By Phoenix of Elder Mountain, Edited by Sarah Burnt Stone – Many teachings speak of the World Tree or what is referred to as the “Tree of Life” in Paganism, New Age Spirituality, the Kabbalah and a few others. As a Dreamer I live within the realms of the “World River” connected to the ancient tradition that belonged to the Golden Baba: The River and its Wisdom that flows freely from the Sacred Mountain. A relationship and prepagan teachings of the soul.
The World River is nature’s mysticism of water and a symbol of our own soul in the form of clouds, moisture, fertility, rain, fog, lightening, thunder and the hovering fog of mystery of the serpent cloud which is deeply connected to the mysticism of our feminine soul. These were the ways of pre-history and some of it remains, at least in folk art of our Slavic and Balkan ancestors. I am the descendant of these great mysteries of the elements and why I like the story of Wołogór, a Mountain Spirit from the Karkonosze Mountains and is a Polish folklore.
This article is about the legend and lore of Wołogór the Dreamer of Ox Mountain and what impresses me most about this legend is Wołogór, who is strongly connected with the world symbolism of the bull, is not associated with any men’s hunting rites nor the killing of the bull nor war. He is the ancient representations of the spiritual sides of men but not the overpowering of nature with the masculine. Wologor’s story is about peaceful, soul-full men.
Wołogór’s exit from the Slavic lands (when humanity fell asleep) contain a great deal of gentleness and respect. The gentleness that characterizes everything about this tradition shows us he is an oral connection to the matriarchal cultural lineages of pre-history’s Grandmother Shamanism. Many people try to claim and hold onto a specific cultural story but I do not because Wologor is like other Oxen and Bull cultural stories around the world.
Legends about the Mountain Spirits of Karkonosze are mostly from the written accounts of the Middle Ages and were recorded historical folklore from previous oral traditions, but some of them have an older shamanic culture feel, in which they were born:
Krakonoš (Wind Spirit and later a Dwarf who is a Guardian Spirit of the Mountains). This is a Czech Republic folklore, and described as ruler of the winds which makes it shamanic, and a daemon spirit who punishes indiscriminately, making it a pagan lore. In later depictions he was a righteous champion of the poor, shown more as a dwarf and capable of transforming to any creature or object, making him a magical being.
He too, like the others is a guardian of the mountains and protector of the people. He has connections to both paganism and shamanism because he can shape shift and shape shift into storms (weather or elements). The first illustrations comes from the Krakonoše, Helwigovy maps of Silesia from 1561. (Wiki).
Rübezahl (Mountain Spirit) is a German folktale and he is also called Woodwose who lives in the Krkonose Mountains (Giant Mountains), a mountain range along the border between the historical lands of Bohemia and Silesia. The Woodwose is a wild man of the forests and woods, a mythical figure comparable to a Faun or a Wildman. He doesn’t really have much in common with Wologor and is strictly pagan. He derives from the 12th century (in written languages) and depicted as being covered with hair all over his body. He is closer associated with Green Man after the 16th Century. (Wiki).
Liczyrzepa (Mountain Spirit) is a Polish folklore who was originally a personification of the forces of nature, associated with the culture of Swantewit. This Mountain Spirit was later called “Lord John” (Dominus Johannes) a resulted from the introductions of the cult of St. John the Baptist and the existing pagans. The Polish name Liczyrzepa is a direct translation of the German name Rübezahl, introduced by Stanisław Bełza in 1898. It became widespread in Poland after 1945, when Józef Sykulski started to translate tales of Rübezahl from German into Polish. In one Silesian folktale, he is called “Prince of the Gnomes” from a legend dating back to the Middle Ages. In early pagan summer solstice rites, he resembled a Deer standing on its hind legs. (Wiki).
Wołogór is a Polish folklore and legend of a Mountain Spirit from the Karkonosze Mountains who in its animistic and shamanic past, was guardian to both the mountains and the inhabitants of the mountains of that region. He has a definable shamanic past because his appearance of an ox and the body of a man. He wears his natural clothing and carries a magical staff and the most important, one who dreams and experiences love.
Wologar symbol on an indigenous Hutsul Vest
According to Lamus Dworsky: Wołogór in the Polish tradition, was said to have been given the task of guarding the small region near Wołowa Góra (which translates to Ox mountain) and reporting the condition of the area to the Great Mountain Spirit.
It is in this context that Wołogór is most vividly depicted as having an ox head and carrying a decorated staff that endows him with magical powers. Peasants would say that this spirit ensured everything was in working order and the people living nearby were safe and showed respect to nature. Sometimes he was known for assisting the locals or showing the way to lost visitors. He appears in only the local villagers’ dreams to let them know he is there to help.
