“I always felt these beings before reading about them in fairy tales.”
AM is talking to me about her lifelong experience of the “other”, a world hidden from most of us who are wrapped up in the immediacy of modern, mundane existence. She lives in the greater Moscow region, but feels no affinity for the city’s daily heave and grind. AM is a ‘sensitive’ (or: clairsentient) in our parlance -which still accommodates such mystical terminology, in spite of the all-pervading techno-concrete reality of our early 21st Century existence.
She is trying to explain the nature of the beings that she feels around her; visitors arriving on the winds and snow of the winter months who manifest themselves in displays of snow and ice. All for their own amusement, or for the joy and dismay of mortals too grounded to comprehend their true nature. She tells me that the cardinal points from which they arrive are key to understanding the characters and characteristics of the entities and the currents of air that they travel upon.
“It can be dangerous if they come from the north,” she warns. She feels no spirits on these winds, just an icy drain on the energy of the living, on our abodes and on the very environment itself. “It is more destructive and cold. It saps life energy from the houses and the people. Local people (she refers to those living on the periphery of modern existence) consider this a spirit but I think it is just emptiness.” Which is worse?, I wonder. Then she adds, cryptically, “I can be correct and they can be correct as well!”.
She tells me how indigenous people fear such entities that can be: “Hostile, dangerous, and destructive,” to them. She continues: “People try to save themselves and their homes. They prepare themselves and perform rituals to protect against the winter.” These Shamanic influences also reach a lot closer to our homes than we might imagine. Holly McWhorter on Inhabitat reveals:-
“The roots of Santa’s style, and his bag of goodies, sleigh, reindeer, bizarre midnight flight, distinctive chimney-based means of entry into the home, and even the way we decorate our houses at Christmas, seem to lead all the way back to the ancestral traditions of a number of indigenous arctic circle dwellers — the Kamchadales and the Koryaks of Siberia, specifically.”
Winter’s icy grip still reaches into modernity, in spite of our progress. AM continues: “This is why people feel discomfort and lack energy. Everything is covered and captured by the ice and cold, held down and trapped under cold icy ‘bones’. She refers to fierce structures of ice, weighing down our lives and the world around us.
During the winter, she explains: “People feel like their living space is shrinking around them and they feel only cold, both outside and inside. This is why Russian people value inner warmth and the warmth of relationships between people. It’s why their homes are much warmer than homes in the west”.
Spirits of the warmer cold
Having warned me at length about the nature of entities originating from the icy north, AM has more positive things to say about their spiritual counterparts from elsewhere.
“The best of them are strong, healthy and pure. These usually come from the East; from the Altai mountains, the enormous East and West Siberian Taiga forests, Kamchatka and the forests of Karelia. They live in these places and protect them.”
She then tells me about the ways that benevolent supernatural visitors like to interact with local mortals – even when these higher beings are beyond perception (for most humans) and both forms of existence are devoid of a common spoken language. Fortunately, the physical elements of the winter environment are a reality to both parties. AM continues:-
“Good spirits like to look in through the windows at the people and like to play in the light. They love children and like to play with them. The children can feel this and are happy to play with the snow and walk through it. The spirits create a beautiful winter atmosphere and decorate trees with snow and ice, like jewelry. They create beauty everywhere: beautiful towns and beautiful forests through both winter days and nights.” If we cannot perceive them, then at least we can appreciate their work.