The Miraculous Power Locked within Chestnuts

What do you know about Baba Yaga? You’re probably saying she was a witch. But she is more than that. She is a healer who uses nature. We haven’t uncovered any of her secret recipes, but we’re sure she used some like the ones listed below. She loved autumn, so she is sure to have had a supply of chestnuts in her cupboard. You can find out more about her through our Kickstarter campaign: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ronesa-aveela/a-study-of-baba-yaga?ref=d97tft

Baba Yaga Baner 2

I remember as a child walking on the streets of Sofia in the spring under the wild chestnut trees. Their aroma wrapped us like a soft silk scarf. Then, in the fall, their leaves turned golden, and their fruits were falling to the ground. The trees are gone now, but the memories are still alive. When I visited France last October, I walked along Seine River. Chestnuts covered the sidewalk. I saw an old woman picking them up and putting them into her pockets. This remind me of an article I read while we were working our 77 1/2 herbs book about magical healing powers.

If you look at the bold chocolate color of wild chestnuts, you’ll agree that it’s a true symbol of autumn. Oh, you may say, and also Christmas, since everyone knows “The Christmas Song,” which starts with “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire.”

image-from-rawpixel-id-2253257-original smaller size

Image by rawpixel.com: https://www.rawpixel.com/image/2253257/free-illustration-png-chestnut-vintage-shells-curls-illustrated.

The Bulgarian folk medicine name for the fruit is horse chestnut. Petar Dimkov, a famous healer, calls it a natural miracle that has collected energy and life force from the sun. He says the fruits protect people from bad energy, because chestnuts filter out electric smog. If you carry it in your pocket, the fruit will provide you 30 to 40 percent protection from radiation caused by mobile devices. If you carry it in your hand, you can also reduce emotional imbalances, migraines, nervous irritability. Having trouble sleeping? Put chestnuts under your pillow, and you’ll be nodding off before you know it.

Chestnuts have even greater effects when they’re used in herbal recipes. They’re anti-inflammatory and have pain-relieving qualities. This makes them good for arthritis, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, sinusitis, and more complaints. To help with varicose veins, break chestnuts into pieces and put in a container. Pour alcohol over it so they are covered, then let it stand in a cool, dark place. When the alcohol changes color, the tincture is ready to use. Rub a little on your skin every night.

Looking for a solution to hair loss instead? The white part of chestnuts is good for that. Dry the chestnuts, then grind them. Wash your hair with the diluted white powder. This should stop hair loss and even grow new hair.

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.

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.

Sources:

Angelova, Iliana. “Петър Димков за ползата от дивите кестени.” [Petar Dimkov on the benefits of wild chestnuts.] https://gotvach.bg/n-114180-Peter_Dymkov_for_the_benefit_of_wild_chestnuts.

Mateva, VILLIES-Violeta. “Рецепти с кестени, които ще ви излекуват и разкрасят.” [Recipes with chestnuts that will heal and beautify you.] https://gotvach.bg/n-77503-Recipes_with_chestnuts_that_will_heal_and_beautify_you.

Hawthorn – Protection from Evil Spirits

Bright red hawthorn berries are a sure indication autumn has arrived. This plant has a lot of magical and healing abilities. In Bulgaria hawthorn wood is used for doors and thresholds, in order to protect the house. People also place a twig with the berried below their threshold to prevent diseases from entering. The wood is good for making crosses, and simply having a stick from the tree on your person will ensure you can travel safely at night.

Howthorn

Magical Properties

My grandmother used gloves and a special wooden hook to gather the fruits. She used the branches to make a wreath to protect the house and livestock. I always imagined that little fairies and gnomes hid in its branches, but whenever I looked, the only thing I could find was a bird’s nest.

I’m sure Baba Yaga included them in her magical potions, since she is well-versed in the secrets of the forest. You may think of her only as an old crone who eats children, but she has many faces, and one of those is healer. She is a znahar, a woman who heals and restores life with herbs.

Since Baba Yaga lived in the boundary between the living and the dead, she could use hawthorn to ensure their spirits didn’t bother her. It’s believed that where black hawthorn grows, no ghosts will wander.

