How do the Carpathians sound: How do the Carpathian rivers save from garbage?March 6, 2023
Protecting nature today is a completely logical and scientifically based thing: we know about infectious diseases, we know about toxins, about the role of ancient forests, and about endangered species… But people did not always have this knowledge.
Let’s be honest: not all beliefs of the Proto-Slavs or ancient tribes that lived in the basins of the Dnipro, Dniester, Bug and Tisza rivers can be called wise. Superstitions sometimes pushed our ancestors to do unthinkable things. For example, the whole community bought a horse, anointed its head with honey, entangled its legs and drowned it in a puddle – this is how the waterman was propitiated in early spring.
But even in those strange times, there was an understanding that there are things that cannot be done – such as littering and making noise in the forest, polluting water, destroying anthills for fun or killing animals during breeding season.
Eco-inspection, as well as the Water and Forest Code, did not exist at that time. However, people believed that certain spirits of nature could punish violations of the rules.
What kind of spirits are these, how did they protect nature, and what punishment could await violators? We will talk about this in our next series of posts: “Spirits – guardians of nature in the times of ancient Ukrainians”.
And the first of them will be about the kindest spirits of nature, in which our ancestors believed – Huhiv.
Hukhas are small fluffy, moss-like spirits of nature that look either like hedgehogs or like dandelion heads. Their wool is long, fluffy and soft. Green on the back, pink on the legs and face, eyes are yellow-violet.
But, according to the beliefs of our ancestors, hukhas are not of one color, but change their color according to the color of the environment: they become blue near water, green – among moss, yellow – among fallen leaves and on the sand, and pink-lilac – among heather. That is why people rarely notice them. That is why volunteers sometimes call the camouflage suits they weave for our military “huhami”.
Our ancestors believed that hukhas are forester’s assistants. With their purring, they promote exuberance and growth.
In winter, like many animals, hukhas go into hibernation. They arrange their wintering houses in the roots of trees, lining the inside with moss. If someone cuts down a tree in winter, where a hukha lived – it will die.
Hukhas wake up in early spring, when the snow falls. Then in the forest you can hear a purr, a soft whisper, a squeak or even a soft grunt of hooves.
Hukhas live in different areas, but most of them are in the forest. “Those that live in the forest are called forest ones, those that live in ravines and rocks are called cavemen, those that live over rivers and lakes are called warblers; those that are in tall grass and weeds are weeds…” (V. Koroliv-Stary, “Unclean Power”, 1923).
Hukhas are helpers for people. They often help a lost person find his way, warn of danger, and warm travelers, saving them from death.
Hukhas protect the environment where they live. If they see that someone is encroaching on nature, the hukhas quickly look for a forester, fieldman or other respected spirits of nature, notifying about troubles. But the hooves themselves never harm a person – even if their house is destroyed, they will watch sadly, and later go to look for and arrange new burrows.
Hukhas became a kind of generalization of the mysticism of the environment, respect for it, laying down the karmic nature of any actions for a person, especially regarding cruelty and disdain for nature and the environment. A complete denial of mysticism, rather than adapting it to modern scientific views of the environment, does not allow us to develop an appropriate behavioral response to the conservation of nature.
And what will happen if the violator of the laws of nature is noticed by a forester, a fieldman or a wanderer – we will tell you in our next posts.
We thank the defenders of Ukraine and call on all possible means to support the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Thanks to them, we have the opportunity to live and work for the preservation of wild nature in independent, free Ukraine. We believe in victory, we support the defenders!
The illustration is based on an image created by artificial intelligence Midjourney