Mamuthones Donna, Mamuthones Nonna… sono il primo nato, prima che gli uomini vestiti nei miei vestiti. Mamuthones Woman, Mamuthones Grandmother… I’m the first born, before the men dressed in my clothes.
By Phoenix of Elder Mountain – This weekend we did ceremony of our ancestral Polish Midsummer (Kupala) Flower “Crowns” and “Water Rites.” We started off by gathering the local wildflowers on our hike and bringing them to life with a sacred ritual. I have a great love for water & fire rituals and doing them in the ancient dreaming ways. The day of the “solstice and equinox” each year, are the strongest energy releases of the seasonal year, because they are nature’s season of change… and ours!
Summer Solstice Ceremony of Flower Crowns and Water Rites…
Brandi, Lulu and myself, headed to Lake Emigrant to make our crowns, as the month of the Summer Solstice soon approaches. The where we live, is surrounded by the Siskiyou Mountains, the coastal mountain range of the Klamath basin in northwestern California and the southwestern parts of Oregon. Most people around the world are familiar with this area because of the famous Pacific Crest Trail.
We started our journey late in the morning taking our hike around the lake to collect wild roses for Brandi, who was to make her Rose-Hydrosol. I began the Kupala flower “Crown” ceremony (in Polish we call it the Wianki Feast of Wreaths). I explained what each part of the gathering of the flowers meant, what each round of tying the flowers in a circle meant, adding our sacred intention.
We enjoyed the beautiful day and after we were finished partially with the crowns, we hiked further and gathered different flowers to add to the crown. Once we finished, and had enough wild rose petals gathered, we headed back to Elder Mountain.
I really wanted for all three of us to jump into the lake to submerge ourselves into the healing waters but we didn’t have our towels but next year we will! We finished and headed back and once back, Brandi started making her rose-hydrosol, as we ate lunch and had a good long healing conversation around everyday issue. I brought counsel with wisdom and some practices and solutions, and were finished by dusk.
When twilight arrived, it was time to go to the magical pond, where our sacred Marzanna sits for three months and we burn her effigy on the spring equinox. Now there months later in the cyclical or progressional seasonal rites, we offered our sacred wreaths (crown of flowers) to the pond to receive (not love or marriage proposals as in traditional Kupala festivals which is the Dionysus cult tradition of the post 12th century) but a more ancient tradition.
A ceremony of something positive from our intentions weaving ten thousand years of flower circles connected to not just maidens like Kupala, but the shamanic rites of maidens, mothers, adult women, grandmother, spiritual elder women and our millions of years of ancestors. This ceremony on its healing side is to face and work with a personal fear (struggle).
The tossing of the flower crown into the life giving waters is the action to then receive when we begin to do the healing work, a summer blessing for the entire three moons of summer. A small manifestation for emotional health, interpersonal peace and expressing our true nature with the importance of sharing our truth in real and personal ways. We honored our journey as maidens, adult and elder women of our life in the ceremony – which honors our ancestors who came before us.
Since my work as a shaman (mol’farka, folk healer and whisperer) involves ancient dreaming rites with sacred ceremony only on the solstices and equinoxes, it was time to end our day and go to the sacred dream, as sometimes I lead a shamanic magical journey for the night parts of Kupala (Noc Kupala, non plant/drug shamanism of course). I asked Brandi and Lulu to set a sacred intention for their dream that night, of something they needed to know to be brought forth from their inner dreamer (once they got to the yurt). Each one did have a significant dream, and we discussed it in the morning and went over the symbolism for its fortune telling or oracular wisdom. We chatted over breakfast and I gave counsel on the symbolism and this completed our ceremony as the twilight of dawn had returned.
Healing Waters & Fire, Solstices & Equinoxes…
When I speak of healing in any equinox or solstice ceremony that I lead, which are four times a year in ceremony, I mean the dedication to the self to overcome one’s struggles connected to our unconscious shadows. These are our obstacles (through the practices of self respect, self love, emotional compassion, boundaries, etc) and the rituals that are focused with intent for that accomplishment with the seasons of mother earth.
