Thursday, October 10, 2013

Dream archaeology in the Czech heartland

Vyšehrad, Hora Říp, Tetin, Czech Republic

Here she is, in bronze, with the plowman she dreamed she would marry, up on a plinth on Vyšehrad, one of the seven hills of Prague, and a very special sacred site for the Czechs. She is Libuše, one of the three daughters of the legendary king Krok. Her sister Kasi had the gift of healing; her sister Teta had the gift of magic; Libuše's gift was that of the seer, to be able to see at a distance, across time and space and across dimensions.
    The legend has it that she was chosen to rule after her father's death, but men would not put up with a queen who rules alone. She would have to marry and govern as her husband's consort. She said she would marry, but only one man, a plowman she had seen in a dream or vision. The councilors who would go out to look for him would know him by his sandals. They were made from the inner bark of a tree, and one of them would seem to be broken. To help the search party, 
Libuše would send her white horse ahead of them. In the story, the plowman is discovered. His name is Přemysl. He abandons his fields to go with them to Libuše's castle on Vyšehrad, and together they found a dynasty.
    The legend was playing in my mind as I set off for 
Hora Říp, a round hill in the center of he Czech Republic that was once an active volcano. According to another legend, the origin of the Czech people lies here. An "ancient father" named Czech climbed this hill with kinsmen coming from the east, had a vision of a land of milk and honey, and founded a settlement. The people and the country take their name from him.

    The approach to the hill of  
Říp, rising above the deep morning mist, began with a long walk up a road lined with linden trees. The linden is the sacred tree of the Czechs; there was a linden at the center of every village. Above the boulevard of lindens, the path rose steep and rough. At the top was a rotunda, an old Romanesque chapel. 
     I sat on a bench nearby and drummed for the spirits of the land.
    Almost immediately, a couple appeared to my inner sight. They were dressed like royals of a long time ago, perhaps from the early Middle Ages. They wore simple crowns. The woman's flowing dress was fern green and the gold decoration of the collar evoked ripe ears of corn. She word a necklace of red stones the color of strawberries. A voice spoke in my mind, an inner soundtrack. It was telling me that the legend of 
Libuše and her plowman, as commonly told, is incomplete. Přemysl's employment is no lowly estate; he is the chosen consort of a goddess of the land, and through their sacred marriage, he will plow and fertilize the Earth to bring new abundance.
    His sandal is not broken. It hangs loose because he is an adept at traveling in and out of the body, a walker between worlds.
Libuše sends her white horse, riderless, to find him, she is projecting one of her own forms. Like Epona, she can be seen on a white horse or as a white horse, a favorite avatar of goddesses of the land in Old Europe.

The next day, I followed the course of the Berounka river to Tetin, where a hill with marvelous views of the river valley is named after Teta, the magician sister of Libuše. I saw elements of her story in a vision here. I knew Teta for a fierce proud woman who would not easily yield what belonged to her and might be ready to take things she wanted - such as a man - from others.
    I sensed a third location, a hill of Kasi, the healer, that is not identified in the maps or (so far as I know) in the folklore. Three faces of feminine power, perhaps three aspects of the Goddess of the land.
    Clues for further dream archaeology.

1 comment:

nanette davis said...

lovely story Robert. Thanks for sharing your journey with us.