Sušec / March and the awakening of Mother Nature

Burning of Marzana

Farewell to darkness, anticipation, greeting of light, new hope, awakening, solution of burdens, greeting of love, infatuation, renewal, freshness, youth. All this is marked by this, the first month of spring, when Mother Nature winks at us in the new fertile year.

This time marks the transition from the cold to the warm part of the year. In a symbolic sense, it is a time when we wake up from the darkness, move from our heads elsewhere. In movement, action, and we begin to slowly realize what we set out to do.

The celebration of the spring equinox is not widely spread in Slovenia. Only in some parts of the Posočje, bonfires were lit on this spring milestone as a continuation of the winter tradition, and in some places hand-made green wreaths were hung on trees. Some left them to the wind, and some, believing that the wreaths took over the energy of the tree, took them home for protection.

In the Karst, regardless of the date, a ceremony was performed in honor of Dajbogec at the time when the trees were waking up. This represents the solar force that ensures the awakening of nature. At the sacred place, the girls sang an ancient song in a stone circle. The priest-“Božeglav” (literally “god-head”) placed a jug with a whip in the natural altar, with the help of which they also foretold what the harvest would be like.

In the spring, goddess Vesna is known throughout Slavic world, but in Slovenia her cult is not attested. But we know Vesna in the plural as great sorceresses and priestesses.

Celebrating the departure of winter and the arrival of the new year is unique in Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Lithuania. Following this ancient custom, they make a straw doll, they can also dress it up and decorate it with jewelry. This tradition is followed by the entire population, including children. They then join the procession, carrying the doll around the village from house to house. Along the way, they immerse a Marzana doll in every stream and puddle. The children also wear juniper twigs on this tour. In the evening, the ceremony is taken over by young adults. They light the juniper twigs first, then the Marzana doll. The burning doll is taken out of the village and thrown into the water. No one should touch it in the water. On the way home, however, no one is allowed to look back, as this means death.

The church, despite efforts, has failed to erase this powerful tradition. Even the attempt to establish a new idea of ​​the drowning of Judas Iscariot in the 18th century was unsuccessful.

The doll, of course, depicts the goddess Morana, who represents death or. infertile part of the year. The rite of cremation and drowning is a farewell to winter, just as we do at the burial of “Pust” in Slovenia in February. The customs are connected in their base, although they differ in their form.

A particularly strong symbolism of this rite is the prohibition of turning back. Why? Because autumn is a time of analysis and turning inward, recognizing shortcomings and looking for opportunities for improvement. Over the winter, in contact with the forces at all three open worlds, we come to certain insights and new plans for the future. With the farewell from winter, however, we are given the opportunity again and again to carry out the task with the awareness and gratitude that the possibility of a new beginning to a new birth cycle has been given to us again.

Looking back actually means death in a way, because going back in time, old patterns, repeating old mistakes, regrets, can hold us back, preventing us from growing as persons and reaching our potentials. If we do not achieve them, we more or less vegetate.

The time to deal with all of this and move into your heads is in the time of autumn, the calming and dying nature. Now, however, is the time to step into action and go our own way the best we know how.

We always consider if everything we do is done according to our own values. Let us not be overwhelmed by fear or seduced by an unrealistic desire for too many goals.

May we all have a new, fresh start for a fertile and successful year.

The gods are always with us and always whispering to us. But they have always left us free choice. Let the choice be wise to make us and them proud.

written by: Irena Petrič (maiden name Urankar)
slovenian version:

the artwork: © Irena Petrič
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