Lightning Goddess Perunika’s Daughter – Lepa Mara

Lepa Mara means beautiful woman when she wakes up in March when the thunder god Perun, her father and the lightning goddess Perunika, her mother makes their first thunder and lightning together to open heaven’s gates in Spring for their daughter Mara. Mara and her Mother Perunika are symbols of feminine rebirth and resurrection of nature from its winter sleep into spring.

In the homes of the ancient Slavs there were small altars in the corner of the house with wax, amber or wooden figurines where girls and women used to offer sacrifices like flowers, ribbons, embroidered napkins, etc. A fire burns or candles here that could be put out only using your fingers, otherwise the peace of the house would be put out with it.

Mother and daughter also represent the feminine or female principle embodied of woman which are: The primal principles, the soul, the instinctual and intuitive, the feeling, the subconscious, the conscious, the dreamer, the seeker, the journey, beauty, attraction, desire, love, the moving force of the world.

Slavic Goddess Lepa Mara

Spring is the time when her future husband and twin brother, the mythical Green Man sets her free from a treasure chest and she descends from heaven in the golden bough of a mythical tree on the first full moon after the spring equinox.

She drinks dew and gets her strength from the spirit of the wind and her joy from the smell of flowers. She is tall and thin, has rosy cheeks more beautiful than a rose, black eyes like the thorn bush and walks making small steps like a quail.

She wears a white dress decorated with roses and stars, with golden circles embroidered on it, she has a crown of ocean pearls on her for head and around her neck. She wears a cape of flowers, leaves and moonlight. She is a sacred weaver goddess and an embroiderer, lace maker, knitter, keeper of the home fire, baker, inn keeper, shepherdess, coach woman, chaser of witches, medicine woman, poetess, moonlight, dawn, giver of light, love, happiness and fertility.

Suchá Kamenice
During the day she is a kind woman who sits on the branch of the mythical tree in the middle of Paradise or a flowering meadow and at dusk or during the night. In winter she is a woman whose together with her mother she is represented as an unknown, poor, fickle, proud, evil, cruel or ageing resident and ruler of the west or underworld.

Her mother is the Fire Lightning Goddess Perunika and is Baba Jaga/Luca/Roga/Yaga and the Lithuanian Rugiuboba who is the power of death itself.  The mother is then known as Jagbaba, Jez(i) baba, Marzana, Mokos, Vodanojka, Zimna (”winter”), Zderacica (”devourer”).

When her great goddess mother was banished as the keeper of balance of life and death, by religious fathers who corrupted her and turned her dark, her daughter Lepa Mara then becomes a stranger, a woman from Arabia, Greece, Turkey and the poor Cinderella, changeable moon or moonlight, a proud girl or cruel Morana. The name Morana comes from the Indo-European stem ”mer”, meaning ”to crumble” or ”to die”.

Croatian words ”mrijeti”, ”umirati”, ”umarati”, ”smrt”, ”moriti”, ”zamor”, ”odmor”, ”mrak”, ”Mura” all meaning death or tiredness (Mura is the name of a river in Croatia) and where the river got its name from. Since the Christians took over, both mother and daughter are inconstant like the time of day or the seasons. Changing their form from fairies into witches, into death, who they represent as the fragmented soul or dual spirit of nature.

Lepa Mara Slavic Goddess of Spring

Before Christianity they represented the place in-between both darkness and light, white and black, clear and cloudy, summer and winter, plenty and hunger, medicinal and poisonous, health and sickness, youth and old age, love and hate, care and carelessness, morality and greed, fortune and misfortune, good and evil.

She gives flame to the moon, and when man lets go and changes, it frees her of her chains, she marries Green Man on a white whinged horse and shares part of her flame but never to give man all of it again. She is a golden apple from the Paradise tree and her necklace, the first morning or spring light helps her remember how men enslaved her and her mother.

Green Man in return gives her a golden ring and both enable enchantment and love and thus make all living creatures grow and bear fruit. On each young Friday, that is the first Friday of the month celebrations and rituals connected with the fertility of the fields, orchards and gardens. In fact Mary of Fire and Beautiful Mara, although they are represented as mother and daughter in the Croatian oral tradition, show the bonds between mother and daughter and how the family flourishes or perishes.

