Sunday, 28 May 2017

Bull and bird

Recently I came across these two interesting vases:

The Sub-Minoan (1150-1100 BC) vase from Crete decorated with a bull and a bird. 


The Mycenaean (1300 BC) vase from Enkomi, Cyprus, decorated with a bull and a bird



Apparently similar vases were also found in Jordan, but I couldn't find any pictures of them.

Now what do these images symbolize?

In my post entitled "Leto" I talked about the link between Slavic words "let" meaning "flight" and "leto" meaning "summer, year".

In short, the period between these two "let" (flights) of migratory birds, between their arrival and their departure, is "leto" (summer). This beginning of the new "summer" is the beginning of the new period of vegetative growth and abundance, the "important" part of the year. Which is why Serbian word for "summer" and "year" is the same: "leto"...

In Slavic mythology, Jarilo was the son of the supreme Slavic god of thunder, Perun, his lost, missing, tenth son, born during Velja Noć (Great Night), the pagan Slavic celebration of the New Year. We don't really know what the "Great Night" means, but I believe that this Great Night was originally the night before the beginning of winter which in the Irish calendar is marked by Samhain, the 31st of October, and in the Serbian calendar by St Mitar day (Mitrovdan) the 8th of November. I believe that this night was originally the night of the 5th of November, the mid point between the autumn equinox and winter solstice. 

I also believe that the expression Great Night was also an euphemism for Winter, the time of cold and death. Right in the middle of the winter is the night of the winter solstice, the longest night of the year, which is also the middle of the winter, the middle of the darkest part of the year. This is the night when new fires are rekindled, to symbolize rekindling of sun's fire, the birth of the new sun, new solar year. This new sun is Jarilo, whose name means the young one, but also the hot one.

However, on the same night when he was born, according to the Slavic tradition, Jarilo was stolen from his father and taken to the world of the dead, where he was adopted and raised by Veles, Perun's enemy, Slavic god of the underworld and cattle. The Slavs believed the underworld to be an ever-green world of eternal spring and wet, grassy plains, where Jarilo grew up guarding the cattle of his stepfather. In the mythical geography of ancient Slavs, the land of the dead was assumed to lie across the sea, where migrating birds would fly every winter. This land of the dead was by Slavs known as Iriy, Irij or Vyriy (Russian: ирий, ирей, вырий). And when do the migrating birds leave the land of the living? By the beginning of the winter, which is marked by Samhain (Mitrovdan).

With the advent of spring, Jarilo returned from the underworld, bringing spring and fertility to the land. Spring festivals, actually more precisely summer festivals of Jurjevo/Jarilo, St Georges day,  that survived in the Slavic folklore celebrate Jarilo's return, the return of the summer heat. This is also the time when in Irish folklore we find Beltane, the day of bonfires, which also celebrates the return of the summer heat...

And when does Jarilo return from the land of the dead? When the migratory birds return from Irij, the land of the dead, where they spend winter, the period between Samhain (Mitrovdan) and Beltane (Jarilo day, Djurdjevdan)...

You can read more about the old Celtic and Serbian calendar in my post "Two crosses". 

Now Beltane (Jarilo day, Djurdjevdan), the day when Jarilo returns from the land of the dead, the beginning of Summer, is celebrated on the 6th of May. This date, falls in the middle of the Taurus (Bull) zodiac sign (21 April – 21 May), which marks the beginning of the calving period of the Eurasian wild cattle

So the arrival of migratory birds is immediately followed by the beginning of summer, which falls in the middle of Taurus (Bull) zodiac sign...

Is this what is symbolically depicted on the above two vases? 6th of May, Beltane, (Jarilo day, Djurdjevdan), the beginning of summer? I think so. 

What do you think?

Monday, 22 May 2017

He must increase and I must decrease


In John's Testimony about Jesus, St John the baptist says this about Jesus:

"He must increase and I must decrease."

What does this statement mean?

John the Baptist was an itinerant preacher in the early first century AD. Most scholars agree that John baptized Jesus. Scholars generally believe Jesus was a follower or disciple of John and several New Testament accounts report that some of Jesus' early followers had previously been followers of John. Some scholars maintain that John was influenced by the semi-ascetic Essenes...

