© by Czesław Białczyński
© translated by Katarzyna Goliszek
In 1995, in the Native Church of Poland the tradition of Lechicki Circle of
Worshippers of Svetovid (Światowit) – active in Warsaw from 1950 to 1980 –
was revived. We can say, however, that the official dates do not reflect the
continuity of the activity of the Faith of Nature worshippers.
The Lechicki Circle of Worshippers of Svetovid (in Polish: Lechicki Krąg Czcicieli Światowita – LKCŚ) practically stopped its activity as an organisation when Władysław Kołodziej died, but some participants of the Circle lived and acted on their own.
It was Lech Emfazy Stefański thanks to whom the Native Church of Poland was registered in 1995 which also led to the beginning of the first oficially organised and registered Pagan Church in Poland. Owing to Lech Emfazy Stefański, the public pagan worship and public pagan rituals were reborn in Poland.
Yet, Slavic Faith of Nature existed, gods were worshipped, Slavic festivities and rituals were held in many places in Poland for all the thousand years of Christianity in Poland and certainly as far as I remember it, and since we have been able to historically recreate the ”activity” of the Guardians of the Faith of Nature. It is not in the least the time from Zorian Dołęga Chodakowski or, the more, Bronisłąw Trentowski – as various amatuerish writers of the history of Native Faith would like it to have been – it had lasted before and actually it has lasted till now and will always last.
Someone who gives dates relating to them as the beginning of revival of paganism in Poland has no idea at all what he or she is talking about.
“Slavic Faith of Nature IS ONE – anybody that divides US is OUR enemy” [Zorian Dołęga Chodakowski – in one of his letters to his friend].
Mazovian shrine of the Native Church of Poland
The Native Church of Poland
On 24 th March 1995, THE NATIVE CHURCH OF POLAND was registered in the Office for Religious Affairs, (at number 88), 33 Its headquarters is Warsaw, there are also centres in Poznań and Lublin. The group is the inheritor and preserver of the Lechicki Association of Worshippers of Svetovid, Władysław Kołodziej. 34 Its founders and leaders are a writer, film maker and a psychotronics expert Lech Emfazy Stefański 35 and an actor Kazimierz Mazur. Presently the church has over four hundred people. 36 The name of the Native Church of Poland refers, as you can learn from the program brochure of the group, to the name of the Native American Church which is a community associating followers of pagan religions of American Indians. Program presumptions included in the brochure are the most vital part of the Faith of Native Church in Poland.
- ”1. The Native Church of Poland represents henotheistic creed. We believe that cosmic force called God and numerous spiritual beings subordinate to him decide about the fate of the world.
- 2. Our distant Slavic ancestors were worshippers of God, not of the devil. They worshipped the same God, Creator and Benefactor that was called differently in languages of various nations. We do not let others persuade us that our distant ancestors were worshippers of Evil. We do not believe medieval Christian monks who arrived in our territories from extraneous lands and who wanted to see just dead wooden ”idols” in our old religious symbols, whereas, in reality, they presented images of spiritual beings subordinate to God, or symbols of his diverse aspects. Polish people do not have to be ashamed of their distant past. They have no reason to deny it, either. Thus, we have the full right to give God his old name ŚWIĘTOWID in our language. (ŚWIĘTOWID = Światowit = Svetovid)
- 3. The Native Church of Poland is an open church because it does not usurp the exclusive right either in the issues of personal faith, or in the matter concerning the church–organisational affiliation. A Christian, Buddhist, Mohammedan can join the Native Churh of Poland without renouncing or disclaiming their present faith. […]
- 4.We do not let others persuade us that to ”be Polish” means, of course, the same as ”to be a Catholic”. After all, the supporter of the ”heretical” faith was Mikołaj Rej, a Polish Slav of flesh and blood, an ardent patriot, called Father of the Polish Language. […]
- 5. Everyone can become a follower of the Native Church of Poland regardless of their ancestors’ nationality in their family tree. Nation means language and culture, not a ”Polish” origin. […] A Pole is a person who regards himself / herself as Polish – even though their grandmother was Russian, great grandfather was a German living in Saxony, and great grandmother was a Hungarian Jew. […] Bearing such Polishness in mind, we call our church the NATIVE CHURCH OF POLAND.”