When I speak of spiritual healing, I mean the dedicated actions of spiritual practices, disciplines and holistic healing (energy work, rebirthing, energy movement releases, inner child work for the forty and older, spiritual martial arts, meditation, vision quests, etc) that support our real healing journey.
Combing these two of healing and spiritual healing, helps us grown in a very slow and steady each moon cycle to build a solid foundation. These are what the origins of Kupala were, now they are more social gathering (celebration or festival) and their seeds of pagan origins are of marriage. As a baba, I help others work with the increased self awareness which brings much consciousness into the healing (of our fears and shadows, our self sabotage, our guilt. anxiety, drama etc.)
The Slavic celebration of Kupala is both a fire and water ceremony, but it wasn’t always that way in the pre-pagan indigenous traditions of summer, it was only the sacred water ceremony. Since fire and water elements are the eternal, the mystical and the cyclical, “water rites” are moon mysteries of moisture, mother and memories from our pre-pagan grandmothers rituals and their shamanic indigenous rites.
Mother energy rules the summer solstice, but pagan rites of the Dionysus cult gave summer to the Maidens along with the Church father to marry her off, for a single woman has already been established by the church, that they are nothing but trouble without a husband. Grandmother, is the last part of the sacred trinity of the seasonal rites, and rules Autumn and Winter rites.
The World River is very different than the World Tree symbolism. It clearly points out in women’s mysteries weaving in the water symbolism of her emotional life and the soul’s journey of all humanity of ocean proportions. These includes the myths and folk stories of the mermaid, the moisture of fertility with the earths fertility, the nymphs, the cloud mothers or rain goddesses, thunder and lightning goddess and fire’s relationship to water… all pouring down from the sacred mountain. Desert peoples have their own high plateaus and water rites as well, just like more moist areas of fertile mountains and rivers.
Water is the emotional element needed in the Season of Fire (Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice) and Fire is the warmth and purification element needed in the Season of Night (Autumn Equinox and Winter Solstice). These were the balanced “elements” of an older origin rituals of grandmother. Water as a symbol, is the life force of emotional complexity, not the life blood, but the blood of the menses, and the awareness to be in awareness with our hidden souls. Water is also the soothing and nurturing element, which has been used in healing rites, folk healing, and dreaming rites of summer solstice times since before time.
Water rites are born from moon medicines and the lunar rites which are nature’s principles and enter the realms of the giant rivers and oceans, rain and thunderstorms. In regular ceremony, its the intention, actions and symbolism that is most important that connects us emotionally and setting that tone. The emotional connections, release of sharing emotional pain and tears and the support of her moisture for releases, her watery life force and even her powerful storms all apart of the water rites.
Fire elements when working in shaman’s rituals of purification are much more dangerous as a purification rite, then celebratory paganism or pagans festivals. In the Slavic tradition they use the pagan festival cults of maidens and add the Fire element, called Sobótki in Polish meaning the feast of bonfires. “Fire Rites” in this sense is for ambiance and enacting old rites without their purification.
Originally or pre-pagan rites of grandmothers and shaman grandmothers, fire was only used in the winter solstice ceremonies because of the nature of the winter and the underworld (not the dead) but dead aspects of the self for purification in the act. Very rare Slavs and Balkans use fire in this way, and they can only be done in small circles, not large party events or gathering festivals. The physical fires are included in winter solstice rites, but also the non-physical aspects of fire, call our relationship to spirit (and I am not speaking of human) but the relationship to the mystery of nature. Fire acts as a bridge.
Most Slavic and even Polish celebrations like Kupala (summer) or Marzanna (winter) are devoid of such kinds of healing rites and are “social” or more “gathering celebrations.” When I work with the power of the energy of earth in my rituals, its the strongest during the solstice and equinox, the healing is the strongest and without a healing rite or ceremony the years and decades even are lost to tap into that magical energy of “healing or soul rituals.”
