Marzanna – Autumn and Winter Goddess, The Season of Night

By Phoenix of Elder Mountain – I resonate with the twins or sisters Marzanna and Dziewanna as a primal connection to reconnect woman to her shamanic mysteries of the entire seasonal year. As a shaman I do this in all my Slavic rituals, its less about human deities and more about healing and the mysterious nature of our soul of woman’s rites and rituals, so long ago. Marzanna is one of the oldest Bird Cult shamanic traditions, even though all of her past has been literally wiped out along with the great shamanic grandmother traditions.

Traditionally today, Marzanna is a simple winter effigy still celebrated as a pagan event, and Dziewanna, a lesser celebrated deity but powerful as well who was brought into the Polish tradition as a winter deity, when she originally was not one.  The section on how to build Marzanna for the Spring Equinox Ritual, is at the very end of this article if you wish to join us each Winter Solstice from your circle or home.

Marzanna is the sister who rules the three moons of autumn and the three moons of winter. In her tradition, she is built as a simple effigy and then burned in honor of spring return. But in paganism, she doesn’t really have much to do with Autumn until Spring, because of Religion’s Christmas celebrations. When the shift happened and the sun cults dominated in religion and paganism, she was limited to the day of the spring equinox in one single ritual, one single aspect of her long and ancient prehistory tradition when she ruled all of Autumn and Winter.

Before the pagans came bringing in Pantheons which was a copy of the Greek or Macedonian traditions including as the sun cults were rising, there was only Marzanna and Dziewanna in shamanic cultures because they represented the seasons of nature, not humans in their mirrors of gods and goddesses. Now that the patriarch or Sun Cult has completed, we begin to return to the most powerful seasons of the night. 

See Dziewanna Marzanna article here.

Marzanna is symbolically connected with the seasonal death and transformation and connected through that with the symbol of the Grandmother (Old Wise Woman Winter). Then in her transformation from death into the rebirth cycle of life in the great circle of return, Marzanna turns into the young Maiden (or Virgin in Religion), called Dziewanna.

The mysterious duality of the figures of the goddess Marzanna and Dziewanna have been one of the most interesting because we are dealing with the twins, the two sisters of a time of the goddess era before paganism. She is the om-goddess with two faces: one light and the other night and the other aspect which is the two sisters or twins. Marzanna and Dziewanna is becoming more and more fascinating. Especially ethnographic data seem to show the trail of goddesses with broad competences and those who have great respect. In Poland, for the longest time in Opole Silesia where girls participating in the ritual assumed obligatory costumes and wreaths identical to Marzanna and at the same time – Gaik, often associated with Spring and Dziewanna – was also equated with the figure of Marzanna:
 

“Marzaneczka krasna 
What has grown in the forest 
They cut her down in the forest 
They took her home 
Our green gait 
Beautifully decorated. “

 

There are many missing pieces in this Slavic rituals but if you understand core symbolism of all the earths teachings, its not difficult to see the twin or sisters of these two goddesses. I do my yearly traditions of Marzanna at the Winter Solstice and Dziewanna at the Summer Solstice, as a shaman and for specific needs that I have spiritually and community purification. I have found working them as sisters in opposing seasons, reconnects me into the more ancient grandmother’s shamanic rituals.

Marzanna illustration by unknown artist elder mountain dreaming.jpg

Marzanna through prehistory still has one flame left alive because she is still celebrated in the very small bits and pieces. Now that I am at the elder or babcia at this stage of life, I connect to the mystery of shaman grandmothers of such ancient rituals. Her Polish name is Marzanna, Maržena (pagan), her religious name is (incorporated into) Religion as the Black Madonna. Some can even see the similarity as she entered her last death into folklore and fairy tale phases of the modern Baba Jaga/Yaga. But in every final death, there is always renewal in the great circle once again and at the zero point in the wheel where we restart the larger cycles over, now is the rebirth of the female Shaman’s Marzanna.

Marzanna is an extremely important goddess in Polish, Czech and Slovak beliefs, and also the closest to the original image of Mother Earth. Importantly, in Poland continuously remembered to this day, directly or indirectly in the uniquely developed Marian cults. This results in frequent and quite unfortunate perception of Marzanna as a simple personification of winter and death. In fact, many traces of the Cult of Marzanna locate her (especially in the West Slavic beliefs) as the Empress of Life and Death, the patron of fertility, mother of all gods, the closest image of the Mother Earth and the Primeval Sea (in which she resides like Sumerian praiogin Tiamat). Time, therefore, has eroded her power into a children’s winter afternoon celebration. for a summary of the current state of research and an attempt to identify further important connections.

