Ukrainian Pysanka Ritual Egg Decorating Kit

CAD $65.00

In pre-Christian times, Dazhboh was one of the major deities in the Slavic pantheon; birds were the sun god’s chosen creations, for they were the only ones who could get near him. Humans could not catch the birds, but they did manage to obtain the eggs the birds laid. Thus, the eggs were magical objects, a source of life. The egg was also honored during rite-of-Spring festivals, it represented the rebirth of the earth. The long, hard winter was over; the earth burst forth and was reborn just as the egg miraculously burst forth with life. The egg therefore, was believed to have special powers.

Many superstitions were attached to pysanky, they were thought to protect households from evil spirits, catastrophe, lightning and fires. Eggs with spiral motifs were the most powerful, as the demons and other unholy creatures would be trapped within the spirals forever. A blessed pysanka could be used to find demons hidden in the dark corners of your house.

They held powerful magic, and had to be disposed of properly, lest a witch get a hold of one. She could use the shell to gather dew, and use the gathered dew to dry up a cow’s milk. The witch could also use bits of the eggshell to poke people and sicken them. The eggshell had to be ground up very finely or broken into pieces and tossed into a running stream. The cloth used to dry pysanky was powerful, too, and could be used to cure skin diseases. And it was considered very bad luck to trample on a pysanka–God would punish anyone who did with a variety of illnesses.

There were superstitions regarding the colors and designs on the pysanky. One old Ukrainian myth centered on the wisdom of giving older people gifts of pysanky with darker colors and/or rich designs, for their life has already been filled. Similarly, it is appropriate to give young people pysanky with white as the predominant color because their life is still a blank page. Girls would often give pysanky to young men they fancied, and include heart motifs. It was said, though, that a girl should never give her boyfriend a pysanky that has no design on the top and bottom of the egg, as this might signify that the boyfriend would soon lose his hair.

This kit was ritually smoked on my altar and contains 1 traditional kistka, 5 traditional dyes (yellow, orange, scarlet, light blue, light green, black), 1 block of beeswax, lore scroll with instructions, ritual wiping cloth, and 3 egg designs. The kit comes complete nestled together in a beautiful wood box filled with moss.

In stock

Description

According to many scholars, the art of wax-resist (batik) egg decoration in Slavic cultures, and particularly in Ukraine, probably dates back to the pre-Christian era. They base this on the widespread nature of the practice, and pre-Christian nature of the symbols utilized. No ancient examples of intact pysanky exist, as the eggshells of domesticated fowl are fragile, but fragments of colored shells with wax-resist decoration on them were unearthed during the archaeological excavations in Ostrówek, Poland, (near the city of Opole), where remnants of a Slavic settlement from the early Piast Era were found.

As in many ancient cultures, Ukrainians worshipped a sun god, Dazhboh. The sun was important – it warmed the earth and thus was a source of all life. Eggs decorated with nature symbols became an integral part of spring rituals, serving as benevolent talismans.

In pre-Christian times, Dazhboh was one of the major deities in the Slavic pantheon; birds were the sun god’s chosen creations, for they were the only ones who could get near him. Humans could not catch the birds, but they did manage to obtain the eggs the birds laid. Thus, the eggs were magical objects, a source of life. The egg was also honored during rite-of-Spring festivals––it represented the rebirth of the earth. The long, hard winter was over; the earth burst forth and was reborn just as the egg miraculously burst forth with life. The egg therefore, was believed to have special powers.

With the advent of Christianity, via a process of religious syncretism, the symbolism of the egg was changed to represent, not nature’s rebirth, but the rebirth of man. Christians embraced the egg symbol and likened it to the tomb from which Christ rose. With the acceptance of Christianity in 988, the decorated pysanka, in time, was adapted to play an important role in Ukrainian rituals of the new religion. Many symbols of the old sun worship survived and were adapted to represent Easter and Christ’s Resurrection.

In modern times, the art of the pysanka was carried abroad by Ukrainian emigrants to North and South America, where the custom took hold, and concurrently banished in Ukraine by the Soviet regime (as a religious practice), where it was nearly forgotten. Museum collections were destroyed both by war and by Soviet cadres. Since Ukrainian Independence in 1991, there has been a rebirth of this folk art in its homeland, and a renewal of interest in the preservation of traditional designs and research into its symbolism and history.

This kit was ritually smoked on my altar and contains 1 traditional kistka, 5 traditional dyes (yellow, orange, scarlet, light blue, light green, black), 1 block of beeswax, lore scroll with instructions, ritual wiping cloth, and 3 egg designs. The kit comes complete nestled together in a beautiful wood box filled with moss.

Additional information

Weight 450 g
Dimensions 13 × 8 × 7 cm

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