-hips, acorns and so forth, the agricultural eras.
The Kipchak (Qipchaq, Kypchak, Kıpçak, Qıpçaq) were a Turkic nomadic people. Originating in the Kimek Khanate, they conquered large parts of the Eurasian steppes during the Turkic expansion of the 11th and 12th centuries together with the Cumans and were in turn conquered by the Mongol invasions of the early 13th century. The Cuman-Kipchak was a predecessor of the Kazkh Shanate and then later, the modern-day Kazakhstan people.
The Kipchaks, who created most of these stone idols in the 9th through the 13th century, were idols to honor their women leader ancestors. Rare statues of female shamans and warriors gave support and strength, invincibility and immortality to the pagan communities.
Finding these stone statues, first on the mounds and hills around the former county Izyumsky and sent them to a museum. When the museum started to repair them, the women moved them back to the top of Kremenets, and made sure they stayed there.
The Englishman Fletcher who was an expert on Russian culture, identified a woman with Gold Russia as Baba Yaga. The Finno-Ugric traditions of the highest goddess, despite the spiteful fairytales that developed about Baba Yaga by modern writers after the 1800s only corrupted wise elders even more. Yoma is the myths of the Russian Komi people who devoted a special part of their spirituality to the Elder Woman Goddess. Legends of the fantastic wealth of the north excited the imagination of authors like Swede Peter in the early 17th century. He reported that the Golden Baba sacrificed not only selected sables and martens but according to him, foreigners offered money to the Golden Baba in silver, gold, pearls, and precious stones.
Russian artist Fluenta – The Golden Baba
These people were long forgotten by the 17th century, especially with the conquest of Siberia by Ermak, New evidence of the Russian Golden Baba was when the Cossack scout watched this prayer to the Goddess of the Ob-Urgic towns. Worship of the goddess who drank water from the silver cup filled with the Orb river water. It was the Russian Cossacks who eventually led to the destruction of the primal and prehistory Golden Baba people, their wars and pillaging, like the Vikings had no place in the dreamer cultures.
The stories about the goddess flight resembled the legends of the Russian North of the small groups of people, like the Tschudi who disappeared with the arrival of the Christians. It is significant that in the mythology of the Ob-Ugric peoples who preserved the honoring of the ancient female elders in the form of what is called the Golden Baba. This is the only formal link of Baba Yaga in her prehistory life in real folk legends to the dreaming cultures of the “black” dreamers. I knew there would be a connection somewhere and I kept searching it and have finally found that important connection.
“Golden Kaltashch” or Yoli-Torum (lower goddess) compares with the Iranian goddess who embodies the dawn and healing moisture of the World River called the Ardvi which means “Divine Source” flowing from the world mountain, called Ardvisura Anachita. This is similar to the Russian Mother-Damp Earth. This goddess gave the origins of all the world’s rivers, including the Volga – the river flowing at the end of the world. Her attributes were gold (zlatopryadny cape, tiara, earrings and even shoes) and furs (Anahita had a coat of 300 beavers with gold and silver glitter). Beaver fur was not an accidental attribute to the goddess: she was the embodiment of the moisture of the world river and a beaver is a River Animal.
The World River, unlike the World Tree, is from the Ancestral lineages of the Grandmother, not the Grandfather which makes it prehistory and much older than the world tree which is weaved into main religions. The myths about the origin of the beaver was recorded in Ob-Ugric people on the river Konda: Beaver turned into a weaver and spinner. Mythology is well known that the patron saints of pregnant women and children were spinners, they spun fate, sitting within miraculous power, according to the myths of the Khanty peoples. The whole nation had to turn into a beaver to escape enemies.
Austrian Ambassador Herberstein after visiting Russia in the story of the Golden Baba mentions the mysterious tunnels that surrounded a Golden Baba idol “As if she’s put some tools that emit a constant sound like a pipe.” Others believe that the sound of the whistle like the wind was blowing; It has even been suggested that the very Golden Baba had a bell. References to the mystical sounds made by the statue, are common. There is a separate layer of the legends associated with it. One of them belongs to the people of the Mansi. According to legend, the idol turned into a shamans Stone. It happened on the ridge Manpupuner or Small Mountain of the Gods, where there are seven Golden Baba towering stone figures.
Someone said that the largest ancient petrified stone is of one of the prehistory giants. But if you look closely at one of the fossils, it is clearly seen lying on the ground a woman with a distorted and coarse facial features. When the idol climb over stone belt of the Ural Mountains, the Witch tried to stop her. Then the Golden Baba issued a terrible voice, which every living thing died and the woman who dared to interfere with the goddess, fell and turned to stone. Legends also of screams in these mountains that the local reindeer herders hear.