They are represent the plants: basil, peach, birch, lily of the walley, ox eye daisy, apple, strawberry, fir, violet, poppy, olive, lime-tree, rose, rosemary, dog-rose and plum. When they are represented as animals they are the dove, quail, mare (horse), doe, cow, sow, cuckoo, purple marten (in Russian vernacular an expression for the female sex organ), hen, swan, weasel, swallow, butterfly, fox, bee, partridge, falcon, otter, she-wolf, snake, frog and woodpecker.

Mara is both a spirit and earth goddess, like her mother. At the same time she is a kind sister and a passionate lover. She and her mother Perunika (Lightning and Fire) are  goddesses of beauty, love, fertility, marriage, marital happiness and the house or hearth fire.

Zwezda Dnierca, Zwezda Wieczorniaia, and Zwezda Polnoca

The Zorya are the three Slavic Mythological Guardian (warrior) Goddesses, known as the Auroras. They guard and watch over the doomsday hounds (shadow people) who threatens to eat the constellations of the Great Bear and the Little Bear (Ursa Major & Minor). 

If the chain breaks loose, the earth’s time is said to end and completed and the dreaming time returns. The Auroras are the Morning Star, the Evening Star, and the Midnight Sun who are depicted as the goddesses Zwezda Dnierca, Zwezda Wieczorniaia, and Zwezda Polnoca.
 Zwezda Dnierca Zwezda Wieczorniaia and Zwezda Polnoca


Zwezda Dnieca – Maiden – Aurora of the Morning Star, a warrior maiden who opens the Gate of Heaven for the Sun every morning to emerge and bring the day light. She is the goddess of horses. A fully armed warrior Goddess, courageous in temperament in her youth.
 Slavs portrayed her each morning as the Sun rose just as the other pagan traditions of the world did with Venus. She is one who stands on the side and views death in battle, and her prayers were addressed as “Defend me, O Maiden, with your veil from the enemy, from the arquebus and arrow.

Zwezda Wieczoniaia – Mother – Aurora of the Evening Star, the great and powerful warrior Mother of the Zoryas. She closes the Gates of Heaven and Death each evening as the aged Sun God returns from across the skies. She is patron of protection and was, before the sun became too greedy, lineage to the shamanic cultures of her ancient people. The fullness of the night sky, its stars and star light, the falling and shooting stars of fate.

Zwezda Polnoca – Grandmother – The Midnight Sun, the Golden Baba (grandmother) of the Zoryas. She is the Zorya of death itself, keeper of the four seasons and one to whom the Sun God returns to die and who she gives life to again in the morning. She is death and rebirth, magic and wisdom, she the is the wise elder of the collective and the Night and the Sky Light and all its magic which belongs to nature. The warriors in battle fear her, for she judges not only their actions but also the wounds or bitterness in their heart. She opens the gates of the underworld to return them to sit and wait for their rebirth (reincarnation). She is closely related to Baba Jaga in prehistory (not pagan or religion’s views of her).

Evening Mountain

To read more about the Night Goddesses, Shamans who are Dreamers and the Mysticism of the Season of Night (Autumn and Winter) and the Midnight Sun: The Generous Invitation to the Marriage of the Spirit of the North’s Wisdom: “The Midnight Sun” Kolyadky and Auseklis

https://eldermountaindreaming.com/2015/12/30/a-a-slavic-winter-her-midnight-sun

Ukraine Vinok (вінок) Seasonal Wreaths and their Symbolism

Sbu Zapobihla Kontrabandi by the border of cultural values of Kiev Rusy. A unique complex starovynnykh jewellery with gold and silver stayed in Ukraine.
Kyev Rus, Folk Ukraine, this is our story, this is our treasure.

All Slavic traditions and folk traditions include flowers especially during Kupala and Noc Kupala, but Ukraine exceeds them all in the abundant uses of flowers and symbolic flowers. The Ukrainian Wreath Vinok (вінок) is a crown made of wild flowers and herbs which is collected in the traditional ways.

