Bosnian horoscope or circle of destiny is based in its essence on principles of folklore (agricultural) calendar which divides the years into two seasons – summer and winter or better to say, to the light and dark part. (1) Inside such a division there are twelve signs from which half belong to the light and the second to the dark part of the year, and as such they are each other’s opposites. Circle of destiny is a graphical representation of Universal Mother’ stomach, symbolic characters which are depicted in that divine circle represent all living world which exists on earth and they are plants and trees, animals and humans. In a direct and picturesque way this is a representation which shows that we all come from the same source and that we are connected and that we cannot exist without each other. Shortly, Bosnian horoscope is a shamanistic representation of what our forefathers (Illyrians) believed in, with a clear focus on nature and its forces in their ongoing interaction they create a unique symbiosis of material and spiritual strength.
Patronage i.e. the most influential elements on the circle of destiny are Sun, Moon and Earth as well as four elements, everything that we have been throughout history and all our lives exposed to. Although four elements are in constant permeation, as keepers of life and harmony, they have their considerably stronger influence in certain parts of the year so that in the warmer part of the year the elements of wind and fire dominate, while in the cold part water and earth dominate. Through the influence of elements we can follow the base of the circle of destiny and cycle of life and death, which in its alternation encourages life energy and creates fertility.
It is known that Illyrians have inherited matriarchy in whose centre was the worship of Universal Mother – “One which gives life to everything”, whose existence we can find in oral traditions of our people, from which we would point out the ones about the separation of the year, tales of snijet and other certain mythological representations.
Though at first sight they may seem as parts of different traditions all of them are segments of a unique cult of fertility, which has remained in the collective consciousness to this day due to its existential purpose.Celebration of fertility and love
Beginning of the dark part of the circle is called “feasting” or “feast” since it represents a period of year when the fruits are ripe i.e. fertility has reached its peak. Since the old days it was an opportunity to stage festivities of thanks and celebration since then the community has ample food to live off of until spring. That’s why Universal Mother is celebrated, a personification of all deities of fertility in various cultures, alfa and omega of entire creation. But, though this event represents the end of the light part of the year and entry into a dark one, we shouldn’t forget that it doesn’t signify anything bad nor negative but quite the opposite. It, namely, hints at the pagan new year which at this time of plenty has ideal predispositions for celebration and happiness.
Before the beginning of the dark part of the year since the old days people ploughed their fields in order to sow wheat, symbol of Universal Mother, i.e. in a ritual way stimulate from the beginning the cycle of fertility. By no accident, in the autumn among Bosnian people traditionally marriages took place, since agricultural works were finished, food was plenty and with that conditions for humans to “plant” their seeds was met and to renew life in the community. That’s why since the old days this was a period of giving thanks but also love. All of this was favoured by elements water and earth, both symbols of female fertility, which in the Universal Mother herself indicate creation of a new life. Namely, in monotheism it is claimed that a human being is created out of earth, and in the much older traditions life is created from earth.Holly silence
In the second part of the dark part of the year which is called “holly silence” nature is in the phase of apparent sleep i.e. hibernation, forces of life receded deep into the ground and are awaiting after three full months, when fire and air assume domination, to awaken and activate. But, while “holly silence” lasts a real mythological play is taking place in which unstoppable desire for existence through a new birth culminates with death. Namely, at the time of hibernation (sleep), complete calmness of nature in winter months, sleeping Universal Mother is loved and fertilised cunningly by a dragon which is called Sep or Sap in some traditions, giving all of his life energy into her body, and after three or four months she gives birth to a divine snijet – young god with dragon blood and strength, which occurs during the light part of the year or better to say at the time of the phase. (2)
Allusion to this mythological tradition was always located in folk tales about the birth of snijet – dragon cub, which would attack individual women while they were alone in the field or at home, hypnotising them with its emerald eyes and then making love to them. In the rest of the tale people claimed that a fertilised woman gives birth to snijet after three or four months. It is important to stress that in folklore tales there is no mention of the legend of dragoness i.e. female dragons, therefore we come to a conclusion that there are only male dragons. That’s why traditionally dragons sexually attack women and even cows.
That Universal Mother is fertilised is hinted at by the folk calendar which states that in this dark period of the year (winter) female names dominate Veljača and Baba out of which the first one implies to Universal (Mother), from the abbreviation Vela, and Baba to a pregnant woman (zababila se, obabila se). After the period of baba comes did, i.e. she is joined by a male mythical character which personifies God which she will give birth to at the beginning of the light part of the year and in that manner mark its beginning.
In this new cycle domination is taken over by elements of air and fire which enables the birth of a dragon god. By no accident the custom of lighting a fire around the house at dawn was kept, Mijene (6th May) with a goal ¸of chasing away snakes from the home i.e. dragon, ancient symbol of evil. Namely, according to folk descriptions, a dragon is nothing else but a long snake with wings and pointy tale, on whose body are small arms and legs. Universal Mother, personification of good, gives birth to the god of evil Sep, which is at the same time her son and lover, so that she may continue the eternal circle of life and fertility. With a desire to limit the power of the evil god, dragon and to remove it from people, at dawn fires would be traditionally lit whose fires and smoke should frighten him. (3) It is no accident that in Christian mythology this date is connected to a story about Saint George which kills a dragon with his spear, which is nothing but a modified version of an ancient pagan myth about the birth of divine Sep.
In a mythological sense this fear is justified since in all folk traditions about divine Sep he is always trying to destroy the world and swallow the sun and moon (eclipse) in order to avoid his own death, from which he is born again through the womb of the Universal Mother. With this the ancient cycle of birth and death is renewed who knows how often in mysteries of fertility but also it confirms that the living tissue of the entire universe is made out of the principles of good and evil.
Universal Mother and her son recover for seven days after birth, in this case from the 6th to the 13th of May, and that period is according to traditional belief charged with extreme magical strength which can be deadly for humans. (4) As is believed even the sun is poisonous until the period of Mijena passes and if someone would fall asleep in the sun light or in the shade of a walnut tree he would risk of falling terminally ill. Belief that the sun is poisonous until Mijena passes leads us to a conclusion that it is hostile towards the birth of the divine dragon form which it is believed that it constantly attacks the sun trying to devour it.Dragon and snake (incarnation Universal Mother) on Bosnian tombstone (stećak).
Young son – dragon soon abandons his mother, future lover, and leaves in order to circulate through the earth and exit it, he would ascend towards the sky and would come back to earth again, renewing vegetative circle with his mystical flight.
All of the above is no fiction it is based on Bosnian traditions and folk calendar which together, in its entirety, presents ancient beliefs of our forefathers, intriguing reptilian cult which is unique to our people and which through folklore survived to this day. Salamander, Frog as well as the Dragon (snijet), are shamanistic totems deeply involved in the traditional stories of Bosnian people and with that original representatives of Illyrian cult of fertility.NOTE (1) Division of the year into two seasons i.e. summer and winter, i.e. light and dark part of the year, without any doubt is a Celtic belief which was inherited by Illyrians during ancient times. (2) In the folk calendar Jurjevo or Hidirlez (6th May) among our people was once called Mijena, which is an abbreviation of the word change, which in folk language implies a small lunar change. (3) Among the Illyrians the black dragon is the god of evil which seeks to destroy the world and our forefathers were extremely afraid of him. It was believed that for every sun or lunar eclipse he is to blame. Wanting to scare him, the Illyrians would bang on metal dishes and created a larger noise wanting to scare and chase him away. (4) Among Bosnian people there was a custom that poorer women rest after birth for three days and the more affluent ones for seven days, which was considered to be more in line with the richer people. With this rich mother aligned with Universal Mother.