Faeries, Dragons & Witch Blood by Radomir Ristic

Synchronicity in the Writing of The Roses of the Moon: The Ritual of Creating Worlds.

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My new friend Radomir Ristic is fan occultist and folklorist from Serbia. He is the author of many magazine articles including  The Cauldron whee this article will be published in August. He is also the author the bestselling book:   Balkan Traditional Witchcraft, available from Amazon.

“Published in English for the first time, this groundbreaking book by Radomir Ristic is a compilation of historical data, anthropological studies, and the authors own experiences and interviews with the Witches of the Balkans. Covering both theory and practice, the book gives a complete system of Balkan Traditional Witchcraft.

I  asked Rade if I could publish this article as a companion to my exploration of writing as a magical rite in connection the previous blog entry about the mythical world I created for my forthcoming novel The Roses of the Moon. I was amazed to discovered that weeks  after I had written up the foundation myth for the novel (, Castle Zmeu is the setting high in the mountains of Royal Hungary in a hollow that was the birthplace of the Moon, ) I found many elements were very close to the actual folk traditions of that part of the world, specially the dark faeries and a dragon people called the Zmeu.What is also cool is that it compliments the theme of my blog: Legacy of the Witchblood.

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I hope you enjoy this fascinating article.

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Faeries, Dragons & Witch Blood

In folk believe system of Serbian people exist very interesting myths who tell us how some people gained their unusual powers, intelligence, strength etc. Actually, by people believes almost every Serbian hero through history was dragon man. That is how people have explained their heroic acts, wisdom and powers, if they had some.

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The problem is that by witches’ myths, witches explain origin of their powers and their blood lines in same manner. All people know that but no one wants to say that loudly because that is heresy. Witches can not be in same line with cult heroes. This problem could be even bigger because common name for male witches aka warlocks in Serbia is dragon men.
In Serbian mythology we can clearly see that there are at least three different kinds of Dragons. First kind would be dragons who are identified as meteors on night sky and they are considered to be a personifications of fire. Second kind are reptile dragons or serpent dragons who are very similar to those who we can find in Western Europe. By people believes they can be very dangerous. In most cases they are winged serpents but they have intelligence and they behave similar as dragon-people. Actually they share same capabilities. Third kinds are dragon people and they are kinds who interested us here. One old epic song tells us follow:

As many Serbian heroes there is,
All have been brought up by faeries,
And many have the dragons for fathers…

So by myths some of those heroes were Mislos Obilic, Zmaj Ognjeni Vuk, Relja Bosnjanin, Banovic Sekula, Banovic Strahinja, Ljutica Bogdan, Kraljevic Marko…

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The question is how those people had becomes dragon people? That could happen in three ways. First would be that ones mother could sleep with dragon. Second is that ones father could sleep with fairy and third is that fairy has nursed (give her breast milk) one when he was a baby.

titania-sleeps-LTitania—Cowper

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If someone becomes dragon-man because his mother was fairy or fairy has nursed him, we can clearly see that faeries are female dragons! Actually, in Serbian traditions there are several kinds of faeries. We have, lets say “little ones”, fairies from nature, protectors of some springs, lakes, trees and Great Ones about whom we are talking here. By old myths those Great Ones are daughters of Adam and Eve whom God has cursed and they became something like semi women very similar to fallen angels from Book of Enoch. By some stories they even have animal legs which are hidden by their dresses. They have their Queen and her name is Jerisavlja. Very often people consider that queen of faeries is Forest Mother and her nick name is Forest Witch or Great Witch. We can find that in many old incantation by whom people had try to contact her. We must emphasize that those faeries are not some gentle creatures from pagan fairytales but very dangerous ones who have extreme power, magic knowledge, bad temper etc. In many stories we can see how they punish some character just because he has better voice or he has seen them. Beside that they are sexually lustful and they have manner to sleep with young boys, shepherds or warriors. However, they do not like to be in marriage and they do not like family life. Actually, by myths the only Serbian King who was in marriage with fairy was Vukasin so all of his children were dragon people.

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Dragons are sexually lustful too. Even today at the east Serbia people believe that dragons had manner that at night visit beautiful girls. Very often, by people believes, those girls gave birth and their baby was to be dragon man. What nobody tells out loud is that if baby is a boy, people will call him dragon man and if baby is a girl, everybody will call her witch. What those girls and boys have in common is that both will have magic powers, knowledge and what is the most important capability to, by their own will, induct trance. Why? Because they are dragons’ and faeries’ children, so they are just a half human. Maybe they look like humans, but their souls and true beings are totally different. Usually people say that only persons with some capabilities can see how they really look like, until they are in their bodies, but everyone can see that as they leave their bodies. In most cases their souls were described as in animal shape or mythic animal shape. For instance in one old epic song Serbian duke Banovic Sekula lives his body in the shape of dragon with six wings.

