Friday, 16 March 2018

The last megalithic ritual in Europe

There are many large isolated stones littering the Belorussian countryside. Many of these stones have been, or still are, venerated as cult, or sacred stones. Over 500 of these cult stones have been worked by people.

The map of the locations of the cult boulders with man-made holes on the territory of Belarus, taken from this page of the "Культовые валуны с рукотворными углублениями".


1 - flat stones with cup-shaped depressions;

2 - cylindrical stones with cup-shaped depressions;

3 - stones with holes (round holes, cup marks) with a depth of 0.5 to 7 cm and a diameter of 3 to 7.5 cm;

4 - stones with pits of irregular shape from 5 to 15 cm and dia. from 7.5 to 15 cm.

Some of theses stones were dated to Neolithic and Bronze age.

The above pictures were taken from this page of the "Культовые валуны с рукотворными углублениями" (Cultic stones with man made depressions).

According to a Belorussian legend one of these holy stones, which contained "footsteps of god" (was hollowed), was taken by a wealthy farmer who was building a house and was put in the house foundation. But the stone has become wet, "it starded crying", the wall went moldy and began to cause the people in the house to get sickThe farmer then  had a dream, in which he was told to take the stone to its original locationThe next morning, the farmer took the stone from the foundation, loaded it on a cart and drove it to the place from which it was takenThe legend says that it was strange that although four horses barely managed to bring the stone from its original location to the house, it only took one horse to bring it back from the house to its original location. 

The most interesting among these hollowed stones is this stone from near the village of Kremenets in Lugoisk region in Belorusia, which has been dated to bronze age. It is known localy as Dabog's (Daždbog's) stone.

In Belorusia it was once believed that Dabog (Daždbog) lived in a castle somewhere far away in the east. Every morning he would drive out through the gates of his castle in his chariot and would drive accross the sky towards the west. His servants washed his face with rain. This is why his name is Daždbog, god of rain, dažd. This Belorussian belief explicitly identifies Dabog as the sun god as well as the rain god.

The same link between Thunder god (Perun) and Sun god (Svetovid), is also represented by the character of Ilija the Thunderer, the Thundering Sun god...Which shows that Dabog and Ilija the Thunderer are one and the same god. 

According to the local old people, the stone has been there since the time immemorial and it has always been considered sacred. The stone lies on a stone platform which was in the past surrounded with a stone fence. In the corner of the sacred area there was a "well without bottom" which was always full of water and the water from this well was considered holy and medicinal. People visited the stone regularly but special masses were held at the stone on Ivan Kupala day, Easter and Pentecost. People used to come to the stone at the sunrise. They would bring with them offerings (flowers, money, bread, apples...) and would place them at the stone. They would then draw a bucketful of water from the well. A handful of water would be poured into the hollow marks on the stone which are called "God's footprints". The rest of the water would be used to wash the sore spot on the body because it was believed that the water has magical medicinal properties and could cure illnesses.

Now here is something very very very (I don't think there are enough verys I could put here) interesting about this Dabog stone which makes it probably one of the most important stones in the world. 

According to the same local old people, the villagers also turned to the stone for help during the periods of droughts when it did not rain for a long timeA special ceremony involving Dabog stone would then be performed. The ceremony was led by one of the oldest grandmothers in the willage. She would walk through the village and gather nine widows. They would take wooden stakes cut to a man's height. They would go to the stone, lift it using the stakes as leavers, and would perform a special prayer to the stone asking it to send down the rain.

The last such rain ritual at the stone was performed during the dry summer of 1985 and the locals say that the rain came after three days. You can see the video of the whole ceremony here.

Now this is absolutely incredible in so many ways. 

First the stone is clearly identified as the seat of Dabog, as Dabog personified. This can be seen from the fact that people prayed to the stone as if it was Dabog himself. 