There are different types of wreaths: a wedding wreath, a wreaths of love, monastic wreath, wreath of hope, wreath of devotion and kupala wreaths. The wreath of love was not only for marriage ceremonies but also divorce ceremonies. In Ukrainian culture the wreath was traditionally worn worn by maidens (unmarried) as a pagan tradition. 

ukraine crown
Ukraine “Summer” Vinok Wreath

In the more prominent neopaganism groups today during Kupala, more and more wreaths are returning back before religious influences and are worn by women of all ages. The wreath dates back to the old East Slavic customs that predates Christianization of Rus which still remains a valued part of Ukrainian national creative attire, worn on festive occasions and on holy days.

Flowers are a part of all their celebrations, traditional folklore, craft embroidery, women and their ceremonies, and even painted interior and exterior home decorations. They mark the seasons of Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. The pagans honor Lada and her daughter Lely and the wreaths are in their honor. Midsummer is the time to gather flowers and herbs to not only make wreaths but for healing herbs and for prosperity.

ukraine ribbons
Ukraine “Spring” Vinok Wreath

Some of the most common are the crown for summer solstice called Kupala and are made with cornflower, marigold, saffron, parsley, parsnip, Corollas mint, lovage, marjoram, cornflower and sage, which are all protections against shadows.

In the full traditional Ukrainian wreaths, there should be 12 flowers: Wormwood, immortal, lynx, cornflower, chamomile, cherry blossom, apple, gooseberries, mallow, peonies, cornflower and baptismal bells. Wormwood is a symbol of inertia and immortal, a symbol of the immortality of the human soul. The cherry blossoms are a symbol of maternal love.

The wreath varies in many of the regions as young women throughout the country wore various headdresses made with yarn, ribbon, coins, feathers and grasses, but these all had the same symbolic meaning. In parts of central and eastern Ukraine, the flowers were raised in the center front and multicolored ribbons were attached to the back.

Ukraine wedding crown
Ukraine “Bridal” Vinok Wreath

Custom weaved wreaths denote the seasons as the customs came to Ukraine from prehistoric times and garlands with flowers and herbs are one of the oldest Ukrainian symbols. In ancient Goddess images of women, she wore headdress of flowers, grasses, herbs and branches in her shamanic beginnings.

large flower crown, ukaine
Ukraine “Bridal” Vinok Wreath

Putting your wreaths into water is to tell your future and personal guidance but putting a wreath in the Sea and it will tell the fortune of your soul. Setting wreaths on the water usually accompanies folk songs, because that was the first honoring of the first goddess.

Its more popular today to wear the casual versions of the vinok. It is not uncommon to see women in Kiev wearing a headband embellished with flowers during the summer as a fashion statement or Ukrainian pride. Additionally, the growing popularity of the vinok has contributed to the increase of vinok specialists, as well as the demand of local florists

Ukraine flowers , herbs, color of ribbon and their symbolic meanings…
Braided wreath – Symbol of prosperity and fertility.

autumn ukraine wreath
Ukraine “Autumn” Vinok Wreath

Clover – Symbol of fidelity;
has the magical power to reconnect.

Elecampane – Root of nine forces,
strengthens and returns health.

Fern (Rozmai herb) – Attracts love.
Garlic – Protection, also weaved into
braids on the bride crown before the wedding.

Hatchets – Field grass is a symbol of healthy fields, cornfields and abundance.
Iris – Peace and vitality.

King-flower – Vastness.
Krinov (lily) – Magical symbol of the feminine because she is essentially moist energy. The ancient name of the flower Krinov means “well” as it treats heart ailments.
Kalina (raspberry, rose) – Three sisters, acrimony as a form of magical contact, when there is a prick of blood. Overcoming obstacles, after which comes the miracle and magical dream as the likeness of eternity.

ukraine autumn vinok
Ukraine “Autumn” Vinok Wreath

Loboda – Symbol of misery and poverty.
Lyubka – a symbol of beauty and youth doable.
Lovage – Love, harmony. Bathe in lovage.
Lions (sunflower) – Symbol of fertility, growth and fruiting, and, hence, yield.
Marigold – Mans beauty.
Narcissus – Protects ones health.
Nechuy-wind – Boundaries
Oregano – Symbol of maternal
love and care of children.

