A Tribute to Keazim Issinov

Don Quixote with brush, knight of good and love

I lost a good friend and mentor while I was vacationing in Italy recently. I’ve had the honor of being able to incorporate his paintings into our own work, to share them with those who may not have known this master artist. His memory will live on.

When I first saw his paintings, I was captured by the power of the light and their living colors. Only love, harmony, and positive emotions flowed from them.

mary 2

For me, Kei’s paintings are designed to help us and future generations to remember love. If the earth is destroyed, I think we can recreate life from them. They have so much symbolism embedded within their strokes. He liked to say that when you paint, you need to think, observe and think carefully, until you know what message you would like to send to your audience.

He taught us and reminded us to cherish the love of simple things: the earth, the mother, the family, the fields, the sacred bread, the vineyards. They may be primitive for someone, but in my opinion, they are at the heart of people’s prosperity.


He taught us to stop and look at the little ladybug, listen to the song of the birds, or catch our breath and hear the silence of nature.

Under his brush, Orpheus’ love for his beloved Eurydice was reborn and turned into a beautiful tale. Love described in legends, but reborn on magical sails.


What can I say about his Madonnas? The light of mother’s love is radiated from every picture and envelops us like a gentle hug. We forget and become children, thirsty for love and caresses.


He taught us that every being deserves love and attention and that the power of nature was eternal and unbridled.

Hardly anyone else managed to capture the image of Reverend Stoyna. The saint gave her life to God and help for the poor and sick. He was able to paint her and capture her magnificent goodness power.


He used this phrase “All bad for good and every good for good!” It was another example of his way to teach us to be human and love each other.

I thought about writing a long article, but I don’t need to write it, because his canvas speaks and creates a universe, a magical tale without an end.

A knight of good and light who will always be among us with his excellent works, reminding us to love.

don quiote

All illustrations are copyrighted by the artist. You can find more about Keazim on the website his son set up: https://www.facebook.com/issinov.

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.


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

The Healing Bogomils

This is an excerpt from our forthcoming 77½ Magical Healing Herbs book.


Bogomilism is a unique moment in Bulgarian history, originating during the tenth century, although the period of the sect’s history is shrouded in darkness by both the Church and the Communists. Bogomil (singular) is a word that means “dear to God,” from the Slavic Bog (God) and mil (dear). The sect believed in personal spiritual knowledge rather than adherence to Orthodox teachings. Many of the written works of the Bogomili (plural) were destroyed as heretical and controversial, because of their views about both Satan and Christ, among other things. New studies and publications about Bogomilism, however, have emerged in recent years.

There is more to Bogomili than their suppressed viewpoints. They were famous anti-feudal reformers and freedom-loving preachers. They believed in self-government, common ownership of goods, and equality of all community members. They brought literacy to people by writing books in native languages, rather than the Latin prescribed for Church documents. And they encouraged their followers to think and interpret everything they heard or read. All these ideals made the Bogomili dangerous to the feudal society they lived in, and they were persecuted and burned at the stake as witches.


Bogomili – Illustration copyright Keazim Issinov (used with permission of the artist)

More important to the topic of this book, Bogomili were great healers. Vasiliy Vrach, a medieval physician and Bogomil leader, is credited with being the creator of the Bogomil healing practice. The people lived in harmony with nature and used herbs and natural remedies to cure diseases. They believed that diseases had a bad origin, from Satan and other dark, supernatural forces like vampires, Rusalki (water spirits, often called a mermaid), and Samodivi. These beliefs are preserved today in various Bulgarian rituals.

Bogomili were averse to alcohol. According to them, it was an open door to all other sins and betrayals, the devil’s work created to corrupt and kill the spirit. They preached the avoidance of meat, and the higher officials in the group gave up animal products altogether. The people led a life that embraced the natural rhythm and healing properties of foods and herbs. According to them, this way of life prepared them for a spiritual rebirth.

In recent times, a Bulgarian healer called Emil Elmazov discovered a Bogomil recipe book called Zeleinik (Зелейник), which describes natural healing procedures, summarized into five practices: prognosis, herbal treatment, fluid treatment with four liquids, narichania (old Bulgarian rituals in which the ill person participates), and magical rites. The treatments include using herbs, milk, honey, wine, and other ingredients. Even today, honey is a popular homeopathic remedy in Bulgaria and has its roots with the Thracians.

But the cures didn’t stop there. Prayers and invocations were also essential. In addition, it was important for the healer to hold back all emotions, both those of excitement and anguish, in order to maintain his life energy for healing. This simple but important rule must have been difficult to achieve for people who choose medicine for a career. As we say, no one can drink from an empty cup.

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