The people of Budniki, Poland who do their Wołogór celebrations call them, the Welcoming the Sun and Farewell to the Sun which makes them an Autumn and Spring Equinox ritual. Because rituals have lost their original real “rites”, what we have left today is more a gathering to honor something of our past, which includes food, music, dancing or gatherings. The very earliest of humans who lived in Dreaming cultures without written languages, connects to the simplicity of Wołogór. As time went on, these dream cultures transformed into shamanic cultures which connects the simplicity of
Shamanic cultures transformed into Goddess cultures and Goddess cultures turned into Paganism. Paganism became Patriarchy and Patriarchy is the structure that underlies most present-day folklore, religions, political and philosophical paradigms.
As eras of time moved forward, cultural changes combined with the growing popularity of alcohol and drug myths (Dionysian Cults). This began to change mythology, especially in the way it depicted the sacred masculine. The increasing amount of tribal and spiritual leadership that was taken over by men who worshipped the proud warrior archetype (based on the Unconquered Sun God myths) further served to expand the gap between the style of old mythology and the new. As battles, politics, science and military became the new masculine, we saw we saw many myths lose the gentleness that can still be found in the roots of Wołogór’s folklore.
The most ancient of folklore always depicted a peaceful and magical earth, where men were helpers to women and children; where there were no warriors at all. We can see how some of the tales of Wołogór actually reflect the changing eras of world culture, particularly in the way sacred masculine love was transformed into depictions of the struggle of unrequited love and rejection.
Wołogór and his human love with a woman started as an act of seduction in her dreaming. However, she loved someone else and rejected Wołogór’s advances in her dreams. He decided to appear in her home in person.
He came with so much love that fire fell out of his heart which is symbolic for our spirit connected to nature (elements) and set her house on fire. Wołogór understood his mistakes of passion out of control, and he decided not to intervene in human lives again. The woman got married and had children and continued her life, rejecting the magical ancient earth and what it had contained.
This shows that both men and women had agreed that the old ways were not wanted anymore and that the dominance of the church and their urging women to have lots and lots of children and the binding of marriage in elaborate bride rituals without any spirituality of ancient female rituals, was the new men’s church fashion… in other words, control.
Wołogór saw that the people were changing in this way and that the sacred rivers that flowed from the spiritual mountains were not wanted anymore, in fact it became superstitious if anyone revealed the old ways as judgments were harsh. The people he had always protected and loved started to decline as they fell asleep in the great sleep of humanity. Wołogór’s magic (represented by his staff) slowly began to lose its magic. It was time for him to retreat back into the dreaming, because there’s no one left for him who believed anymore.
It is said he went up a spring called Malina near some waterfalls, and there he pushed his staff and his right foot against a huge boulder leaving the shapes in the stone. He was never seen in the dreams again, but locals believe he might return when they are in need.
The folklore of Wołogór is very strong in small mountain cultures where ancient oxen (bull) once roamed free and there are still many Polish folk traditions that include the Ox symbolically.
Kolęda, which is a practice of caroling at the winter solstice is a ritual that is still strongly associated with the Ox even today (and which sometimes has been substituted for a cow, but never a goat). During this time, villagers will walk around visiting homes with someone dressed as an ox and carry elaborate Christmas Stars. (See article on Elder Mountain called the “Midnight Sun”, the Koliada Star).
Some cultures have replaced the older ox with the new pagan goat in ritual and folk stories (a substitution that comes from more recent Dionysus/goat cult inspired traditions, even the Slavic peoples). The ox is the more archaic version of the animal associated with this ritual and is the indigenous Slavic animal associated with the rites of fertility. Legends like Wołogór and the Mountain Spirit of Karkonosze help us reclaim what was forgotten during the changing of cultural rituals and awaken to where we fell asleep due to religious forbidding rites connected with these dream cultural experiences.
For dreamers and old souls, times are changing for the better and we can now accept the possibility of our return so dominated by scholars, universities, archaeologist, authors or book writers who have brought limitation of what our ancient past was. We return to these rituals and these ancient ways without persecution and begin to live the rituals, perform them not as carnival or festival, but small ancient sacred ceremonies in which they were, and include the leadership of grandmothers.
This Hutsul (Ukraine) folk jacket has a near identical Wologor symbol.
A poem about Wologor on Wołowa Mountain …
You may think I was dreaming,
But in this wasteland, life sparks,
Not only thickets and conifers,
but deer, birds or other animals.