She possibly also used the wood to make amulets for the good girls and boys who ventured into her glen in the woods, to make sure they arrived safely back home. Hawthorn should be worn on three particular places on the body: around the neck as a necklace, on the wrist as a bracelet using red thread, metal, or leather, or on the head as a wreath.

An old Bulgarian proverb about hawthorn says:

“On the white in a black hawthorn you will look for a black vein,
In a tree grown on a slope, lies a powerful force.”

Health Benefits

Hawthorn (Crataegus species) has been a remedy for heart problems at least as far back as the first century. It has a calming effect that dilates blood vessels, thereby improving blood supply to the heart and brain. The prophetess Baba Vanga claimed drinking a decoction made from hawthorn flowers four times a year was a way to prevent heart disease.

Likewise, hawthorn lowers blood pressure, calms the nervous system, and improves sleep. The herb was one of my grandmother’s favorite cures. She added a few drops of hawthorn along with some of valerian onto a sugar cube whenever she was stressed or had to endure major challenges in her life. Considering she lived to 99, she was able to successfully overcome these problems with her herbal cures. Hawthorn is also popular for teas, wines, juices, and even snacks.

Always make sur to check with your medical provider before using herbs in your diet or for medical purposes.

Herbs Cover Image with Project we Love

Our book 77½ Magical Healing Herbs provides much more information about the magical and healing properties of herbs, the ones used in the Eniovden (Midsummer’s Day) wreath, plus much more… You can get the book here: https://77-1-2-herbs.backerkit.com/hosted_preorders

Baba Yaga Baner 2 pins

Kickstarter

If you’d like to learn more about Baba Yaga, we are running a Kickstarter campaign during the month of October, starting on October 4. This will be part of the “Witchstarter” program that Kickstarter is promoting. Along with our campaign, you’ll find all kinds of witchy items to browse through. We’ll be sharing many of these with you in our weekly newsletter, so be sure to follow along.

You can get a preview of our Baba Yaga campaign here. We welcome your feedback.

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.

“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.

Boyan-Maga-marked

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

Nostradamus of the Balkans

In our book, we talk about various healers throughout Bulgarian history. Who are these healers, and how did they obtain this power?

Both men and women can be healers, although most often the role falls to an elderly woman called a znahar. But, please, don’t call her a witch. To this nation of people who believe in a single, omnipotent God as much as they do in beautiful, enchanting Samodivi, a “witch” is a veshtitsa, a spiteful person who practices the dark arts and wishes to cause death, sickness, discord, and the theft of fertility from the land, rather than healing and well-being. A community fears a veshtitsa, while they respect a znahar.

In rare instances, the znahar receives her healing arts by a supernatural means—from a saint, angel, or Samodiva through a dream, or even in a near-death situation, when the boundaries between this life and the next merge. The znahar in this case not only becomes a healer, but also a clairvoyant. The most famous was Baba Vanga (1911 – 1996). As a child she was reportedly caught up in a tornado and dumped into a field. From that point on, her eyesight failed, but her psychic and herbal healing abilities developed, which she claimed came from invisible creatures.

Baba Vanga2

Samodivi are said to be daughters of the Great Goddess Bendis, and are therefore protectors of nature. In this capacity, they have the power to heal creatures and the land itself. Bulgarians believe the nymphs initiate chosen women into the sisterhood, and pass on to them the secrets of healing with herbs. The ceremony takes place in the woods right before sunrise on a Sunday on a night when the moon is full.

A more common initiation, however, is one passed down from one generation to the next, or from grandmother to granddaughter. The females involved are expected to be “ritually pure,” that is pre-menstrual or post-menopausal. These points in a female’s life bring them closest to the states of birth and death, respectively, allowing them to transition between the earthly and otherworldly realms so they can communicate with spirits.

The initiation can take place in various sacred places—by a river (symbolic of birth) or next to a hearth (representing the home or temple of the gods). In the first, the initiate climbs a willow tree by the river. With its branches in the air, and its roots in the earth, getting nourishment from the water, the tree unifies all three elements. The initiate recites the words to the sacred ritual three times, then moves to another branch and repeats the words three more times. Once more, the initiate moves and repeats the words three more times, ensuring the power will “take root” in the individual.

When performed at the hearth, the elder woman places bread in a covered clay dish called a podnitza and sticks it into the fire. Using iron tools, which have purifying power to chase away evil, she buries the dish with ashes, then places the tools on both sides of the hearth. Facing the fire, the initiate kneels on a broom, which symbolizes purification, the sweeping away of all unclean things.