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From historic data we can clearly see that dragons do not chose girls perchance. Those girls are witches or they are from witch families. For instance, professor Stevan Dordjevic have founded in city archive of town Zajecar that society accused one young girl that she was sleeping with dragon in village Osljan in 1935. She was a witch and she was famous by fortune telling. Later in year 1946 there was another accusation and then people accused young daughter of famous male witch Krsta that she was sleeping with dragon. We must say that people usually had nothing against dragons and their children but they believed that it was too dangerous if dragon stayed to long in their neighborhood because he could provoke drought. The only reason why dragons stay in one region to long are girls.

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The question is who those dragons are and what is their origin? With regret we must say that Serbian ethnology has failed to give us straight answer to that question. Mainly there are two theories. By first dragons are some animals, usually serpents, fishes or sheep that became dragons because they have lived too long. For instance, if some serpent lives hundred years it will become dragon in one moment, by people believes. Second theory speaks more about mysterious dragons that sleep with women. By it those dragons represents mythical ancestor or ancestors. Reason why scientists consider that those dragons could be ancestors is that because they are in too many blood lines, especially in those with “blue blood”. That tells us about why they are so important in people’s belief system. However, it doesn’t say who those ancestors are.

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We have had the opportunity to speak with several authentic witches in rural regions of the country about that subject and found out what their traditions tell us about those dragons. So from several similar stories we have compiled one which we will tell here.

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By witches’ myths, dragons have fallen all over the Balkan many centuries ago. They have fallen with something which looked like meteors shower. Because of that, even today witches and peasants connect dragons with meteors and that is noted in Serbian ethnology as we already see. Some of those dragons have fallen in rivers Danube, Timok and Pek and other in forests and mountains. Those who had fallen in rivers have continued to live in them under the water. They look like male mermaids, they have their middle long, big circle eyes, wide nose and long canine toots. Those who had fallen in forests inhabited big trees, mainly old beeches with holes. How they look like is hard to say because some witches claim that they are just big lights and other that they are anthropomorphic serpents with wings and that they become big light only when they start to fly. Those who have fallen in mountains inhabited caves and they look like previous dragons. As we can conclude, all of them are same dragons but after they fall in matter they take different shapes depending of their new habitation.

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It is very difficult to explain how witches percept them. Most of them claim that those dragons are material but that they are more like material spirits. They are not “dough” and “firmly” like us. Let’s say that they are more etheric. Because of that only some people can see them. Most often those people are witches, shamans or some similar groups which have extraordinary capabilities. However, dragons can hide themselves even to those groups if they want to, because they are very powerful. As some of my informants have told me dragons reviled themselves only to the woman with whom they wanted to sleep, people with whom they wanted some other kind of contact or people could see them accidentally. One of my informant explained me that very plasticly and described me that if I perchance cought the woman in the moment when she is sleeping with dragon I could see only her and her legs in the air.

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As we can see, after their fall dragons have started to seduce women and sleep with them. That was not hard task for them because they are shape shifters too. So when they want to seduce a woman they take appearance of a handsome man and seduce them. That was how it all stared. Children from these relationships become half human half dragons. What is the most important thing, is that by that process those children have inherited some powers and capabilities of their fathers. That means that they have some basic powers, and those powers were different from person to person but all of them would have one ultimate power, and that power was “different” souls, because of which they would have capabilities to leave their bodies when ever they wanted.
Because of that “power” all of them are capable to be in contact with hidden world and hidden forces which could be visible to them only when they leave their bodies. That contact provides them additional magic knowledge. During their night flyes they can be in contact with faeries, dragons, ancestors etc.

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By witches’ myths that dragon blood line has managed to preserve itself through centuries. It is not necessary that every family has a woman who is in relationship with dragon at present; it is enough that family has a long departed dragon man or witch and that family would have dragon blood in their veins even today. Some members of that family could revile themselves as witches or dragons men but not everyone although they all do have dragon blood. Usually that happens when they are young and when they start spontaneously to fall in trance. That is the time when they get their initiations and when they discover hidden world of faeries, dragons and ancestors.

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As we can see dragons could be mythic ancestor as ethnologists have sad. However, as we can see, those dragons are mythic ancestor only to some people not all. Those people who have dragons as their ancestors will have unusual powers and capabilities. They would be people with witch blood.