Second, the raising of the stone was part of the prayer ceremony. Is it possible that this is a remnant of the ancient megalithic raising of the stone ceremonies which left us all these thousands of standing stones all over Europe? Did ancient Europeans raise all the standing stones as part of the praying ceremony dedicated to the the Sky god? I already suggested that this was a possibility in my post entitled "Grandmother's cudgels (clubs)" which talked about Orion, "The father of gods" and the original "Thundering giant" who during the Bronze Age caused climatic chaos with his stone clubs (meteorites) which he hurled from the sky. In Serbian "Thunder giant" is "Grom div". I already wrote in several posts that I believe that "Grom div" was the original name of the Bronze Age sky god whose name came to us as "Hromi daba" the main epithet of Dabog, Serbian and Slavic sky god and as "Crom dubh", the name of the Irish sky god...Now during Bronze Age the prayer ritual dedicated to the Sky god, Grom div, was probably performed during the extreme climatic events which threatened the survival of the people. During the praying ritual a new stone was hewn in the likeness of the Orion's stone club (meteorite) and was raised and left standing pointing at the sky. This was eventually replaced with the pretend raising of the single stone which represented the Sky god Dabog, Hromi daba...So this stone raising ceremony preserved in Belorussia could be the last remnant of the Bronze Age megalithic sky worshiping religion...

Third, considering that the stone is equated with Dabog, the raising of the stone was in effect the raising of Dabog. Do you know of of any other raising of the god ceremony? (This is a trick question :)). Dabog  is in Serbia also known as Djed, meaning Grandfather, The ancestor. He is seen as the ancestor of all the Serbs. This is why Dabog is in Serbian mythology seen as the sun god, Giving god (rain and grain god) and the good of the dead. So raising of the Dabog stone is effectively raising of the Djed...

And in Egyptian religion "djed" was a pillar associated with Osiris. Interestingly the word "djed" is also used in Egypt today to address grandparents...The djed pillar was an important part of the ceremony called 'raising the djed'. The act of raising the djed has been explained as representing Osiris's triumph over Set. The djed hieroglyph was a pillar-like symbol that represented stability. It was also sometimes used to represent Osiris himself. Osiris the sun god, the god of grain and the god of the dead. Osiris whose soul was Sahu, constellation Orion, the Thundering Giant of the Bronze Age...

So, very interesting isn't it?


"Кременецкий камень благополучия" from Виртуальный музей города Логойска

"КУЛЬТОВЫЕ ВАЛУНЫ С РУКОТВОРНЫМИ УГЛУБЛЕНИЯМИ" - Винокуров В.Ф, Дучиц Л.В. (кандидат исторических наук), Зайковский Э.М.( кандидат исторических наук), Карабанов А.К.(доктор геолого-минералогических наук)

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Crop devouring insect

A weevil is a type of beetle from the Curculionoidea superfamily. They are usually small, less than 6 mm (0.24 in), and herbivorous. Many weevils are considered pests because of their ability to damage and kill crops. One of the most dangerous species of weevil is the grain or wheat weevil (Sitophilus granarius) which damages stored grain. This Beatle can devastate granaries and destroy all the grain stored inside of them. 

Here is a picture of a wheat weevil on grains:

In Serbian the word for weevil is "žižak" dialectal "žižek". The same word is also found in Croatian and Slovenian and in Hungarian as a borrowing from South Slavic languages where the word is "zsizsik".

The word comes from the word for grain "žito". The word "žito" is said to come from Proto-Slavic "*žito" meaning "grain, corn".  And this word is cognate with the Slavic word "život" meaning life and comes from the same root which I postulated to be "ži" meaning "breath, breath of life, life force". I talked about this in my post "Breath".

At the same time in Sumerian language we find this word:

"zi" (ži?) - breathing, breath (of life), life, throat, soul...
zíd, zì - flour, meal (life + motion as in grinding).
zíz (žiž?) - emmer (wheat) (reduplicated zé or zi)
zìz (žiž?) - a crop devouring insect

Interesting right?

Friday, 9 March 2018


In Serbian the word for "life" is "život". This word comes from the root "živ" which means "alive".

These two words have their direct cognates in all Slavic languages, as well as Ancient Greek, Old Armenian, Baltic languages and Indo-Iranian languages:

Ancient Greek: ζάω (záō) - I live.

Tocharian B: śāw-, śāy - to live

The more to the front you pronounce "ž", the more it changes from "ž" to "š" then to "z" and then to "s".  

Baltic languages

Latvian: dzivs - alive, living
Lithuanian: gyvas - alive
Old Prussian: giwato - alive, living

Also if you add "d" to it you get "dž".



जीव (jīva pronounced djiva) - alive, living
जीवन  (jīva pronounced djivana) - life

Avestan: ǰva - alive, living
Old Persian: 𐎪𐎺 (jiva) - alive, living
Persian: زیست (zist) - life, existence, زیستن (zistan) - to live

Old Armenian: կեամ (keam) to live

The more to the back you pronounce "ž", the more it changes to "đ" (dj) then to "k" and then to "g"...
Also consonants b,v,p,m also belong to the same group and can easily morph into each other depending on how your speech apparatus works. 

So it is easy how the above words are cognates. Now here is the problem (at least for me):

Official etymology says that all these words come from these two PIE roots: "gʷeyh₃-" meaning "to live" and "gʷih₃wós" meaning "alive".

To me this doesn't make any sense. Why would all these "ži", "dji" words have a root that starts with "gw"? Well because of the Proto-Germanic *kwikwaz, from which English word quick was derived. The word "quick", which today means "speedy" once meant "mobile, alive". This word has direct cognates in all other Germanic languages. The root "gw" was coined so that Germanic words can somehow be linked with Indo-Iranian words. The thing is the Germanic "qw"ic can not be the root because it can be derived from "qiv"ik which can be derived from "djiv"ik...

Now have a look at this:

Ancient Greek: ζάω (záō) - I live. 

This word is actually derived from Linear B "za" symbol which is in the shape of the Egyptian ANKH which means "life".

This symbol is traditionally transliterated as "za", but some people suggest that the sign should be transliterated as "ka".

This is very interesting as it shows the antiquity of the "z" root for the word for life. 

But I believe that we have even more proof that the "ži", "dji" root is indeed the original root for the above cluster of words meaning life, living. 

Let me ask you this question: What does it mean to be alive?

Well, at the most basic level, you are alive if you are breathing. I remember once when my kid was very sick, I used to come to his bedroom and stand over him while he was lying asleep, motionless, looking for signs that he was breathing in order to reashure myself that he was still alive.

So we could say that "breathing", or "breath" is at the root of life. And so does Genesis 2:7:

Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.

And here is a very interesting thing.

In traditional Chinese culture, "qi" or "chi", pronounced as something between these two transliterations very close to dj, and represented by logograph 氣, is believed to be a vital force forming part of any living thing. This Chinese word literally translates as "air" and figuratively as "material energy", "life force", or "energy flow".

The logograph 氣 also has a rare archaic reading "xì" which means "to present food".

The primary logograph , the earliest written character for "qì", consisted of three wavy horizontal lines seen in Shang dynasty (c. 1600–1046 BCE) oracle bone script, Zhou dynasty (1046–256 BCE) bronzeware script and large seal script, and Qin dynasty (221–206 BCE) small seal script.

You can see how this logograph ended up looking like air going through mouth and throat...

The secondary logograph,  mǐ 米 "rice" was added during the Han dynasty (206 BCE–220 CE). Official explanation is that this is supposed to indicate "steam (rising from rice as it cooks.)"??? I believe that the rice was added to breath to indicate that both of these substances are "life energy givers".

At the same time in Sumerian language we find this word:

"zi" (ži?) - breathing, breath (of life), life, throat, soul...
"zi(d)" "še" - flour, meal
 zíz - emmer (wheat)
"še" - barley, grain

Now this is very very interesting. Here we have two "unrelated" distant languages containing the word for "breath of life" which has the same root as the above Indoeuropean words for "life, living". And when are we alive? When we have the breath, energy of life within us. In Slavic languages the word for alive "živ" could be derived from "ži" + v = breath, energy of life + in, within. Or the above words for "breath of life" could be derived by not pronouncing the two main Indoeuropean words for living:

Slavic "živ" --> "žiw" --> "žiu" --> "ži"

Indo-Iranian "jiv" --> "jiw" --> "jiu" --> "ji"

What is also very interesting is the link between the word for the breath, the energy of life and core food of the early farmers: grain, rice. We find this link in both Chinese and in Sumerian language.

We also find the same links in Ancient Greek:

ζάω (záō) - I live. 
σῖτος (sitos) - grain encompassing wheat and barley, the cereal grains used by the ancient Greeks, bread as opposed to meat, food as opposed to drink

Lin. A, B: se (ear of corn)

Also in Sanskrit we find:

जीव (jīva pronounced djiva) - alive, living
जीवन  (jīva pronounced djivana) - life, food, grain, milk, water, marrow, wind (breath)

And we see the same link in Slavic languages

In Serbian the word for "life" is "život". This word comes from the root "živ" which means "alive".