Pansies – Symbol of love of family.
Parsley (wormwood) – Spring
Pauline – Bitterness of life, is protection agai
nst shadows.

 

ukraine.jpgPeppermint – Guardian of children and their health.
Peonies – Flowering of maturity.
Poppies (red)- Beauty, purity and magical forces of protection.

Rozsa (Rose) – Symbol of goodwill, prosperity, and swarming bees.
Red mug – Beauty and cleanliness.
Roman Herb Forest (chamomile) – Love.
Rouget (Rose hips, mallow, rue) – Glory.

Ruta – Sadness and a bitter life.

Vasylko (marigolds) – Ceremonies.
Violets – Joy.
Voloshky (blue cornflower) – Symbol of beauty and goodness, modesty and tenderness.
White Lilac – Family life.
Wreath of Roses -Symbol of health

Colors of Ribbons

ukraine baba
Ukraine Grandmother Vinok

A wreath of flowers and ribbons protects she who wears that halo on her head, it has a magic. Our grandmothers knew and still know this magic well, lot of different secrets of when and how to weave a wreath passed down from her grandmother.

Colorful Wreaths of Magic which is the union of Mother Earth with the Spirit Sky (Sun) as the divine marriage of the powerful belief of immortality – the way of Love. A corolla of intertwined ribbons of different colors, each have meaning:

Light brown: Mother Earth
Yellow: Sun, Blue: Water
Orange: Bread, Purple: Wisdom
Crimson: Sincerity
Pink: Abundance.

ukraine 1

On the left side of the white ribbon is gold thread as the sun, and on the right, silver, as the moon (month).

Red Colors (ribbons and mug, carnation, rowan, viburnum) – Divination and charms, blood and fire. On the one hand it symbolizes beauty, joy and love of life, the other, vengefulness and destruction. Red is used for charms, tends to counteract evil spell.

Popular color in Pysanky eggs and also using red thread, beads and flowers in divination embroidery. The best way to protect children from evil spirits and evil souls in dreams, is to tie the hands of a child something red.

winter ukraine wreath
Ukraine Winter Vinok Wreath

Green – Spring, beauty of nature, transformation, envy.
Purple & Green – Wisdom and caution.
Red & Blue – Fidelity and love.
White & red – Reward and respect.

White (ribbons and flowers) – Purity, innocence, joy. White is associated with daylight and life. Our ancestors believed in the relationship with the divine worlds. White robes are worn women in circles and by ancient priests or magicians. During the first crop of our ancestors wore a clean white shirt. White is also associated with death. Our parents, grandparents deceased wore white clothes and covered with a white shroud. White robes and ghosts are dead people.

Black – Night, Powerful Ancient moon women. Yellow – Sun, gold. In ancient times perceived as sunlight. Blue – Water, eternity. It unearthly secrets of the world. Symbolizes honesty, good reputation and loyalty. In mermaids cold and recalls the shade.

Ukraine neopaganism-folk Vinok (вінок)
Ukraine Neopagan Folk Vinok (вінок).

Sources: http://1vib.co.ua

Ukraine Traditional Folk Dress, Ivano- Frankivsk Region, Ukraine

 

 

Ivano-Frankivsk Region, Snyatyn District, Ukraine
Ivano- Frankivsk Region, Snyatyn District, Ukraine

For the whole series of each region of Ukraine go to:
https://www.youtube.com/user/FilmUaGroup/videos

Romanian Folk Magic at Midnight

Maramures, Romania

By Phoenix of Elder Mountain – Magical practice at the stroke of Midnight are symbolic practices and are the gifts of our ancient ancestors of the distant worlds and Romanian women have always kept these traditions alive. The older pagan cultures of the Slavic peoples celebrate the New Year on the Spring Equinox (and Ukraine still does). One such magical practice of the spring new year, which you could use at any equinox or solstice eve, is the tradition done the night before the Spring Equinox…