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Moreover, it is not unusual that dragons are subject of witch cults. About one of these cults we have already talked in one my previous article (The Cauldron No128, Serbian Witchcraft, p32-33). Shortly told, in east Serbia exists a big tree in witch “Morning Star”(Lucifer) or Danica is Serbian, lives after his fall. That tree is object of cult. All local witches respect that tree or better said what is in that tree. They work with Danica, it is their source of knowledge and power but they do not worship it! What is interesting here is that Lucifer is connected with dragons because he is Star that had fallen and he lives in tree as others dragons do. Other name for meteors in Serbia is falling stars and all dragons are connected with stars. It is very clear that he is a subject of cult because he is more important then the other. So we can see some hierarchy here among dragons.

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When I ask my informants where those dragons have came from, I only got one answer-sky. Because they are connected with stars we can conclude that they have come from space. It is important to say that people don’t see them as aliens but as very old creatures from ancient times. So who are they? It is very hard to say. However, all what we can conclude from all of this is that this stories are very similar to those from Book of Enoch I. We know for sure that the Book of Enoch I(it talk about watchers, fallen angels and how they slept with women and their half angelic offspring) was very important among Balkan Gnostic Bogumils and even more that the Book of Enoch II was found in Serbia in Belgrade. Stories about dragons and witch blood which we have found among Serbian witches are very similar to those from Book of Enoch although they do not talk about fallen angels but dragons.

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The questions is if angels and dragons are the same? It hard to tell but we think that even if these stories are not the same they must have mutual origin. We know that stories about dragons in this region are older then Book of Enoch so our personal opinion is that angels have taken places of dragons after arrival of Christianity and Gnosticism. At the bottom line appearance of fallen angels is very similar to appearance of fallen dragons in the way they behave. It is clear that both of them represent same creatures which have fallen from the sky but that they have different names through different moments in history and through different cultures. What is more important is that those stories explain origin of blood lines of those people who have some powers. In Serbian witch stories we can find out why those people have these powers and what these powers are.

Radomir Ristic

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The Magical Art of Writing Fiction and The Roses of the Moon

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Excerpt from The Roses of the Moon and Hungarian Mythology

I haven’t been writing the blog as much as I should because I have had to focus on getting my novel The Roses of the Moon ready for publication in September 2010. I have deadlines….

Writing a novel is journey on so many levels that trading a lifetime of travel for writing has not been too difficult. It gets to be time to start using life experiences,  gleaning the lessons, and sharing the wonder of adventure while taking a much needed rest. My feet are getting itchy again, so next chance I get away I go!

The Roses of the Moon was begun in Autumn of 2007 and was written in one month clocking in at 50,000 words. It was originally called The Golden Stairs and was based on the Grimm’s Fairy Tale, Rapunzel, told  from the point of view of the witch. I had done illustrations for Rapunzel while living in London in a rose covered haunted house. At the time I was meeting many people from the Balkans and Turkey and got the idea that, though we think Grimm’s Fairy Tales are German, some may actually be from central Europe as many of them they have that kind of dark quality associated with vampires and werewolves. This notion inspired me  to set  The Golden Stairs in Royal Hungary during the Ottoman Wars. In Grimm’s Rapunzel, the young mother-to-be desires the rampion growing in the witch’s garden. The witch desires the child and uses the mother’s desires against her to take the baby when it is born.  With this in mind, I made my witch the creator of irresistible enchanted gardens full  of magical plants similar to those in Nathaniel Hawthorn’s Rappucini’s Daughter.

The Golden Stairs begins with the childhood of the witch, Marcsa Virag, growing up in a Ghormanghast-like castle in the mountains of northern Hungary where her evil mother figure, the Countess Orzsebet, practices Black Magic in the manner of the famous Blood countess,  Erzebet Bathory. The first half of the book is about Marcsa Virag’s confrontation with the legacy of her mother, the Ottoman Turks sack the castle in the middle of the book, and after that Marcsa Virag lives alone in the ruins building her gardens. That is where the Rapunzel story begins.

The novel grew to over 100,000 words. My editor suggested that I change the title,  cut the book in half and make the two stories into separate books and go on in the manner of a family saga.  She also suggested that I flesh out the background mythology.

Gothic_Art_by_Hotoke_samaHotoke Sama

Writing as Magical Practice

Magic has been defined as the “Art of changing consciousness at will.” When a writer wants to create a fictitious world, he or she taps into the subconscious mind and calls it up from the deep mind. You never really know where the images and ideas come from, and its quiet astonishing that these visions arrive at all when you think about it. There were glimpses of the background myth in the original version, but I hadn’t focused on it but on the outer layer of Marcsa Virag’s story. When I did go deeper into the mythology of my alternate world, I was surprised to find how deep it went and that the story was very close to the actual ancient creation myth of Hungary.This is not the first time intuition and imagination tapped into the truth, but it is a very strong example of how an open, attuned mind can work.

