This final episode of the series features (a lot of) snow and the supernatural entities that AM (my interviewee) senses among the flakes. In fact, this is where we’ll begin.
Positive vs Negative
“You may see some big, ordinary flakes of snow. These sticky, wet flakes come with strong winds and are usually manifestations of chaotic spirits and energy. These cause heavy, unpleasant feelings.” Of course, we’d prefer not to have any of those. Fortunately, for every Yin there is a Yang. She continues:
“It’s very good, very positive if we have slowly falling snow with a very beautiful crystalline structure.” This, (in Russian) forms the perfect “Снежинка” (Snezhinka) or “snowflake” she tells me. “It’s a perfect star that shines with all the colours of the rainbow in the street lights. Such a type arrives with positive, cosy energy. It is the most harmonious and beautiful manifestation of winter energy and winter spirits.” Incidentally, AM differentiates between spirits and energies:- “Energies are less personal, more general: they are forces of nature. Spirits have character/personality.”
AM tells me that her connection is about more than beings, sensed at a distance and much more than a mere acknowledgment of their presence:
“I can feel these creatures and spirits around me. I express a positive attitude and thank them for the beautiful atmosphere when we are out walking during the day -or night. They reply with the same positive attitude and feelings.” In spite of the dark winter, AM tells me: “They like a lot of sunlight -more than the night. I have felt them since childhood.”
She still feels them now when the right kind of weather brings them, but that is not so common as it once was.
In fact, the current winter (2019- 2020) has only recently delivered snow onto the streets and rooftops of Moscow and other cities that are normally blanketed in white by now.
Our changing climate
“Russia’s capital city Moscow experienced its first significant snowfall of the winter season on Saturday (11th Jan 2020) …about 4.3 centimeters in the Russian capital as temperatures dropped to a low of -5 degrees Celsius. The 2019/20 winter season was the hottest Russia had recorded, with many pointing to the effects of climate change and global warming.”
A quick scan of the article’s accompanying photos reveal a relatively modest scattering, by Russian standards. It wasn’t until February 8th that a reassuringly heavy snowfall descended. By comparison the first snows usually start by the end of October. This season’s unusual conditions (unparalleled since 1886) saw the expensive distribution of ‘fake’ snow in central Moscow, to set the scene for the New Year celebrations.
Usually, the city authorities spend the equivalent of millions of dollars on annual snow removal! This year’s human-manufactured “snowfall” was derived from crushed ice rinks, and soon melted away in the unusually moderate temperatures, regardless.
AM too, is in agreement with the consensus: “The (difference) is due to climate change,” she tells me. “We had beautiful weather before, now it’s a more European type of winter, with wet, unpleasant crystal needles and snowflakes instead of beautiful stars.” She is very choosy about the type of snow that she prefers, and even the way it is delivered.
I soon learn that Russians have several words that describe snowfall, certainly more than we do in the west, and Siberian tribespeople have even more:
“Позёмка, пороша, вьюга, метель, пурга, буран”, she tells me, referring to common Russian snow-descriptors. This verbal assault transliterates into: ‘Pozomka, porosha, v’yuga, metel’, purga, buran’, and translates unsatisfactorily into the English: “Blowing snow, powder, blizzard, blizzard, snowstorm, snowstorm”! We just don’t have the range of vocabulary to do them all justice.
AM reveals that the whole issue gets more complex, the further you venture into the extremities of Russian/Siberian existence: “there are regional variations with even more specific terms – up to 100 names for types of snow, wind, ice and other manifestations of winter in the north. Different regions: Altai, the far east, Kamchatka, Yakutia, etc have their own variations too; many connected to winter energies and spirits.”
AM tells me that, historically; Russian people could always distinguish between the good and bad manifestations of winter -whether consciously or unconsciously. They had various names and classifications for types of blizzards, snow storms, winds and the snows carried upon them. Spirits and the nature of the winds upon which they traveled were a part of life. Her inference is that human sensibility to such beings has dwindled today, among those preoccupied with the mundane, material ways of modern living.
However, if you think that winter spirits exist only in the minds of pagan occultists, then think again; one entity still filters effortlessly into the lives of pragmatic modern Russians too, in plain sight -albeit in modernised form. Consider Дед Мороз (Ded Moroz) or “Grandfather Frost”; commonly (and misleadingly) known as the Russian “Santa Claus”. His origins lie far back in “Slavic mythology”.
One man’s mythology is another’s religion of course, and what lies at the root of such beliefs? Whereas the mainstream media coats such entities in cartoonish stylings and jovial temperament, others living on the edge of nature see things very differently. AM has something to say on the matter:
“Our symbol: Ded Moroz has a very different nature (to the cartoon/fairy tale version). Originally, the spirit of the winter; his nature/character depends upon the wind and it’s origins. He can be dangerous and very destructive. Local people in Siberia, Altai and the far east give him different names. If you look deeply into his origins according to various indigenous peoples of Russia, you’ll discover that he has a variety of different names, natures and faces, depending upon the wind that brings him.”
Perhaps, even now, the spirits are closer than we think.