živ - alive
život - life, stomach
zev - yawn (possibly related as yawning is breathing so it could be a remnant of the old meaning zi - breath)
žir - acorn (the original first starch food which predates grain. You can read more about human consumption of acorns through history in these posts). In the Balkans the word žir in the past actually meant all plant food. In Eastern Slavic languages, the word for acorn is "želud" which is interesting because in Serbian the word for stomach is "želudac". This word also has the same root as žir.
žito - grain

I think that this is amazing. But how could there possibly be a linguistic and cultural link between such far flung cultures? The answer is this: Eurasian steppe:

The Eurasian Steppe, also called the Great Steppe or the steppes, is the vast steppe ecoregion of Eurasia in the temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands biome. It stretches from Romania and Moldova through Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Xinjiang, and Mongolia to Manchuria, with one major exclave, the Pannonian steppe or Puszta, located mostly in Hungary.

Since the Paleolithic age, the Steppe route has connected Eastern Europe, Central Asia, China, South Asia, and the Middle East economically, politically, and culturally through overland trade routes. 

And from the early copper age until the early medieval time, this vast area was solely controlled by metal weapons wielding, horse riding, chariot building Indoeuropean cultures.

The most important of them been Yamna culture.

The Yamna culture, was a late Copper Age to early Bronze Age culture of the region between the Southern Bug, Dniester and Ural rivers (the Pontic steppe), dating to 3300–2600 BC. The Yamna culture is identified with the late Proto-Indo-Europeans, and is the strongest candidate for the homeland of the Proto-Indo-European language.

The people of the Yamnaya culture were the likely result of admixture between eastern European hunter-gatherers (via whom they also descend from the Mal'ta-Buret' culture or other, closely related people) and a Near Eastern people, with some research identifying the latter as hunter-gatherers from the Caucasus or a similar people also related to Chalcolithic people from what is now Iran. Their material culture is very similar to the Afanasevo culture, their contemporaries in the Altai Mountains; furthermore, genetic tests have confirmed that the two groups are genetically indistinguishable.

And most importantly, the males in both of these cultures genetically belonged to R1a and R1b haplogroups, which have been the main carriers of the Indoeuropean culture and language. It is funny how this link between the genes and the language is now becoming something completely normal. But when I wrote this blog post suggesting the genetic background of the language groups I was almost crucified...

Yamna culture is also closely connected to later, Final Neolithic and Chalcolithic cultures which spread throughout Europe and Asia, especially the Corded Ware culture, but also the Bell Beaker culture as well as the peoples of the Sintashta, Andronovo, and Srubna cultures. In these groups, several aspects of the Yamna culture (e.g., horse-riding, burial styles, and to some extent the pastoralist economy) are present. Genetic studies have shown that all these cultures derive from Yamna culture.

As I already said, Yamna culture is identified with the late Proto-Indo-Europeans (PIE) in the Kurgan hypothesis of Marija Gimbutas. It is the strongest candidate for the homeland of the Proto-Indo-European language, along with the preceding Sredny Stog culture. Significantly, animal grave offerings were made (cattle, sheep, goats and horse), a feature associated with Proto-Indo-Europeans. The culture was predominantly nomadic, with some agriculture practiced near rivers and a few hillforts. Characteristic for the culture are the inhumations in pit graves under kurgans (tumuli). The dead bodies were placed in a supine position with bent knees and covered in ochre. Multiple graves have been found in these kurgans, often as later insertions. While the earliest evidence of horse domestication was found in Sredny Stog culture sites, the earliest remains of a wheeled cart were found in the "Storozhova mohyla" kurgan (Dnipro, Ukraine, excavated by Trenozhkin A.I.) associated with the Yamna culture.

It is the domestication of horses and the invention of wheeled carts that enabled the Indoeuropean people to quickly spread throughout a huge area or Eurasian steppe and the land around the steppe.

It was the metal weapons which enabled the Indoeuropeans to become the absolute rulers of the steppe and to exert a huge political and cultural influence on all the lands lying to the south of the steppe: Mesopotamia, India, China.

And so this is how we can find these common words for "living", "life", "breath of life" and "core food, grain, rice, acorn" distributed across such a huge area and embedded into such diverse languages.

What do you think of this?