Easter Excitement and Colorful World

Easter is one of my favorite holidays. Nature is beginning to wake up. First, the song of the birds ushers in the warmer weather, and they perform their spring dances and fill the air with love twills. After them come the daffodils, which look like the sun, brightening gloomy days. And brave white snowdrops shyly poke their heads out of the ground amidst piles of scattered snow.

Spring manages to bring a smile to many faces, a joy to our hearts, despite the news of worldwide tragedies. Perhaps because of them, we need to hold onto a small bit of hope that like nature, the world will thrive again.

As Easter approaches, more and more activity emerges from winter slumber, not only among nature, but also among people. The shelves in shops become like a rainbow, full of smiling bunnies and ducks, gift baskets, and an assortment of sweets. For others, it’s more a time to reunite with loved one, sitting around a table or visiting virtually, to celebrate the holiday and welcome the rebirth of nature.

One of my favorite holiday activities is to make the traditional kozunak bread. What is Kozunak? It’s a sweet-dough bread that is prepared on Easter, something very special in Bulgarian rituals. It looks like the Italian pane bread or the Finnish sweet bread called nisu. You can use walnuts as decorations for the crispy crust of the delicious bread.

Eggs and bread

Another favorite thing to do is to make colorful eggs. Sure, you can buy an abundance of colors, stickers, and other materials at any store to decorate your Easter eggs. However, when I was a child, I learned how to make my own decorations and colors from my grandmother. She used items from her garden and yard: onion peels, red beets, walnut shells and leaves, and more. To give the eggs a golden or yellowish-brown color, my grandmother boiled them in a decoction with walnut shells. She also used walnut leaves. Rose madder roots will give the eggs a beautiful red color. Coloring eggs this way is a tradition will used in Bulgaria today.

These days, I use a simpler, more creative, environmentally friendly way to decorate Easter eggs. With colored napkins, you can create masterpieces.

How do you do it?

First, you’ll need beautiful napkins, one paintbrush, a small pan, and one or two extra eggs (not to boil or decorate), depending on how many eggs you want to decorate.

  1. Cut the napkins into small pieces or strips. Use a small paintbrush to apply a thin layer of egg white onto the egg. Then carefully place the napkin onto the egg, smoothing out any wrinkles or bubbles. Brush another layer of egg white over the top of the napkin to secure it in place. Repeat until the egg is covered in napkin pieces.
  2. Create a mosaic design by cutting the napkins into small squares of triangles. Apply egg white onto the egg in small sections, then carefully place the napkin pieces onto the egg to create a colorful mosaic pattern. Brush another layer of egg white over the top of the napkins to secure them in place.
  3. Use napkins to create a tie-dye effect by scrunching up small pieces of the napkin and wrapping them around the egg. Secure the napkin in place with egg white, then use a brush to apply more egg white over the top of the napkin. Repeat with different colors of napkins to create a colorful tie-dye effect.

You can make a theme for your Easter table. I love sunflowers and daisies and made the one in the picture below. The idea is to have fun and create a mood and coziness for everyone.

Colored eggs

As I mentioned earlier, my grandmother used walnuts. In my opinion, walnut is a magic tree that has a special place in Slavic traditions. If you want to learn more about walnut and other magical trees, pleas follow our new Kickstarter project that will be launching in early May. The book will talk about Slavic customs and beliefs about tree, it contains 21 magical trees, for a total of 153 pages (print size 8.5 x 11 inches). And lots and lots of colorful pictures and illustrations. The book will follow the same layout as our earlier Herbs book. If you’d like to learn more about other Bulgarian customs, take a look at our book Light Love Rituals: Bulgarian Myths, Legends, and Folklore. We have an activity for coloring Easter eggs that you can try with your children.

Wishing you a blessed Easter holiday!

Sacred Forests

We’re deep into looking at trees these days, but we wanted to share this excerpt about a holy place in Bulgaria from the trees book we’re working on. Are there any such places where you live? Have your grandparents or other older people passed down stories of miraculous healing to you? We’d love to hear about them in the comments below.

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The sacred site of Krustova Gora, Holy Trinity Cross Forest, in the Rhodope Mountains in southern Bulgaria, is a place of great spiritual significance and is well-known for its healing power. What gives it this ability is a piece of Christ’s cross, which stories say has been buried in Krustova Gora (Cross Mountain), at a location where the mountain forms the shape of a cross.

