Eniovden is one of the most important days in Bulgaria, which is a land and country of old mystical traditions and folk healing modalities. Bulgaria was established in the 7th century in Europe and has a rich and diverse history, and as it is my native land, and I am happy to come from a beautiful lineage of magical and wise women, I thought today I’d share more about this day and how we can use its ancient wisdom in our every day modern lives.
What is Eniovden?
Eniovden is celebrated each year on June 24th to mark the Summer Solstice. In the old days it was believed that the day before Eniovden was the most powerful for herbs and flowers, which is when local folk healers would gather all their herbs for the upcoming year.
The belief was that on that day the sun shines the brightest and warmest, pouring all of its blessing and energy on earth. The sun wakes up early in the morning and dips into the rivers to bathe itself thereby making all waters light like angels. And when it gets out of the rivers, it shakes its body, and all droplets become the morning dew on the plants and flowers across all lands. This becomes their magical power. After its refreshing and whole-bodied dip, the sun put on its coat and begins its walk towards winter.
And so on Eniovden early in the morning herbalists, healers and pharmacists would go out and gather 77 and a half herbs because they were known to have more healing potency on that day. They would then weave them into a wreath to be hung on the front door. The half medicinal plant is the so-called unknown medicinal plant – a plant everyone searches for, but no-one knows what it is. It is said to heal all the pains and illnesses on Earth. The symbolism of this is for us to remember the humility that exists in our human existence – that there is always something we will not know, that there is a greater power than all of us, and that ultimately God is the one into whose hands we lay.
The symbolism of the wreath is not only to bestow health and wellness to the family members, and to have the needed herbs for the year ahead, but it is also to protect the young girls and maidens from being captured by a zmey, a male dragon who easily falls in love with a maiden and desires to have her for a bride. This reminded girls to be discerning with whom they choose as their partners, and that one must be loved for who they truly are and not be taken out of their natural self. It was also important to remember not to be charmed by rich men asking for your hand in marriage on the porch, and not be tempted by urges, but to follow the purity of heart, clarity in mind and sincerity in action. Not all that sparkles is gold, and the wealth of heart is greater than any other wealth.
Healers use the herbs to cure illnesses, especially those caused by spirits or through curses, although many physical ailments are to this day cured by the local herbs. In ancient times in Bulgaria, during the time of the Thracians, the Summer Solstice was associated with spirits crossing from one realm to the next. And so, it was a day when people, livestock, and fields required protection. Only those versed in magical rites could perform these sacred rituals. They used herbs that had the power to contact invisible beings in order to help them cure the afflicted person.
And who were the healers? Healers are called znahars, and their abilities and wisdom are usually passed down to them by their maternal line, but men can be healers also. Intuitive, healing and psychic abilities are also passed down through generations, usually from grandmother to granddaughter. Healers are not to be confused with witches, or veshtitsi, because healers do not do any spells, and it is known to bring on karmic consequences even if you think it is “for good”. One never crosses the energy of another, never cross the boundary, and stands strongly aligned to high spiritual laws and integrity, always.
The greatest power is the power of the pure heart, and when one is aligned to kindness, integrity and love, it shines so brightly from within them that their mere presence becomes healing to all those around them. When you shine, you leave fireflies along the way for other people to find their way also when they feel lost.
Love comes in various shapes and forms, and has many speeds and movements. It is found in kindness, joy, forgiveness, grace, compassion, generosity, tenderness, and love becomes embodied through our words, hands and every day gestures. We must build love, contain love, grow love, nurture love, and emit love. But without it being expressed through our lips, hands and movements, it only remains as a beautiful idea in the sky.
A woman is the keeper of all mystical wisdom, and as such she carries high responsibility – to be self-aware and accountable. A woman needs to know herself, and only then she will be able to guide her loved ones and guide her man, husband, brothers, father, son and all children. This is why in the old mystical schools women would spend many years in know thyself and know the earth.
Another beautiful tradition about Eniovden is about love. On the night before, worlds open and stars listen and stars touch the earth. Water is sacred, and it speaks a language. Silent water is a tradition in which you pour some water into a bowl, or a copper cup or pot, and speak it softly your heart’s prayers and longings. You can also go to a spring, river stream or a pond, kneel beside it, and whisper it there your true love’s wishes. You should then give one of your silver rings, and tie to it a flower and put it in the water overnight. In the morning, in the old days, the girls would then bring their rings to the healers who would tell them who they’ll marry.
The girls would also create wreaths for all the members of their family blessing them with health for the upcoming year; and they’ll leave these wreaths outside for the stars to bless them.
People would also dip into the rivers and lakes and sea in the morning of Eniovden, watching the sunrise, just as the sun to receive the healing power of the water and swim with the sun in it.
It is also said that whatever coins you find on that night or morning, you should give it kindly to your neighbours or those in need, because generosity if what opens us and takes us closer to both love and God.
And when you’re gathering the herbs you should do so very gently so that you are not hurting their roots. Plants are also spirits, and when we mistreat, hurt or abuse them they will turn into poison. As we interact with their worlds, and the worlds of all other things around us, energies interweave and they are changed through these interactions with us too, so they are no longer simply healing.
Be grateful for what you are finding and receiving, and stay intentional and with good heart. Keep respect for the roots and for those who came before us, and for all who walk this earth such as wildlife, people and plants, no matter how tiny. Step lightly, love gently, be kind to one another.
What I love about these traditions is their soul of matter. At their essence is love, openness and kindness. It reminds us to respect nature and one another, to be more generous and helpful to those around us, and to be more intentional with love. Along the circling staircases of our life, in our ordinary every day gestures, is where love is always. Every day can be magical, and every day we can make the ordinary extraordinary if we know how to truly see beauty with the eyes of the heart.
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