Koldoun, Koldun, Koldun’ya (Russian) – A magician or sorcerer; one having more power and knowledge than a znachar (wizard). – (via the Theosophy Dictionary)
The Koldun are an ancient Pagan sect that has existed in the Russian/Slavic areas for hundreds of years. The teachings are passed down through families orally, and there isn’t much written on them. What little is known is written by scholars in a few texts on Russian magic. I sat down and talked with a couple who currently practice and live in the
TiamatsVision- I understand that you use tarot, astrology, numerology, and herbs in your practices. These techniques are used together for example, in finding a specific herb to use for an ailment or looking into a good day to marry. How does this work?
NATALIA- It is all intertwined, that is what keeps it a formal tradition. It is the frigid pathology of the Kolduny that has kept it so separated from other traditions. Unlike Wicca, which has it’s own beauty in its free flowing way of doing things. Yet with that freedom comes a lot of questions, which is why many who claim to be Wiccan are still seeking to define what Wicca is. It seems anyone can buy a couple of books and suddenly be “Wiccan”. I am not sure if this is a good thing or bad thing for Wicca. But that is for them to figure out. Kolduny practices are far more formal and rigid. A lot of what we do is based upon numbers. Time, is very important to us.
T.V- After reading a bit more about the Koldun, I found it disturbing to see how misunderstood and persecuted you were. You were feared and loathed, but not completely shunned because the people needed your services? Is this right?
NATALIA- Even today, in
T.V- How far does the Kolduny tradition date back? Or is this an unknown, because of the oral nature of the teachings?
NATALIA: I remember as a young girl asking my mother this same question along the lines of ‘how far do these things go back’? My mother just smiled and said ‘to yesterday’. I didn’t understand it then and questioned her, to her chuckles and amusement. Today I do understand it. There is nothing so remembered, yet so fleeting as ‘yesterday’.
ANTON: The Kolduny can be traced back through it’s earliest legends to the invasions of the
T.V- How are the teachings passed down to the children? Are all children taught these practices? How does that work?
NATALIA- To be Kolduny, you must be born into a Kolduny family. The teachings of the Kolduny are passed from Mother to Daughters with few exceptions. The Kolduny is very sexist in as much as only women are allowed to teach and pass on the gifts. Now we do have males who are Koldun, or mouseyhar. But the only way a male becomes a Koldun is if a woman has no daughter, or the daughter dies before ‘polovoy vozrast’. In this case the mother is allowed to teach her youngest son.
ANTON- Yeah, I come from a family of 6 boys and one girl. My sister died at the age of three, and I was the youngest son so my mother gifted me.
T.V- You mentioned earlier that to this day the ‘znarkhar is sought after’. By this do you mean people coming “after you” for persecution? Or that your wisdom is sought? Or is it both? The same as it’s been for hundreds of years?
NATALIA- The znarkyar is a healer, even today in
T.V- So with the power to heal, comes with it the fear of the znarkyar’s possible power to harm. And if the znarkyar doesn’t succeed in healing someone, they are probably the first suspect if the patient gets worse. That’s a lot of pressure there.
ANTON- Damned if you do and damned if you don’t.
T.V- What were some of the superstitions and misconceptions that were attached to being Koldun in the old days? Are some of these superstitions still around today? Which ones?
NATALIA- I would venture that the most damning superstition would have to have been the wedding spoiling that was attributed to the Koldun, or male member of the Kolduny. Koldunias’ were sought after to help set the date of a wedding, and to assist in all aspects of it. Kolduns’ are forbidden to be public except as wedding guests. If things went badly as they often do when vodhkah is involved and the wedding would be “spoiled” it would always be blamed on the Koldun.
T.V- What is the process of finding a particular remedy for someone with a problem? You need their astrological information first, correct? The birth chart. What is done with this?
NATALIA- The first step is always the creation of the Tarot Constellation. The Kolduny believe that the Tarot Constellation is the introduction of the individual to us from the universe. The Tarot is multi cultural, it screams of humanity. The Kolduny believe that each individual has a constellation that is unique to them. Each card of the Tarot is governed by and governs all the secrets to life. Within an individuals Constellation will be cards that represent, certain herbs and times, that are beneficial to healing. Yet when a znarkyar asks, it is for purposes of healing.
(End of Part 1)
(Related: Slavic Paganism)