Grzegorz Niedzielski’s article: “Marzanna – Cerera or Hekate”? says: “Marzanna, especially in Western Slavonic beliefs (although she appears in the majority of all Slavic peoples traditions) is best known as Marzanna, Marzana, Marza, Marysia from ritual and Kashubian songs: Morzeczek Morska (Poland), Mořena (Morżena *), Mařena (Maržena), Mařina (Maržina), Mařana (Marżana), Mařoska (Marżoska) , Morana, Maréna, Marca, Mara (Czech Republic / Moravia), Morena, Marejna, Marmoriena, Muriena, Mumuriena, Mamuriena (Slovakia), Marena (Ukraine), Mara (Belarus, Bulgaria and Croatia) and Marinka (Russia). Morė, Māra, Marsza and Masha are known in the Baltic areas.

Teonim, from which the name Marzanna was created, is connected above all with the Indo-European *Mar- “related to Water”, also with the Polish “Sea” from the Hittite marmar (r) a-, mammarra-, mamara “mud, to”, Lithuanian Márės, Gothic Marei, Latvian Mare, Latin Mare “Sea”, Ossetian mal “deep, standing water”, Armenian Mavr “mud”, Russian Morie “Sea”, Oldoisian Muir.  In folk culture, the phrases mean “Behind the Sea” which translated: “in another world” or “in the beyond”, behind mortal waters and evokes the image of the cosmic waters of earth in which the great goddess created all from the Sea and Ocean. “Before the creation of the world there was nothing, only the sky and the sea”. 

Core * mar- / * mor-, except for connections with death (morem) and waters – the sea (in a mythical context identical with the other worlds) can be extended with further range of associations. First of all, they include the time of winter, night and sleep (“frost”, “darkness”, “dream” and the like). It is also possible to note the phenomenon of frequent approximation of the concepts of winter and earth (eg, letters zema and żemē, prus zema and zeme, Latin hiems and humus). An interesting analogy is also the Bulgarian and Serbian Baba Marta, in displeasure dissatisfied with the efficiency of his partner, Lutego. This is probably the echo of the former world pair (eg Marzanna and Nyji). Baba Marta and Lut were depicted with puppets, just like in Marzanna and Marzanioka in Silesia.

Long ago the ancient Slavic people called this season of the three moons of winter, a time of the sleeping people who hibernated and dreamed and then reawakened into the waking life in spring. Marzanna and the rituals, even though they are very simple now, transitions into the re-birthed self of the eternal renewal called Kostroma, Lada and Vesna on the Spring Equinox.  I do not celebrate New Years, my New Year begins on the Spring Equinox because I fully want to honor all that winter offers.

Elder Mountain's Marzanna Winter Solstice 2017 and the burn on the Spring Equinox 2018

IN RUSSIAN, MARZANNA IS CALLED MESLENITSA
An Eastern Slavic folk holiday – Marzanna is called Maslenitsa (Марена) in Russian, Morė in Lithuania and Latvia and Morana in Bulgaria, Slovene, Serbia, Bosnia, and Croatia. Mara, Mora or Marmora in Belarusian and Ukraine. She is the seasonal sacred rites based on the death and rebirth of nature and our ancient lunar or moon traditions that work together within all four seasons. She is the ancient goddess, great spirit, essence of the primordial grandmother, which is associated with winter’s death, rebirth and the night (dreaming).

I add dreaming to Marzanna because she is a goddess of the night and winter effigy and goddess, because rare are their any associations with dreams and dreaming in goddesses on earth. All night goddess (dark goddesses) also rule dreams and dreaming.  This is because dreaming cultures existed before shamanic cultures and this was before writing things down and creating laws based on written mythology like the patriarch or sun cult did.

Baba Marta / Cailleach – An interesting remnant of the former Slavic goddess coded with the core Mar, may also be known from the Balkans (Bulgaria and southern and eastern Serbia) a mythical figure known as Baba Marta (Баба Марта) – “Grandmother of March”, an old woman shepherdess like Cailleach, who brings the end of winter and the beginning of the reign of spring. Its feast is celebrated today on March 1, and is associated with the gift of white and red, man-made ragged woolen knits, called martens.

The former mythical figure and rite were attempted to impose a historical interpretation, associating the custom with the formation of the Bulgarian state, which was to take place on March 1, in the year 681. But the thing is that on March 1, it is associated in Slavic, especially eastern, in the first row with the first day of spring (Russian usien ‘- the first day of spring, 1 March). Once more, three festivals were celebrated in honor of Baby Marta, in addition to the 1st, but also on March 9 (Orthodox Day of Saints Youngsters) and March 25 (Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary).

Baba Marta in folk beliefs is a malicious old woman, the equivalent of the Celtic Cailleach, a woman with sudden changes in humor, and as variable as the weather in the early spring. Sunny weather meant that she was happy, or the return of winter and frost signaled her bad mood. What is also important is that talisman were worn only until the first signs of spring appeared which could be a stork, a swallow, a crane or a blooming flower. Then they were removed and put under stones (which was associated with health divinations), attached to a thriving fruit tree to ensure its fertility, or, as in the case of Marzanna, martenits were thrown into the water so that the winter or bad things would go away with it.

From Bulgaria, we also know the custom, which is supposed to be humorous, according to Marcin Bielski, and Marzahn’s song, “Death snakes on a fence looking for trouble”. Indeed, in March, often on its first day (according to the Gregorian calendar, 14 – according to the Julian calendar) or at the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary, on March 25, repatriates were banished from singing by singing:

“Bjàgajte, zmii, gùšteri, // če Marta ide z lopàta, // Ta šte vi tròši rebràta!” (Flee
vipers and lizards // because it goes March with a shovel // and break your ribs!). Considering the mythical relationship of the serpent with the earth (the East Slavic spells call the serpent with nipremnaja zemlją – “impenetrable soil”) and the etymology of the viper, derived from the prose. zemja- “land”, coming from pie. * g’hem – “woman”, it can not be ruled out that Marzanna takes the form of an officious, snake-like viper.

marzanna face

TRADITIONAL PAGAN MARZANNA – MIDDLE AGES TIL TODAY
To this day we keep the ceremony of Morena, a custom was first written down in the 16th century when writing was more accessible in the form of journalism and law, from previous folk traditions of the Goddess and Shamanic cultures when writing didn’t exist except for art (images on stones). It says that the youth carried an effigy of the Goddess Morena made of two wooden sticks in the shape of a cross in tangled harvested wheat and straw. This effigy dressed in festive traditional costume and a singing by the whole village as they carried her to the river. Behind the village threw her off a bridge into the water, or burned in a bonfire as the symbol of winters end, and springs renewal, that from death comes rebirth.

While people believed that death, winter was to be survived, the goddess cultures influenced this folk custom of local slavic regions to make it through long winters. The original faith of ancient Slavs and Slovaks were banned by male religions and many withdrew into seclusion for fear of persecution with their ancient honoring of a goddess.

Religions of the middle ages, could not have any competitors of their dying on the cross and Morena, Marzanna represented a threat to their power and control, so she had to be forbidden, they only wanted the symbol of women as compassionate and loving mother, not powerful goddess over death. So as in direct competition to male religions, as a much more ancient ritual she had to be banned. Even though they tried, her rituals still survives today all over the world by Balto-Slavic people.

Morena the beautiful but cold winter goddess, death and ruler of the underworld where journey to the underworld one must cross the river Smorodina (Smorod: stench from rotting carcasses), through which you can only flee, guide and get to the other side by a shaman woman or man. Morena in winter gains power as the old sun god Dažbog experiences his death. 

Her flying chariot drawn by snow-white swan represents death and those who dream of large spirit swans will have witnessed a loved one’s soul carried over to the other side (from old slavic folk lore). Marena is also dressed in white as snow as the keeper of gates to heaven and the hair and complexion of her is the same. She is the original snow queen but not the evil version that is modern.

Her ceremony is in the few weeks right before spring, and we honor Morena, to pay respect to the forces of mother nature, and then in the spring honor the growing Dažbog. Morena’s animals and avian are wolves, ravens and swans, as a symbol of winter’s death and then its rebirth. Her Majesty marks the time when we honor our ancestors by paying respect to all the Slavic the Goddesses.