On the right: Lech Emfazy Stefański
from website: Jerzego BG
The Native Church of Poland
The name of the Native Church of Poland is modeled on a largely accurate name of the Church associating descendants of former inhabitants of America: Indians: ”Native American Church”. Christianisation introduced with fire and sword was unable to totally destroy the attachment to former beliefs. Native American Church refers to them and revives them, also respecting Christian beliefs which arrived later on.
The Native Church of Poland represents henotheistic creed. We believe that cosmic force called God and numerous spiritual beings subordinate to him decide about the fate of the world. Our distant Slavic ancestors were worshippers of God, not of the devil. They worshipped the same God, Creator and Benefactor that was called differently in languages of various nations. We do not let others persuade us that our distant ancestors were worshippers of Evil. We do not believe medieval Christian monks who arrived in our territories from extraneous lands and who wanted to see just dead wooden ”idols” in our old religious symbols, whereas, in reality, they presented images of spiritual beings subordinate to God, or symbols of his diverse aspects.
Polish people do not have to be ashamed of their distant past. They have no reason to deny it, either. Thus, we have the full right to give God his old name ŚWIĘTOWID in our language.
The Native Church of Poland is an open church because it does not usurp the exclusive right either in the issues of personal faith, or in the matter concerning the church–organisational affiliation.
A Christian, Buddhist, Mohammedan can join the Native Churh of Poland without renouncing or disclaiming their present faith. They can broaden the range of their creeds. We do not apply the exclusivity. We believe that one can be both, for example, a Bhuddist and Catholic. Joining the Native Church of Poland does not mean renouncement of presently professed religion at all. It may – if someone wishes to – but does not have to. Everyone can become a follower of the Native Church of Poland irrespective of their ancestors’ nationality in their family tree. Nation means language and culture, not a ”Polish” origin. Our kings married German, Austrian princesses, and they also left illegitimate children with Jewish concubines, e.g. Kazimierz Wielki (Casimir the Great). Our great grandparents of higher and lower classes did the same. A Pole is a person who regards himself / herself as Polish – even though their grandmother was Russian, great grandfather was a German living in Saxony, and great grandmother was a Hungarian Jew. A Pole is the person who feels happy listening to Chopin, Moniuszko or Szymanowski, who feels among his / her natives while they speak Polish all around. Bearing such Polishness in mind, we call our church THE NATIVE CHURCH OF POLAND.
The Native Church of Poland professes the worship of One God – the same who is called ”Allach” by Arabs, and ”Yahweh” or ”Jehovah” by followers of Judaism and Christianity. Our distant ancestors had called the same One God ”Świętowit” (”Svetovid”), in their own language and way till they were forced to call Him differently in the 10 th century – the venerable but strange name which was given by people remote to them in every respect and hardly Asian like.
Slavic people were obliged to relinquish not only their own vision of God, but also His name. Those who did not comply with that prohibition were severely punished, often by beheading with a sword. For not abiding by the fast, sinners got their teeth knocked out by executioners. We have nothing to be ashamed of. Our distant ancestors were not savage people. It is known, for example, that iron was smelted in the territories of Poland. Tradesmen supplied the smelted iron to Roman smiths. Slavs’ spiritual life was not primitive at all. Their philosophical–theological concepts, recorded as complex ideograms, have survived till our times and are successfully deciphered by scientists. Is it possible to restore the religion of distant Slavs? Yes, it is. However, this restoration will be hypothetical in many points.
It is better to have even a hypothetical wholeness in some points than just inconsistent pieces. Countries dwelt by Slavic nations are spread on a big area of Europe. Results of research have given us information about the common cultural facet of variable Slavic tribes. The common framework of beliefs is revealed among western, southern and eastern Slavs. All of them used an advanced and mythologised vision of the world which had similar patterns and which was developed before christianisation. Thus, we are talking about the Slavic religion. Its concise characteristic can be found in the twelth century ”Slavic Chronicle” by Helmold: “In addition to manifold multitude of idols which they have got to enliven the fields and woods, or assign to sorrows and pleasures, they do not deny that they believe in one God in Heaven commanding the others. The Almighty cares only about the things of heaven while the others – obediently fulfilling tasks assigned to them – come from his blood (ie, they have emerged from Him – parable LES) and those being closer to the God of Gods are more illustrious.”
An outstanding scholar of the religion of Proto-Slavs, Boguslaw Gediga, posits that the Slavic “tradition of so much shaped pantheon of deities in which one is the main god – and actually the whole concept of the pantheon of deities is nearly approaching monotheism – must reach far back..” Such concepts defined in religious studies are defined as “henoteism”. As for the ancient Slavs having been “henotheists” scientists are in agreement. ”Thus, as Lech Leciejewicz put it, there was a tendency to monotheism in the Slavic religion intertwined with worship of nature, especially the Sun, typical of agricultural tribes.”
About 550 years ago, Procopius of Caesarea wrote that the Slavs believed in one God, the lord of all, and the gods of nature. That is why the name Svetovid (Świętowit) was not either the name of a “pagan idol” or of the”devil”, but the name of God – the One God. The henotheistic idea of divinity was a convenient ground for the adoption of Christianity. Religious “revolution” of the tenth century brutally destroying everything that related to the spiritual world of our ancestors cut us off our roots. Christian missionaries behaved like barbarian invaders in our territories. Today, the distant past of our Native Land can be reconstructed on the basis of the few foreign documents and archaeological excavations.
The Slavic Model of the World
Perplexity of the four-faced pole of Zbrucz – as scientists call a huge statue of Svetovid kept in the Archeological Museum in Krakow – has been provoking researchers for almost one hundred and fifty years to make further attempts to interpret it. The development of scientific research methodology has contributed to the rise of two scientific pieces of work in the last two decades. The pieces of work have been done on a particularly large scale and their authors are Adam Łapiński and Janusz Kotlarczyk.
Each symbol is ambiguous, and the ambiguity lies in the fact that it can be interpreted in several parallel ways – and this parallelism may be a profound interpretation of its meaning.
One of Adam Łapiński’s presumptions is that the pole makes up a ”text” recorded by the form of art which somebody once addressed to somebody. He also adopted the thesis of the universality of the code used in the monument. He assumed that the work is symbolic and, therefore, its significance is not determined by the reality of presenting it, but the reality to which the representation refers.
In his work the author based on the primary idea of cybernetics and the general theory of systems: it is impossible to reconstruct the meaning of any wholeness by summing up the meanings of particular parts – in the same way, it is impossible to specify a function of a tool by totting up the functions of its components. For instance, a watch is not the sum of gear wheels and springs, but the structure – and this structure makes up the meaning of entirety. To make sense of the wholeness, it is necessary to seek a part of interpretation through interpreting the whole, through getting to know about the ”structure of the system.”
The author interprets the symbolism of the pole of Zbrucz in two ways: cosmologically and sociologically. The human has always and everywhere been presenting oneself and the universe as an organised entity – as Order which means Cosmos. For the human, this order has always been the Supreme Order, the Highest Stage and is recognised as the largest and most magnificent creation of God, or is sometimes identified with Him. The individual is still experiencing a sense that he / she is only a microscopic part of the giant system, thus understands that it will be better for them to act in accordance with the principles of the functioning of the wholeness.
The modern ”ecological” ideology is – in this sense – of parareligious character. “The most widespread and at the same time the most persistently popularised by ancient control systems concept of cosmos in ancient cultures was its vision as gradual opposition – the extreme links of which dynamic sky and static earth are divided by some cosmic levels, so called celestial spheres (skies). The extreme links of the opposition – astral heaven and the earth – are tied by the axis piercing the following spheres whose bottom indicates the centre of the earth, and the top denotes the point of rotation of astral sky. Around the pivot revolve cosmic bodies that belong to the following spheres – the Sun, the Moon and the planets. The abstract idea of the cosmic axis which belongs to the most common terms on the globe was specified in variable cultures: in the form of a column (pole), pillar, mountain or tree which stands in the middle of the world supporting the dome of heaven with its top.
The column found in Zbrucz belongs to such models. Its vertical program (seen synchronously by the viewer) relates to the static aspect of the cosmos, to its hierarchical structure (the hierarchy of cosmic spheres). The lower zone of the column program can be linked with the lowest cosmic sphere – the Moon sphere; the central zone – with the Sun sphere; the upper zone – with the highest cosmic sphere, with the sphere of fixed stars. The horizontal program of the pole, percieved diachronically refers to the dynamic aspect of the cosmos, to its cyclic structure, to the idea of time the essence of which is recurrence, cyclicality and four-phaseness. The four presentations of the upper zone which – as we have agreed – represent the astral sky, are represented by four quarters of the sky. The four presentations of the central zone demonstrate a yearly four-phase course of the sun. The presentations of the upper and central zone show the idea of the year that is taken from observation of the sun against the sky.
Thus, it can be said as once Joachim Lelewel suggested – that the four presentations of the upper zone demonstrate the seasons of the year (”places” of the Sun among the stars in the yearly cycle): the female character with a horn stands for summer, the male character with a horse and weapon stands for autumn, the female character with a discus means spring, whereas the male character without an attribute denotes winter. The four presentations of the lower zone relate to the monthly moon cycle in the sky (one refers to its invisibility).
Concluding, we can state that the pole from Zbrucz is a model describing the time space structure of the cosmos. The latter of the mentioned contemporary researchers of the pole of Zbrucz, Janusz Kotlarczyk, was occupied with the archaeoastronomy cult for many years seeing in it an important research tool for archeologists that helps to understand the meaning and purpose of various constructions, quadrangular grooves, stone circles, or pairs of mounds. The author called the pole of Zbrucz ”the anthem in honour of the Sun” and he assumes that the whole meaning of ideas becomes fully understandable only by orientation of the column walls against the sides of the world.
“The sun in its annual course rises and sets at different points of the horizon – moving from the extreme position in the south during the winter solstice to the extreme position of the north during the summer solstice. There is no need to justify at this point that the discussed courses had been in the spotlight of miscellaneous nations all over the globe and had made up the frame of the primary calendar for a very long time.” If we direct the head side of the lower floor of the pole (with the kneeling male character seen from the front) in the direction of the Sun rise ”during the winter solstice – the phenomenon which is the central point of the yearly cycle of the circulation of the Sun – we percieve that the character with a tiny figure next to the head on the central floor and the character with a horn on the main floor are directed in the same side.
The relevance of the whole wall is unequivocal: the Sun rising on 22 nd December (from dawn – the central floor) is the god who has overcome his death (having humiliated his enemy? – the lower floor) and soon will rise behind the horizon.
The victorious deity drinks a new horn of divine strengthening refreshment as a symbol of cyclical rebirth and rejuvenation while predicting prosperity and abundance (the upper floor). Towards sunset on the day before the winter solstice the wall shows an imagned character holding a circle (the upper floor).
This could mean that the setting Sun, despite the momentary weakness remains immortal. With the hope of immortality of souls of the dead that go to the land of peace located in the west led by the setting Sun – deus psychopompus – the habit of funerals before sunset developed. The identical wheels are held by the characters in the Serbian medieval images. An announcement of the rebirth of the Sun seems to be the image of an evening twilight as a woman-mother with her breasts overflowing with food.
The character with a horse and saber is directed towards west during the summer solstice. The summer sun (22 nd June) is in its greatest strength – it rises highest and stays the longest way in the longest day which is always the symbol of a horse. Sunset on that day was not apparently characterised by anything special. Staying of the most powerful Sun in the afterlife world was the shortest so it was not threatened with anything. Apparently for this reason, the character of the upper floor facing NW does not own any attribute. The morning dawn and the evening twilight do not have exposed breasts as the sun was not born on that day. However, the next spoked wheel on the lowest floor expresses a thought like a horse – a flick of the night Sun.
As it can be concluded from an attempt to decode semantics of images, the obelisk of Zbrucz can be regarded as the ideogram of events that the diety experiences periodically while being in two opposing positions; while the winter solstice – the triumph of being reborn and while the summer solstice – the triumph of the highest authority and power. Also the belief in the presence of the nocturnal sun and parental role of auroras belong to this theology.
