Interview With The Koldun (Part 2): Natalia and Anton Tikimirov Discuss The Origin and The Relationship of The Kolduny Tarot with TiamatsVision

In our first interview with Natalia and Anton we discussed the history and superstitions surrounding the Koldun. In this segment we discuss the history and relationship of the Tarot that form the center of their tradition.

ANTON– I think it’s important before discussing the tarot constellation that we should first review the history of the relationship between the Tarot and the Kolduny. The last time I checked Tarot scholars are totally undivided as to the origins of the Tarot. Stuart Kaplan, Mary Greer, and Rachel Pollack as well as other Tarot historians all seem at a loss concerning the origins of the Tarot. The Kolduny are not at this loss. It is our beliefs concerning the origins of the Tarot that set us aside from other “Tarot” readers. It is our beliefs concerning the origins of Tarot, which creates the pathology that makes Kolduny Tarot both unique and incredibly powerful.

The Kolduny, believe heart and soul that the Tarot is theirs. Even today when people think of the Tarot, the most common mental image is an Eastern European woman laying cards down. There is a reason for this collective mental image.

As far as I can find? Our tradition is the only tradition that has an explanation for the origins of the Tarot. It is what makes Kolduny Tarot what it is. Natalia recently did an online reading with someone on a Pagan/Wiccan forum that caused that person to state during the reading that they were “blown away by the accuracy”. This is not so much due to intuitive reading as it is with understanding how the Tarot came to be. Bottom line, if you don’t know the history and origin of Tarot then you don’t know jack. This is how the Tarot came to be:

Years ago, the Tartars invaded the land of Rus. It was a military conquest, and the only thing that changes in military conquest is the technology of the weapons. The concepts of conquest have always been the same, take out the leadership, pacify the people, and rape the resources.

The land of Rus at this time was a tribal society that was matriarchal. Wise women were the judges, the leaders, and the healers. This made them the targets of the Tartars. The Tartars came across the Russia slaughtering the wise women until finally there were only 78 wise women left. One of whom was pregnant. They took refuge in the village of Kostroma. There they made a vow to the Moon that they would instill their last collective knowledge upon the unborn child of the one among them who was pregnant.

The child was born a male, shocking all of the wise women, but a vow is a vow. All of the wise women put their knowledge on pieces of birch bark and taught the child using the birch bark. Except for one woman, who was the child’s mother. She died at child birth. The lesson she was supposed to give was “Mercy.” This is why there is no card symbolizing mercy in the Tarot, and why the Tarot is merciless in its truths.

According to our legends this leaves 77 cards of birch bark which this child, Nicholi Popvich Issakov, was sent out to the Tartars with. When Nicholi Popovich finally met the Tartar leader, he showed him using these birch barks the world that was being created by him, and was able to steal a small piece of his soul that he placed in a crystal and threw in to the Volga River.

After Nicholi completed his mission, he realized he was a man with no mission and no mercy so he stepped off of a cliff, after having made his own birch bark symbol representing his mother’s innocence, which is the only card in the major arcana not numbered. The Fool.

Books could be written on this, but you must know this story to understand Kolduny Tarot.

NATALIA– This is why also all males who are taught by their mothers have a crystal that is blemished in the center, to reflect that small evil that was thrown into the Volga given to them by the one who gifted them.

TiamatsVision– What happened to the Tartar leader whose soul was captured in the crystal and thrown into the Volga? Why was birch bark used for the cards? And where does the Kolduny tarot’s history go from Nicholi’s death?

ANTON– It was just a small piece of the evil in the soul of the Tartar leader’s soul. He continued to live but was just not as evil, so that the Kolduny was spared and allowed to exist. When Nicholi stepped off the cliff he left behind the wisdom of the wise women that was given to him with the card of innocence that he had made depicting The Fool. Birch bark was used because it was a common thing to use for communicating. Even today in Russia in areas that tourist frequent there are birch bark cups all inscribed with scenes of villages and such. The birch is also a sacred tree symbolizing fertility, wisdom and protection.

T.V– Along with The Fool, are there any other cards that stand out or hold more relevance to the Kolduny in the major arcana?

NATALIA– The 8th card of the major arcana, we view it as Justice and the 11th card as Strength. Some of the later year decks have this backwards. But the Kolduny views the first 9 cards starting with the Magi, as soul cards, and the 8th card is Justice.

(Next: Part 3- The Tarot Constellation)


  1. The history you speak of the Tarot is convincing, i would be willing to bet that the Tarot belongs to the Kolduny and if it didn’t then it should have, Never have I met two people that know the tarot and are more in tune with it than Natalia and Anton are. Brightest Blessings. Kethry.x

  2. TiamatsVision

    March 8, 2008 at 9:10 pm

    Kethry- I couldn’t agree more. Natalia and Anton live and breathe the Tarot, and their intimate knowledge of it surpasses many that I know. Blessings to you and yours as well.

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