Goddess celebrations of Spring, in many cultures would last an entire week, from the 19th until the 23rd of March, because the energy of the Spring Equinox is at its strongest then. You can still do the rituals here, just make sure you set your intention clearly and simple…

At the end of the night light year in-between the old and the new year, at 12:00 midnight before the dawn turning into the Spring Equinox…. go and look at the night sky and count  the new stars you see and what will be your destiny. You can also go in the house, put a ring of gold in a glass of water, place it in front of a candle and behind the candle a mirror. They say the one who looks in the mirror sees an opening of the door of their destiny.

Magic Slavic Shamanism Pre Pagn 2Leave a small night light on or a candle in a lantern all night long when you go to sleep and dream, the gates are open to get luck as the old year leaves and the new returns the next morning on the Spring Equinox. They say, if your soul is clear, the opening of the door of the heavens will give you a glimpse.

Maramureș is a geographical, historical and ethno-cultural region in northern Romania and western Ukraine and these village people at midnight lean wood pieced against the home’s outside wall. Each piece of wood represents every soul in your house until morning and when you go outside in the morning to check on them, if any fell over, that’s considered a tough year for the person it was intended for.

Villagers also read the whole year’s weather with onions – cut an onion in half and set out 12 pieces of papers (one for each month of the year). Salt each of them in equal amounts. Set the onion in the center and circle the paper around the onion. Let them sit overnight and in the morning, depending on the amount of water collected, its said that the moisture or dryness of each paper represents the dry or wet months.

I imagine you can also do this with your moon ritual on the day of the spring equinox, if you want and set the intention of difficult moons (wet) and easy moons (dry) and then keep track of your moon cycles the entire year.

On the spring equinox morning ritual take a bath and wash yourself before sunrise. In the water put a silver penny, some basil and a branch of a tree and wash yourself for lucky year and blessings of abundance.

Enjoy and keep the Magic alive, Phoenix

Sources: Iulia Gorneanu, University of Bucharest; first photo a compilation photo including Romanian grandmothers called Baba Dochia and a selection of an image of one of Douglas Girard, figurative Landscape painter; Maramures, Romania Maiden; https://www.facebook.com/ElderMountainRetreats

Ukraine Ancient Traditions of the Spring Equinox Rites of Vorotar (Gatekeeping)

autumn slavic

This article is from http://www.encyclopediaofukraine.com with my additions, from my Shaman’s perspective and experiences – The Ukrainian Spring Equinox is one of the earth’s oldest ceremonies and it honors the ancestors as a ritual of the beginning of the new year Velykden, when the “Day” (Spring & Summer seasons were called Fire) overcomes the “Night” (Autumn & Winter seasons called Night). Vesnianky-hahilky is also known in Galicia as haïvky, iahilky, hahulky, halahilky, iaholoiky, maivky, and rohulky. Ritual folk songs sung by maidens in conjunction with ritual dances in ancient times on the Spring Equinox.

When religion came to the Slavs, the tradition of Mara (Polish Marzanna) lost its origin and thus the demonology books of churchmen forever changed the once pure spring rites and traditions. Mara then, is a female figure in Ukrainian and other corrupted Slavic folk demonology,  who was believed to assume various forms—animal, plant, ghostly (older shamanic traditions), and inanimate or monstrous females to cause people harm. The name was occasionally used to refer to the devil or to a house demon known as a domovyk. But most shamans understand clearly, that woman’s shamanic traditions were corrupted and how the church rose in power and control.

Long ago these songs and dances were performed in the meadows, highlands, along the rivers, but in modern times they are danced and sung in village streets, churchyard and cemetery. Originally their purpose was to give thanks to the mysterious spirit and forces of mother earth (nature) to provide good relations in the shamanic cultures of women, later in pagan times they were to honor nature who would supply people food and a happy life.