Rocks falling from the slopes
or mountain rushing streams,
Footprints of a stray wanderer’s shoes …
No, more real life!
Some time ago, several centuries,
You can hear the children here
Absorbed in care free fun
Yes, there were children here
so you already know yourself.
Where the children, there parents and family,
homesteads, houses and chimneys
Smoking; In a word: a real settlement,
Yes, a village was here, it’s not overdone.
Village? How is it? Seriously?
A village – I say – listen carefully!
And it is not a fairy tale nor a legend
by the fire the righteous talk.
Well, it was during the great turmoil,
When the world was engrossed in
religious movements, when the defenders
of faith took their heads, they were
fighting and dying.
Not for God’s sake, but for mammon,
After all, when the mind is asleep,
the demons wake up …
So wise people sought refuge,
They ran in their legs, without
a moment’s respite.
When they reached this place,
they rested for a moment,
Do you run away, they probably thought?
And this place is charming, peaceful,
They realized that somehow they
would survive the war.
Thirty years have passed; The war ceased,
The village has grown here, the village has been here,
They could come back safely, as they knew,
They could come back, but somehow
they did not want to come back.
Here they found their happiness
Happiness must be guarded,
do not abandon it. It will grow and
Life will be sweet and calm.
And so it probably was, we guess,
And exactly how it was – we do not
know that anymore.
And we’ll never know for sure,
Because history usually does
not betray everything.
Feeding the imagination, leaving some myths,
Poets, artists, magicians and fortune tellers,
dreamy hearts about a child’s mind,
The rest is silence; this is strictly confidential.
Feeding the imagination, leaving some myths,
Poets, artists, magicians and fortune tellers,
Dreamy hearts about a child’s mind …
The rest is silence; this is strictly confidential.
What are some old photos betraying,
Tales kept in the attic, in the closet
I’m afraid of history, sometimes dulled
Echoes of ancient legends from
the cave under the forest.
The name to find one is the hard work:
Forstlangwasser, Forstbauden or Forest Buddy,
Forest Clamps or Foresters’ Houses,
The definition of this place we have a few.
And lastly, as the chronicles say
It is commonly known today as Budniki.
With such a wealth of names – what to do?
Well here not to overdo it?
Each of us reads the secret differently.
Let anyone who arrives in this area,
depend on your heart and your understanding,
Let her name – best as she can …
What do you think you will say about yourself?
After all, the name is just a name, letters,
What matters more is our experience
our Dreams, imagination, not the word “life” …
But there are also signs of time, unfortunately,
Hearts are very different from the poet’s heart,
In a place like this they feel different,
Thoughts are cool – profits are calculated,
Everything they want to cash in, invest everywhere,
Capable to sell everything, straighten nature,
Even the sliced secret would cut,
Without regretting for a moment,
In Budniki and houses to rebuild,
And people sold tickets to them …
When what is priceless will be priced,
This whole spell is going up and everything is over.
It will not be then a magic place,
Become more popular, more touristy
And it will be quite different than it used to be,
And no one else will dream …
But luckily there will always be something for us,
Because the place is certainly older than the slaughter,
Who knows what was happening in the old days,
What kind of sleep in the surrounding woods.
That no one will examine and will not answer us,
Maybe the camps had wild Celts here?
Because the older they are, the darker the cards,
Unforgettable myths in the earliest of times.
I am neither a seer nor a scholar,
Maybe Wologor on Wołowa Mountain
He will echo through the hole in the cloud …
Enigmabudnik, the Enigmabudnik…
Wake up the secret; Let Budnik silence continue!
Because in the silence the Heart hear Izbica Spruce,
In the veins to feel the raspberry, in the eyes of a Spark …
Poem: Izbicki’s Bride (2015.9.29)
Other Ox, Oxen, Bull in Mythology, Folklore, Legends
Oxen in other legends – In many cultures, the symbolism of the Ox is interwoven with a story that connects a male and female character. One of the most famous stories is the Chinese myth of the Heavenly Weaving Maiden with the Ox herding boy. It is said that the Ox herding Boy and the Weaving Maiden must live separately their whole lives except for one day of the year when they can walk across a celestial bridge of Magpie birds to be together. This day is celebrated on 7th day of the 7th lunar month in many Asian countries and is their modern “Valentine’s Day” equivalent. This festival has been celebrated since the Han Dynasty (206 BCE). There are many stories online with older contexts than the modern Valentines Day stories.
