Thursday, January 10, 2008

Traditional Russian Divination During Christmas And New Year

Traditional Russian Divination During Christmas And New Year Cover Most people whose faith depends on biblical scripture believe that divination is a sin condemned by God. So are the Russian orthodox churchgoers. But how strange it might sound, Russians believe that the divination is not sin, if it is done from 6th to 19th January. This period is called ‘Sviatki’.

The 6th of January (Christmas Eve) was more of a day of performing rituals for the next year. According to the Russian Christmas traditions, divination of this sort would guard them against evil spirits and bad luck and reverse this to bring great luck for the next year.

Very popular during Sviatki was the practice of mumming. Mummers were, typically, young folk who would dress up in colorful and clown like costumes. They would race through the streets of their village in their troikas, visiting and entertaining neighbors and friends with song, dance and games. Carols and folk songs, known as Kolyadki, were sung to herald Christ's Birth and the coming of a new year. Trees were decorated, gifts given and a great Christmas feast enjoyed by gatherings of family and friends. During the years following the Bolshevik Revolution (1917) and the end of tsarist rule in Russia, Sviatki took on a different meaning and tradition. The Soviets sought to suppress and outlaw any and all forms of religious expression or celebration and either destroyed church buildings or converted them into public/governmental centers. Thus, the Nativity of Christ was replaced by an emphasis on the celebration of the winter Solstice and New Year. There remained, throughout the Soviet Era, groups of Russian Orthodox Christians who continued to celebrate and practice their faith and its holidays; but not without consequence. Now Sviatki are associated with fortune-telling.

New Year and Christmas fortune-telling

Once the girls were having fun.

Threw the slippers - they were gone.

Off the gates the slippers fell -

So the girls their fortune tell
V.A. Zhukovsky

Fortune-telling or sorcery is a very interesting, enchanting process but dangerous one. The most favorable time for it fell on Sviatki. The best days for fortune-telling were considered to be the 13th and the 19th of January.

Fortune-telling by mirror
You need two big and equal size mirrors to set them opposite each other. Between them you place two candles so that there must be a long corridor lighted with candles. A person who does it must be alone or with somebody who is also interested in it. They must keep silence. No animals must be present in a room. You sit in front of one mirror so that to see the reflection in another one. The moment you see your future groom you must cover the mirror with a cloth otherwise who knows what may happen...

Fortune-telling by a ring
Put a thread through a golden ring. Pour some water into a glass. Lower a thread with the ring into the glass with water. It'll begin to swing and knock against the borders. Count the number of strikes - they denote the age when you'll get married.

Fortune-telling by wax
Melt a piece of wax in a spoon and pour it into cold water. Guess what the image means.

Fortune-telling by names
Write down all the male names you know on the pieces of paper and put them under your pillow. Before you fall asleep say "My fiance, come into my dream". You must see HIM in your dream. When you wake up in the morning, the first thing you must do is to take a piece of paper under a pillow and find out the name of your future husband.

These are only most famous Russian divination. Russian old women can tell you hundreds of such fortune telling tricks which are kept from generation to generation.

Books in PDF format to read:

Michael Kellogg - Wondrous Wisdom An Introduction To Studying The Wisdom Of Kabbalah
Bjarke Folner - Theoretical Foundations Of Witchcraft And Demonological Development
Abram Herbert Lewis - Paganism Surviving In Christianity Ver 1