It’s interesting to note that the symbolism of the cross predates Christianity. In many ancient cultures, the cross has been viewed as portraying the tree of life, as well as being associated with the sun and fire. Among the ancient Thracians, the four directions of the cross have specific meanings. Although left has often been considered “sinister” in some cultures (and, in fact, the word sinister comes from a Latin word meaning “left), among the Thracians, that direction was the more sacred of the two.

Right and left to them represented the earthly and celestial realms, respectively. Rituals in which actions took place from right to left were ones that took the participant from a lower level of consciousness to a higher one. This was standard practice in blood sacrifice rituals and enabled a sick person to become filled with power.

North and south were also sacred directions among the Thracians. North was the direction associated with mankind and south for immortals and the souls of the blessed. Rituals that included right-to-left and north-to-south movements were an attempt to unify the earthly and heavenly realms with the goal of providing healing.

The holy relic at Krustova Gora is said to be one that Saint Helena gave to her son, Emperor Constantine. According to one story, this piece of the cross made its way to Kurstova Gora after a Russian tsar seized it from a Turkish sultan. Believing that the relic brought his troops and empire victories, the sultan sent his troops after the Russians. The latter had changed their route and arrived at Kurustova Gora and left the relic with the monastery. The monks living there buried the piece of the cross before they were killed during the subsequent invasion.

Church tradition states that Helena had gone in search of Christ’s tomb and discovered it in 326. She placed the cross in the church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, but kept a piece of it. On September 13, 335, the church was consecrated. The next day, the cross was displayed outside the church, where a congregation of people could venerate it.

In honor of this event, on the eve of September 14, Holy Cross Day or Feast of the Cross (official name of Universal Exaltation of the Precious and Life-Creating Cross) many pilgrims travel to Holy Trinity Cross Forest, praying for God’s blessings to cure their illnesses. They climb the mountain peak for a vigil that ends when the sun touches a metal cross that has been erected there. This time of year is associated with the arrival of autumn, when the sun begins its journey toward winter. In mythology, it is the day when day and night crisscross, being of equal duration, called the crossover of the sun.

If you’d like to learn more about the holiday, check out our previous post on the subject: Hope & Miracles.

Trees KS banner 2

If you’d like to hear more about trees, we’ll be launching our Magical Healing Trees Kickstarter campaign in early May. The campaign and our eventual webstore will be the only places you can get a digital copy of the book. Print copies will be available later this year on retailers, but you can get an early copy through our campaign, plus other cool stuff we’ll be offering. Click the link to our campaign above to follow it now, so you’ll be notified when it goes live.

Oracle Deck Template passion reveal

Also, we’re part of the Storytellers Oracle Deck project. You can find out more about this and follow the other authors on our website: Storyteller’s Oracle Deck. We will be offering the “Wisdom” card as part of this project.

Love and Marriage and Apples

February is the month for lovers!

Did you know that among the Bulgarians, the main tree for love and marriage is the apple? This is one reason it’s part of wedding rituals. The fruit is an ancient symbol of abundance, health, and fertility, and apples are said to have the power of love.

Apples play a role in Bulgarian courting and marriage rituals. At a secret sedyanka (half-working, half-party evening gatherings between young people), young women of marriable age performed many rituals. The last one of the evening was to attach apples to a wooden apparatus used to wind wool and twirl it around as a way to encourage young men to twirl around the girls. After this, the young woman would give her apple to a young man of her choice.

At weddings, an apple covered with gold foil topped the wedding banner as a sign of fertility. In addition, an odd number of apples (also covered with gold foil) were stuck into branches of the branches of the wedding tree (kum’s tree), which could be the crown of a small tree, a bush branch, a forked stick, or a distaff.

Other wedding customs involving apples were that an apple was placed in water in which the bridegroom washed. Afterwards, the apple was brought to the bride’s home and placed in water she would use to wash her hair. After the wedding, the couple would eat their first official meal as a married couple at the bride’s home. This could involve feeding each other apples and lumps of sugar.

Rituals with apples even continue after the wedding. In some areas, the bride is brought into a garden that has an apple tree. Three boys will throw her veil onto the tree. The woman’s brother-in-law puts three reds apples into a bag he brought with him that holds the bride’s wedding shirt as a symbol that healthy children will be born to her.

Apples also are believed to bring children to couples who have trouble conceiving as the story below demonstrates.

Mary and Golden Apples

In Christian lore, Mary once planted three trees that produced golden apples. She entrusted them to Michael to guard. These golden apples play a role in fertility rites in the church of the Dormition of Mary (The Golden Apple) in Gorni Voden in southern Bulgaria. People say the icon of Mary holding a golden apple produces miracles for women unable to bear children. One local story tells of a bed-ridden woman who was unable to go to church to pray to Mary for a child. She asked relatives to light candles for her and to give Mary an apple as a gift. Soon afterward, the woman recovered from her illness and became pregnant.

Childless women or married couples often make pilgrimages to the church and perform rituals to enable them to conceive. Mary’s icon is decorated with apples and wreaths made of leaves from an apple tree. The priest first reads a prayer for childbirth, then the man and woman eat an apple, divided between them.

Rebecca’s Mom’s Apple Pie

Apples also remind me of my mom’s apple pie baking. It was great to eat hot or cold. I haven’t made one in a while, but I scrounged through my box of recipes until I found it. The cold days ahead are a good time for baking and reminiscing.

You can use the premade pie crust from stores, if you want. You’ll need two: one for the bottom and one for the top. I always prefer to make mine from scratch, however. They are so much flakier and tastier than the store ones.

CRUST

This makes enough for the top and bottom.

2 cups flour

3/4 cups shortening

4 Tablespoons cold water

*Mix flour and shortening together with a pie crust maker until flaky.

*Add the cold water and continue mixing until it forms a thick paste.

*Divide into two and roll out each piece until it’s large enough to place into a 9-inch pie plate. Place one sheet onto the bottom. It’s okay if it overflows the edges some. You’ll trim that off later.

*Take a fork and prick the pie crust. (I do a circle of about 5 around the bottom, 1 in the middle, and more around the sides.)

FILLING

6 to 8 apples (I normally use Cortland, but you can choose others for more or less sweetness. Harder apples will take longer to cook.)

1/2 cup sugar

1 Tablespoon corn starch

Cinnamon (to taste)

Dash of lemon juice

*Peel, core, and slice into about 1/2-inch wedges 6 to 8 apples.

*Combine the other ingredients and pour on top of the sliced apples.

*Shake the bowl until the ingredients cover the apple slices.

ASSEMBLING

Pour the apples onto the pie crust. Top them with chunks of butter.

Fold the second pie crust in half and lay it lay it over the apples from the middle. Gently unfold the other half to cover the pie.

Trim both edges of the crust, either to the edge of the pie plate or leaving a little extra (since the crust will shrink some as it bakes). Crimp the two together all the way around the pie. Use a fork to then squash them down.

Prick the top of the crust with a fork, the same as you did the bottom.

BAKING

Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes (until it bubbles). You may want to put some kind of foil pan beneath it, since it’s sticky and makes a mess.

Bake an additional 15 minutes at 400°F (to brown the top).

Alternately, you can use a baster to spread can milk over the top of the crust to make it brown.

Eat warm with ice cream or let cool and top with whipped cream, and enjoy a favorite treat!

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Sources are from our book Light Love Rituals: Bulgarian Myths, Legends, and Folklore and our upcoming book, Magical Healing Trees in Slavic Folklore, which you can find on our Kickstarter that will launch in May. Don’t forget to also check out other Kickstarter campaigns that are part of the Storyteller Oracle Deck project.

Original source of “Mary and the Golden Apples,” which appears in Light Love Rituals: Baeva, Vihra, “A Local Cult, a Universal Symbol: The Golden Apple in Gorni Voden, Southern Bulgaria,” Our Europe, Ethnography – Ethnology – Anthropology of Culture, Vol. 2/2013, pp. 73-88, http://www.ptpn.poznan.pl/Wydawnictwo/czasopisma/our/OE-2013-073-088-Baeva.pdf.

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The month of February, you can also find many Kickstarter campaigns on “Kickstarter is for Lovers” promo.

Love pink valentine’s banner with hearts. Vector illustration.

Colorful and Cheerful

All the glitter of Christmas is over. The tree and decorations have been taken down. I miss the lights, the holiday colors and greenery of a fresh Christmas tree. Even the trees outside are bare. Nature feels empty. From time to time, I catch a glimpse of a red dot on the treetops, and know it’s my favorite cardinals that are preparing for spring.

This weekend I was cleaning my closet and opened a box to discover a small colorful rug, a gift from my mother, hidden with other memories from Bulgaria. The flowers on it are woven together like a multi-colored rainbow and touched my soul with happiness and warmth.

rug1

Throughout the ages, our mothers and grandmothers have woven the beauty and wisdom of nature into carpets, shirts, and other traditional clothing. Each stitch tells a story or is a code for well-being and health.

Colors play an important role in our lives. Some evoke joy, others nostalgia. Everyone has favorite colors. Every culture has its own meaning about colors, so much so that it would take a whole book to describe them.

Today I’ll tell you about the meaning of some colors in Bulgarian folklore and how you can use them to bring yourself luck. Who doesn’t want luck and good news? We all need them.

White

A white thread symbolizes woman. This is the color of purity and innocence, joy. For the Bulgarian, it’s the color of beauty. In many songs it’s about a white bird, white maiden, white flower, white horse, or white cloud. Festive clothes for christenings and weddings are white.

Newlyweds walk to the new home on a path made from white cloth. The white color of the wedding flag is a symbol of the sun and the purity of the bride. Angels dress in white robes, and priests do also, as a symbol of purity and knowledge. In the past, the color of mourning was white; through this color, mourners joined the world of the afterlife and the souls of their loved ones.

Red

Red, one of my favorite colors, is a sign of warmth, vitality, flame, and the fire of love. It’s the light of the rising and setting sun, fire and blood. The apple in the Garden of Eden is red, Mary is painted wearing a red praying mantle, and a man’s belt is also red as a symbol of masculinity and strength. Women of child-bearing age wear red color in their clothing. Children and grandmothers don’t wear red. The traditional wedding veil is red.

A red thread symbolizes man. Red threads are also used for the new year’s survacha, a ritual object made of a wooden stick. We have more about the ritual in our Light Love Rituals book and how you can make one. It is a fun activity for both old and young.

The red thread has magical power and is used in many Bulgarian traditions and amulets. It’s used to make martenitsi, a gift of friendship that’s worn until the arrival of spring. I love this red and white amulet, and it’s one of the most beloved by all Bulgarians. You can also learn about them in our book Light Love Rituals, as well as how to make one in our children’s short story The Miracle Stork.

Red thread is used to embroider a baby’s clothes. It’s also put in the bride’s bouquet and worn by pregnant women.

rug2

Gold

This color is associated with the sun and the afterlife. In rites, it symbolizes the transition from this world to the other world and vice versa.

Green

Green signifies fertility, health, revival. In the Bulgarian Peperuda (butterfly) ritual, in which they pray for rain, a young girl is dressed in green and paraded around the village. People from each household pour water over the greenery-covered girl and pray for rain.

Blue

This color is the symbol of water and the sky. It’s the color of a glass talisman that protects against evil forces, the “evil eye.”

Black

Black is a heavy color, as well as brown. I don’t like to use them in my paintings. Black is used in black magic and attracts bad forces and unhappiness. When saying goodbye to loved ones, a black ball of yarn is rolled in front of the ceremony to protect the dead person from evil forces.

Amulet for Luck and Happiness

It’s believed that white, red, and blue threads twisted to the left make a strong talisman for good luck, against demons and bad turns of fate. Two people should twist the threads and say twelve times out loud: “God give us luck.” People then wear the twisted thread on the arm as a bracelet until the threads become dirty. At that point, the person throws the threads into a river or burns them and makes a new amulet.

I don’t follow any strict instructions. I like to make up my own ritual. Try it out with a friend or a family member and share with us if it brings you luck.

We wish you a happy and blessed new year. We have so much planned out for the coming year, and we’ll be launching new projects on Kickstarter, so be sure to follow us there. First up will be a book on Magical Healing Trees to complement our book on Herbs. As part of this project, we are working with other authors to create a unique oracle deck. Visit the website we’ve set up for it to find more details: https://storytellersoracledeck.wordpress.com/

Oracle Deck Template passion reveal

Later in the year, we’ll be launching the completed Dragon Village series—plus plenty of goodies to go along with the books—and all new covers! We’re also setting up our website to be able to more easily sell books direct, where we can offer special discounts unavailable on retailers.

Article source: Bulgarian spells and fortune telling (in Bulgarian) by Lilia Stavreva

The Magic of Water

A Bulgarian proverb says: “You can live without bread, but you can’t without water.”

We’re talking about water because today, January 6, is the Epiphany, the day among the Bulgarians when a priest tosses a cross into the icy river water. Whichever of those brave souls that rushes in after it and retrieves it is bound to have a healthy new year. This ritual is part of the Voditsi, a holiday divided into three parts: it starts the day before St. Jordan’s Day, continues with the Epiphany, and ends with Ivanovden on January 7.

1542px-Stavros_Bridge_in_Veria_1908

Throwing the Epiphany Cross from the Stavros Bridge (Cross) or Hadjikavur Bridge, Ber, 1908. Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

You can watch the “chilling” event here: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=TrYDDnMFZHc

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Of course, the Epiphany is more than that. It’s a celebration of Jesus’s baptism in the Jordan River. It’s also a celebration of the day the three kings, the Three Wisemen or Magi, visited the baby Jesus in Bethlehem.

Bulgarians revere water and use it in all important rituals, for births, weddings, and farewells to the dead.  Water is even a part of more ordinary events. I remember when my grandmothers or my mother poured a whole cauldron of water in front of me or my brother when I needed to do something important. They used the same words every time that can be translated into a simple “I wish you luck.” The wanted to make sure that everything would flow easily like water. To this day, this ritual has been preserved and is a part of the beginning of the school year, before an important school exam, or before a trip. Its purpose is to bring good luck. The ritual is done with special brass or clay vessels that are decorated with zdravetz, the Bulgarian geranium.

In Bulgarian legends and folklore, every water body, from rivers to lakes to streams, has its own spirit who guards and protects the water. These are places you’ll find all kinds of mythical creatures: nymphs, fairies, and dragons.

At midnight on Epiphany, Bulgarians believe that rivers and streams stop flowing and gain healing powers. Before the cross-throwing, river-jumping event, water is consecrated at the church. People bring this holy water home, keeping it all year to ensure good health. They will also put some of the water into wine to make it strong and keep it from spoiling. Additionally, people take a sip from the water and wash their faces to ensure good health.

After the event at the river, the sick are sprinkled with the holy water in which the cross was thrown. Some people throw three splinters from their Budnik (a ritual piece of tree that is burned on Budni vecher, Christmas Eve) into this the river as a means to remove evil from their homes. The Budnik is an important part of the Christmas Eve celebrations. The tree used for the log is preferably a young, straight oak. It’s cut own in a ritual early on the morning of Christmas Eve. Every part of getting the Budnik is surrounded by elaborate rituals: the cutting, the preparation, bringing the log into the home, and placing it on the fire.

Ronesa’s News

We’d also like to tell you about what we’ve been up to. December was a month to relax, or at least get somewhat caught up on tasks that have gone undone for too long. At any rate, it was a month free of writing. I spent time tracking statistics from our website. We revised it in April of 2017, so data from the time we first published is lost. But from April 2017 until December 2023, we have had visitors to our site from 122 countries! And people have viewed our pages 19,523 times! We thank you for that. So many of those visitors have been you, our subscribers and viewers! And we’ve already gained one new visiting country in January.

Website Visits at end of 2022

We are excited about this growth. Back in 2014 when we first published, the thought of reaching almost two-thirds of the countries in the world would have been a fantasy.

Now, we are back to work and eager to write more stories and produce more nonfiction books for you to enjoy. Our current projects are to finish up the final two books of the Dragon Village series. We’re hoping to launch a Kickstarter campaign on the series in September or October.

Our second, ongoing project will be a book on Magical Healing Trees. We offered a short ebook during our Herbs campaign, but now we will be updating that information with more detail and adding several new trees that have a special meaning in Bulgarian folklore. And we’ll be making a hardcover version of the book. We’re hoping to run that Kickstarter campaign sometime during the March to May period.

Be sure to follow our Kickstarter profile to get notified the moment we launch these campaigns: https://www.kickstarter.com/profile/ronesa-aveela.

As part of the Trees campaign, we are also participating in a Storytellers Oracle Deck project. Here’s our official description of the project:

The Storytellers Oracle Deck is a multi-author project spanning a variety of genres. Each author has designed a card that distills the essence of their book or one of their characters. Put them all together and you have a truly unique Oracle deck that can be used for divination or displayed however you see fit.

Each author will offer their own card plus a two-card starter deck in their Kickstarter campaign. Back as many campaigns as you’d like to assemble your Oracle deck. These campaigns will be staggered throughout the year and on-going into the years to come, resulting in an ever growing, ever evolving deck.

Storyteller Promo Image

You can find the author who are running the first of these campaigns in January below. We’ll keep you updated about all new participants as they begin their campaigns.

I’ve seen some of the cards that they are offering, and they’re really awesome. If you’re an Oracle fan or just want some cool cards, be sure to check out and back these amazing campaigns.

In other news, we have more cool projects we will be working on throughout the year. Vampires will join the Spirits & Creatures collection, although this book likely won’t be completed until early to mid-2024. Plus, we have other, smaller projects we hope to fit into 2023. We’ll keep you posted.

Storyteller Oracle Deck Kickstarters

Here are the first of the Storyteller Oracle Deck projects for you to check out this month. We appreciate you taking the time to visit with our fellow authors. Be sure to follow the campaigns now, so you’ll be notified when they go live. Thank you.

Therena Carlin - 100 Gilded Dragons 1

100 Gilded Dragons Art zine & other fantasy art prints.

Limited edition art zine, gold-foil art prints, & more featuring hand-illustrated dragons! A make 100 project!

January 18 – January 28

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/therena/100-gilded-dragons.

Amy Wegner Campbell - Effigiest

Effigest Illustrated Hardcover: A Weird Western Fantasy

Saddle up for a tale of fierce outlaws, reluctant heroes, loyal pegasi, and magic. (Make 100 Project)

January 10 – January 26

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/legendhasit/effigest?ref=2721t7.

Cara September Echo North - Crossbow University

Crossbow University Series: Books 1-3 Dark, NA, Romance

Additions to Book 1, and Books 2 & 3 four months before available anywhere else! Bonus content only available here.

January 10 – January 29

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/naglenorthpublishing/crossbow-university-series-books-1-3-dark-na-romance.

Dragon-Repelling Herbs

st demetrius

October 26 is Dimitrovden, St. Demetrius’ Day or St. Dimitar’s Day. This saint is sometimes called the twin of St. George, the mighty dragon slayer. But did you know that St. Demetrius also fought dragons? I bet he never came across Baba Yaga when she was in dragon form, though.

What? You didn’t know she could appear as a dragon or giant snake in fairy tales? She is so huge that when she opens her mouth to swallow the hero, her jaw reaches from the clouds to the ground. Unlike the Bulgarian version of this dragon, this incarnation is always evil. But, there’s no need to worry, unless you’re the hero’s brother. Your sibling may toss you into the dragon’s mouth so he can escape.

In these stories, the dragon is defeated in a couple of ways. One is to toss in so much salt that she has to go to the sea to quench her thirst. Another is to hide in a blacksmith’s shop. When the dragon Baba Yaga arrives, the blacksmith will tell her to stick her tongue through the keyhole and grab the hero. While she does this, the crafty blacksmith will pinch her tongue with red-hot tongs and hold her there while the hero makes his way outside to kill the dragon Yaga.

But there are other ways to defeat dragons. By herbs. A few are used mainly to stop the amorous advances of a dragon, such as Melilotus officinalis (called komuniga in Bulgarian folklore), Gentiana cruciate (called tintyava), and Tanacetum vulgare (tansy). However, if you just want to drive away an angry dragon, such as a Baba Yaga one, you might want to stick with wormwood (Artemisia vulgaris). It’s one of the most effective anti-demonic herbs to protect you from dragons and other evil entities.

46-Wormwood

Its greatest magical strength lies in its buds and tips. Hang a bunch of the herbs around the house (preferably in a bedroom or hallway), or burn it as incense for a short time and in small doses. Its smell will drive out every unclean, evil force from your home—whether it’s a spirit or simply anger and negative energy. Another way to drive out evil spirits is to gather wild wormwood on Eniovden (Midsummer’s Day, June 24), make a broom with the stalks, and sweep the unwanted beings from your house. If you can’t harvest the herb on that day, do it when the moon is waning. This is when wild wormwood will be more powerful.

Common methods for applying the herbs include:

  • Wearing them as a small bouquet or corsage. Bulgarians like to include a geranium (здравец, zdravets) among the flowers. Its leaves smell nice and protect against the evil eye, and bring health and strength to the wearer. Men often pin the herbs onto their shirt, while girls make herbal and floral wreaths to wear in their hair.
  • Burning them and spreading the smoke like incense, including burning hay in a field that contains the herbs. The smoke from burning herbs will protect and purify you, and its smell will sicken the dragon so she’ll no longer come near you. It may even kill the dragon.
  • Soaking them in water, then sprinkling the water on the victim or the place where the dragon resides.

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We have more interesting topics like this in our book 77½ Magical Healing Herbs. You can get the book here: https://77-1-2-herbs.backerkit.com/hosted_preorders.

Or if you want to find out more about dragons, check out our book A Study of Dragons of Eastern Europe.

And don’t forget to take a look at our campaign about Baba Yaga. It’s ending on November 1, so don’t miss this opportunity: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ronesa-aveela/a-study-of-baba-yaga?ref=d97tft

If you’ve never logged into Kickstarter before, you’ll have to create an account. But then, you’ll have access to all the great projects going on every day, not just for the Witchstarter program.

The Power of the Rose

We’ll be launching our Kickstarter campaign for Baba Yaga on October 4. In her honor, we’d like to do a series of posts about herbs. Although you may know her as a cannibalistic witch, she has other characteristics. She was also a healer.

Today, we’ll be talking about roses and rose hips (Шипка).

If you have a cold, cough, or laryngitis, you can add honey to a tea made from rose hips to provide fast relief. This tea is also good treatment for people with cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure, or diarrhea. It’s one of my favorite teas. It reminds me of the tea made from hibiscus.

 

Rose Hip Tea

Add 1 cup of rose hips to 1 quart of water and boil for 10 minutes.

Filter and add 3 Tablespoons of honey.

Drink a cupful three to four times a day.

 

Rose hips were also used as amulets to inducing love or protecting a home from evil.

First, the love remedies. Making beads from the rose hips is a way to seduce someone of the opposite sex. Or, if you prefer, you can bathe in the rose petals to make yourself more attractive and desirable. This works especially well for married couples. Your love for one another will become even stronger. The fruits will also protect you against love spells from unwanted admiriers.

If you’re not looking for love, but want to keep evil or negative energy, curses, and the evil eye away from your home, rose hips will do that work as well. The thorns are also especially powerful. By planting a rose bush near your home, you can prevent all kinds of evil, supernatural creatures from entering.

If you need to cleanse the inside of your home, gather a bouquet of rosehips. They’ll absorb all that negative energy and calm your nerves and help reduce any domestic problems. You can even scatter dry twigs with roses on them around your home.

rosehip

Rose Hip Amulet

Dry the fruits and put them into a cotton bag. If you don’t want to carry that, use a scarf of other accessory that has roses, with the fruits and flowers, embroidered on it. But you’ll want to keep it with you for protection.

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We’d love to have you follow our Baba Yaga Kickstarter campaign so you know the moment it launches. You may think you know all about her, but I’m sure we have plenty of surprises that we’ll reveal in our book. We also have some really cool pins and postcards we’ll be offering backers. Illustrations come from Bulgarian artist Alexander Petkov. Click on the link below and set up a Kickstarter account if you don’t already have one.

Baba Yaga Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ronesa-aveela/a-study-of-baba-yaga.

Baba Yaga Baner 2

Article Source: Nikolova, Ani. “Няма да повярвате: Шипката пази от магии и слуги на Сатаната!” December 23, 2020. https://www.topactualno.com/123681/nyama-da-povyarvate-shipkata-pazi-ot-magii-i-slugi-na-satanata/.

Can You Help Us?

It’s down to a little more than a week before we launch our Seababies Adventures campaign. Now’s your chance to get a peek at what we’re offering.

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If you are new to our site, we’re launching this book through a Kickstarter campaign. You may or may not be familiar with Kickstarter. It’s a crowdfunding platform. But, unlike many others out there, Kickstarter is a platform where people promote CREATIVE PROJECTS to potential backers. It’s a way to test the market to see if the product is something that consumers desire. It’s not a platform where people are seeking personal funding. No charities or general fund raisers. All backers are helping support a PROJECT with an outcome—whether it’s a book, a game, a movie, or some other creative endeavor. And you get all kinds of cool perks along the way if you back the project to help us achieve our goal of producing this children’s book series.

Here’s where we need your help.