Marzanna 2015 2016.jpg
Elder Mountain’s Marzanna spring equinox 2015/2016

Lithuanian Mara

The Church tried to Christianize the tradition of Marzanna and replace it by burning Judah or throwing Judah puppet from the churches’ roof on Holy Wednesday. This tradition is cultivated in some Polish regions, but Marzanna tradition is known much better all through Poland. In the Czech Republic or Poland, this is often performed during a field trip by children in kindergartens and primary schools.

The effigy, often prepared by the children themselves, can range in size from a puppet to a life-size dummy. This ritual represents the end of the dark days of winter, the victory over death, and the welcoming of the spring rebirth. It concerns the “drowning of Marzanna,” a large figure of a woman made from various rags and bits of clothing which is thrown into a river on the first day of the spring calendar. Along the way, she is dipped into every puddle and pond …

marzanna slovakVery often she is burned along with herbs before being drowned and a twin custom is to decorate a pine tree with flowers and colored baubles to be carried through the village by the girls. There are of course many superstitions associated with the ceremony: you can’t touch Marzanna once she’s in the water, you can’t look back at her, and if you fall on your way home you’re in big trouble. One, or a combination of any of these can bring the usual dose of sickness and plague.

Grandmother represents the Winter Stage (Dark Moon) phases of life, the Death and Rebirth stages of life and in this very ancient Ritual of the Burning of Marzanna during the first few days of Spring, she represents the archaic dark primordial grandmothers releasing winter into the rebirth of the maiden’s spring. The Winter Goddess, who is the original Snow Queen is a Slavic Goddess associated with seasonal agrarian rites based on the idea of death and rebirth of the nature and woman herself.

She is associated with death and winter and often described as the goddess of death. The 15th century Polish chronicler Jan Długosz likened her to Ceres, the Roman goddess of agriculture. Her name is derived from the same Indo-European root as Latin mors ‘death’ and Russian mor ‘pestilence’. Some authors also likened her to mare, the celestial horse spirit of Slavic folklore, associated with dreams and sleep paralysis (astral travel). In some Russian dialects the word ‘mara’ means ‘phantom’, ‘vision’, ‘female Prophet’ or female Visionary.

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The tradition of burning or drowning an effigy of Marzanna to celebrate the end of winter is a folk custom that survives in Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Typically taking place on the day of the vernal equinox, the rite involves setting fire to a female straw effigy, drowning it in a river, or both. In Poland, this is often performed during a field trip by children in kindergartens and primary schools.

The effigy can range in size from a small doll size effigy to a life-size goddess statue out of straw. This ritual represents the end of the dark days of winter, the victory over death, and the welcoming of the spring rebirth.

marzanna-2016-building-her-4
Elder Mountain’s half built Marzanna in autumn 2016/2017

The “Drowning of Marzanna,” a large figure of a woman made from various rags and bits of clothing which is thrown into a river on the first day of the spring calendar. Along the way, she is dipped into every puddle and pond …

Very often she is burned along with herbs before being drowned and a twin custom is to decorate a pine tree with flowers and colored baubles to be carried through the village by the girls, mothers, women and the baba elders.

Carrying out Morena (Marzanna) is a Slovak Tradition, a custom first written down in the 16th century, from previous folk traditions of the Goddess. It says that the youth carried an effigy of the Goddess, made of two wooden sticks in the shape of a cross in tangled harvested wheat and straw. This effigy dressed in festive traditional costume and a singing by the whole village as they carried her to the river.

98ce1f6e043de2e8c6b1549c1f5a53d7Behind the village threw her off a bridge into the water, or burned in a bonfire as the symbol of winters end, and springs renewal, that from death comes rebirth. While people believed that death, winter was to be survived, the goddess cultures influenced this folk custom of local slavic regions to make it through long winters. The original faith of ancient Slavs and Slovaks were banned by male religions and many withdrew into seclusion for fear of persecution with their ancient honoring of a goddess.

Morena in winter gains power as the old sun god Dažbog experiences his death. Her flying chariot drawn by snow-white swan represents death and those who dream of large spirit swans will have witnessed a loved one’s soul carried over to the other side (from old Slavic folk lore).