But the connection between John the Baptist and Jesus is much much deeper: They were cousins born exactly six months apart. 

At the Annunciation, when the angel Gabriel appeared to the Virgin Mary to inform her that she would conceive of the Holy Ghost, he also informed her that Elizabeth, her cousin, was already six months pregnant with John the Baptist (Luke 1:36). 

Considering that Jesus was born on Christmas day, the 25th of December, John the Baptist, who was conceived six months earlier was born six months earlier, on the 24th of June, which is celebrated as the Nativity of John the Baptist. 

The Nativity of John the Baptist is one of the oldest festivals of the Christian church, being listed as a principal festival in 506 when it was celebrated in the same way as the Nativity of Jesus: it was a day of rest and was celebrated with three Masses: a vigil, at dawn, and at midday.

Now Christ was born on the 25th of December. At the time of the birth of Jesus, 25th of December was known as Brumalia. Brumalia was an ancient Roman, winter solstice festival. The name Brumalia comes from "brvma", [ˈbruːma] meaning "Winter solstice".

Brumalia was always celebrated on VIII Kal. Ian. (Servius A. 7.720). The eighth day before the Kalends of January was always December 25th in the Julian calendar, because December always had 31 days.

John the Baptist, being born exactly six months earlier, was born on the 24th of June. If at the time of the birth of Jesus, 25th of December was the winter solstice day, 24th of June, the date exactly six months away must have been the day of the summer solstice. So John the Baptist was born on the day of the summer solstice. 

So Christ was born on the day of the Winter solstice, the shortest day, after which days start getting longer. And John the Baptist was born on the day of the Summer solstice, the longest day, after which days start getting shorter. 

And so finally here is my proposed explanation for John's statement about Jesus: "He must increase and I must decrease". It is the light of the sun, the duration of the day that increases from winter solstice (birth of Jesus) to summer solstice, and decreases from summer solstice (birth of John the baptist) to winter solstice. 

Is this solar symbolism a coincidence?


Saturday, 18 March 2017

David Gorodok-Turov style

I love this picture. Traditional head dress from Belarus. 


This head dress, belongs to the so called "David Gorodok-Turov" style - a complex of traditional Belarusian folk costumes of the Polesye. 

The area where we find this style of traditional folk dress lies along the  Pripyat River, which flows east through Ukraine, then through Belarus parallel to Ukraine border, and then Ukraine again, draining into the Dnieper.


Along the river lie the Pinsk Marshes, a vast natural region of wetlands along the forested basin of the Pripyat River and its tributaries from Brest to the west to Mogilev to the northeast and Kiev to the southeast. It is one of the largest wetland areas of Europe.


Now here is something very very interesting indeed. My friend Sima Kosminski sent me a link to this article, which contains an interview with a couple from Lelikov near Kobrin in Polesye. 


They are Peter and Anastasia Shapetsyuki - known collectors of local folklore. 

Like other people in Polesye,  who wear this "David Gorodok-Turov" style of traditional folk costume, they apparently speak their own unique dialect which is different from the dialects of the neighboring population. And they have a very interesting legend that explains why their language is different:

"Serb tribes were great enemies of the Romans. Finally a Roman emperor got really angry and sent an army to attack them. The Serbs were driven out of their homeland and came and settled down here, in the Pinsk Marshes, in Polesye..."

Now what Serbs and what Romans is this legend talking about? Balkan Serbs and Romans? Or Baltic Sorbs and Holy Roman Empire? Both groups of Serbian tribes were indeed great enemies of their "Romans" and waged centuries long wars against invading "Romans". So both are very good candidates to be "the Serbs" from the legend. 

What is interesting, judging by this map from Eupedia, it seems that genetically Polesyans are definitively linked to Balkan Serbs:



What do you think?

This is a very very interesting development, don't you think so?

Does anyone have any additional information about this legend or about Polesye culture and language?

Thursday, 16 March 2017

St Patrick and snakes

Patrick banishes all snakes from Ireland



The absence of snakes in Ireland gave rise to the legend that they had all been banished by St. Patrick, He chased them into the sea after they attacked him during a 40-day fast he was undertaking on top of Mt Croagh Patrick.

The problem is all evidence suggests that post-glacial Ireland never had snakes. So maybe the snakes that Patrick expelled were not real terrestrial snakes but symbolic celestial snakes?

In my post "Fulacht fiadh - salt extraction facility?" I talked about the climate change patterns in Ireland over last 5,000 years and how they could have affected people's ability to extract salt from sea water. 

The Greenland Ice Cores provide a temperature record for the last 5,000 years. Clearly manifest are three temperature peaks which correspond with the archaeologically and historically documented Warm Periods in the North Atlantic region: Minoan Warm Period 1450–1300 BC, a Roman Warm Period 250 BC – 0 AD, the Medieval Warm Period 800–1100 AD. On the chart you can also clearly see the well documented extreme cold period known as the little Ice Age 1350 to 1850 AD.


"The Bronze Age Optimum" starts with the sudden sharp rise in temperature during the Minoan Warm Period which started right about 1500 BC. How warm was Atlantic northern Europe during the Minoan Warm Period can be discerned from the fact that during the Minoan warm period, millet was grown in southern Scandinavia. Today Millet is grown in tropical and subtropical regions, it is an important crop in Asia, Africa and in the southern U.S.. The average annual temperature in Mississippi and Alabama where millet is grown today is about 10 degrees, which should be compared with today's average annual temperature in Denmark, which is 8 degrees.

The temperature after the Minoan Warm Period drops and has another minimum around 1200 BC rising to another maximum around 1000 BC. After that it oscillates around relatively stable low value until it suddenly starts to rise around 250 BC. This is the beginning of the Roman Warm Period

The Roman warm period started quite suddenly around 250 BC. Some studies in a bog in Penido Vello in Spain have shown that in Roman times it was around 2-2.5 degrees warmer than in the present. The Roman warm period is amply documented by numerous analyses of sediments, tree rings, ice cores and pollen – especially from the northern hemisphere. Studies from China, North America, Venezuela, South Africa, Iceland, Greenland and the Sargasso Sea have all demonstrated the Roman Warm Period. Additionally, it has been documented by ancient authors and historical events.

How warm was Northern Europe during the Roman Warm Period can be seen by the fact that during the culmination of the Roman warm period olive trees grew in the Rhine Valley in Germany. Citrus trees and grapes were cultivated in England as far north as near Hadrian’s Wall near Newcastle.

The temperature then has a sudden drop during the first century AD but it then rises as suddenly and stays stable high until the end of the fourth century AD when it suddenly drops during the first half of the fifth century to an extreme low level. 

The dates of St Patrick's life are uncertain. His own writings provide no evidence for any dating more precise than the 5th century generally. The Irish annals for the fifth century date Patrick's arrival in Ireland at 432 AD. His sermon on the Mt Croagh Patrick, during which he banished snakes from Ireland must have happened soon afterwords...

St Patrick's arrival to Ireland coincides with the beginning of the sudden huge drop in average temperature, which during his life fell to the level comparable to the temperature during the so called "Little ice age". 

So Patrick arrives to Ireland. He defeats the old Sun God Crom Dubh, whose holy mountain was the same Mt Croagh Patrick from which Patrick drove snakes into the sea. He converts people to Christianity. And at the same time during the destruction of the old religion based on sun worship, the sun "dies". The heat of the sun disappears. 


In my post "Three suns" I talked about the symbolic link between Snakes and Dragons and the heat of the sun. This link was clearly preserved in Slavic mythology. Snakes come out during the hottest part of the year and thus symbolize the summer. Slavs believed that snakes "suck the heat out of the sun" and that this is why summer sun eventually looses it's heat and autumn and winter arrive. The dragon is actually the symbol of the summer sun's extreme heat, destructive heat which brings drought.  

Symbolically with the disappearance of the sun's heat, the snakes and dragons, the symbols of sun's summer heat, disappeared too. 

The belief that snakes and dragons were driven out of Ireland by Patrick, could be remnant of the blame that the Sun worshiping Pre-Christian Irish put on Patrick and his Christianization efforts for the sudden (and probably catastrophic) climate change. Basically they blamed Patrick for driving the summer out of Ireland.

On the other hand, it is actually quite possible that Patrick's owes his success in converting Ireland to Christianity to this sudden (and probably catastrophic) change of climate. To worshipers of the Sun God Crom Dubh, it must have looked like their god has abandoned them. So they turned to Christ, the "savior"...

Monday, 13 March 2017

Lion and fish

This is a very interesting Celtic coin from Panonia. Unfortunately I don't know anything else about this coin, so would appreciate any additional info, like the location where it was found and dating. 



Front: Solar rider. 

I already wrote about the symbolism of the solar rider in my posts "The horseman" and "King John". It is a very common motif on Celtic coins which shows that Celtic religion was in essence a solar cult. 

In short, this solar rider represents the sun god. The sun god dominates the white part of the year, the period between Belatane and Samhain, the summer and autumn. You can read more about the Celtic calendar in my post "Two crosses".

Back: Lion's head. In the middle of the white period of the year, at the point that marks the end of summer and the beginning of autumn, we find zodiac sign Leo (lion). The point that marks the end of summer and beginning of autumn, Lughnasadh, falls in the middle of the Leo zodiac sign.

But it gets better. 

Why does the lion have fish symbol around his eye? 

Have a look at this image:


The point marking end of the Leo (lion) zodiac sign is directly opposite to the point marking the beginning of the Pisces (fish) zodiac sign. The constellation Pisces is invisible during the Pisces period. In the Northern hemisphere Pisces can be seen from August to January, right after the Leo period...

Lion is literally looking at fish...

Such complex zodiac imagery is an interesting thing to find on a Celtic coin don't you think?

Friday, 10 March 2017

Three suns

There is a Serbian legend that says that once there were three suns, but dragon ate two. It would have eaten all three, if it wasn't for a swallow who managed to hide the last, third one, under her wing.

This is why today we only have one sun.

Three suns rising over the snow covered land...


This phenomena is called "sun dogs" or "mock suns", meteorological name parhelion (plural parhelia). This is an atmospheric phenomenon that consists of a bright spot to the left and/or right of the Sun. They often occur in pairs, one on each side of the Sun, mostly at sunrise or sunset. They can occur at any time during the year but are most prominent and striking during the winter. 

I would here want to give the analysis of this legend. 

Dragon eating two out of three suns

In Serbian folklore, snake and dragon are linked. Dragons are actually believed to be just very old very big snakes. They are both associated with the fire, the heat of the sun. This is because snakes only appear during the hottest part of the year, summer. If the appearance of the three suns on the horizon is the most common and most striking during the winter, then the appearance of the snakes (dragons) marks the end of the three suns season. From that moment on it is most likely that only one sun will rise every morning, the one that the snake (dragon) didn't manage to eat.

Swallow saving the last, third, sun

In my post "Leto" i talked about the link between the return of the migratory birds and the beginning of the summer. I proposed that the Slavic word for summer "leto" actually comes from the word "let" meaning "flight". When I was a kid, it was the arrival of swallows, of all other migratory birds, that was the definite sign that the winter was over. If the appearance of the three suns on the horizon is the most common and most striking during the winter, then the arrival of the swallows marks the end of the three suns season. From that moment on it is most likely that only one sun will rise every morning, the one hidden under the swallow's wing. 

So far so good. 

But what about the the statement "once there were three suns"? Was there a time when three suns rising in the east was everyday occurrence? Well the rising of the three suns on the horizon is the most common and most striking during the winter. So there is a good chance then that the during the eternal winter of the last Ice Age, the three suns rising in the east was everyday occurrence. 

Then the climate changes. The sun regained it's heat. The dragon, which is in Serbian folklore symbol of the sun's fire, sun's heat, returns, and eats two out of the three suns. The birds, including swallows return to the land which is now green again, saving the last, third sun, from the dragon...

So is it possible that this legend is actually talking about the Last Ice Age, when every morning "three suns rose in the east"? If so it can be dated to the end of the Younger Dryas period, which lasted between 10,800 and 9500 BC. Well, as I already wrote in my posts about Montenegrian tumuluses, we have archaeological proof that the Irish Annals preserved 5000 years old stories about the migration of the R1b beaker people into Ireland. Also as I already wrote in my post "Dreamtime" we have proof that some of the Australian Aboriginal stories are over 40,000 years old. So I believe that it is possible that this Serbian legend could be over 10,000 years old memory of the last Ice Age, the time when there were three suns, before the raging dragon ate two...

What do you think?