The photos below are a group of stones, in the North, the Urals, in the origins of the Pechora River, the main water artery of the Komi Republic and the largest of the European North of the river, stands a narrow ridge – poyasovoy stones on the steep slopes and smooth passes, covered with multicolored carpet of alpine tundra. In this ridge called Mansi Manpupuner (translated from the Mansi “Small Mountain idols”), Komi hunters gave the Mountain stone idols their names.
Seven stone giants lined up in a row on the flat top of one of the south-western spurs of the mountain range. I would not be surprised if these seven grandmothers belonged to the group of the Pleiades and I say this because the seven sisters were turned into Nymphs (Rusalka) and that is connected to the World River. Their height ranges from 29 to 49 meters. All the pillars of stacked stones are hardened sericite schist-quartz. Mansi “small mountain of idols” are between the rivers Pechora and Ilych, the Manpupuner Ridge is located in the territory of Pechёro-Ilych Reserve.
About 200 million years ago on the site of the stone pillars were high mountains. Rain, snow, wind, cold and heat gradually destroying mountain, and especially weak rock. The closer you approach to them, so they become unusually kind. One column height of 34 m, stands somewhat apart from the others; it resembles a huge bottle turned upside down. Six others were lined up at the edge of the cliff. The statues have whimsical shapes and depending on where the inspection resemble the figure of a huge woman, the horse’s head or a ram.
No wonder that in the past Mansi honored the enormous stone statues and worshiped them. In the fall there are fogs and the statues loom through the mist – there is something divine in this spectacle. They are created by nature, but by looking at them, I can not believe that something like this is ordinary. In connection with the enigmatic origin of these pillars the local population – Mansi, Komi and Russians have created various legends about their appearance.
A legend has it that six mighty giants chased one of the Mansi tribes, leaving behind stone belt of the Ural Mountains. The origins of the Pechora River to pass the giants had almost caught up with the tribe. But they blocked the path of the shaman with a little white, lime, face and turned the Giants in six stone pillars. Since then, every shaman of the tribe Mansi necessarily come in the sacred tract and drew from it a magic power. The indigenous peoples worshiped stone statues, worshiped them as sacred.
When you see the very impressive stones personally, do not dare call them just a geological monument or bizarre result of thousands of years of operation of the wind, rain and snow- rather, begin to believe in the legend. Firstly, because it is difficult to imagine how much skill from nature, and secondly, it is a miracle, wonderful and even mysterious.
Everyone who has visited the stones of weathering, note that being in close proximity to them, you begin to feel an inexplicable feeling of fear. Locals say that these were ancient temples and lured to the place of spirit ancestors that we do not even remember because they are so prehistoric. According to those who have been on a plateau, the stones do not want you to talk, eat, drink, and light in the head, not a single superfluous thoughts. The only desire is just to contemplate the surroundings and feel it.
They say when you approach the stones and get close, they hoot like they are talking to each other. Plateau Man-Navels-Ner is a very sacred place, and in spite of quite a vast expanse of around here, its wise to speak only in a whisper. Maybe because you’re afraid to wake the evil spirits of the legends; or maybe because you realize how much a person is negligible before such prehistory forces of the grandmothers and their nature …
Artist’s modern tribute to the Golden Baba (in Russian)
The Golden Baba, the Ancient Grandmothers (in Russian)
Prince Igor: Polovtsian Dances, Tańce Połowieckie:
Lyrics to the Song:
Fly on the wings of the wind
To the homeland, our home song
Where we sang freely loving
Where me and you felt so free.
Sources: Stone Babas of the Perm are, Stone Babas near the bottom are Ancient Scythian Women of the IX – XIII Centuries at Polovtsian Park, Ukraine; Vladimir Petrukhin: The Myths of the Finno-Ugric Peoples (http://www.universalinternetlibrary.ru) and http://dostoyanieplaneti.ru; Stone idols of Ancient Scythian Women of the IX – XIII Centuries at Polovtsian Park, Ukraine; Stone woman (with hat) from the Bronze Age, on the Steppe of the Black Sea Coast, Ancient standing stone woman sculpture, called Poloveco baba Polovetsian grandmother, Ukraine, Berdichev district. Russian artist Fluenta; Russian Folk Art by Alexander and Barbara Pronin.