“Noteworthy is the author’s observation that the tops of heads of ”the dancing characters” in the central zone of the Zbrucz column are cut off with a strip separating floors. The strip could, in this case, represent the horizon beyond which the Sun appreas. The author willingy identifies ”the dancing characters” with the image of auroras going ahead of sunsets on the days of solstices. The tiny figure next to the head of the dancing female character, being on the same wall as the character with the horn, can mean the birth of a new Sun from dawn on the day of the winter solstice.”
Proto-Slavic cross or “Hands of God”
Many researchers analysing the issue of the cross motif in ancient times state that it
was the symbol of the chief deity. In view of the well-known and quite common in
different religions ”solarisation of chief deities, also in the case of the Lusatian and
Pomeranian cultures it symbolises a solar deity. An example of hard evidence of this
judgement is so called “narrative engraving” on a worship vessel from Biała near
Łódź. It consists of a number of simplified drawings – ideographic characters.
Among them prevail human figures standing on backs of animals and various forms
of the cross. Man standing in a hieratic pose on the back of the animal is obviously
not a realistic but symbolic representation already well-known by ancient Egyptians.
The mural inside the tomb of Pharaoh Seti II (19th Dynasty) shows the soul of the
deceased on the back of a walking lioness; he does not mount her but stands on her
as the soul does not weigh and can not fall down.
In the Egyptian Museum in Cairo there is a wooden statue of Amenhotep II whose soul also goes on the back of a lioness. Characters on the vessel of Biała are souls of the dead who became heroes after death.Their hands are magnified like combs. In all the ancient Slavic engravings the comb occurs in the context of the dialectics of the highest power, that is, the Sun and the Moon. “Whoever has combed with a bone comb – and people of the Pomeranian cultures used such combs – they surely felt and seen electric discharge like a thunderbolt. Linking the image of the comb with lines of the sky, either by linking lines or – like in the engraving of Piotrowice Kołobrzeg – by hands reaching the sky, must give us interpretation of the image of the comb as the symbol of cosmic energy.
“Characters of heroes or demigods”on the ashtray of Biała have huge hands in the shape of combs as they are participating in guiding the ”heavenly” fiery powers – lightning and thunder. One of the signs of the lower belt is an ideogram expressing the whole concept of theology. An outstanding researcher Marian Kwapiński draws our attention to the fact that abstract ideograms are their own names of the highest powers and their prerogatives.” The mentioned sign could be called ”God’s Hands.” Making the cross, four thunder empowered hands reaching in four corners of the world, embrace it with an imperious and caring gesture. Between the arms of the ”proto Slavic” cross, in four scopes we see four bent crosses (swarzyce – svargas). This is an older than Proto Slavs (or Proto Germans) sign because it is an Indo European symbolic sign: the sign of the solar deity. There are four svargas: two with single endings and two with double so they symbolise not one but two characters of the ”heavenly fire”. Two aspects of deity – the Sun and the Thunder.
The two ordinary svargas indicate the powers of the Sun whereas the ones with doubled ”wings” – as they express a bigger dynamics of movement – the powers of the Thunder. The whole ”God’s Hands” ideogram expresses the Highest Holiness in its two countenances: sunny-fiery and imperiously-guardian. It is the symbol of Overwhelming Power worshipped by Slavs from islands on the Baltic as far as steppes of the Dnieper – first as the four arms stretched in four sides of the world, and then as the one pole with four faces, Świętowid (Svetovid).
As scientific research has demonstrated, the ”pole of Zbrucz” is a complex in its structure ideographic image. Its semantic analysis allows for reconstruction of the bases of ancient Slavs’ faith which clearly specified the position of the human in the surrounding world, and as a result – the range of the human’s rights and duties. The Holy ”pole of Zbrucz” made believers realise that 1. the human being is a particle of nature, the creation of the power of the cosmos, 2. the human being is a particle of society. The human’s existence, safety and life success are dependent on respecting the Truths. In othe words: Svetovid requires compliance with the laws of Nature and the laws of Social Order. He requires them from us for our own good. Our God forbids us to steal or kill, to infringe and rob. He orders us to respect human relationships which organise society – from the family to the state. He requires us to protect Nature which is his holy creation.
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