The elder woman places three grains of wheat on the initiate’s right knee and three on the left, then tosses three grains into the fire. In ancient rituals, wheat consecrated the sacrifice offered to the gods. Placing it on the initiate, therefore, purifies her so she can become a vessel divine power can flow through.

Next, the elderly woman stands behind the initiate and recites the incantation, which the initiate repeats. They repeat the words three times. The elderly woman removes a metal or clay ceremonial object from a wicker basket placed to the right of the initiate. The initiate makes the sign of the cross three times, then touches the object to her forehead, then to her heart, and finally to her knees. She makes the sign of the cross again, and places the sacred object on her left side.

The elderly woman stirs a bunch of basil in a bowl of water and recites a blessing. After the blessing, the elderly woman sprinkles the initiate with the water using the basil to endow her with divine power. The initiate drinks the water from three places. This provides her with guidance for her mouth, hands, and heart: to speak, do, and feel those things that bring health and life to others.

A mediator is needed to transfer the healing power to the initiate. This is done with the bread, called dobra dusha, kind soul. The elderly woman breaks three pieces from it. She eats one, the initiate another, and the third the elderly woman places on the inside of the chimney. The two women now share the power. The initiate will gain her full power only after her mentor dies.

In the final rite of the ceremony, the elderly woman ties a red thread to the initiate’s right hand and pins a geranium onto her clothing. These both are symbolic of protection.

If you’d like to learn more about these healers, you can get a copy of our book through our Kickstarter campaign: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ronesa-aveela/77-1-2-magical-healing-herbs-the-secret-power-of-herbs?ref=a23n7m

Don’t Miss Out on FREE Ebooks

The week 1 perks are coming to an end tonight (Saturday, May 14) at midnight, Eastern time. And they won’t be offered again. Get them now while you have a chance. Simply pledge at any level and they’ll be yours after the campaign ends successfully.

Week 1 Perks

The Midsummer’s Day Wreath

Earlier this week, we talked a little about the herbs. Today, we’ll tell you another special use of these magical herbs.

“Is this a portal to another world? Is this a circle to protect against black magic and evil spirits?”

These were questions in my mind when I looked at the colorful floral wreath on Midsummer’s Day many years ago. It was giant. I mean really giant… Woman, maidens, and girls were passing through the wreath. It felt like they are going to a different dimension.

It was magical experience, one which I always wanted to learn more about.

The wreath is made every year on Midsummer’s Day. It’s considered sacred and is woven from 77½ herbs. Not any herbs, but ones that are magical and healing. According to folk belief, the herbs in the wreath can cure illnesses, break spells, and drive away dragons (zmeys) and other malicious entities.

It’s well-known in Slavic folklore that dragons love to capture girls for brides, so the unmarried females need this extra protection as they approach adulthood.

Besides walking through the giant wreath, girls also crown their heads with a wreath made from herbs that repel zmeys and keep the beasts from loving the girls.

Sounds scary, right? Who wants to be abducted by a dragon and taken to a dark cave?

Don’t forget to follow our campaign on Kickstarter if you haven’t already done so: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ronesa-aveela/77-1-2-magical-healing-herbs-the-secret-power-of-herbs?ref=a23n7m

And here’s another ritual where herbs are prominent.

Rain

Magical Midsummer Herbs

Here’s a little about the meaning behind the 77½ Magical Healing Herbs book. Today, we look at the half herb.

“On Eniovden (Midsummer’s Day), the stars fly down, infusing herbs and water with magical healing power.”

Every year on June 24, I remember these words spoken by my grandmother. She understood the power of herbs and used them to heal soul and body, protect the home and family, and bring fertility and prosperity to the household.

Garden

“There is an herb for every illness, and the half for all unknown.”

I never fully understood the meaning of the “half” herb as a child—and not even as an adult. How can you have a half herb? Even if you break it in half, it’s still an herb.

In Bulgaria and other Slavic countries like Ukraine, June 24 is a special day filled with magical rites. Healers gather herbs at dawn, because this is the time when they have the most healing abilities.

In our book, we go into more detail about what the half herb is, and provide folk beliefs and tales about the herb.

