Łysa Góra - a place of witches' sabbaths

edited June 16 in Poland

Łysa Góra is located in Holy Cross voivodeship in Poland. The text below is translated from the Polish article (the link to the source at the bottom), images are taken from there too, and here's the link to Wikipedia article about Łysa Góra: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Łysa_Góra



The need to worship supernatural powers is much older than the temples. Slavic peoples have worshipped their deities mainly in the sacred groves. Sacred groves were magical places for a lot of cultures, where one can get closer to the gods, ancestral spirits, or simply to power of nature. Sometimes sacred groves were places to worship a certain deity, and also had a function of connecting the people with the spirits of their ancestors.

For sacral goals people were chosing the places, that were difficult to reach, thus some of the gods were worshipped in near the sacred oaks, hidden deep in the woods. If the territory had an impressive hill, which according to the people the contact with gods was stronger that in a village. One of currently most known places devoted to religious purposes was mountain Ślęża. But going east from that place we can appear in Łysa Góra [Bald Mountain if translate] in Świętokrzyskie [translation: "Holy Cross"] mountains.



View on Łysa Góra from Stara Słupia


Łysa Góra is a very important centre of religious cult located in Poland, also known as Łysiec or Święty Krzyż. There is also a stony bank [don't know if it's a correct translation of the thing] long for 1,4 km, wide for 10-15 m, and high for 3 m. It was built of quarzite supported with wooden construction. At the base are located "dymiarka" [dymiarki in plural], which are Early Medieval primitive forges. The bank is dated on 8th century, which is a period of stability after the great migration. At the bottom of the mountain is a statue called Pielgrzym [Pilgrim] or św. Onufry [st. Onuphrius] and wears the coat, hood and a necklace.
According to the historians, on Łysa Góra three deities were worshipped: Bodo, Łado and Lel; or Świst, Poświst and Pogoda. Sometimes they are connected with Celtic Lug, Lel, Lleu and Esus. Celtic influence on forming of Slavic beliefs is known, but nothing suggests that the centre was build by them - most likely it is a fully Slavic place of cult. On the mouintain possibly Lel and Polel were worshipped; the only information on these two comes from the chronicle written by Maciej Miechowita, where they have been described only as sons of Łada - another mysterious figure from Slavic pantheon.



Lel and Polel


On Łysa Góra people were also paying respect to the ancestral spirits. Every year, at night on 30th April and 1st May on the top of the mouintain the crowds of people gathered to put out the sacred fires, and to welcome the spirits which were at that time coming back to this world. At dawn the new fire was reignited, which symbolized the cyclic rebirth of time for another year. This night on Łysa Góra became a sacred space-time continuum, when everyone could attend the sacral sphere of gods' world, normally separated from human life.
Among all local legends the most known one is about all the witches and sorceresses from the region meeting on Łysa Góra. In regular time the witches weren't different at all from common women living in local villages. A witch could be an old lonely woman, and young married woman as well, so recognizing a witch was very difficult. By the look of things nothing was suggesting their real nature. However, as the legends say, the witches were in contact with the devils, which gave them special powers. They could cast spells, and were doing their magic with using crows feathers, horses hoofs, goats and deers horns and gristles from bats wings, which they collected in St. John's night [Kupala Night]. From one side, people were affraid of evil powers that witches possessed. But on the other hand, they often used witches' mysteriouus advices, skills, and were consuming the elixirs made of herbs, that witches prepared. Also, a witch was never casting spells on anybody without a reason. It was even good to have one in the neighbourhood, as the gained knowledge about the herbs very often helped when people were sick. Some say a witch could have been recognized by two goats in their eyes - one per a pupil - which is why they never looked people straight in the eyes.



A witch by Kamila Kuc


At nights on Łysa Góra the witches gathered to have a sabbath. Before the trip to the top - naturally - on a broom, they were covering their vehicle in special salve, made of lizards, snakes, sparrow feathers and frogspawn. If they didn't covered it carefully, they were falling down and had to do the rest of trip by foot. The broom was worked after casting a special spell: "las nie las, wieś nie wieś, ty mnie tam, miotło nieś" [forest not forest, village not village, you broom carry me there]. Their trip was started by flying away from a chimney and flying to the sky on the crossroads. During the sabbath the witches were meeting with devils to celebrate, have bonfires and to prepare poisons. The summer solstice was an important night for every witch, as exactly at the Kupala Night the herbs were getting a great power. All local witches were gathering them on the slopes of Łysa Góra. Additionally, during the sabbaths they were exchanging their knowlegde, were learning new spells and how to prepare new mixtures. When the cockcrow the witches said bye to the devils, and were coming home on their brooms. These meetings are believed to be stopped since the benedictine monastery emerged, and the monks cast the witches out and the mountain lost its powers.
Even today the legend about witches sabbaths on Łysa Góra is very alive. Just go to any booth with local souvenirs, and you will see a lot such sorcery items. It's unacceptable to leave Łysa Góra without a witch on a broom.



The view from the observation deck near Łysa Góra


Source: https://www.slawoslaw.pl/lysa-gora-miejsce-spotkan-wszystkich-szanujacych-sie-czarownic/


Comments

  • Cool article! <3  I see the ruins of a Pagan Wall from the 9th century are located there!


  • Yes, similar are on Ślęża. But I think there's no solid information about who exactly made them. :)
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