The magical functions of the songs was eventually forgotten but in peoples hearts, even though the magical rites are not performed by the grandmothers and mothers, the maidens still perform the dances and songs. As more female Slavic shamans reawaken to their ancient medicines and rites before paganism the more the magic will return.

ukraine eggs 3The vesnianky season in ancient times opened as a rule with a farewell to winter on the spring equinox, but once the churchmen got involved it took place on Candlemas or at the first sighting of migrating birds. A straw or wooden image of winter called Smert (Death), Mara (Specter), or Kostrub (Slob) was burned or drowned to the singing of vesnianky, and then spring, sometimes personified by a girl in a flower and herb wreath, was welcomed with ritual dances, such as Mosty ‘Bridges’ and Vorotar ‘Gatekeeper’. In prepagan times it would have been the Mothers, not maidens who welcomed spring and the grandmothers were the gatekeepers, always have been and always will be regardless of religions.

The dialogue, ‘O Beautiful Spring, what have you brought us?’ ‘I have brought you summer, a pink flower, winter wheat, and all sorts of fragrant things,’ was sung. In some localities bird-shaped bread was baked and tossed by children into the air to represent birds in flight. Many vesnianky were addressed to birds, groves and forests and trees and flowers, asking them to assist the coming of spring.

The oldest vesnianky are those associated with ritual portrayal of plant growth Mak ‘Poppy’, Proso ‘Millet’, Ohirochky ‘Cucumbers’, Khmil’ ‘Hops’, Khrin ‘Horseradish’, Hrushka ‘Pear’, L’on ‘Flax’) and the behavior of birds (Horobchyk ‘Sparrow’, Soloveiko ‘Nightingale’, Husky ‘Geese’, Kachky ‘Ducks’, Kachuryk ‘Drake’), animals (Vovk ‘Wolf’, Lysytsia ‘Fox’, Zaichyk ‘Bunny’), domestic animals (Baran ‘Ram’, Kozel ‘Goat’), and insects (Zhuk ‘Beetle’).

The simple but moving melodies have a deep rhythmic structure punctuated with frequent exclamations. Ryndzivky, a form of vesnianky, were sung at Easter by young men in the Yavoriv area in Galicia.  In Soviet times, the vesnianky began to disappear after the Revolution of 1917 and all original folk traditions that were passed down by village grandmothers for thousands of years by oral traditions, were completely gone by the end of the regimes of the Nazis and the Soviets including the Genocide of Famine to starve the Ukraine people to death in 1932-33.

Source: Mykola Muchynka is still alive and in 1988 Czechoslovak television filmed Lety mii vinochku (Fly, My Wreath), with screenplay by Mykola Mushynka, based on the Ukrainian vesnianky of the Presov Region of Ukraine. He was born the 20th of February 1936 in Kuriv, Bardejov and is a Ukrainian folklorist. After graduating from Prague University (1959) he completed his graduate studies at Kyiv University and again in Prague in 1967. He worked in the department of Ukrainian studies at the Presov campus of Kosice University (1966–71) and founded and edited Naukovyi zbirnyk Muzeiu ukraïns’koï kul’tury u Svydnyku (1965–70) for the Svydnyk Museum of Ukrainian Culture.

Because of his contacts with Ukrainian dissidents and Ukrainian émigrés he was expelled from his job and forbidden to publish. He was not reinstated in a research position until 1990. He has written over 300 studies, articles, and reviews, mainly on folklore and the culture of Ukrainians in Czechoslovakia. He compiled two anthologies of Ukrainian folklore in Eastern Slovakia (1963 and 1967) and a collection of Folk Songs sung by A. Yabur (1970). Besides a study of the folklore of the Ruthenians of Vojvodina (1976) and biographies of Orest Zilynsky (1983) and Stepan Klochurak (1995).

In Ukraine today most songs and dances are performed by professional and amateur ensembles, but to return the magic, the prehistory ways, the shamanic traditions of Ukraine can be returned by those of true female shaman paths of our birth rite initiations, lead by women in great circles again. Much of this tradition is celebrated in modern times as Kupala at the Summer Solstice which is much more popular for the main stream.

Source: http://www.encyclopediaofukraine.com

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