Marena is dressed in white as snow as the keeper of gates to heaven and the hair and complexion of her is the same. Her Ceremony is in late winter until spring, where the underworld experiences natural cycle of decay, and we honor Morena, to pay respect to the forces of mother nature, and then in the spring honor the growing Dažbog.

Morena’s animals and avian are wolves, ravens and swans, as a symbol of winter’s death and then its rebirth. Her Majesty marks the time when we honor our ancestors by paying respect to all the Slavic the Goddesses.

Elder Mountain Marzanna Spring 2018 - 9d
Elder Mountain’s Marzanna Winter Solstice 2017, burned on the Spring Equinox 2018

The last part of Marzanna and her many goddess names that ties into the Winter Solstice ritual for three months (moons), is the Christmas Celebration before she was eradicated. The Ukraine people celebrate their Winter Solstice (and Christmas) and call their ritual Kolyadá. Koliada, Kalyada in Belarusian (Каляда); Bosnian, Croatian, Czech, Slovak, Slovene call her Koledsa; Russians call her Коляда, Kolyada and even the modern song and its own dance, the Kolinka, which is very apparent by the words to the song of snowberries and sleep its a winter joy; Lithuanian call her Kalëdienë. Bulgarians, Macedonians and Serbians call her Коледа, Kashubian and Kòlãda; Lithuanians call her Kalėdos and Kalėda; in Polish she is called Kolęda; Kolenda, Kolędowanie; Romanians call her Kolinda.

Marzanna is one of the last prehistory grandmother connections of our shamanic and dreaming cultures – which I call it in her earliest name: the Midnight Sun which is Winter, the three Winter Moons, the Season of Night (Autumn and Winter) and all her Night Goddesses that developed later. This included her ceremony of the Kolovrat, which means to spin or the moving circle, symbolizes the great Round Dances, the Dance of Happiness.

In pagan times Kolovrat is associated with the god Svarog, but when men and religious men fought for power after the goddess and grandmother fell, Marzanna and all her other names in each Slavic country also fell and Svarog claimed the tradition as his. In pre-pagan and very early pagan times, it was the dance of the spinning waters of the three winter moons under the spiritual World River (rather than the World Tree). This is because the water would become frozen. Water is our Soul and Emotional life and because nature was frozen, so too were we spiritually in a good way.

The connection with the flow of winter, the flow of water, the flow of the lunar cycles, all through winter’s water’s flowing deep underneath, while the frozen surface brought forth our most ancient rituals of fire and water (emotions, soul and spirit). This is a direct connection to our dreaming and the dormant state that nomadic people lived long ago during the winter moons, the sleeping people of the north (Russia) and when I speak nomadic I am speaking of pre-war times of earth.

Some of us who are dreamers today try to be quiet, still and calm after Autumn, but cultures and corporations alike, have almost made that impossible.

The Midnight Sun, is a direct shamanic connection to the spinning of our seasons and the spinning around the earth, who in turn spins around the sun in their dance of death, transformation and rebirth. Winter is the season of the grandmothers, the season of the night, the snow queen, the bone grandmother (bone mothers) or cave mothers, and we invite you to join us at your private home or your own spiritual circle, to make your Marzanna effigy again this year.

My work as a shaman with Marzanna each year is a six month (moon) process and ritual and ceremonies are done as I build her on each of the new and full moon, which is mandatory for the protection of our land and the region here at Elder Mountain. As a dreamer (shaman) I have a lot of my time dealing with keeping shadows at bay. But most Marzanna traditions are still practiced today, but like all ancient traditions, they have lost their shamanic ritualistic powers of real protection and for the relationship to the consciousnesses of the earth mother (nature).

Marzanna and kidsI have found no others who works with Marzanna in its more shamanic rite and ritual that actually does the necessary cleansing of shadows in the environment. The Balkan people have their Kukeri rituals, which are mostly festivals but I have seen some that take their cleansing of shadows very serious. I take my work with her very seriously too to keep the winter safe.

The word Marzanna, Mora and Morena are connected with the shamanic principles of the death and rebirth rites. The word Mor is the root of a very old Slavic word meaning Death and in shaman’s terms (not shamanic terms), the shamans cleanses and purifies their own shadows and past life karma, which is a death and a death ritual for decades. This is what the old grandmothers who lead spiritual rites and rituals understood. Dreaming Marz and Mor is the exact thing that happens when we fall asleep, we die to the dreaming and return with our soul and wake up in the morning. This was incredibly important in shamanic and dream cultures before the patriarch. 

