Monday, 7 November 2022

Living stone

Stone Quarry, painted c. 1919, by Czech painter Josef Ullmann...

In Slovenia in the past, a piece of stone that was cut from the wall of a quarry, had "to calm down", because it had been torn off the "mother's body" and was perceived as still alive for a certain time...

This belief was recorded by an published by Boris Čok in  "Kamnoseško izročilo o znamenjih na portalih in kolonah po Krasu" (p: 106)

But this is not an isolated belief...

Bedrock is in the Balkans known as "živi kamen, živa stena" (living stone, living rock) and is called so, because it is believed to be still part of the living body of the Mother Earth which gives birth to all life (plant, animal, human)...

These types of stones are also known as "Baba" (Grandmother, Mother) stones...

There are many "Baba" rocks and rocky mountain peaks all over Slavic Balkans. This is one of my favourites: Babin zub (Grandmother's tooth) peak, Mt. Stara Planina (Old Mountain), Serbia...

I list a lot of them in my article "Baba, mountains and crags"...If you know of any more, please post name and link to the map location in the comments...

These Baba stones were once venerated by the local transhumance shepherds communities...

For instance on Velebit mountain in Croatia, on arriving to the summer pastures, shepherd women used to bring food offerings and leave them on the "Baba" stone.  They also used to lite candles on the stone on various holy days. The stone was also known as "the altar"...

Many of these old "Baba" stones were later Christianised, by having chapels dedicated to Mother Mary built on top of them...Same thing, different name...Like this one on Veliko Rujno, Velebit, Croatia...

I talked about this in my post "Shepherd's chapels from Velebit"...

This was done because people believed that it was "Baba" (Mother Earth) that controls cold and damp weather...While her husband, Father Sun (Sky) controlled hot and dry weather...

Father above, Mother below...

Looks familiar? I talked about this in my post "Square and compasses"...

Srbska zagonetka: 

Pitanje: Visok otac, široka majka

Odgovor: nebo i zemlja

Serbian riddle: 

Question: Tall (high) father, wide mother

Answer: sky and earth

I talked about this in my post "Riddle"...

Shepherd's in Slovenia also believed that "baba" stones were linked to weather, water, humidity, mud, soil and fertility and pasture abundance...

This bedrock outcrop near the village of Rodik in Slovenia is known locally as "Baba" (Grandmother)... 

Locals believed that "Baba" controls the (bad) weather: Baba’s urine turns to rain, her fart to wind, and when she raises her skirt, the weather gets nice...🙂

And also used to leave offerings on "Baba" stones during their spring ascent to the summer pastures...I talked about this in my post "Gryla"...

This is why stones are so prominently used in Slavic weather magic...Like here, where women raise "Dabog's stone" during drought to get cool and wet weather...

I talked about this in my posts "Weather stones", "The last megalithic ritual in Europe", "Jupiter from Ibrahimovci", "White cross"...

In South Slavic mythology, it is "Baba", meaning Grandmother, Hag, personification of the winter earth, which causes cold weather...I wrote several blog articles about this character...

"Bablji mlin", meaning "Granny's mill" scene, Slovenia. An old hag is being milled, and thus transformed, into a young maiden. Winter being transformed into Spring...I talked about this in my post "Bablji mlin"...

Interestingly, in this version, it's Krampus that does the milling...Krampus, Goat man, an animal calendar marker for winter...


Why? Because Ibex goats mate and fight during the winter...

I talked about this in my post "Krampus"...

"Bablje Leto" (Grandmother's summer), one of the names for Indian summer (warm dry autumn weather), is another remnant of the Mother Earth cult in European Christianity and European folklore...I talked about this in my post "Bablje leto"...

"Everyone knows that an ordinary bullet can't kill a witch. If you want to kill a witch, load the rifle with 3 grains of wheat and a bit of Easter beeswax candle" - Serbian saying. 

To understand why, replace witch with winter...

I gave the analysis of this proverb in my post "How to kill a witch"...

Slavs equated The Goddess of Death, Morana (mor=death) with The Old Hag, The Winter Earth, Marzana (marz=frost). She is ceremonially burned (warmed) or drowned (thawed) or both (to de sure to be sure 🙂) during Slavic spring festivals...I talked about this in my post "Gryla"...

As part of end of winter, beginning of summer rituals, men and boys blew willow horns  to scare the witch (winter) away...I talked about this custom in my post "May horns"...

Willow being symbol of spring...I talked about this in my post "Willow in Slavic folklore"...

In Cornwall we find the character called "The Old Sky Woman" who controls the snowfall across North Cornwall and children were told when the snowflakes began to fall, the Old Woman was up in the sky plucking her Goose....


Baba, The Old Hag, The Spirit of Winter Earth...Is also found in Romanian folklore...Just like in Serbian and Slovenian folklore she is associated with goats, calendar markers for winter (🙂)...

I talked about this in my post "Babele"...

In Iceland we find Gryla, who originally was "really a personification of the winter and the darkness and the snow getting closer and taking over the land again"...


Among Kashubians in the Carpathian mountains we find saying: "the old baba (grandmother) went to dance" - when the weather suddenly changes and it starts to snow...

In the Polish Carpathians we find saying: "the baba (grandmother) is already frozen" - the mountain tops are covered with frost or the first snow...

In Gaelic lands of Ireland and Scotland she is Cailleach...

In Italy she is Befana...

In the mountains of Central Europe she is Perchta to Germans or Peruehty to Slavs...

In the North of Germany and in Scandinavia she is "Mother Holle (Hulda) or "Old Mother Frost"...

Interesting, right?

I think so...

1 comment:

  1. Бабине уке - назив за задњи снег у марту. Наук примила од. Оне бабе.

    ReplyDelete