Be sure to follow our campaign on Kickstarter, where we’ll keep you updated about the status of the campaign: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ronesa-aveela/77-1-2-magical-healing-herbs-the-secret-power-of-herbs?ref=a23n7m

Our Kickstarter Campaign Is LIVE

We’re so excited. Our book is finally available for pre-order through our Kickstarter project! If you’ve followed the campaign, then you’ll have already received your email notification from Kickstarter the moment the campaign went live.

Here’s a little bit about what the book is all about.

kickstarter6 idea

Venture into the magical, healing world of herbs and embrace the power of nature.

  • Have you ever wondered what use you can make of all those “weeds” in your yard?
  • Do you prefer a natural way of cleansing the body and soul?
  • Are you looking for creative ways to add magic to games or novels?

If this sounds like you, then 77½ Magical Healing Herbs is the perfect solution. The book is an introduction to herbs found in a special Midsummer’s wreath. This is an especially enchanting time of year. Among the Bulgarians, the day is called Eniovden.

You may think herbs are only for spicing up food and healing the body and mind, but they have other uses, as well.

Herbs can:

  • Help prevent hair loss.
  • Eliminate turkey neck.
  • Repel insects.

And did you know herbs have magical properties?

Here are a few:

  • Attract love or repel it.
  • Provide protection from curses and unseen forces.
  • Help an individual find favor in court or success with money matters.
  • And so much more.

This unique herbal book is an essential guide for tapping into the power of herbs. It highlights centuries of lore and historical facts about healing and magical uses of herbs from Slavic and other traditions.

Plus, it includes rituals, herbal remedies, and simple recipes. Not only that, you’ll learn about several renowned Bulgarian healers throughout history—from St. Ivan Rilski to Baba Vanga.

One or two high-quality color photos, as well as a full-page botanical illustration, accompany each plant, so anyone can use the book as a field guide in their backyard or when they go foraging.

An index identifies some of the more interesting medical and magical abilities and the herbs that fall under them.

With more than 200 color images and fascinating information, 77½ Magical Healing Herbs is certain to entertain and enlighten you. 

***

Don’t forget to pledge early, so you get the EARLY-BIRD PERKS. You can find them at the top of our campaign page: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ronesa-aveela/77-1-2-magical-healing-herbs-the-secret-power-of-herbs. But, they’ll be gone after 9 a.m. Eastern time tomorrow (Wednesday, May 11).

Herbal Prints

The botanical prints are available on merchandise on our Redbubble store. Keep checking back as we add new ones to the list.

Our Store: https://www.redbubble.com/people/ronesaaveela/shop

Rose image: https://www.redbubble.com/i/art-board-print/Rose-Botanical-by-RonesaAveela/105192854.NVL2T

Rose Print on Redbubble

 

Magical Healing Herbs

“On Eniovden (Midsummer’s Day), the stars fly down, infusing herbs and water with magical healing power.”

Every year on June 24, Eniovden, I remember these words spoken by my grandmother. She understood the power of herbs and used them to heal body and soul, protect the home and family, and bring fertility and prosperity to the household.

In Bulgaria and other Slavic countries like Ukraine, women and healers gather 77½ herbs. A popular belief is the herbs have magical and healing powers if picked on the eve of Eniovden. However, the women must remain silent as they pour water over the herbs, so the magic is not ruined by the human voice. The women cover the caldron of herbs with an apron and leave it under the stars overnight to make the herbs even more powerful.

“There is an herb for every illness, and the half for all unknown.”

I never fully understood the meaning of the “half” herb as a child—and not even as an adult. How can you have a half herb? Even if you break it in half, it’s still an herb. Nor did I completely comprehend the power of each of the Eniovden herbs.

From the 77½ herbs they gathered, the women weave a giant, sacred wreath. They don’t pick herbs at random. Each herb has magical or healing abilities and is specially chosen for the wreath. According to folk belief, these herbs can cure illnesses, break spells, and drive away dragons (zmeys) and other malicious entities. After the women weave the herbal wreath, they dress in colorful, traditional costumes and dance the horo before they step through the wreath to start the day’s celebrations.

“Is this a portal to another world? Is this a circle to protect you from black magic and evil spirits?”