Morena a powerful grandmother (later changed to a beautiful young maiden), is the cold winter elder goddess of death and ruler of the underworld in shaman’s terms, who must journey to the underworld (shaman) and cross the river Smorodina (Smorod, meaning stench from the dead souls), through which you can only flee, guide and get to the other side. In many ways this small story is the story of all true shamans who cross the veils of life and death, where the karmic souls are prisoners in the underworld.

This is why many cultures do Autumn and Winter shamanic rituals to protect the waking plane from roaming shadow spirits because the veils are thinner in winter.  Marzanna is still alive and well, but more associated with children and festivals of Spring and most of the tradition is focused around Spring and the end process of her burning to release winter. I do a very serious shamanic working ritual each year with her, not only for my own protection as a shaman but wherever I live.

To be connected spiritually to the whole process of our life, is to touch the awareness of birth, living, transformation, death and rebirth as a person who honors all things and understands and lives by the natures cycles by working with it personally and with nature herself. This is a living planet with a natural mysticism that is alive if you can ‘see’ and if you participate in ritual enough years it becomes easier to see.

marzanna staw

BUILDING YOUR MARZANNA
Folk Effigy or Doll with us at Elder Mountain Dreaming (at your home or your spiritual circle)… Start on the Winter Solstice…

My Marzanna is done the way it was done in prehistory, with some of my own hair I collect all year long and add it to her. When I lead shamanic soul retrievals I also do a ritual with having those who come for the evening to snip off a piece of their hair and I burn it with the sage because its an ritual of letting go of one’s old growth from the past. I do this because in winter, we practice letting go which is physical sometimes but also symbolic of our “old growth” that needs to be released in order to prepare for the new, when spring arrives.

I attach some of my own sacred shaman necklaces, textiles and talisman and painted symbols to Marzanna to attract shadow, not to repel them, this way they are entrapped. Then I remove some of the beads before I burn her and wear them the entire year after burning her. I also add things I have made or worked with during the year, like the leftover stalks of lavender I harvested, the strings of rosehips and wild flowers I collect for my smudge and summer dried lemons.

I add pieces of the abundance of nature such as pine cones, tree branches, wild grasses, twine, sticks, berries and more. I add each piece in a ceremony and work on building her for three months. You can work on her for a shorter time like one month or three months if you are new at it.

Your Marzanna of course should be more traditional so you get to know the ritual and how it effects you personally. Always start small and slow in any spiritual tradition, especially with the winter or dark goddess. I encourage you to join in the artistic and healing aspects of Marzanna and make her a personal small effigy that represents you. 

I don’t make my Marzanna out of straw, or haven’t yet, but you certainly can. I chose to use my old herbals, lavenders stems, mullein stems, wild grasses, saint johns wort, whatever grows in meandering fields that have died in the autumn. I also make folk smudge for others and use the left overs to decorate her body. I also use sticks and twigs and branches of pine and cedar. I want it to be as natural as possible.

I recommend if you are new at this, less than twenty or thirty Marzanna winter seasons, that you build only a smaller personal Marzanna until you understand all the difficulties that can arise. Save is better, for within her is the archaic wrath of ancient shamanic power. For most people, even all the Slavic people and children who do the simplest version of Marzanna, it is a transformative rite, even if its childlike and simple today.

Through Marzanna, we honor the great dance of death and rebirth and our personal deaths and struggles of the year, turning this into a rebirth and new life at spring. I have invited all the patrons each year to participate with us in your spiritual group, your personal home and if you chose, join our email list so you get your reminder again each winter and work with each moon cycle with us up until the Winter Moons when we focus on her Rites and Sacred ceremony! (eldermountiandreaming@gmail.com).

Some of you have made your personal small Effigy doll with us, and that is the best because all dark winter goddess rituals are not easy, nor are they fluffy or all warm and cozy. This is real work and real releases and clearings of the self should be mastered first.

“FOUNDATION AND RESPECTING & HONORING WINTER”
We start by setting our intention for our Marzanna, after all she represents us personally and what we wish to heal over the three winter moons starting at the Winter Solstice. We look for our our sticks (look at the photos in this article to get ideas) and start off by making a cross out of the sticks or straw and try to make her small or no bigger than a foot or two tall.

Setting the intention of your foundation is the most important because it reflects your basic needs of your foundation in life at this time of your life, wherever you may be in life. Then set her on your altar and ask a god or goddess to bless her when the foundation is done and let her sit there a few days.

“STRUCTURE” 
Seek outside at a park or nature or even your yard and collect some autumn or winter field flowers, straw, wheat or any wild flowers that have dried. Also pine cones, wild grasses to begin to add to your basic structure. Set intention as well on the structure of your life and what you add to your Marzanna.

What sort of structure you want to practice (keep it simple) that will add to your monthly moon intention. Structure can be simple, like remembering to say thanks or being grateful for who you are and the good things in your life, even if you are having a difficult time. For those who are very structured, add a breath meditation or anything that helps you be peaceful in the winter season to come.

“CREATIVITY”
Now is the fun part, gathering fabric, colors, ribbon, etc to decorate your Marzanna doll. You can make her bright and cheerful or make her serious with only nature items. Be as creative as you want. All of us are artisans in various ways such as good cooks, creative cooks, artists, painters, musicians, story tellers, etc. We all have something that we can share and be creative. So set the creative intention along with your regular new moon intention if you are participating.

“CHANGES”
Most people make their new year resolutions in the second Moon of Winter but that is like starting a race at the end of the race. Winter is a time of stillness and quiet but the age of advertising and technology has reversed this and lit everything up. You can realign and reclaim the quiet season slowly with your moon energy, and the stillness of winter this month, and start by setting Marzanna now that she is finished, on your altar, in your garden or somewhere special. We build a huge one of the left overs of the garden and our individual ones in our Moon Circle here, we keep on the altar.

“DEATH AND COMPLETION”
Let Marzanna sit in the quiet Winter Months in your garden or you alter inside your home until the day of the Spring Equinox.

OUR “SPRING REBIRTH”
Burning of Marzanna on the day of the Spring Equinox is a joyous occasion, we have completed the Season of Night (Autumn and Winter). We take Marzanna outside and burn her or toss her in the River (water is our emotional life) and burn her. The true New Year of Nature (Mother Earth) then begins as Spring comes forth and we have aligned and connected with the power of our great mother who all mother goddesses are named after. Both men and women can do this tradition, men would honor the female side of themselves, their emotional and giving natures.

Write us at Eldermountaindreaming@gmail if you wish to be on our once a month lunar work-study or join us for the Marzanna and Dziewanna rituals.

Калинка (Lady Bird)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DxuOQxZaEYQ

Sources: Marzanna illustration by unknown artist; Niedzielski Grzegorz, Dziewanna – lady of forests and groves; Biegeleisen Henryk, Treatment of the Polish People; ługosz Jan, Roczniki, or chronicles of the famous Kingdom of Poland; Gieysztor Aleksander, Mythology of the Slavs;  Photo by Czlowiek Kamera; Morana by Игорь Ожиганов; ; http://www.bogowiepolscy.net; www.slawoslaw.pl; http://lamus-dworski.tumblr.com;Dragovid; Wiki, Elder Mountain, Slavic Folklore Dreams; beksinski.dmochowskigallery.net

Калинка


Sources: Photo by Czlowiek Kamera; Dragovid; Wiki, Elder Mountain, Slavic Folklore Dreams; “Morana” by Игорь Ожиганов; beksinski.dmochowskigallery.net

4 Comments Add yours

  1. caileachmac5 says:

    I Colleen(girl,maiden mother)Cailin(celtic/virgin)Cailleach(crone). I love this! I am tattooed with Kali. She is the goddess of death and rebirth/creation vs destruction. Also I wear Santa Muerta (goddess of or saint of death). So thank you for yet another connection with who I belong -Marzanna, Morena!

    On Thu, Nov 24, 2016 at 2:11 AM, Elder Mountain Spiritual Artist Residency wrote:

    > Elder Mountain Spiritual Artist Residency posted: “Maržanna, Mara, > Maržena, Morena and all her Slavic names is associated with a traditional > Folk Ritual of many Slavic countries. When I do my Marzanna each year, I do > the six month (moon) ritual as a shaman that is mandatory for the > protection of our land ” >

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I remember doing this ritual as a child. And, if she didn’t flow down the river quickly and smoothly, winter was going to linger…

    Liked by 1 person

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