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Glavica tumulus

Yesterday while I was writing my post about Glavica cemetery, I had this nagging feeling of Déjà vu: calotte shaped isolated hill with many medieval graves dug into its sides. Protected from destruction and looting by a local taboo...

But by the time I have finished my article I still couldn't put my finger on it. So I published my article, went to have dinner, and then it hit me. Suddenly I knew where I had seen something like that before. 


Gruda Boljevića tumulus is one of the most interesting and most important archaeological sites of the Montenegrin Late Copper - Early Bronze age. It is also probably one of the most important archaeological sites found recently in Europe. 

The reason why I believe that this tumulus is so important, is because it shows that the dolmen building, golden cross disc making culture which developed in Montenegro in the first half of the third millennium BC, has its direct cultural roots in Yamna culture of the Black Sea steppe. Why is this important? Because the gold cross discs found in this tumulus and other Montenegrian tumuluses are later found in Beaker culture sites in Ireland and Britan. And the Irish annals tell us that the Early Irish who brought with them metallurgy and gold migrated to Ireland from Russian steppe, via Balkans and then Iberia. Gruda Boljevića is the last and most important piece of evidence which confirms that the Irish annals contain not pseudo histories, but real histories which talk about events that happened in the 3rd millennium BC...

But Gruda Boljevića is also interesting in another way. 


Tumuluses are well known archaeological features in Montenegro, which is why Gruda Boljevića was also assumed to be a prehistoric grave even before the excavation. The local legend says that two wedding parties met and fought and that the victims of this tragic fight were buried under the Gruda Boljevića tumulus. This type of legends is often linked to ancient burial type archaeological sites in Serbia, Bosnia and Montenegro. I already wrote about this type of sites in my post about wedding party graveyards. So it was assumed that Gruda Boljevića was one of such ancient burial sites. This assumption was confirmed during building of a house south of the tumulus, when one of many medieval stone cist graves,  which were dug into the original bronze age tumulus was discovered. This is the plan of the Gruda Boljevića tumulus with the locations of the medieval graves in and around the tumulus.

The Medieval graves fall into two types: 

Stone boxes with gable roof like tops


Stone boxes with flat tops


The skeletons found in these medieval graves date from the period 12-13th century. 


Graves were full of grave goods which show strong cultural links to both coastal regions of Montenegro and the inland regions of Serbia particularly the Morava valley. Here are some examples of the grave goods found:




The above mentioned legend and knowledge of the existence of the graves, saved the mound from destruction, which was not the case with other mounds which allegedly existed nearby. You can find additional information and detailed description of the tumulus in the article entitled "Podgorica praistorijske humke i srednjovjekovne nekropole Gruda Boljevića".

Gruda Boljevića tumulus had an irregular shape and had a diameter of 24 m.

Now have a look at this satellite picture. It shows the location of the Glavica hill cemetery. 


You can see an isolated perfectly circular hill covered in oak forest. The bottom left is the fenced off area with the new cemetery and the chapel. 


This is the side view of the hill. You can see that it has flat calotte shape typical of tumulus hills. 


So the big question is: is Glavica hill a tumulus, which was, just like Gruda Boljevića, reused as the burial ground during medieval time?

Here is a picture of the graves near the summit of the hill with the holy oak and the altar:


Is it possible that all these graves are dug into the side of the tumulus?

Now if Glavica hill is a tumulus it is truly gigantic. Judging by the Google maps it is about 70 meters in diameter. Compare that with Gruda Boljevića which is only 24 meters in diameter.

And finally, if Glavica hill is a tumulus, what period does it date from? If it is from the Early Bronze Age, like all the other tumuluses I wrote about in my series about Montenegrian tumuluses, then we should expect a central cist grave with additional secondary Bronze and Iron Age burials dotting the hill hidden among the later Medieval ones. If however this tumulus is from the Late Bronze age, or Iron Age, then it could, potentially, hide a spectacular untouched huge burial chamber of someone very very important. 

But as I already said in my post about Glavica cemetery, there is no money or will or interest to do any additional excavation on the site. 

Maybe this post might spark some new interest. Hopefully by archaeologists and not treasure hunters...

I want to thank my friend Aleksandar Tešić for this picture of the Glavic hill and for the additional pictures of the actual graveyard inside the forest.