These were questions in my mind when I looked at the colorful floral wreath on Eniovden many years ago. It was giant. I mean really giant… Woman, maidens, and girls easily stepped through the wreath. It felt like they were going to a different dimension.

It was a magical experience, one which I always wanted to learn more about.

Giant wreath

The Magic of Eniovden

June 24 is a special day filled with other magical rites that focus on herbs. In one ceremony, women and girls sing while they place herbs on each corner of a field. This ensures a bountiful harvest and prevents witches from stealing the fertility of the land, which is contained in the dew. Otherwise, witches would cast spells on the fields during the night, collect the dew in their aprons, and bring it to their own fields.

Eniovden is also a night when the boundaries between the spirit and human worlds merge, allowing creatures from heaven, earth, and the underworld to roam the land. Samodivi (woodland nymphs) and dragons celebrate on this day.

LLR promo

Birth of a Book

I 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 the Balkans, and she has predicted many events that have happened in our lifetimes.

Did I get your attention? Would you love to learn more about herbs? Read on…

updated cover

Our Campaign

You can with our forthcoming book, 77½ Magical Healing Herbs. But when we publish it, the print book will be available EXCLUSIVELY through our Kickstarter campaign for six months, and the ebook will ONLY be available through Kickstarter. We have no plans to publish it through retailers due to the large file size.

What is Kickstarter? Isn’t that just like GoFundMe?

No, absolutely not. Kickstarter is a direct-sales platform that has the potential to reach millions of people. Supporters pledge various amounts to support an author, and in return, they receive products before anyone else. And, as I mentioned, sometimes this is the only way to get a product.

What Kickstarter is, besides a platform to sell a product, is a way to bundle rewards for supporters. It’s a way to directly interact with customers. There will be early-supporter perks for those pledging within the first 48 hours. And what they call “stretch goals,” bonuses if the campaign meets certain goals.

Are you game?

We’d love to have you check out our pre-launch page.

kickstarter6a idea

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ronesa-aveela/77-1-2-magical-healing-herbs-the-secret-power-of-herbs

Simply click on the “Notify me on launch” button, and Kickstarter will send you an email immediately when the project officially launches.

When the campaign launches, it will also include a short video. You can get a sneak peek here and check out our awesome project in progress: https://youtu.be/cnqHZ6NGbdQ

We hope you’ll join us on the adventure. The book is chock full of fascinating information and fantastic images. An all-you-can-eat herbal buffet.

Hope to see you soon.

Nelly and Rebecca

Exclusive Opportunity

updated coverOur book 77½ Magical Healing Herbs is nearing completion. It’s currently in the hands of a graphic designer to make the pages even more compelling. A little color to make the herb photographs and text really pop.

The book is 350 pages long! In 8 x 10 format. So, that’s a lot of herbal information.

However, the book won’t be available in any retail store any time soon.

Why?

We’re running a Kickstarter campaign, and the print book (both paperback and hardback) will be EXCLUSIVE to that platform for SIX months. And an ebook version is ONLY being offered through Kickstarter. Once the campaign is over, the opportunity to secure one will be lost.

Kickstarter Green logo

What is Kickstarter? Isn’t that just like GoFundMe?

No, absolutely not. Kickstarter is a direct-sales platform. Supporters pledge various amounts to support an author, and in return, they receive products before anyone else.

Kickstarter cuts out the retailer middle-man. There are fees, of course, but they are much smaller than the chunk retailers grab.

What Kickstarter is, besides a platform to sell a product, is a way to bundle rewards for supporters. It’s a way to directly interact with customers. There will be early-supporter perks for those pledging within the first 48 hours. And what they call “stretch goals,” bonuses if the campaign meets certain goals.

Are you game?

We’d love to have you check out our pre-launch page.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ronesa-aveela/77-1-2-magical-healing-herbs-the-secret-power-of-herbs

Simply click on the “Notify me on launch” button, so you’ll be notified immediately when the project officially launches.

kickstarter6a idea

When the campaign launches, it will also include a short video. You can see it in advance here and check out our awesome project in progress: https://youtu.be/cnqHZ6NGbdQ

We hope you’ll join us on the adventure. The book is chock full of fascinating information and fantastic images. An all-you-can-eat herbal buffet.

Hope to see you soon.

Nelly and Rebecca

%d bloggers like this: