Monday, 24 June 2019

Ear

Pulling kids by the ear was one of favourite school punishments the world over. But was this done just out of cruelty or was there originally another deeper reason for pulling kids ears which was over time forgotten?




In Serbia in the past, a teacher would ask kids a question, and would go through the class untill he found someone who knew the answer. That kid would then be told to go and pull the ears of all the kids who didn't know the answer. 

The licking clean of ears by snakes was a common theme in Greek mythology. The snake licked clean the ears of Asclepius, allowing him to learn knowledge and skill that had previously been hidden to man...

During Roman time, in court, a witness would be pulled by the ear by a person saying "memento!" to help the witness to remember what happened better... 

Babrius (Greek: Βάβριος) was the author of a collection of Greek fables. In one of them, while dying father is telling his son what he is leaving him, he is pulling the son by the ear, so he doesn't forget what he is being told. 

Pliny the elder wrote that people believed that the memory was located in the earlobes...Hence pulling the earlobes in Roman courts to stimulate the memory... 

While writing about kings and wars Virgil was pulled by the ear by Apolo. Servius says that this was because "ear is the seat of memory, just like the forehead is the seat of genius"...

The reason why Buddha has big earlobes is because big earlobes are the sign of knowledge and enlightenment...



This is why in India school kids are "punished" by "thoppukaranam". You pull your earlobes by opposite hands and you squat 10 times. By the way this is the same ritual performed in front of Buddha, the enlightened one. 




The latest research data from India says that this ear pulling yoga exercise balances the left and right hemispheres of our brains. Interestingly, ears contain acupuncture points that affect to all the other parts of the body. The earlobe corresponds to the head🙂 




Now where did this "belief" that pulling your earlobes will stimulate your memory originated? Maybe in India and was brought to Europe during various westward migrations? Serbs have preserved the memory of "motherland India" in their epics. I wrote about this in my post "Triglav, Trojan, Trinity, Trimurti, Agni"



But maybe it originated in Europe during Bronze age and was brought to India during one of many eastward migrations? After all, the earliest possible acupuncture evidence comes from Europe. The so called "Ötzi the Iceman" is the  5300 years old body found frozen in the German Alps. The Iceman's tattoos align with classic acupuncture points, and the plants found amongst his belongings have well-known medical applications .


Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Live fire

In Serbia, during certain ceremonies, like when first fire is lit in the new house, the fire has to be lit using the "old way" (rubbing two pieces of wood against each-other). This process is known as "pulling living fire out of the wood"


Interestingly, the man who is about to perform the fire ritual, to "draw living fire out of the wood" had to have abstained from sex for a period of time.

Fire is male principle (Sun, Fire, Heat, Increasing, Yang) as water is female principle (Earth, Water, Cold, Decreasing, Yin). I wrote about how Yin-Yang relates to Earth-Sun climatic system in my post "Yin and Yang".




This is direct link between Fire and Male Fire. In Slavic mythology both are represented by Jarilo (Slavic young sun god) whose name means brightly burning, raging, young, green. He is the one who every spring brings "living fire" back into the world.

I talked about Serbian rituals related to building new house and moving into the new house in my post "New house".

The name"living fire" is very interesting. The only other "living fire" I know about is Deified Fire, Agni. And in my post "Triglav, Trojan, Trinity, Trimurti, Agni" I talked about Serbian belief, recorded in the Epic poetry, that Serbs came to the Balkans from India...Agni was said to be "hiding in a cave" from where he had to be summoned into the world. This is fire drill, instrument used for  "pulling living fire out of the wood". 


You can see that the initial smouldering amber is created inside of the hole made by the fire stick. Is this the "cave from which Agni had to be summoned into the world"? 

This is another reason why only men are allowed to summon "living fire"...

In Serbia, living fire was believed to have medicinal properties. This is why it was "pulled out of the wood, summoned" when both people and animals had to be protected from dangerous deceases. Animals were walked between, or around fires which were started with "living fire" to be purified. People jumped over these fires "for health". Ash scraped from "Agni's cave" was mixed in water and given to sick people as medicine...

During "pulling of living fire" ceremonies, if a man who was operating the fire drill couldn't make fire   from the amber three times in a row, he would step away from the fire drill saying: "It is not meant for me to make the cure". Then some other man would go to the fire drill and try himself...

This use of living fire as a medicine is interesting because when Agni came out of his cave, he was told that he will be "the purifier"... 

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Sowing

In Serbia in the past people lived in extended families called "zadruga". When grain needed to be sown, the family would choose one man to do all the sowing. He had to abstain from sex from that moment until all the seeds were sown. 


Sowing (spreading of seeds) is here directly linked with ejaculation (spreading of semen). Male reproductive energy which is usually used to impregnate a woman has to be during sowing period preserved and used to impregnate the Earth... 


Saturday, 1 June 2019

Swallows

In the past people in the Balkans considered swallows to be "domestic" animals as no cowshed could be seen without at least one swallows nest. In the spring people used to say "Our swallows came back" and considered an empty nest to be a bad omen


A common belief among Slavs was that swallows were "blessed birds". Killing them or destroying their nest was believed to be a terrible sin and the perpetrator would be "thrice cursed".

They are believed to be Mary's birds. Mother Mary is among Slavs a common replacement for Mother Earth. Arrival and departure of swallows mark the beginning and end of the "fertile earth" period (spring-summer-autumn)..."Your mother will die if you kill a swallow"...


Slavs believed that swallows protected the cattle. Killing a swallow would make cows give blood instead of milk...Swallows do actually protect the cattle by eating the horse flies who attack the cows and suck their blood...


In Russia people used to bake special swallows shaped cakes when the first swallows appears in the spring to welcome them. In Hungary, kids used to clean swallows nests on Good Friday and place a bit of cake in each one as an offering to the birds...

South Slavs believed that Swallows nest under a house roof protected the house against lightning. If you destroyed the nest, angry swallows would bring hot coals in their beaks and burn your house down...Pic: old Serbian house from the Balkans


There is a Serbian legend that once there were three suns, but a dragon ate two. He would have eaten all three, if it wasn't for a swallow which hid the third sun, our sun, under its wing...You can read more about it in my post "Three suns".

Swallow fresco from Akrotiri,17th c.BC.Thera island,Cyclades,Greece.



A very interesting thing (to me 🙂) about swallow is its name in Slavic languages "lasta". Why? Because in Gaelic (Irish) the word "lasta" means "to move at high speed", just like swallows do...I wrote about it in my post "Lasta".

Slavs believed that Swallows, like all the other migrating birds, spent winter in "Iriy" Slavic paradise, "A green land full of cattle which lay in the west across the sea". You can read more about it in my post "Iriy".


Poles, Ukrainians and Belorussians believed however that swallows spent winter in water. They dived into rivers and lakes in the autumn. In the spring, only young swallows emerged from the water, old swallows became frogs...Swallows drink water from rivers...


One South Slavic legend says that swallow "saved human race during the great flood" when it fought and defeated "the great snake". The snake bit the swallow by the tail and this is why swallow's tail is forked...


In Bosnia, swallows and snakes are Lazarus's sisters. Lazarus is the symbol of rebirth. Both snake and swallow are solar animals and their appearance announce the "rebirth of nature" (end of winter) while their disappearance announces the "death of nature" (beginning of winter).

You can read more about the symbolism of migratory birds in my post "Leto". 


You can read more about the symbolism of snakes in my posts "The sunny part of the year", "Chimera", "You will trample the great lion and the serpent"...


Bulgaria legend says that swallow became from a beautiful girl which married the Sun. While she was running away, her veil split, and this is why swallows have split tail. Every spring, when swallows return, Vesna, young earth, marries Jarilo, young sun. Young girls in Serbia taking part in Lazarica procession to mark the beginning of Summer. You can read more about this in my post "Flower girls".



Serbian and Macedonian legend say that this is how swallow was made. This legend is full of solar cult references.


Here is the explanation: 

A year consists of 9 sun dominated months (9 sons). The sun was seen as male in Serbian tradition (Father Sun) as opposed to earth which was seen as female in Serbian tradition (Mother Earth). Hence one daughter (winter). 

Swallows spend the winter in Iriy (Slavic paradise) which was imagined as the "Green land across the sea". When swallows depart for Iriy the sun dominated part of the year is over. The winter starts. 

Swallows go to Iriy with Jarilo (Young Sun) whose name means "The bright burning one". He is the representation of the sun's heat.  Jarilo is "The youngest sun" of Perun, the Slavic sky god. Every spring, when sun's heat warms the earth, swallows return from "Iriy". The old "Leto" (summer, year, sunny, warm part of the year, 9 sunny months) begins. 

This is why Serbs call swallow "key barer". In folk poetry it is said that in the spring it brings the "golden key" from "across the sea" (Iriy, Paradise) with which it unlocks the summer and lock the winte

Sources

Simbolika zivotinja u slovenskoj narodnoj tradiciji - Aleksandar Gura
Srpski mitoloski recnik - Grupa autora