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.
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.
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, 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.
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 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.
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 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/
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