Veliki srpan / August, harvest with the goddess Živa

Grace, gratitude, abundance, love, joy of life are the characteristics of the goddess Živa, who fills us with her energy especially during the harvest.
We always meet Živa in connection with the harvest throughout history. For the Polabian Slavs she was considered the main goddess, a tradition in Croatia says that she taught people to work with the land. She is also the goddess of water, who as such is the forerunner of the earth goddess, her name stands for t.i. “Living water”, spring water (“Živa voda”), and thus the source of life itself. Especially among the Poles and the Czechs, she is always associated mainly with grain, harvest, she is associated with the Greek Demeter, the Roman Ceres and the Scandinavian Sif.
They pictured her vividly as a beautiful woman with lush breasts, long blond, grainy hair. With Polabian Slavs her main attributes are apple and vine, with Czechs and Poles and some other Slavs she has always been portrayed with ears of grain.
In our folk tradition we meet Mara, who has some of Živa’s characteristics. We know the rituals in the east of our country, where apple is given to the water, which is a symbol of fertility and health. She is the goddess of life and thus also the protector of children. Notions of her and the children are also easily manifested in the character of the Virgin with the baby Jesus.

On the lake island of Bled in nort-west Slovenia stands the small church of St. Mary.
In addition to the older church, they found the foundations of a building believed to have once been an ancient religious shrine.
In Bled, guests can also spend their holidays in the spa. The source of thermal water / spring is 22 degrees, and bathing in this water has a beneficial effect on internal organs and nervous system.
In today’s Germany in Ratzeburg or. Ratibor, stood her sanctuary on an isle in the middle of the lake. The spring Aqua Siwa – Living Water was dedicated to her. Today there is a spa there. Where the temple once stood, stands the church of St. Mary. The similarities cannot be missed.

Bled Island is part of the famous Bled Triangle (“Tročan”, holy trinity principle), where three cult points of former shrines connect Dobra Gora, Bled Island and Gradiška (worship of a heavenly deity, earth and underground) into a triangle (Tročan, Triglav).

photo: Irena Petrič

Some of us enjoy working in the garden, following certain permaculture and biodynamic principles. This offers us a kind of meditation and connection with the divine forces. We know that when we collect fruits nd vegetables, herbs from our garden – they should never be picked in a bad mood. Just as we should not prepare a meal in a bad mood because we will also serve bad energy. So we also have to start working in the garden with gratitude and joy to make contact with the soil/earth and it will return our good energy.
Some know from our own experience how important it is to follow the spiritual pulse of doing this.
Nothing in this world is taken for granted, and work with food production is imbued with reciprocity. Nature has given us clean and fertile land, and we must keep the land fertile and healthy with the help of our own hands in order to ensure adequate crops. Also energetic.

During the harvest festivals, that survived to this day, people gathered to do work together. They sang old folks songs and sometimes boys were bit naughty towards the girls.
From the last crop of grains in the fields people called the sheaf of grain “the beard of Veles”.
In Slovenia people called it “baba” and carried it around on a wagon, some people in the east called it “doužnjek” and in the Karst region in south west Slovenia the youngest girl would bind the last sheaf of grain, which was called “Stažić” who then guarded the house and kept the bad spirits away untill the next year.

More about the harvest rituals see in our other article about the Autumn time.

Of course, we do not only connect surviving with working in the fields, but also with reaping the fruits of any work that offers us survival.

Živa is a pillar of our basic life energy, which we must nurture in various ways in order to maintain strength, so that we can then enjoy the fruits of our labor and be proud of our creation.
Živa is the sacred source of our own being, the knowledge and strength to appreciate ourselves and all the good around us, to know how to appreciate even bad experiences and to draw good from them. The Živa in us encourages gratitude and the awareness that it is not self-evident that every moment is just given to us. It is up to us how we live it. Will we be grateful for it tomorrow, or will we waste it.

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

the artwork: © Irena Petrič
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