We’d love it if you could look over the preview of our campaign that we plan to launch September 6 and provide us with feedback. Look over the content. Does it make sense to you? Is there anything confusing? Is there something else you’d like to see included? All comments and suggestions are welcome. We want this to be something you are excited about as we are.

Here’s the preview link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ronesa-aveela/seababies-adventures?ref=2czqkh&token=133502a3.

And don’t forget to click on the “Notify me on launch” button at the top. The moment the campaign goes live, you’ll receive an email from Kickstarter. You don’t want to miss this because we’ll be offering perks along the way. The earlier you back the project, the more perks you’ll receive.

If you’ve never used Kickstarter before, you’ll have to create an account. Once you click on the “Notify me on launch” button, the site will ask you to log in. Scroll down to where it says: “New to Kickstarter? Sign up.” And follow the instructions from there.

Thank you for your support. As the Kickstarter guru who has taught us about this platform says, “We hope to see you behind the backer wall.”

And we’re also gearing up for another campaign in October for Kickstarter’s Witchstater promotion. For that one, we’ll be continuing our Spirits & Creatrues series with a book about Baba Yaga. You can follow that campaign here:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ronesa-aveela/a-study-of-baba-yaga

Baba Yaga Baner 2

“Golden Egg” Protection

I would like to share a magical practice called “golden egg.” In Bulgarian folklore and popular belief still today, people protected themselves by using their thoughts to build a wall against evil around themselves and their home. Everyone can do this by putting themselves into an imaginary egg and becoming untouchable. This practice protects against bad forces, energy deprivation, and sometimes weak spells.

How can you accomplish this?

Calm your mind and imagine yourself and your home and family inside a big golden egg with mirrored walls. If you have trouble imagining the egg, say the following:

“I am in an egg. My home is a huge egg. (Name of person you want to protect) is in an egg.”

Repeat the words until you feel the golden, mirror-shelled egg forming around you, until it becomes real. Try this and see if it will help you the next time you fear a bad spirit or evil forces.

This magical practice is useful if you are about to meet with negative people or be immersed in a crowd. It helps if you need to do public speaking. The more creative your imagination, the easier it becomes to build this egg or shell around you.

What’s Special About This Book?

If this is news to you, our campaign is about the book people have been asking for. It provides lots of fascinating information about the herbs that make up a Bulgarian Eniovden (Midsummer’s) wreath.

I, too, was curious what herbs made up the 77½ in the wreath, so I researched old Bulgarian books and articles and finally discovered a list. That is how the idea of “77½ Magical Healing Herbs” was born.

In this unique book, you’ll also learn about well-known healers from Bulgarian history. Baba Vanga is one whom many people these days have heard about. She’s a clairvoyant who’s been called the Nostradamus of Balkans and has predicted many events that have happened in our lifetimes. But she was also an herbal healer. All the healers from the past were not treated kindly or with respect, however. In the tenth century, the Bogomils were burned like the Salem witches. These are only two of the healers mentioned in the book.

I have been blessed to know talented Bulgarian painter Keazim Issinov. With his permission, we have included in the book five of his one-of-a-kind paintings of Bulgarian healers.

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The bulk of the book focuses on the Midsummer’s Day herbs—all 77 (and a half) of them. It’s an ultimate guide to tap into knowledge that has been passed down from generation to generation.

More than 200 eye-catching images illustrate the book, including a full-page botanical image, to help you recognize the herbs, along with the descriptions. But the book contains much more information.

Water Clover for KS

Water Clover PDF2 with border for KS

Historical facts and traditions will take you back to school days, while medical, culinary, and magical uses will have you heading to the kitchen or garden store. Fun facts, legends, and recipes fill the pages. Or perhaps you’ll just want to forget about everything that’s going on in the world and bury yourself in the book.

The book is for anyone who wants to widen their knowledge about herbs and also learn about Slavic traditions and beliefs. It will satisfy your curiosity and widen the horizons of your mind. It’s the perfect gift that will make a beautiful coffee-table book.

Here’s your chance to learn how to make basic recipes and discover fun facts, lore, and magical beliefs.

But you can only do it if you back this campaign through Kickstarter. The print version won’t be available on any retailer until the end of the year. Backers get advance copies. Head on over to Kickstarter now: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ronesa-aveela/77-1-2-magical-healing-herbs-the-secret-power-of-herbs?ref=a23n7m

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