Friday, 13 January 2012

My Pagan roots

Today,i wanted to go a little bit into where i come from and what it used to be like all this time ago,long before i was born.Today in Poland,most of the nation is Christian.But it wasn't always so.Christianity arrived in Poland in about 966,before that we were all Pagans.The Slavs (term used to describe peoples of western Europe,such as Poles,Lithuanians,Slovakians...),used to believe not in One God the Creator of all,but many gods,godesses,spirits,and all of them were associated with nature.Well,we could say there was one most important for all-Nature-Mother Earth.Every 'aspect' of Mother Earth would have it's own sort of representative,like for example: god of fire,water,sun,death,love,flowers,harvest and so on.It is so much like Greek myths and legends,which always fascinated me very much.Even modern day folklorists admit that only in Russia and the Baltic island state of Rugen,was there found the remotest trace of hierarchial superior divinities,with few crude idols,mention of priests and structured rights,and this could be due to their frequent exposure to the Norse and Germanic beliefs.
A beautifull picture i found on the web
In our pagan days,everything was nature-oriented,and we
 would celebrate days associated with certain Gods and 
Godesses,as well as fearing some spirits and fit our daily
tasks and life in general to avoid upsetting them,or even
being put at risk of death,as they believed.
Here are a couple of examples:
Marzanna- godess of winter and death
Bialobog-translates to 'whitegod' of sun,day,light
Czarnobog-'blackgod' of darkness,fear,woe and night
Marowit-god of nightmares
Dogoda-spirit of the west wind,associated with gentleness
Kupala-godess/god of fertility,fire and water

Some of the days still celebrated now

Noc Kupaly- Also known as Sobotka (The Saturday) is
celebrated upon summer solstice 23/24th June,when
the nature is bursting with blossoms and ripe fruit.
This night was all about merrymaking,dancing and feasting,celebrating the holiday of fire and water,
fire being male,water female.Young men would make fires and jump above them for a play,maidens would go to the rivers and float their wreaths of flowers onto water,often lit with candles,which by creating a certain pattern on the water,would give an insight into their future relationship fortunes.
If the wreath was fished out by a young man,he could become her future husband,or she could get married very soon.If it kept going on the water,the girl would marry but not too soon.If the wreath sank or got stuck in bulrush,she could become a spinster.Maidens would often bathe naked in the rivers,to keep their youth,beauty,health and fertility for as long as possible.
There is a certain legend in existance,i don;t know if you ever heard it,of a blooming fern.The flower blooms only once a year,on that special night of glorious June,and whoever finds it,would gain wiseness and wealth.It was extremely rare and therefore searched for by many.The legends say,the flower was protected against men,by bad sprites and spooks to scare them away.Maidens would go into the forest on that night,often naked,and search for the flower together.You may have noticed,there's a lot of nakedness mentioned about the girls,it is only because in those times,our bodies and our nature was highly celebrated and praised,we were not ashamed who we are,and women kept by themselves on outings like this,it's not like we were dancing around naked and watched by all men in the village.Because nakedness was not a taboo in those times,automaticlly it makes everyone less interested in subject,as i noticed that fact about everything around us.For example,in Holland,Marijuana is legal,and yet most of Dutch people do not use it!I know that for a fact,i lived there for a while.
Today,at the time of ever growing modernity (to my sadness at times),people still celebrate this day,
maybe not in such advanced way,but they make special gatherings outside cities,sing and dance.
There are also festivals organised,growing more and more in popularity,bands gather and people enjoy
the wonderfull time that Summer is...

Zaduszki- is celebrated on 2nd of November,it's a second day of celebrating The Dead.On 1st of November,people in Poland get a day off from work (as it's like a bank holiday here in UK) and go to the cemetaries to visit graves of the loved ones who passed into another world,remembering their time with them.Candles are lit on top of the graves and flowers laid.I remember this day as one of the most magical experiences of my short life.My parents would take me and my sisters to the cemetary,when the night falls.And walking through the graveyard,i have seen thousands of little flickering lights all over the place,lighting up the trees above and darkness and everything that would dare to hide in the corners and roots that night.The scent in the air telling itself there was something special about tonight,although now aged 22,i realise it was scented candle wax,but for a child's eyes everything is so surreal and magical.Regardless of the fact that there was a lot of people in the cemetary,there was no noise,except for the slight whisper of the crowds as if all together,repeating their own words of prayers,sadness and longing.

On the 'Day of the Dead' as we call it,nobody laughs,dances or sings as it is seen as disrespectfull for the passed away souls.This whole tradition comes from an old pagan custom of burning a fire on top of the graves as people believed that this would warm up the souls that were still wondering around our dimension (world).Also,villagers would leave fires on the partings of the roads,so the souls could find their way home.


  1. Hello Karolina, thank you so much for following ! Your blog is awesome and beautiful, I really love it ! wish you a good time in blogland, love

    1. Aww,thank you so much for your kind words,warmest of greetings this cold cold winter Kx