Ox (Bull) in ancient cultures and its symbolism is also strongly featured in the Cretan myths. King Minos of Crete competed with his brothers to rule the land. Minos prayed to Poseidon, the Sea God, to send him a snow-white bull as a sign of support. He intended to kill the shamanistic woman’s era bull to show honour to the man’s human deity, but decided to keep it instead because of its beauty. He thought Poseidon would not care if he kept the white bull and sacrificed one of his own. To punish Minos, Poseidon made Pasiphaë, Minos’s wife, fall deeply in love with the Bull.
Pasiphaë had a craftsman (Daedalus) make a hollow wooden cow, and climbed inside it in order to mate with the white bull. Their offspring was the monstrous Minotaur. Pasiphaë nursed him, but he grew and became ferocious, being the unnatural offspring of a woman and a mythical ox. Minos sought advice from the Seers and Oracle at Delphi, who advised him to construct a gigantic labyrinth to hold the Minotaur. Its location was near Minos’ palace in Knossos.
The story of the Cretan Bull (which historically some scholars have suggested it as the strong female bull and its destruction of an earlier era) and the Maidens who danced upon her or him connecting their labyrinth of feminine fertility which is the connection between the solid earth and our physical life, relative to housing our Soul’s Dreaming, its Intuitive Oracular Gifts and the sight of the Seer of the ancient Body & Soul.
Budniki Forstbaude archaeological site archaeological excavations October 2014, Budniki Schronisko Forstbaude wykopaliska archeologiczne październik 2014: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6cee-HeJbuc
Note: The Golden Babas (grandmothers) article on Elder Mountain Dreaming: https://eldermountaindreaming.com/2016/11/08/stone-grandmother-каменные-баба-kamennaia-baba
Sources: The Budniki, Poland people are the main source of a “living” ritual for all of us to enjoy Wologor, you can find them here: https://www.facebook.com/Budnikipl; Special thanks to Lamus Dworski and her scholarly (written folklore) approaches of her translations and researched version of Wologor, you can find her article of Wologor on her web page here:
https://lamusdworski.wordpress.com/2016/11/12/wologor; budniki.pl, karpacz.pl, karawaier.pl, Budniki Poland’s website: http://budniki.pl; Budniki Forstbaude archaeological site archaeological excavations October 2014 – Budniki Schronisko Forstbaude wykopaliska archeologiczne październik 2014; Gorlitz Museum Krakonoš (Rübezahl-Museum).
Wiki, Vlastivědný Proceedings, Vol seventh Museum Podkrkonoší in Trutnov Trutnov, 1983, Photos and images included in this article are from the celebrations of the people who live in Budniki Poland; Baba and Bull Spring blessing of cattle in Poland; Karol Nienartowicz Polish Photographer of the Karkonosze, Gianni De Conno, Poèmes à la Lune, Polish Wiki, Various sources translated from Polish websites, Karkonosze (karkɔˈnɔʂɛ) National Park, Poland (Bohemia, 1518), Image of the large statue of the Bull in the Middle East of the Achaemenid period ca. 550 – 330 BCE.
Elder Mountain – If you are interested in learning more about the rites of a shaman, and the empowerment of our dreaming culture and how it can help be integrated into your emotional healing journey, solar, soul or moon work, or creative practices, we welcome artists, dreamers, healers, shaman apprentices (those under 50 years old) to learn and join into our community. We will be offering work-creatives, sacred retreats and ceremony on the equinoxes and solstices in Ashland, Oregon starting in the sparing of 2019. ElderMountainDreaming@gmail.com
Personal note: My sharing of cultural weaving with my shamanic fated life of experiences over the past sixty years, is to enlighten the heart and soul of the readers beyond knowledge, study, university or book knowledge of pagan, religious tales, myths and teachings. I encourage to spark your spirit and soul with a time before the rulership of pyramids and kingdoms. Those who visit here and those who come to Elder Mountain in person, I only have respect to your traditions and learnings, and to celebrate them with you from your cultural past. My first language and culture is dreaming, and the gifts of dreaming, dream walking, soul work, soul healing, time travel (astral travel) as a pure (non drug non plant) shaman. I am most certainly grateful for all writers and authors as they share the approaches of time shared folk knowledge, from older books, old articles or library and university resources. I am very grateful to my own Polish/Ukraine lands that were once indigenous in the Carpathians and were some clues still exist from the pre-tenth century, one in which Wologor himself belongs like myself. I share, regardless who the source is, be it Wologor himself or a writer, dancer, singer or gatherer of information who all sharing the same living or re-birthing journeys of the joys of cultural traditions through the arts. All are blessed because of it, including me.