A few people have asked me to share this with them so I thought I would.

In this post, I will give the very start of the creation myth I made up for the novel. in the second blog post, I will re-print an article by Radomir Ristic  about the Central European Dragon people.

Creation Myth of Castle Szeppasszony in The Roses of the Moon

Marcsa Virag has found a book called The Book of the Red Queen and the White Queen. The story of those two Queens hold a key to who she is, and why she has had to endure the things she has. This is the opening of that ancient book found in the library of a monastery carved into the mountain in the time before time began.

Book of the Red Queen and the White Queen

Here is Recorded the Creation of the World

Before Death was Born

In the time before time, Earth gave birth to the Moon. And in the very place where the Moon first entered the darkness of the night sky, a terrible upheaval was wrought in Heaven whose ruler, the Sun, now had a rival.

Fearing that his sole rulership of the stars and planets was to be undermined by this usurper Moon, Sun and the Angels held a great council where they gave birth to War. The Moon must be killed before its wan, silvery rays weakened the cosmos by stealing the light of the Sun.

Some Angels argued that the Moon might offer some benefit to the Sun by keeping watch over the darkness. It would merely reflect the light of the Sun to Earth and relieve the blackness of the night with its much dimmer light. The Angels who did not trust the Moon shouted the others down, saying the Sun’s ancestors, the Stars, gave light to the darkness and nothing more was needed.

Gradually these arguments broke the Angles into opposing camps;, the ones who sided with the one and only Sun, and those who had fallen in love with the Moon.

The new child, War, grasped Heaven in its talons. The Angels who sided with the Moon became rebels and used the light of the Moon to secretly attack the Angels of the Sun. But alas!  The Angels of the Sun called upon their ruler to blast the Moon with a light so bright that the Moon lit up like a beacon and was made to reveal the hiding places of the her Angels. The Angels of the Sun renewed their attack on the Angels of the Moon and cast them out of Heaven. They fell down into the hole in the Earth left open by the birth of the Moon. Sun proclaimed the Angels of the Moon to be Devils, and their new home in the Earth he called Hell.

The Angels of the Moon felt betrayed by she whom they had loved and ever after called her fickle. The Moon wept because of this, all through the nights, watering the earth with her tears. She watched over her champions,  bound by love and desire for redemption.

His sole rulership of the universe besmirched, the Sun fled higher up into the sky, leaving the Moon to oversee the Fallen Ones in the center of the earth. Because of her love and desire, Moon gazed upon the earth and pulled it to her, and in sorrow for her betrayal, she hid her face and pulled away. And because of this, all unwittingly, the Moon gave birth to Time. With the passage of Time, the power of the Moon increased. Her light fluctuated as she observed the affects of her love and tears upon the earth with great emotion. The Angels of the Sun tried constantly to imprison the Moon in the low hills, blackening the night but for the undying Stars.  But soon, the Angels of the Moon released their Mistress from the hills to shine in Heaven once again.

All that lived on the Earth grew strong under the Moon. Her protection in the night gave birth to Sleep. The Moon married Sleep and they gave birth to Dreams, Dreams brought forth things; the tears of the Moon became the waters that gave life to the things of Dreams such as Trees and Flowers, metals and jewels. Out of the Birthplace of the Moon, the great hole in the Earth, there grew the First Tree and it wept.

The Birthplace of the Moon is the darkest place on Earth.

The first upheaval began deep within the earth. Shelves of rock shifted, caves opened, waters gushed forth, and the land was shoved and levered towards the sky forming ridges and deep valleys. A wave of mountains rose and undulated like a serpent finally solidifying in the crescent shape of an old moon. Curled in the topmost horn of that moon was a ring of high mountains. The fallen Angels of Moon climbed out of the womb of the Earth and gathered along the tops of those mountains like thunderclouds and desired to possess the land. The Angels who stayed in the underground built majestic palaces of out of the jewels and precious metals of the Earth and practiced great magic.

Soon, waters sprang up through the ground, filling crannies and gorges and spilling over the land. Two wellheads spurted up into that O of mountains from which two streams ran, one to the east and the other to the west. Many new and wondrous creatures came out of the streams that began to walk upon the land. As the waters of the streams grew deeper and their currents thrummed over the rocks, two identical Queens were deposited on the shore and they were Giants.

A grove of trees grew up the hill away from the streams. Pure white they were and under their leafy branches, the Queens made their dwelling.

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To be continued….

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