When I speak in terms of the solstice and equinox rites of the archaic, I am speaking of global changes that influenced cultures and much of the old pre-pagan cultural rites were destroyed by the Dionysus Cult, as these were the Soul rites. The Spirit rites rites are the elemental aspects of the bonds of the mystical connection (fire) with the soul (water) and the ethereal dreaming (non physical reality) into memory, remembrance and memories which surrounds us.
The healing rites when in a sacred circle creates the movement or action of energy of the wind spirits, which starts at the time of the ritual, will carry into an entire three moon cycle (one season) after a ceremony such as Kupala done this way. During those cycles (three months) our life force of fire (spirit) will appear in some small way, but one must pay attention very closely for the medicine.
Why we do the folk healing work this way at Elder Mountain…
The guardian spirits have showed me many things in the sacred imagery and lineages of soul visuals projections called dreaming awake, and its nature I speak of (not human guardians). We set intention, we accept personal responsibility for our health and we practice purity and if all three are present together in the ceremony, real magic and healing happens.
The legendary Magical Fern is a pagan legend of Poland, of the flower of immortality but the older aspects of this magical rite, is called the Vesta which is an initiation process for the ancient or current shamans (folk healers to varying degrees) of the Slavic peoples. It is a quest and initiation but it cannot be found in a real sense as a flower until one has penetrated the veils into the expanded consciousness in order to access it. The journey is fated, and the finding of it comes with great tests for women, a great struggle and pain.
All healing occurs with the balance of purification and that is painful, to try to subdue that pain, emotional pain, mental or relationship pain only prolongs a crisis situation to burst forth. So small healing ceremonies were set up by the pre-pagan grandmothers to work on them in small pieces at a time so no crisis would end in despair, great loss and all the other things people must suffer in modern times (post 10th century).
I work with the Season of Night and the Season of Fire (earth’s natural release of energy) and focus on folk healing rites and those way of ceremony which is smaller, more personal and intimate of the archaic shamanism past. The purpose is to focus on healing and keeping water in summer traditions and keeping fire in the winter traditions to maintain intuitive health, dreaming vitality and visionary powers at much higher levels along with nature. Fire in summer dries and scorches the land and water in winter ceremonies becomes frozen and not applicable. I chose to learn from nature and the nature guardians rather than human traditions, but that is why I am a dreamer (shaman).
When we align with oppositions of elements and add sacred ceremony of purity (fire), the fullness of the ceremony can bloom forth, both the celebratory with the healing rites in emotional work (water) is the summer seasons, for all women, maiden and some soul-filled men, not just maidens. Kupala is a fun and a celebratory community gather and that is beautiful for fun and connection for what is left of the original medicines.
Blessings on the …
Summer Solstice on Tuesday, June 20, 2017 at 9:24 pm
First New Moon of Summer, Friday, June 23, 2017 at 7:32 pm.
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To read more about the Traditional Kupala of Poland (post 12th century modern pagan rites) go to Lamus Dworski article on her wordpress @ https://lamusdworski.wordpress.com/2016/06/26/midsummer
Illustration: “Fern Eyes” by Elsa Mora; photos by Brandi!
As a healer I am extremely devoted to my own healing, an organic life, emotional work, that has freed my soul, everyday for the last twenty-five years. I commit to this in order to walk my talk and set an example that this lifestyle (a life without medicine, antibiotics, doctors, hospitals etc.) required and still requires dedication, responsibility and hard work.
Even today, after decades of healing, its no difference, for the last 3 years I have had some unusual weight gain for no reason, because my lifestyle did not change. I am though, still in my 2nd Saturn return and anything of course is possible. My legs have been hurting and cramping and so a year and a half ago, I upped my work outs, had already been totally organic and gluten free and committed to it weekly. Nothing was changing, so I had even given up all wheat and by-products and all dairy, I had done vegan during my vision quest years but that didn’t require wheat abstinence. And still no change in the weight gain, it was odd.
With my waking synchronicity and signs getting worse by the day in my path over the last three months especially, I was seeing people in wheel chairs everywhere I went everyday and the mourning dove 10 hours a day cooing outside and knew it was critical although I was doing everything possible. I had been used to mourning doves being around in my more intense spiritual suffering of my shamanic initiations and as one of my totem – they mean “internal warnings” where owl is my external warning. But the doves have not been around for twelve years or so. I finally set an intention for my inner Dreamer to reveal both the issue and the solution. I put on my sacred necklace, a charm with the name Rose on it (both my grandmother’s names) and I drew a sacred Slavic symbol of healing on my left hand and went to go dream…
The dream that night: I am in a hospital room and a nurse comes in and takes my left hand and says: “you need a saline solution every four hours” then she shoots a needle into the top of my hand and I see bacteria appear, they are tiny, thin, and black and see about 4 of them moving under my skin. I wake up.
I get up and started doing the saline (salt water) solution drinking it every four hours and for the last two days, no more mourning doves, no more wheel chair people around me and no wasps (they were the last to my issue warning). I looked up the bacteria that matched what I saw in my dream, and it said it can came from a few things, but none of them applied except the hot springs. Then immediately I knew where the source was…
Three years ago I went to the upper north Umpqua River Hot Springs and hiked there with my apprentice and thus far it was the most beautiful hot springs I have seen in pictures or having gone to. I could tell that this place had many local and wandering drinkers, drug users and heavy pot smokers, a defined party place and when we got there, the partiers were even drinking and smoking pot in the hot springs itself.
When I sat in the water that day I could feel it was sick and saturated from years of drugs, pot, alcohol, shamanic drugs usage and the small campground too which we chose not to stay at looked black energetically. I go to hot springs as part of a purifying process for my health because when you rely on no medicines or antibiotics or healthcare as a way of life, one gets pretty good at understanding even the smallest of changes in their body or the environment.
But I went in for an hour anyway and shouldn’t have, because this hidden bacteria entered my body that day and its been causing the weight gain, even though I tried every avenue but the “invisible” one.
Through the three years and it’s passage of time I was having more issues (six months ago), I developed a knot or large bump on the bottom of my foot and my legs were hurting regardless of what I did to alleviate. So I went to an acupuncturist who said the the knot was sitting in the kidney area and the session relieved some pains in my legs and the bump reduced half the size.
My inner dreamer responded well, as it should because I also dream for my clients, students and apprentices health issues. I have no judgment about the party people, I only make a deeper commitment to be more aware of hot tubs and hot springs now and keep doing what I have learned to do so long ago, love and respect myself with healthy boundaries regardless of what others think or how they respond in negative ways to that… in fact the whole world responds in negative ways, but has much compassion for physical sickness only. I have great compassion for all three, emotional, mental and physical issues.
Water is Life!
top part of illustration © by Irina Serban
Lyrics for The Big Dream (Moby reversion) by David Lynch feat. Mindy Jones
Love is the name in the wind
the wind blows through
the trees and stars
we make a wish
to be together
when we dream
when we dream
the big dream
the time has come.
Our Elder Mountain’s video of the “Burning of Marzanna”, its a little long! Marzanna was put into the Magical pond here and she burned very rapidly, intense and fast this year, compared to last year. It was as if a wind whirl came, but there was hardly any wind to fuel the fire at that intensity. I then hung a Russian decorated Egg on our life tree afterwards… Spring is here and let the New Year (mother earths) year begin!
If you join us next year in making your Marzanna, the instructions are here and let us know your making one:
Slavic & Balkan Traditions: Marzanna (Polish), Morė (Lithuania), Morana (Czech, Bulgaria, Slovene, Serbian, Bosnia, Croatia), Morena (Slovak, Macedonia), Maslenitsa (Russia), Mara (Belarus, Ukraine), Maržena, Moréna, Mora or Marmora is a Baltic/Slavic goddess of the seasonal rites of death and rebirth of nature and woman. All prehistory goddesses associated with Grandmother stage of Winter’s death, then the rebirth of dreams and Maiden and Mother’s stages of Kostroma, Lada and Vesna represents Spring.